On Sunday morning, I awoke to find this lovely message, posted from my dad to all of his Facebook friends – and while I can’t pretend I’m surprised, I would place bets that someone reading his post will be offended:
“Just spent a couple hours cleaning up my friends list. If you didn’t make the cut sorry, went from like 350 to 48 or so. Now to the ones that did make the cut don’t send me any Farmville requests or any of that other bulls**t, feel free to send stuff about guns, girls, cars or some guy getting his a** whipped by an old vet, and anything funny. I don’t care when you go to the beach or go shopping, or get your car washed! You can send me a request to buy the wife and I dinner if you would like but no BULLS**T stuff or I will unfriend YOU! Some people put their every move on FB enough already. Thank you have a nice day!”
After having my morning coffee and giving it further thought, I realized there was a lesson to be learned here:
Whether you are using Facebook for business or for pleasure, overwhelming your readers with content – no matter how valuable – is a surefire way to turn them off.
I am in the early stages of building a Facebook presence for my business. I read that to increase my following, I should be posting at least once a day. While I definitely want to increase my following, I feel that promoting my business – or any business – on Facebook still boils down to quality over quantity.
Right now I’m only sharing my weekly blog posts on Facebook. If I can add more value by creating a quiz or some sort of followup, I will share that as well. Even though I’m not posting every day, I invest a lot of time and effort into what I do post – original content that I truly believe in.
If I made my own Facebook etiquette list, it would look something like this:
- Don’t post for the sake of posting. If you don’t genuinely believe that at least half of your friends/followers will care about the information you are about to share, don’t share it (Rubberband Babies excepted!).
- Don’t sell your soul for Likes. Likes can be bought with currency or with trade, much like sex. If we are going to have a Facebook “relationship,” I want to at least have a connection with the person on the other end.
- Avoid generic greetings. If you want me to like your business page in exchange for liking mine, copy/pasting a generic message to me makes me feel cheap. Consider actually having a look at my website, blog or brand, and make your message personal. Tell me why you think our brands would connect well, how you found value in my business enough to reach out and contact me, or better yet, how I can help you.
- Make a real connection. Don’t let game invitations or advertisements for your product or service be the only connection you have with your non-business connections. Spending 2 seconds to say hello or to ask how someone is doing will always trump the 30 game invites you’ve sent this month alone.
- Always remember that on Facebook, business is personal, and vice versa. If you have or ever plan to have a business that will be connected to Facebook, realize that any followers can and will judge you – not just on your business page, but on your personal page, too. It may be wise to avoid discussing topics that could alienate potential customers (e.g., politics and religion) unless you value your freedom of expression over potential new business.
Not so long ago, all of this information would have been irrelevant, because any connections made would have been personal to begin with. The transparency required today to be successful online may mean you have to rethink how you choose to present yourself and your business on Facebook.
What would your Facebook etiquette list look like? Would you judge a business based on the personal views of its owner?