We’ve all heard horror stories of social posts gone wrong. How do you avoid damaging your brand with some careless remark? Just what works in B2B social posting, and what sets you up for trouble? What creates success, rather than a wasted investment?

These questions are best answered by embracing some very common sense dos and don’ts.

1. Do know yourself and your audience.

This is the first, and most important do.’ Unless you have a clear vision of who you are and who your audience is, your social posting activities won’t have a target. If you’re a construction management company, it makes little sense to post favorite recipes, unless a major holiday is coming up. Even then, that could never be the bulk of your postings. No one would follow you.

Choose a voice for your brand, and use that voice in all social media activities. Especially when multiple writers contribute to your social posting activities, choosing a consistent voice creates cohesion in your messages.

2. Do develop a plan.

Whether you choose to be active every day or less frequently, it’s vital you use a calendar (or other organizing tool) to schedule your activities. Plan a mix of engagements—video, blog posts, contests, etc., and then delegate if it’s a team effort.

3. Do start small.

Unless you have the budget to hire a social media specialist, start small and simple. Focus on one social media site at first. Learn how to use it effectively before you add the next one.

The audience of each social platform differs. Learning the environment for each platform complements the first step of knowing your company and your audience.

4. Don’t avoid the negative.

Negative comments and reviews add the element of realism to your social presence. Don’t remove them. Instead respond in as neutral a tone as possible.

If the criticism is valid, accept it. In the process, you demonstrate the ability to learn from your mistakes.

5. Don’t post careless content.

It would be stupid for a construction company to post pictures of its workers breaking safety laws, like not wearing safety hats or steel-toed boots on the job. It contradicts the professionalism everyone expects in the industry.

Pay attention to the details in pictures. Double check facts. Stay away from controversial topics. Be mindful of what you post.

6. Don’t put yourself first.

One company learned this, and turned it into a teaching opportunity. If you put your own username at the beginning of a tweet, it will only appear on the user’s timeline. Great if you intend to keep the communication more personal or for providing support through Twitter. Not good if you are seeking a broader audience.

You’ll find that self-promotion falls flat in social media. This leads us to the next do.

7. Do give back.

For example, if you use Twitter, take the time to follow or favorite. Monitor mentions of your username on Twitter. This helps you find people who like your content. Then follow them and respond to the share. If there are too many mentions to respond to personally, at least favorite each one. It will make you a contact with the person who shared your content.

In fact, the primary principle which should drive your social posting plan is giving. Share 10 times from others; give four times from your company, and ask for something in return once.

8. Don’t get too hung up on timing.

For example, executives and office workers often check their emails and social media platforms just after they get out of meetings. Scheduling your social media posts to go live just before or after the top of the hour can place your content high on the timeline. This can be helpful. However, there’s no perfect time to post. Is it possible to actually know when the employees of a business will be looking at social media?

If you are posting within business hours, you’ll capture others who are using social media for business. The rest don’t matter. They’ll catch up outside of work.

9. Do coordinate your social channels.

Social media marketing can wear you out if you don’t synchronize your efforts. Consider your website home base. Integrate social features directly with it. Make it easy for each visitor to your website to share your information. Also, consider integrating live social media feeds with your website. Your most recent activities invite people to like and follow content within their own preferred social media platforms—ones you may not be present on. This can extend your reach.

10. Do follow the site rules.

Every social media platform has rules, and they may change. So pay attention to those notices. You don’t want to be kicked off.