Best practices are what help customers and readers distinguish your business from those who appear to be freewheeling their social media. It gives credence to your brand and image, letting others see you take professionalism and quality seriously at the job site and online. But with countless lists and think pieces about best practices, it can be hard to decide what’s crucial and what may be a little more subjective.

1. Know When (And Where) To Post

You might be an early bird or night owl, but those interested in your concrete business might not be. An essential part of creating a robust social media presence is knowing when to publish. This may sound trite, but you’d be surprised at how many brands and businesses post whenever they feel like it then wonders why engagement and interactions are always low.

While Facebook is the social media leader regarding accounts and active users, not all customers use this platform. These unicorns might be found elsewhere, such as on Instagram or Twitter. Although you want to reach any and all interested parties, this doesn’t mean you have to create accounts on all platforms.

Instead, conduct low-level research and find out where current and potential customers are and how often they use a specific network. From there, you’ll be able to decide when and where is best to reach your customers.

2. Leave Spam In The Can

Though the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 governs email marketing, be cognizant of the message in every post and how frequently you’re posting. This means taking a second — or several — to decide whether a post someone else placed or shared is relevant to your business. If the answer is yes, go ahead and click share. If it’s questionable or not at all relevant, don’t. Diverging from the brand and/or message can leave customers confused, or worse, with the idea the business is spamming their timeline.

3. Don’t Block Or Delete

Nobody likes to hear scathing feedback, especially in a public forum such as social media. But if your business is on the receiving end, don’t automatically delete the comments. Use the situation to address the issue and rectify the situation. If necessary, move the conversation to private message but be aware screenshots taken by either party are a log of who said what. Keep it civil and understand not everyone can be placated.

4. Be Authentic But Apologetic

Consumers want to work with personable businesses, those who build a rapport with their customers and care about creating and providing solutions rather than simply offering a service. In the drive to become more authentic, many businesses have found themselves amid a faux pas and scramble to handle the ensuing backlash.

In these situations, the first rule of thumb for all social media best practices is to be sincere in all apologies. Crass and/or flippant responses only fan the flames and can do permanent reputation damage.