More entre­pre­neurs are tap­ping into the world’s largest social media net­work: There are more than 70 mil­lion busi­ness­es now on Face­book, up from about 18 mil­lion in 2013, accord­ing to Chief Oper­at­ing Offi­cer Sheryl Sand­berg dur­ing a recent investor call.

Closeup of Facebook business page

Face­book gives busi­ness­es a plat­form to show­case new prod­ucts and ser­vices, pro­mote spe­cials and pro­vide cus­tomer ser­vice. But with these ben­e­fits comes the poten­tial for mis­takes that can dam­age your brand.

Don’t Post Too Often

There are excep­tions, though. For exam­ple, it’s appro­pri­ate for restau­rants to post fre­quent­ly about food spe­cials, hap­py hours or live music events, or for med­ical busi­ness­es to post about recent health stud­ies.

The best times to post are between 1 and 4 p.m. late in the week and on week­ends, accord­ing to a study by CoSched­ule, a con­tent mar­ket­ing cal­en­dar provider. How­ev­er, it may not be ide­al to post on Fri­day after­noons in the sum­mer because peo­ple may start their week­ends ear­ly.

The right post­ing fre­quen­cy may also depend on how many fol­low­ers you have. Com­pa­nies with more than 10,000 fol­low­ers see the most clicks per post when post­ing an aver­age of one or two times per day, accord­ing to a study by Hub­spot, a devel­op­er and mar­keter of soft­ware prod­ucts; com­pa­nies with few­er fol­low­ers see bet­ter engage­ment by post­ing less fre­quent­ly.

Don’t Post Only About Your Business

Pro­mot­ing your busi­ness should account for 20 per­cent or less of your posts if your prod­ucts or ser­vices aren’t used dai­ly by cus­tomers to avoid turn­ing peo­ple off and get­ting unfol­lowed.

Busi­ness­peo­ple who can fol­low this rule include real estate agents, care­givers, lawyers and den­tists. A real estate agent can focus 80% of his or her posts on pro­vid­ing use­ful infor­ma­tion about buy­ing and sell­ing real estate and 20% on mar­ket­ing list­ings.

They can post about first-time home buy­ing and what the mar­ket is like, more about get­ting preap­proved for a loan, home inspec­tions, tips for get­ting a house ready to sell, pack­ing and mov­ing.

Busi­ness­es that can get away with more fre­quent pro­mo­tion­al posts include cloth­ing shops that get new clothes in every day, or restau­rants with dai­ly spe­cials.

Don’t Forget Photos and Videos

Posts with pho­tos and videos get more page views than posts with­out them.
Video has become more pop­u­lar and effec­tive than pho­tos.

Facebook live at badminton court

You can post videos of your employ­ees talk­ing about the kind of work they do, cus­tomer tes­ti­mo­ni­als, or your busi­ness help­ing out a local char­i­ty or orga­ni­za­tion.
You don’t need expen­sive video equip­ment to make it work, either — just use your smart­phone. But make sure the video is inter­est­ing and not too long.

Don’t Alienate Customers

Avoid post­ing any­thing that could offend or alien­ate cus­tomers, such as your views on pol­i­tics or reli­gion. This includes pub­licly vis­i­ble posts on your per­son­al Face­book page, which cus­tomers can eas­i­ly find.

Pol­i­tics have become so antag­o­nis­tic now that you’re not just post­ing a polit­i­cal view; you’re prob­a­bly alien­at­ing a good sec­tion of your mar­ket.

Cus­tomers may look not only at what your small busi­ness pro­vides, but also what the own­ers and key peo­ple in the busi­ness stand for.

Peo­ple real­ly have to look at their per­son­al pro­file and say, ‘Would this ben­e­fit my busi­ness?’ And if it doesn’t, then don’t post it.

Don’t Argue with Negative Reviews

Comment signs for social media blue isolated banner button

Hav­ing a pres­ence on Face­book and oth­er online sites such as Yelp opens you up to neg­a­tive com­ments or reviews.
Most cus­tomers expect to hear back from you, too: 52% expect a response to their review with­in a week of writ­ing it, accord­ing to Review­Track­ers, a cus­tomer feed­back soft­ware com­pa­ny.

Plan for neg­a­tive reviews by hav­ing a pre­pared set of respons­es, which can help you avoid knee-jerk reac­tions.

An appro­pri­ate response to most neg­a­tive reviews includes a thank you for the customer’s busi­ness, an apol­o­gy for the bad expe­ri­ence, and an expla­na­tion say­ing the sit­u­a­tion is being tak­en care of or has already been han­dled. It acknowl­edges that you’ve heard their issues and the legit­i­ma­cy of their com­plaint

How­ev­er, if some­one is “trolling” you — try­ing to get a neg­a­tive reac­tion out of you to take down your busi­ness on pur­pose — it’s best to give a sim­ple response and then move on. Don’t let it esca­late.