Social media continues to evolve every day. What once started out as a meeting place for young people to connect with others has now expanded its reach to help companies connect to their audience too.

As a digital marketing agency, we understand whole-heartedly just how important social media is in building a better business.

In this day and age, social media is in the driver’s seat and continues to steer companies in the direction of what’s trending.

The older generation of businessmen and women sometimes grapple with understanding the importance of social media for a brand. They seemingly stick to the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.

What I mean by this is that they think if they aren’t on social media, no one will talk about them or their company. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth because the world of social media never sleeps and people are always trying to connect with and talk about the brands that they like and dislike.

That’s why I want to highlight the importance of social media as it continues to illuminate the intersecting paths of companies and consumers.

Though we aren’t at the dinner table, etiquette is definitely needed when using social media and today I’m going to serve up some do’s and don’ts of how to use social media for your benefit—but be careful, these tips are coming in hot!

The Do’s & Don’ts of Social

Don’t be fooled – social media is not private! At its core, social media is in fact public. With this being said, always keep in mind that anything you post will be seen by the public. So, don’t write things that you wouldn’t want to be shared with others. In short, everything on social media is fair game, so write with caution!

Do review your content before hitting “send.” Have you ever written a text about a person and mistakenly sent it to the person that you were talking about? It’s that heart-stopping, cold-sweat inducing panic that can be felt when you publish a social post only to find errors after hitting the send button. Posts that are riddled with misspellings and grammar mishaps lessen your brands’ credibility. How can a consumer trust a company if they can’t spell correctly or write in complete sentences? On the same note as the previous tip, social media is public so always review your work prior to publishing. If you want to send a private message, double check that it is, in fact, a private message. Attention to detail is very important when it comes to social media.

Don’t blindly share things from the internet. As the saying goes, “sharing is caring;” however, that notion can take a turn for the worse if you share something that offends someone. Always remember to fact-check your posts prior to publishing. Sometimes, you may share an article that you thought was seemingly innocent, only to realize after hitting “send” that the article contains inappropriate content. As a word to the wise, always read articles in their entirety before sharing.

Do interact with others. Social media isn’t a one-way street. In fact, it’s like a highway that allows consumers to merge their opinions with different brands which in turn opens the lines of communication between both. Just as a company can publish posts to the public, they should always be prepared to respond to consumers as well.

Don’t schedule out posts. Though this is a super tempting, time efficient way to ensure that you follow a publishing schedule, imagine if a post that you had scheduled weeks in advance publishes on time. Sure, that sounds all well and good, but, this post, in particular, causes a firestorm of comments from angry consumers. To add insult to injury, you’re away from your computer and you can’t access your account in order to begin the damage control. Though this is a situation that could give any social media manager a sense of anxiety, it can be avoided.

The solution to this problem is to post in real time. But, there are times when you can schedule posts, for instance, motivational quotes are usually safe from backlash. When scheduling, think objectively and ask yourself the question, “Does this post have the potential to make anyone angry?” If you are wavering, your best bet is to publish while you are near a computer or better yet- don’t post it at all!

Though some people are slow to jump on board, the social media train has left the station and isn’t showing any signs of stopping. So, the next time you post to social media, take note of these tips or you might end up kicking yourself in the caboose!