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The dos and don'ts of using social media for business

In this article, we'll cover a few of the big dos and don'ts for using social media for business - to help you look great online, attract new customers and boost your business.

You will learn

  • How to use your images effectively
  • Tips for learning when to start selling

Social media can be one of the biggest avenues of marketing for a business but do you know if you are doing it right?

First and foremost a business owner needs to decide how they wish to portray their business. Will your pages and profiles be focused purely on business or will you allow a little of your own personality to shine through so others can see behind your brand? This is usually the most effective way of using social media for small business owners. Once you have made this decision you can start planning the way in which you want to use social media.

Below are 5 common points that small business owners often ask about using social media.

1. What do I do when family or friends comment on my page?

Don't shy away from any comments family or friends make on your page as it all counts towards engagement. If you ignore their comments customers may think you are being ignorant as they won’t be aware that this individual is a relative of yours. When replying treat them as you would any other visitor – no inside jokes or insults that may get interpreted wrongly by a potential customer, just be natural, friendly and polite.

2. Can I post personal pictures on a business page?

To a degree this depends upon how you are positioning your business. If you are a business focused brand then you may want to post personal images sparingly but if you have chosen to give your brand a little of your own personality, because you are the brand, then a few relevant personal pictures won’t go amiss.

In fact most small businesses are personality brands so posting images about you and what you are doing is building your brand, you just need to be mindful as to what image you want to portray about yourself/your brand. Posts such as days out with family or pictures of a night out are best kept for the odd post rather than a regular feature but still they are not a total no, no, after all you are your brand and the things you do all contribute to this so long as they are tasteful images.

Alternatively a make-up artist showing off her make up for an evening out could be hugely beneficial in that it's personal and it's drawing customer's attention to how great it looks and the fact that she actually uses what she is selling.

3. Images – what size is best?

Simply put the best size is the correct size for the appropriate platform. Images are very powerful especially if they are the correct size as they fill the full area provided for an image by the specific platforms and this allows the full impact of that image within the newsfeed. Take a look at the 2 examples below.


Now see how much more powerful the correct sized image looks in the newsfeed.


Each platform has its own requirements for newsfeed images, below are the current dimensions for:

Twitter – 5MB Max and 440 x 220 pixels, Twitter resizes the pictures to fit within the posts

Facebook – Suggested size of 1200 x 717px these will then appear on the page at 834 x 504 pixels

Instagram – 640 x 640 pixels

Pinterest – Max width of 236 pixels for posts. Board display pictures are 222 x 150 pixels

Check out our social media image cheat sheet for more.

4. When is the right time to sell?

The first thing you need to know here is that people go to Amazon, eBay and Google to buy, not to social media. They are in a different mindset when they visit social media sites. They are there to be entertained, educated, have fun or to get some light relief from work but not to be sold to. However that doesn't mean they won't buy!

As a business owner, your job is to provide a variety of good quality content that entertains, educates and offers some light relief the majority of the time mixed in with work related, sales orientated products or services to allow people to know what it is you do and what it is you sell. Check out out top tips for writing exciting social media content.

Use the analytics provided by each platform to see when the majority of your fans are online. Facebook have the 'Insights tab' which shows you not only what day users are online and at what time, it also provides age and gender demographics amongst many other features. Similar statistics can be found on Twitter. If you cannot be there to post at those busy times, schedule them.

5. What is the biggest no-no with social media?

NEGLECT! Whatever you do, don't neglect your pages or profiles. Setting up your profiles is the easy bit, keeping on top of them, posting regularly and interacting with followers to keep them interested in your business is the hardest but most essential aspect of using social media. Facebook even allows visitors to see how fast, on average, it will take for a page to reply – too slow and it can put people off contacting you.

Be yourself on social media. If as a customer you wouldn't like the way a profile or page is run, then don't run your business pages or profiles that way.

Do you struggle to size your images right on social media?

Download our free image cheat sheet to make that a thing of the past

Written by:

Rachel Moore

Social media expert

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