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If you belong to the large majority of people on the planet who are on the Internet on a daily basis, you most likely have some form of social media account. Maybe you enjoy sharing your life with friends and family on Facebook or Twitter, or posting photos you’ve taken during your summer vacation on Instagram. You may have also seen how an increasingly large number of businesses today make use of the power of social media in order to make themselves more visible, and attract more potential customers. Many successful companies from all over the world can attribute their growth in terms of brand recognition to the almost limitless marketing potential of social media.

For everyday business owners, however, social media can be a fickle friend that helps you achieve your dreams one day, but puts you down the minute you say something they don’t like. Most people only see social media as a means to communicate with other people, but smart business owners see it as a way to promote the products and services that they offer to a global audience. Granted that you will not be able to please everybody on social media, know that there are certain unwritten rules of etiquette that you will still need to observe or at least be familiar with if you want your business profile to become the social media powerhouse that you designed it to be.

Don’t Get on the Social Media Train With an Incomplete Profile

If you are a start-up entrepreneur, a small to medium size business owner, or even a non-profit organization, this is perhaps one of the easiest rules of social media etiquette to follow. No one likes to look at a company’s Facebook or Twitter page only to find out that there aren’t any photos or product descriptions on there, or even contact details that customers can use to get in touch with them. When putting up your company’s official social media account, remember that your profile will represent you and your business on the World Wide Web, and that any impression potential clients will have on your company depends on how informative your page is and how well it appeals to online viewers.

Don’t Put Up Multiple Profiles on the Same Social Media Platform

I know the cliché tells you not to put all your eggs in one basket, but what do you do when you only have one egg, which for the purposes of this long-winded analogy, represents your business? Of course, you don’t try to put it in more than one basket. There is a reason why many successful companies only have one “official” Facebook or Twitter page. It makes sense to funnel all of your social media connections into a single profile in order to avoid confusion. Make sure that your company is officially represented by a single profile on every social media platform that you decide to advertise in. That means Facebook users will only be drawn towards your official Facebook page, Twitter users will go to your official Twitter page, and so on and so forth. This keeps things easy and simple for your online viewers, which can only reflect positively on you and your business.

Don’t Rely Too Much on Social Media Automation

This is not to say that making use of social media management tools such as HootSuite or TweetDeck is a bad idea. Automating certain aspects of your social media presence can certainly help keep your audience engaged through fresh content and free you up so that you can take care of the other aspects of the business, but an over-reliance on automation can prevent you from establishing more personal relationships with your customers which is, after all, the whole point of being on social media.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

If you happen to be the type of business owner that has plenty of hours to spare on any given day, then by all means, set up and manage an official profile for your company on as many social media networks as you possibly can. But let’s be honest, who has that much time on their hands? Choose two or three of the more popular networks that best match your company’s target audience and go from there. When a new social media site that you are currently not on starts gaining popularity, feel free to look into signing up and creating a new profile for your business.

Don’t Be a Digital Snob

Seeing as the whole point of putting up a social media presence for your business is for you to be able to connect with more people online, leaving inquiries from potential customers on your Facebook or Twitter page hanging tends to be counter-productive. When people take the time to visit your page, and inquire about the products or services that your company offers, make it a point to respond to them in a timely and professional manner. Of course, replying to every single inquiry across all of your company’s social media accounts is easier said than done, so you may want to consider using a social media management tool or employing the services of an SEO professional in order to help keep you organized.

Don’t’ Spam. Ever.

You know those ads that you keep closing or ignoring on some of the websites you visit? That’s what you become if your marketing strategies involve sending out spam email or forcing ads on your online audience. Be sure to regulate your posts, newsletters, advertisements, or any other form of communication that you send out through your official social media profile. The last thing you want is to be marked as a spammer, which in today’s digital world is a major turn-off. Sending out spam is fastest way for potential customers to lose interest in your business.

Don’t Be Spammed

In the same token, be wary of spam accounts. You may be surprised to find out that not every social media account out there is owned and maintained by a real person. Today’s technology has made it possible for a computer program to run a social media account and automatically post links to as many people’s accounts as possible. Do your research and make sure that you are connecting to a real person online, otherwise, your marketing efforts will have been for naught. It doesn’t matter that you have 756 followers on Twitter; if all of them are spam accounts, every tweet and every post you share will not only fall on deaf ears, so to speak, but will be wasted on people who do not even exist.

Don’t Ignore Spell Checker

While you’re at it, pay attention to your grammar checker too. In today’s fast-paced online environment, where people seem to have developed their own texting language, few bother to make sure that they are saying “there” instead of “their”, or “you’re”, instead of “your”. Nothing makes you look sillier and have less credibility than incomprehensible grammar and bad spelling. Sure, people might forgive the occasional slip up. However, when they find that your posts too difficult to understand, they immediately go for the back button on their browser, and you will have lost another potential customer. Be sure to always check and double check every tweet, every Facebook post, and every article for spelling and grammar errors before you share on social media.

Don’t Hashtag Everything

Hashtags help keep your tweets and Facebook posts categorized, but #putting #hashtags #on #everything #is #pointless. Be sure to only hashtag words that are pertinent to your post. For instance, if you post a photo or an article on Twitter about how to cook lasagna, you can include the hashtag #lasagna in your post, and anybody who clicks on that hashtag will be taken to a page that has anything and everything to do with the popular Italian dish.

Because the role that social media plays in helping companies reach their goals become more and more important each year, business owners are turning to social media management software and SEO service providers to help them stay on top of their online marketing campaign. If you are just starting out, you might want to consult with SEO experts about how to go about putting your social media presence to good use. With the right social media marketing strategy, your business can reach out to markets that you didn’t even thought it could. The possibilities are virtually limitless.

Putting yourself and your business on social media can be a great way to reach out to more people and establish a strong, competitive presence for your company. How people respond to your online marketing techniques, however, depends largely on you remembering the do’s and don’ts of social media. On one hand, social media can help raise brand recognition exponentially, but on the other, it can also spell your doom. But as long as you stay ahead of current trends, keep your audience engaged, and be wary of the social media don’ts for business, you should be well on your way to online marketing success.