So, what are the rules of social media for business? The rules of social media for business are the same for any form of media a business uses not only SM. There is not a one size fits all formula that fits the needs of every business. However, there are some basics, and they begin with common sense and courtesy. Here are four answers to what should a business share and not share on social media.

Be Courteous and Respectful

This advice shouldn’t only be for businesses, but anyone on social media. Too many people hide behind a screen and post comments on social media they wouldn’t dare say to someone in the same room. This is a destructive behavior, it seldom leads to anything positive, and it can seriously hurt a business.

“Don’t belittle or laugh at others in public, which includes social media networks, unless you want to lose prospects and be known as that negative organization. If you believe you could offer suggestions for improvement, and you truly want to help, do it privately. Don’t call them out.” — 10 Good Manners for Kids and Businesses in Social Media 

Beware of Controversial Topics  

Consider recently the national pizza chain owner who attacked the NFL. Granted, he’s entitled to his opinions, but sharing them as the voice of the company has hurt the organization’s reputation as well as its profit margin. Unfortunately, this example is only one in a long list of damaging opinions shared by businesses on social media that would’ve been better left unsaid.

“While the politics, religion, and sex policy has always been in place for traditional mediums, the mandate is now more important than ever, given how hot the topics are, with all sides damning everyone else. Is this really what we want our business climate to be? I know it’s VERY tempting to vent the day’s issues on a blog, Facebook, or Twitter. But for the sake of your brand’s image, just say no—and don’t retweet political tweets, either.

I often unfollow people who constantly tweet politics—whether I agree with them or not. No matter what people say, we are judged by whom we associate with, whether it is a political tweep, a spammer, or a non-stop salesperson. There are neighborhoods for politics on Twitter and Facebook, but divisive words of politics in social media are toxic, and do not belong outside those neighborhoods.” — You Calling Me Stupid? Politics in Social Media.

There are exceptions to every rule 

Here at TKO we’ve made exceptions to the rule. For example, I publicly opposed SOPA on social media. TKO Graphics has supported trucking industry legislation from HOS initiatives, infrastructure improvement and CDL exceptions for qualified military veterans.  New CDL Rules Help Veteran and Truckers. 

This past summer the family of TKO companies hosted a panel discussion led by Vice President Pence on how the new tax laws would impact small business, Indy Star VP Pence talk’s tax reform plan at TKO Graphix. We’re a small business, and a large percentage of our clients are as well. Our belief was that being part of the conversation on something this important outweighed the chance of polarizing customers and prospects. We’ve received almost unanimous support for hosting the conversation.

Don’t Over Sell Your Company

I’ve followed the advice from my friends at Roundpeg for several years. They recommend an 80% sharing and 20% promoting. Constant promotion with little or no sharing and engagement will more likely be a waste of time and money, than a successful SM plan.

Have you attempted a social media advertising campaign only to fall flat on your face? This might be why. “So you’ve planned and executed this super social media campaign, only to fail sharply at generating the slightest buzz. What could’ve gone wrong? Could it be your call to action (discount, coupon, or contest) didn’t work because you confused social media with advertising? If social media marketing isn’t advertising — what is it? Social media marketing is simply using the current and ever-changing social networking platforms to promote calls to action and branding of organizations, products, and services.

However, this is done by ATTRACTING followers, not by exclusively broadcasting promotional campaigns. As counter intuitive as it may sound, if you use social media strictly as an advertising media, you most likely will fail. Think about it — attraction, not promotion. For any social media promotion to be successful, you must first appeal to the demographic who will benefit from the promotion. You need a following.” — Why Your Social Media Promotion Didn’t Work.

Use Good Grammar

Text talk shouldn’t be used in social media marketing unless the demographic you’re to attempting capture uses the abbreviated new speak. SMM (Social Media Marketing) isn’t or shouldn’t be any less professional than any other marketing and advertising tool you use. If you wouldn’t use slang in an email, or a print brochure then don’t use it in a tweet!

“I can’t keep track of all the rules, for example, I reply on online sources such as Grammar Girl when I’m at a loss or have a question. I keep a copy of My Grammar and me…Or Should That Be Me? As well as a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creative Writing at my home office where I do most of my writing. Many writers refer to Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, and still others rely on style guides such as the AP Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style. ” — Grammar, Your Going to Make Mistakes. 

So, What Should a Business Share and Not Share on Social Media?

The answer to what a business should share and not share on social media isn’t that complicated. Use good grammar, you don’t have to be perfect but don’t use trendy, insider jargon, or slang. Don’t oversell, remember SMM is attraction, not promotion; it’s not a TV ad that prospects watch during half-time. Keep in mind that potential clients have to opt into your broadcast. Be courteous, respectful, and don’t get yourself into a controversial jam. The best answer to what should a business share and not share on social media might be to use common sense. A mentor once told me that common sense isn’t common, it’s genius.  Use your head. Think it through. Don’t do, share, or say things you wouldn’t on other forms of media. Do this, and you’ll be okay.

If You’d like to read more on this topic I suggest this, Social Media Best Practices for 2018.

Photo credit: Author: geralt ID: 404376 Provider: Pixabay