Tell Us Your Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

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Are you looking for ideas on how to leverage social media for your business?  You’ve got your Facebook Fan Page, LinkedIn Profile, Twitter account and YouTube Channel.  But how do you make the most of all these social networking resources?

No worries.  We’ve gone out and asked some experts to share the latest and greatest Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for small business.  These aren’t last year’s tips; they are new and improved.  We promise you’ll find a new twist on how to get your investment in social media to pay off.

Read through our list; then add some of your own (see bottom of this post for instructions).

In a few weeks, we’ll combine all the tips into a handy FREE download that you can keep and use throughout the next year.  And we’ll hold a random drawing and 3 lucky people who contribute tips will get a fabulous HP Officejet Pro 8500A e-All-in-One printer (details at bottom of this post).

Social Media Dos Donts

Mari Smith, Social Media Keynote Speaker & Trainer, author of “Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day

  • Do chat live with your Facebook fans. Your fans will love to interact with you live from time to time. Use the Vpype or Ustream apps to stream live video and get your fans to interact and chat. Also, try out the Clobby app (Chat Lobby) to chat real-time with your fans. Your fans will love you for the personalized, live element, and you’ll stand out from others on Facebook!
  • Do make use of Facebook friend lists. To better manage your friends, control your privacy, choose who sees what content and filter your News Feed views, segment your Facebook friends into lists. For example, create a list with specific influentials, and you can more easily view your News Feed each day and quickly Like and Comment as appropriate to continue nurturing your important relationships.
  • Do provide an area for your Facebook fans to promote themselves.To honor your fans and to help minimize any possible spam posts on your wall, give your fans their own forum using the Discussion tab. Specify exactly how and where you want them to post. For example, I have a long-running, popular thread encouraging fans to promote their Twitter accounts.

Chris Brogan, author of Social Media 101 and blogger

  • Do listen more than you speak. Use listening tools to listen for opportunities to be more helpful. Google “grow bigger ears” for ways to do this.

Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, LLC, and author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.

  • Don’t rely on Twitter as a marketing platform to promote your products, services and blog posts. Users are now following thousands of people, so your message will get lost anyway.
  • Do have a strategy when you create a Facebook Fan Page so you can measure its impact on your business and know how much time you need to invest in it.
  • Do accept every LinkedIn connection because it increases your second- and third-degree connections, widens your network, and establishes social proof.

Rick Itzkowich, The LinkedIn Guy, Co-founder Productive Learning & Leisure

  • Do claim your personalized LinkedIn URL for your name. If that is taken, use a keyword that relates to what you do. LinkedIn’s default is something like$78.
  • Do make sure you have a professional headshot on LinkedIn and that you change it periodically. Every time you make a change, your network will be notified, giving you enhanced visibility.
  • Don’t ask people who don’t know you well for a LinkedIn recommendation. That’s the fastest way to lose your credibility.
  • Don’t have your company logo – or anything other than a professional headshot – as your picture on your LinkedIn profile. This could cause you to get suspended from LinkedIn. Besides, people want to connect with you the person, not your company.

Melinda Emerson, Author and Host of #Smallbizchat, (@SmallBizLady)

  • Do use a 4:1 ratio of tweeting other people’s content before posting your own, to build a community on Twitter.
  • Do be careful how you use auto DM (direct messages). People are leery about clicking on links of people they do not know. The worst thing you can do on Twitter is try to sell to someone before you actually have a relationship or are a trusted resource to them.

Scott Allen, Coauthor, The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online Social Media Strategist, OneCoach

For LinkedIn:

  • Do proactively make introductions. Be aware of the core people you know who provide services that you can recommend, and introduce them to your network.  Seek out opportunities for others, not just for yourself.
  • Do join the conversation. Become a valid participant within someone else’s conversations.
  • Don’t just start a new group without getting to know what’s out there first and seeing if there’s an unmet need. You may be able to get much of the same benefit of starting a group without the maintenance overhead.
  • Do keep your profile information current and use relevant keywords so that you rank at the top when people are searching for specific terms. Passive presence does work sometimes, and the effort to keep everything up-to-date is minimal if you’re well organized.

For Twitter:

  • Do use search and lists. Search and lists on Twitter let you manage your attention so you can focus on the most relevant people and conversations.
  • Do have casual conversations on Twitter – instead of e-mail – if the topic isn’t private.  This way, you’re pulling other people from your network into the conversation.  Creating conversations on Twitter will grow your network and get you indexed in search engines for your business.

Tamar Weinberg, Social Media Marketing Consultant,  Techipedia (@Tamar)

  • Don’t (overly!) self-promote.
  • Do give value first and foremost; then people will want to see what you’re all about.
  • Do reward the people around you with tips and tools to make their lives easier. These small rewards don’t have to pertain to your business. If you’re super helpful all the time, they’ll want to know who you are and what you’re about.

