4 Social Media Sins To Avoid On Your Small Business Profiles

Social media is an amazing tool for growing your business and connecting with your audience. But for some, it can be a marketing nightmare if improperly managed. 

All too often we see businesses, even big corporations fail with social media – just Google ‘business social media fails’ and you’ll see what I mean. Every post and interaction is important to your brand image and has the potential to impact on that – positively or negatively.

Today I’m going to give my 4 tips to avoid committing a social media sin and to help you rock social media like a pro.

1 // Be Careful Who You Associate With

Collaborating and teaming up with fellow small business owners and entrepreneurs can be a fantastic way to grow your business. However, it can result in backlash if the person you choose to associate with has a bad reputation or is a controversial figure. By linking yourself to this person, even briefly, it can have a knock-on effect and generate unwanted attention.

An example of this I saw recently was a local dog boarding kennel who chose to share a post by a trainer who uses methods that many find disturbing. Just by sharing the post, the kennel received numerous comments from people disapproving of their association and vowing never to use their services again. This public backlash was caused by simply sharing a post yet it generated the kind of publicity that lost customers and tainted the brand.

If you do plan on collaborating, associating or even sharing something by another business make sure you know if there will be a potential fall out.

2 // Responding To Negative Reviews

Regardless of the type of business you have, you can’t please everybody. There will always be someone who doesn’t like your products or is disappointed with the service received. And while this is upsetting especially when you pour your heart and soul into providing the very best, it’s, unfortunately, impossible to avoid.

How you respond to negative reviews or feedback will either make it a slight disappointing bump or a complete marketing disaster.

Nothing is private on the internet and I’m sure you will have seen how quickly posts can go viral (and it’s usually not for good reasons). National media outlets and websites regularly share when a business responds in a specularly awful way to a bad review. Inevitably making the situation worse and highlighting it to thousands of people.

Quick tips on responding to a bad review

  • Be sincere –  Try not to get defensive when responding as this can come across as arrogant and inflame the situation more.  A simple apology and recognition of the customers experience can go a long way.
  • Keep it brief – Reviews on your social media page or third party sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor are public and can be viewed by everyone so bare this in mind when you write your reply.  Don’t go airing your dirty laundry on a public platform. Keep your response brief and ask the customer to contact you directly by email or phone to discuss it further.
  • Don’t delete – It can be tempting to simply delete a bad comment or review, once it’s gone no one will see it and the problem will disappear – right?  Wrong! By deleting the comment you are going to annoy the customer even more, who is likely going to shout from the rooftops that you removed their comment.  Leading to more negative attention on your business page.
  • Avoid blame – Receiving a bad comment can be hurtful and it’s hard not to take it personally. Whether the customer is in the wrong or not, turning the blame on them is going to do nothing for your online brand.

3 // Do You Really Want To Share That?

Nothing on the internet is really private – we all know this right? Virtually everything you post can be seen, shared, commented on and discussed by people all over the world. Even on your private feed. All it takes is for someone to take a quick screenshot, post it publicly and boom your private post is going viral.

We all know the tragic story about the lion and the dentist from last year? You can bet the dentist in question, didn’t for one minute believe that posting a photo would generate public outcry across the world and ruin his business.

Or the photographer who decided to have a huge rant and say some pretty awful things on his profile. No one likes a bully and his outbursts were shared publicly and even featured on blogs and news outlets.

The thing to remember about social media is everything you say and do is online forever. You can delete the offending post but chances are someone has a screenshot of it already.

4 // Don’t Use The Hacked Excuse

If you have committed a social media sin or received backlash from a post on your page… don’t ever use the excuse ‘our page was hacked’. Unless you actually have been hacked of course. The ‘we were hacked’ excuse almost never works and no one is gonna believe it.

If you made the mistake, own up to it, apologize and move on.  Making excuses never go down well.


Before posting always take a moment to think – ‘am I OK with this being in the public eye’.  If in doubt, it is probably best that you don’t.

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