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Most people these days have some experience with social media, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or one of the seemingly infinite other social media sites currently out there. Because so many of us have personal accounts that we use on a daily basis, one of the most tempting mistakes that many people seem to fall prey to when managing their business' social media accounts is they do not adapt their behaviour accordingly.

On a personal Facebook account, for instance, you can openly support any cause, political party, belief, etc. and as you are speaking only for yourself there is little than anyone can do or say about it. As a business however, the words and actions portrayed on social media reflect not only on those who work there, but your customers too. Generally speaking, it is best for businesses to remain secular and impartial, in order to avoid offending or alienating potential clients, and also to avoid putting those who work for them in an uncomfortable position.

This is only one example, but it should give you a pretty good idea on why it is essential to know how to manage your business' social media accounts properly. What it all boils down to in essence is sensitivity. You need to be sensitive to the feelings of the general public, even if you do not really care on a personal level. This may seem insincere to some, but those people are forgetting that a business is not a personal entity, it is a construct built solely to provide goods or services that are in demand, and in order to do that – at the very least – the public has to be apathetic toward them.

It's not all that complex; at the end of the day people do not want their money going to a business or individual that they feel are opposed to their beliefs. A great example of this is recently there was an article making its way around social media that pointed out elven popular products made by companies that actively support a particular political party. The aim of this, clearly, was to have a negative effect on the sale of these products, thereby hurting the company's revenue and hindering their ability to support the party in question.

Social Media Etiquette

Now that you know why it's so important to manage your business' social media accounts and keep a tight rein on what is being posted, it's time to look at some of the most basic elements of social media etiquette, which if you take to heart should not only keep you out of hot water, but will also help to grow your page's following and your brand as a whole.

Keep The Language Clean

Though it is essential to be approachable and friendly, a business must always act professionally. Posting content that contains foul language is not conducive to this, and it will likely put people off liking or following your page.

Be Helpful & Amiable

It does not matter if you are having the worst day imaginable and there is practically a cartoon thunder cloud hovering inches above your head, social media platforms are a public stage for your company and a business (especially small and medium size enterprises) cannot afford to deliver a sub-standard service to their customers. Leave your personal issues for your private account and only post content that will encourage positive interaction.

Never Brag

There is certainly nothing wrong with being successful, but no one likes the guy who acts like they have it all. Brands are built on the hard work of those who work for and represent it, this is true, but it's also built on the money of those who pay for your goods or services. They are as much a part of your success as anyone else, which is why you should never forget to be humble – especially on such a public forum.

Don't Treat It Like Just Another Point Of Sale

A business' social media accounts are a great place to interact with customers and build brand loyalty, but as your Likes and Follows increase it can become more and more tempting to use it as another sales platform. Users do not want to see their feeds clogged up with phrases like 'Buy Now', 'Get Yours Today' and other cliché calls to action, and constantly subjecting them to it is a fantastic way of quickly losing followers.

Avoid Automation

Social media platforms are a great place for the general public to engage with a business, but it is not possible to establish a two-way conversation with a machine. Keeping a constant eye on your twitter feed may be a hassle, but most customers would rather wait a little longer for a personal response instead of being placated by generic automated responses.

Give What You Get

Those who follow your social media profiles are doing your brand a great service, and they should be rewarded for it. Every now and again, offering a social media exclusive discount code to those who ReTweet your posts and Like your page is a terrific way of showing your appreciation, and it will also encourage others to engage with you in the future.