Shashi Bellamkonda, Head of Social Media / Brand Evangelism at Network Solutions (@Shashib)

Setting up a Twitter account is easy. First, search for your friends in your contact list and connect with them. Then send an e-mail to friends and colleagues that you have joined Twitter. Once you’re on Twitter, do these three tasks:

  • Do set up a Twitter search for keywords that are important to you (for example, your name, company name, products, competitors).
  • Do check  and reply to mentions of @yourTwitter ID.
  • Do reply to DMs.

Niall Devitt, Co-Founder of Tweak Your Biz (@TweakYourBiz)  

  • Do integrate your online networking with your offline networking. Endeavor to make every virtual LinkedIn connection a real-world friend; it’s as easy as picking up the phone, meeting for a coffee or saying “Hi” at that next networking event. Always remember, social media is about the people, not the tools.

Shawn Hessinger, Chief Moderator for (@BizSugar)

  • Don’t be a stranger. An important aspect of social media is connecting on a personal level, so on social media sites like be sure to fill in a profile, tell people about yourself, and upload a photo instead of the default avatar or “mystery man” image. A personalized avatar and complete profile gives others someone with whom to relate… and a personal brand to remember. Those who take the time to upload a custom avatar typically connect better on a personal level and consequently get more votes, comments, followers, likes, fans — whatever. 

Tyler Garns, VP of Marketing at InfusionSoft (@TylerGarns)

  • Don’t blatantly sell. Nobody likes the person at the party who always talks about herself. Social media is a party. Don’t be the party pooper.
  • Do sell. But not in the way you’re used to doing. Feel free to share your expertise with others.  Let them discover your expertise without you pushing it on them.  Once they discover your expertise, make it easy for them to consume more and more of it–and pay you for it.

Brent Leary, Partner at CRM Essentials and coauthor of Barack 2.0: Social Media Lessons for Small Business (@BrentLeary)

  • Do be mindful of your Net Promoter Score (NPS) on Twitter. NPS is a term traditionally used as a customer service metric to signify whether customers would recommend you to friends and colleagues. I think of it as a way to determine if I’m tweeting too heavily about myself, and not enough about great information coming from others, like my clients, colleagues, partners or other great resources.  If I can keep my NPS to around 50% (self-promotional tweets at or under 50% of my overall tweets), I feel like I’m adding more value to folks who follow me by pointing out others who are doing great stuff.

Grant Wickes, VP Marketing at Wasp Barcode Technologies (@gwickes)

  • Do automate your video uploads to over 20 sites. YouTube is great, but don’t forget the other video sites. Using a tool like Tubemogul makes uploading videos to multiple sites a one-step process. In many cases, the smaller video sites combined can get you more visitors than Youtube.
  • Do measure the results of your social media; otherwise, you will not be taken seriously.
    To date, measuring social media campaigns has been expensive and time consuming. New products are starting to surface that are effective and inexpensive like Unilyzer. If you do not track ROI and business justification, you might not be in a social media role very long.
  • Do remember, social is not just electronic interchange. Use the various social sites for interaction and connection, but develop the relationship further.  Face to face opportunities are an important way to solidify the online relationship and build a much deeper interaction.  When you travel for business and even vacation, reach out to your key contacts. It’s amazing how accommodating your online contacts will be and how interested they are in meeting with you.

Lisa Toren, President of Inside Track Marketing & Media

  • Don’t start without a plan … for how social media marketing is going to solve specific business problems! Instead, develop strategies and tactics that are objective, methodical and measurably tied to the bottom line

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We’ve shared the above Do’s and Don’ts to jump start things — now give us yours!  Here’s how to participate:

(1) Add your Do’s or Don’ts in the comments below! Or…

(2) Tweet them to us on Twitter.

Deadline is October 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm Los Angeles, CA time.

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HP Officejet Pro 8500AFor sharing your expertise, we have a nice sweetener.  Submit your Do’s and Don’ts, and we’ll enter all who submit into a random drawing.  We will randomly choose 3 winners to each receive an HP Officejet Pro 8500A e-All-in-One printer (pictured, right).  This awesome machine does more than print — it faxes, it scans, it copies.  It prints in color, it’s fast, and it even has wireless printing capabilities (so convenient!).  And don’t you love that sleek black case?  For good measure, we will include a supply of genuine HP ink for each of the 3 winners.  Many thanks to HP, the Prize Provider for our giveaway.

Eligibility for random drawing: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY & PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE CHANCE OF WINNING. OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF 50 UNITED STATES, & THE DC, 18 YEARS OLD. Void in Puerto Rico, U.S. territories, possessions and where prohibited by law. Employees of Small Business Trends, Prize Provider, its subsidiaries, affiliates, their immediate family and household members not eligible. Entry constitutes agreement to rules and all decisions are final. Taxes are winner’s responsibility. Odds of winning depend on number of entries. Entrants release and hold harmless Small Business Trends, Prize Provider its subsidiaries, affiliates, and their officers, directors, employees, agents from any claim arising out of entry or prize receipt or use.

Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."