Context can be lost without body language

In the last few days, I’ve seen a few Facebook status updates, and tweets that people could easily take offence to.  So much can be lost when you’re limited to 140 characters and you’re missing body language, facial expressions and demeanour.

Social media is a fickle beast, it can be an excellent (and cost-effective) way to promote your business, but it can also backfire when it’s not well-managed.

Here are my top 5 tips on being Social Media Savvy in small business:

1. Beware of the overuse of exclamation marks!  They can really change the tone of a sentence.  They are often overused and I’m guilty of doing it myself.  You need to be aware that you are ‘exclaiming’ something so they’re not appropriate for regular status updates or tweets.  I read a Facebook Post this morning that seemed much worse due to the ! at the end.

2. Never bite when a troll strolls across your Facebook page or enters your twitter stream.  It will look like sour grapes.  By all means, respond calmly: but never take the bait and enter into a Social Media stoush.  It reflects badly on your business.

3. Being ‘Passive Aggressive’ is not cool.  Ever.  Don’t make remarks that are clearly a dig at someone with a smilie at the end.  Don’t write the thinly veiled status updates that are clearly an attack on a business or individual.  Your Timeline and Tweetstream are a public face of your business.  Treat them with respect.

4. Take care to think about what you’re proclaiming when you have a mixed audience.  I read a Facebook fight recently between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.  It was out of hand from the first comment – people are highly emotive about these topics and you’re nearly always likely to make some enemies if you say: “Breastfeeding past the age of X is not necessary” or  “Those who don’t breastfeed are XYZ”.  If you’re happy to have volatile threads of discussion linked to your brand, fair enough, go ahead.  But beware that you will lose some followers.

5. Try to avoid posting your new products all at the one time.  I’ve ‘unliked’ pages that post a stream of 20 Facebook status updates depicting all of their new items one after the other.  It fills your feed and can be easily avoided by simply scheduling them over the course of the day.  Your fans choose to follow you because they like what you have to offer.  They just don’t want to be inundated.

I feel like I’ve had my cranky pants on a bit today, but I think it’s so important to be mindful of your audience.

When in doubt, don’t tweet/post.



  1. Margaret Mila says:

    Good on you for giving your cranky pants an outing! Excellent advice on all points. I’m one of those fickle types that ‘de-likes’ pages that feature exactly what you advise against. Maybe you’re sporting your smarty-pants rather than the cranky ones?! 🙂

  2. Well said 🙂

  3. Bravo, great list! I’m certainly not one to get confrontational via social media or otherwise. I just like to think each to their own and if you have nothing nice to say, dont say anything at all (I’d also like to include a exclamation point here but am also guilty of overuse)

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