5 things businesses should never do on social media

Let’s not beat around the bush – social media is big business these days, and there are now hundreds of thousands of companies on Facebook, Twitter and the like, all vying for customers’ attention. There are plenty of guides which tell you what you should be doing on social media, but mysteriously, not very many telling you what you shouldn’t. It’s time for that to change! Check out our guide to the 5 things that no business should be doing on social media – make sure your business isn’t falling into these traps.

Sell, sell, sell

Yes, your social media profiles can be used as promotional tools, but it’s important to remember that they’re called ‘social’ media for a reason. Whilst the occasional tweet or status sharing your latest offers or products can be genuinely helpful, it’s important to engage with your client base as well. Simply bombarding your fans with tweets about how great you are is pointless – they’re already following you! Get involved with the things they’re talking about, and make sure it’s a two way dialogue: not just you with your cyber-megaphone.

Criticise other companies

As the old mantra goes, ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’. There is absolutely no way that your company should be making negative posts about competitors – far from making you look superior, it makes your business look extremely unprofessional. Unless your site specialises in reviews, keep your personal views exactly that – personal.

Make promises they can’t keep

Brands often choose to use sites like Twitter as a customer service tool to address any and all grievances their customers may have. Whilst this works well in principle, it’s important that this a) doesn’t become the sole purpose of your profile and b) doesn’t get you into trouble. In a hastened attempt to calm an angered customer, it is possible for companies to make quick, off-the-cuff promises that they later find out it’s not possible for them to keep. If you’re going to deal with customer issues online, take the debate into a private message and investigate every aspect of their case before agreeing to a certain plan of action. If you fail to do this, you’ll have an even more angry customer who is even more likely to share their grievance with the rest of your online community.

Duplicate every post

There are hundreds of different software applications that will allow you to ‘cross post’ – i.e. share your Facebook status on your Twitter account, LinkedIn page, and Google+ profile as well. This is a great time saving device when you have something to say that is relevant to all platforms, but it’s important that you don’t do this for every post. Not only will people who follow you on more than one site get bored with your constant copying, there are differences in formatting on each forum that will give your game away. One of the biggest crimes in this area is Twitter hashtags in Facebook posts – because even though Facebook is now rumoured to be developing its own hashtag system, the Twitter hashtags do not work on their site, and therefore look out of place and irrelevant, highlighting the laziness of your posting system.

Forget to have a sense of humour

We get it – you’re posting as a business, not an individual, and therefore have to have a certain level of professionalism to your profile. However, it’s not illegal for your company to have fun with social media – in fact, it’s actively encouraged! Under these circumstances, it’s okay to crack a joke, use a smiley face, leave a compliment – your followers will much prefer tweets and statuses that are relatable and engaging, as opposed to straight laced and corporate.