Facebook doesn’t come with an Etiquette Guide. Most people learn by making mistakes and bearing the consequences, or just by observing what others are doing. If you ask me, I think it’s better to learn from others’ mistakes than to make your own costly ones.
So here are the top 5 Facebook mistakes and how to avoid them:
- Mixing Up Pages & Profiles – Facebook profiles are meant to represent a single individual. Facebook pages are meant to represent a business entity. Some users open Facebook profiles for their businesses. This practice is against Facebook rules (TOS) and such profiles are in danger of being shut down. Use Facebook profiles for your personal communication and Facebook pages for your business communication. Make sure you’re not discussing personal things on your Facebook page either – that should be done on your personal profile.
- Shameless Self-Promotion: The word ‘social’ in Social Media means interacting with others. The reason why 7% of the world’s population (520,000,000 people) is on Facebook is because it is the most sociable environment on the face (no pun intended) of the earth. So it is entirely shameless (and rude) to enter a platform with such mind-boggling interactive opportunities and talk about yourself. The way to avoid this faux pas is to engage the 80/20 rule. 80% of your Facebook page content should promote or benefit others, while only 20% of your content should promote yourself.
- Too Many Updates: This is like going to a party and talking all night long – from the minute you walk in to the minute everyone walks out on you! Good manners – in any situation including social media – dictate that we should speak less and listen more. Too many updates bombard other users’ News Feeds causing them to tire and tune out. The way to avoid this is to employ an Editorial Guide that instructs what to post and how many times to post. My suggestion is to find a rhythm that is right for your audience. Smaller brands may start out by posting 2 to 3 times a week and gradually increase their posting frequency according to their fans’ responsiveness.
- Aggressive Tagging: Tagging is a Facebook feature that allows you to identify and reference people in photos, videos and status updates. For instance if you’re updating a post and wish to add someone else’s name, you would include the symbol “@” before their name and it will ‘tag’ them (as long as you’re connected to them in some way) – it will also appear on their Wall. Sounds nice and friendly. Trouble is, it can be annoying or even aggressive especially if you’re self-promoting and want to push your content onto other people’s Walls. Therefore proceed with caution – it’s similar to barging into your neighbors house without an invitation.
- Ignoring Fan Comments: This really should be at the top of the list, but I wanted to save the best (or worst) for last. There is no need to explain the damage it will do to your brand if you ignore your fans. However be sure not to ignore negative comments either. Negative feedback is an opportunity for you to listen to your fan’s (potential customers) complaints and address them in a manner that will satisfy them and prompt them to come back. If you don’t respond to criticism, you send the message that you don’t care or that you don’t have an appropriate solution. In any case, consider taking that conversation off the Wall in order to keep it free of distractions (for other users). You can open a ‘Discussions’ Tab where questions and concerns can be adequately addressed.
If you want others to take your business seriously, it’s important to steer clear of these mistakes. For starters, be sure to read the Facebook Terms of Service (TOS) found all the way down at the bottom-right corner of your Facebook page/profile. If you’re still unsure, it’s wise to consult with a social media expert who may guide you further on the ‘rules of engagement’.
For sure, there are other inappropriate behavior patterns to avoid on Facebook. What other mistakes have you come across?