What a business shouldn’t share on social media should not come as a surprise. Social media rules for business are the same for any media a company uses, not only SM.

There is no 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 five answers to what a business shouldn’t share on social media

What a Business Shouldn’t Share on Social Media

Don’t be rude. Be Courteous and Respectful 

This advice isn’t only for businesses but anyone on social media. Too many people hide behind a screen and post comments on social media that they wouldn’t dare say to someone in the same room. This is destructive behavior; it seldom leads to anything positive and 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 truly want to help, do it privately. Don’t call them out.” — 10 Good Manners for Kids and Businesses in Social Media 

Stay Clear of Tragedy   

Last week Queen Elizabeth passed, and Sunday was the anniversary of 9/11. If your business posted about either, take a hard look at your intentions and the results. In most cases, sharing about a tragedy isn’t in a business’s best interest. Allison Carter explains why in this post, Before your brand posts on social about 9/11, read this.

Don’t Share Controversial Topics 

Politics, religion, and controversy in general, have always been dangerous topics for businesses. I know sometimes it’s 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 controversial posts.

I 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. There are neighborhoods for politics on Twitter and Facebook, but divisive words shared on business social media accounts are toxic. You will lose customers, prospects, and respect because even if half of your readership agrees with you, the other half doesn’t.

Don’t Over Sell Your Company

I’ve followed the advice from my friends at Roundpeg for several years. They recommend 80% sharing to 20% promoting on social media. Constant promotion with little or no sharing and engagement will more likely be a waste of time and money than a successful social media marketing 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 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 uses the current and ever-changing social networking platforms to promote calls to action and brand organizations, products, and services.

However, this is done by attracting followers, not exclusively broadcasting promotional campaigns. As counterintuitive as it may sound, if you use social media strictly as advertising, you will most likely 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. In other words, you need to develop a following.

Don’t Purposely Use Poor Grammar 

Your business shouldn’t use text talk in social media marketing unless the demographic you’re attempting to capture uses the abbreviated new speak. 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, don’t use it in a tweet! And try to follow grammar rules.

I can’t keep track of all the rules. For example, I rely 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. 

What a Business Shouldn’t Share on Social Media

The answer to what a business shouldn’t 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, social media marketing 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 content. Be courteous, respectful, and don’t get into a controversial jam.

The best answer to what a business shouldn’t share on social media is 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 do on other forms of media or in person. Do this, and you’ll be okay.

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Does your business have a management training plan? Businesses and universities use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. I’m also available to conduct training.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay