Social media has changed the way that both individuals and brands view, communicate, and interact with the world. What was once only a guilty pleasure has grown into a marketing tool and necessity for small and large businesses alike.

When used properly, social media empowers brands to build loyalty by connecting with consumers in real-time and in a more personable way. However, without a well-thought-out strategy, social media can also end in disaster for even the most well-established brands.

Here are 12 do’s and don’ts for your business follow on social media.

The Do’s

  1. Know your audience

Before you sign up for every social media platform available, consider who your audience is and where they already are. Not all platforms share the same users, and many services have niche groups or demographics. Missing the mark on where your audience is will only result in wasted time and resources.

  1. Have a purpose

Developing a plan and setting attainable goals are as critical in using social media as in any other aspect of your business. Using social media without a plan or goals only exposes your company to unnecessary risk. Determine what success will look like before creating an account. Brand recognition, consumer engagement, and in-store sales lift are a few goals to consider.

  1. Protect your brand

The old saying, “a reputation takes years to build and seconds to destroy” takes on new significance in the social world. In a matter of seconds, one off-color post can unravel the brand image you’ve spent years building. To protect your brand, develop a content approval process and update your brand voice guide.

  1. Have a two-way conversation

The beauty of social media is that it is interactive, creating a community for discussion rather than a podium for a speech. Engage in conversation with your followers. Share their successes, respond to their concerns, and always be respectful. For the times you need to moderate or delete a discussion, have pre-written and posted “rules” on your social media accounts.

  1. Use different types of content

Creativity is king. Social media is filled with a lot of white noise, and it’s easy to get lost in the mix. Engaging your followers with different types of content is necessary to stand out, and incorporating images and videos will help expand your brand’s reach and impact. Remember, when users are scrolling through their feed, they tend to have a short attention span. Length and quality are important when posting video content.

  1. Measure your success

Most social media platforms have deep analytic capabilities. Periodically review your goals, measure your results, and adapt your strategy for future success. This will help you improve your ROI and better understand your followers.

The Don’ts

  1. Ignore feedback from followers

Social media is designed to be a two-way conversation. Ignoring feedback from your followers, even criticism or negative comments, can reflect poorly on your brand. Remember, your followers are real people and always deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect.

  1. Exclusively promote yourself

Think of using social media like going on a date – if you only talk about yourself and what you do, you won’t make a good impression and you probably won’t get a second date. A general guideline is the 80/20 rule – 80% percent of your posts should provide useful information to your followers, while 20% can promote your brand.

  1. Post without proofreading

An obvious step in theory, but execution proves more difficult. Social media is mobile and instantaneous, and it’s easy to have an idea on the go and post without thinking or proofreading. Don’t do that. Carefully consider both the value of the content and the use of grammar before posting.

  1. Neglect your account(s)

Building brand loyalty on social media requires consistency. Followers gravitate toward brands that build and maintain relationships. If you’re going to be on social media, you have to be committed to interacting with your followers on a consistent basis. Schedule regular times throughout the day to manage your social media accounts, or have a firm that does it for you.

  1. Share too much

Building a successful social media presence requires striking a balance between staying on the minds of consumers, and posting too often. Regardless of the type or quality of the content, saturating your followers’ social feeds is a little like knocking on your neighbor’s door until they answer – you’ll get a response, just not the one you want.

  1. Be needy

Constantly nagging your followers to share your posts or “retweet if you agree” is a great way to ensure you won’t meet your social media goals. Share useful information, engage in conversation, and give your followers the opportunity to interact with your brand in their own time and on their own terms.

Social media is an incredible tool for both small and large brands. Whether you are just starting out on social media, or a seasoned veteran, applying these steps will help you build brand loyalty.

If you are interested in learning more about how audience insights and brand voice guides can help your company, contact 24. We’d love to help guide you through the process!