Ready to start growing your business and branching out into social media? 


With a social presence,  people get to know you better, you gain their interest and trust, then they want to do business with you. 

However, there are four risky things to avoid on social media that could take down your business. 

Let’s take a look at each one and protect your business.

1. Don’t Exaggerate

Never make exaggerated or dishonest claims about your product

Although the right pair of shoes can do wonders for your aching feet, they can’t cure cancer, nor can they make you win a marathon on your first try. 

Be optimistic and talk about your experiences with how your product or service has helped you or your clients, but be honest and realistic. 

But there’s also being too honest, so let’s talk about risky action number two.

2. Don’t Alienate Clients

Be careful with issues unrelated to your business. 

Mom used to say, “Don’t talk about religion, football, or politics at the dinner table.” 

The same goes for social media.  

Not all clients will have the same political and religious viewpoints, so keep that in mind. Don’t let your first impression be unintentionally offensive. And, remember that your competitors are often mutual friends with your contacts.

Don’t help your competitors by alienating friends and potential clients. 

3. Pick Your Friends Carefully 

Be careful who you accept as a friend. 

Did you get a friend request from a stranger who has no friends in common with you? 

That’s usually a sign of a fake online account. They want  to “harvest” your friends list and will often create a fake account in your name!  From there, they make crude posts or send scammy sales links coming from “you.” 

So, don’t automatically accept friend requests from someone with less than 10 mutual friends – check them out a little bit first to confirm.. Also, for a little added protection, change your Privacy settings (Settings > Privacy) where it says “Who can see your friends list” to “Only Me” as shown below. That way, your account is now worthless to friend “harvesters”.

4. Watch What You Share

Giving away too much personal information. 

Since there is only one of you, let’s talk about the fourth, and most financially damaging mistake.

When you see that post asking what your first car was, or pictures of your favorite animal, who would blame you for playing along? Let’s face it, it’s fun to join in! 

Did you know that most of these “share personal information about yourself” games are created by identity thieves?  They collect loads of personal information shared on social media. This personal information often relates to security questions that help you prove that you’re really you to banks and other institutions. 

Questions as simple and traditional as “your favorite color” or “your mother’s maiden name” to something more complex like “model of your first car” or “name of your favorite pet when you were ten years old”. 

Once in, identity thieves can quickly drain you of your savings, and the bank may even say that they had all the right data including security questions to get into your account. 

Remember social media can be a tremendous asset or liability for your business. Just keep these risky behaviors in mind, and soon you’ll be growing and promoting your business like a pro.

Christopher Grounds, Ph.D., CIPA, is a Certified Identity Protection Advisor with the Identity Management Institute, and is the co-owner of Benefits4Success with Joni Grounds, whose mission is to grow and protect individuals and small businesses. He can be reached at .

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