5 dos and don’ts of social media

By Joelle Harms | Senior Digital Editor, North Coast Media

thumbs_up_smSocial media is a blessing and a curse.

Promoting valuable and relevant content through personal, professional social media channels — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and others — will help drive traffic to you or your company’s website, increase demand for your content and raise your visibility.

“Social media was once thought of as a mere pastime for teenage procrastinators,” writes Sports Marketing Surveys in a blog post. “It then developed into a dubious marketing scheme whereby businesses barely considered it viable and worthy of considerable time and resource. Today it is a huge promotional machine that no real business can do without.”

There’s no clear strategy to managing a personal social media account, especially when using it professionally, but there is a way to avoid social media disasters.

Keeping up with best practices and techniques for effective social media can be a challenge, but it’s very rewarding. Social media is indispensable. You can view social media as a free tool for you or you or your company to gain awareness, respect, attention and, most importantly, community.

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when posting to social media.


1. Post often. Staying active raises your credibility and allows you to share your passion with like-minded peers.

2.  Use photos. I’m not talking about your average selfie. We love seeing your work, we love seeing your dog and we love seeing what you did after work. Yes, we love all of the visuals.

3.  Share your successes. People do want to see you shine. Sharing successful results may motivate others to improve or could give them the answer they are looking for.

4.  Mix up your content. Try new social media channels. Some superintendents are even trying out Vine!

5.  Ask questions. If you have a question and no solution, chances are someone in the Twittersphere has the answer.


1.  Brag. It’s one thing to show us the result of hard work that’s paid off, but no one cares about your trillion-dollar budget. An easy way to alleviate bragging is to share what others are doing by retweeting or posting a link to a cool blog.

2.  Complain. Social media is not a forum for you to complain about life. It’s OK to bring up concerns you may have, but also be open-minded to what others are trying even if you don’t agree with them.

3.  Be obnoxious. Liking and sharing others’ posts shows you’re interested, but don’t go on a “liking” spree on Instagram to make it seem like you’re interested. Liking a photo or tweet from 63 weeks ago is a red flag. It’s generally easy to tell if someone genuinely likes your post or if they’re just one of those “likers” who “like” everything.

4.  Show us your wild (and I mean wild) side. It’s nice to get a glimpse into your personal life, but some things are not meant to be posted to social media. If you have to think twice about whether it’s appropriate, it’s probably OK to post, but if you have to think three times about it… I’d steer clear.

5.  Take it easy on the selfies… and meals. Met LeBron James? Cool! Post that selfie you and him took together, but not the selfie you took of yourself holding a thunder stick in the crowd — we get it, you’re at the Cavs game. Have an amazing Thanksgiving? Cool! Don’t post your dinner plate — trust me, we’re all eating the same thing.

If you have any questions about social media best practices or how to make your accounts shine, I’m here to help. Email me at jharms@northcoastmedia.net for more tips and ideas.