Social media management is all about engaging current and potential customers with great content that encourages them to spread word of mouth about your business. It’s an art and a science, and when you master it your payoff will be a loyal, thriving fan base of happy customers.. That said, we’d like to point out a few simple social media mistakes that are easily avoidable when you have the right strategy.

If you’ve been following the social media meltdown (not safe for work!) of Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro after the owners appeared on Kitchen Nightmares, you know where we got our inspiration for this post. We never relish in seeing a situation like this, and in fact, that’s why we offer free assessments for local business owners. It is, however, a great opportunity to discuss the practices we rank as the top five social media faux pas.

The top 5 things you should avoid on social media:

1. Only talking about yourself. It’s okay to brag about that fresh new special all your customers are raving over, but self-congratulatory posts shouldn’t be the only things populating your Facebook Timeline. Highlight the great things about your business while always keeping the focus on the customer experience. Post about interesting topics related to your business. They may seem peripheral to you at first, but you’ll soon notice that they get great engagement. And great engagement means happy, loyal customers!

2. Posting too much. The definition of social media oversharing depends on the platform. Facebook recommends keeping posts to twice a week. Twitter’s short 140 character posts lend themselves to more frequent sharing, but always stick to the philosophy that less is more. It’s better to post a few witty, relevant posts per week than to fill up your profiles with a lot of less than stellar content. Do the latter, and you risk losing followers.

3. Being overly defensive in review responses. Whether the review is on Facebook or a more traditional review site like Yelp or Google+ Local, it’s important to remember that your online actions can directly affect your in-store customers. Always be gracious to customers who have taken the time to write a review. Thank them for their time, and try to clear up the situation without escalating it. You might even take the conversation offline if necessary.

4. Not responding to reviews. As tempting as it may be to think that customers’ reviews will stand alone as great recommendations for your brand, by not responding, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to build loyalty. Customers appreciate feeling appreciated. So, respond to all reviews, even the good ones. A simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way.

5. Not responding to comments generated by your great posts. In a similar vein, it’s bad social media practice to ignore comments on your Facebook posts or replies to your tweets. If you leave these unanswered, you risk looking like you’re only interested in one-way communication. Social media is all about interaction, so reply to your fans and stay involved in the conversations you start. Active, engaged conversation helps strengthen and build upon the original content you posted, and it’ll get your content in front of even more sets of eyes!

It’s inevitable that you’ll have a few slip ups along the way, but your customers will understand that you’re only human. If you handle tricky situations in an open, honest way, your fans will notice your commitment to your customers and respect your passion for your local business.. Social media management could easily be a round-the-clock job for most business owners, and that’s why we’re here to make sure you never miss a thing! There’s no exact formula for social media success. Just remember to stay involved and keep it professional.