We spend a lot of time at Wired Flare teaching others about effective ways to engage on social networks.
Sometimes, in order to get a clear picture of how best TO communicate, you also need to understand how NOT TO use social networks.
Keep in mind that our thoughts are our own and intended only as a starting point for your thoughts.
Ultimately each organization (and each individual, for that matter) in Facebook conversations must define its own unique and fitting "rules of engagement."
So, in no particular order, here is the Wired Flare list of Top 10 Business Facebook No-No's:
1. Don't post promotions for your business on other business pages. Even if you're trying to be "helpful" (like promoting your free business listing opportunity or offering them a free service), this is just bad form. If you sincerely want to help another business, reach out to them personally through email or phone (or at least through private social message)...NOT on their public business page. This comes across as very self-serving, even if you did it with the best of intentions.
2. Do not add people to promotional business groups without their permission. This is a very unwelcome practice. It forces the "friends" you have added to the group into this position where they must risk offending you to leave the group...OR they get notifications each time someone posts in the group. (Of course, they can turn off those notifications, but do you really want to put them in that position?) Groups are intended for just that - groups of people who want to communicate with each other about a certain interest. Think of them more as support groups. Adding people willy-nilly to your business group comes across again as very self-serving. If you want to invite people to join your group, send them private messages or emails that have the link to the group that they can click on to request to join.
3. Don't send messages to a huge group of people at once. For example, if you send a message to everyone invited to an event, it comes through as a group chat. Every person then gets notifications every time someone responds to the message thread. This forces your friends to leave the message thread in order to prevent receiving notifications each time. If you want to get messages out in bulk, we recommend using a contact manager to send personalized email messages to your contacts. To use the Facebook message feature, send emails to individuals, not to groups.
4. Do not double-post. Many solopreneurs, for example, tend to post content on their business page and also on their personal profiles. This should only be done on rare occasions, and the best way to do it would be to share the content from the business page onto the profile. We recommend doing this only for special posts and only rarely.
5. Do not send promotional messages to your friends on Facebook. Promotions should be kept to a minimum, anyway, but sending unsolicited promotional messages through Facebook is just another form of spam. If you want people to see your business content, ask them (only on occasion) to like your page. You can also setup a regular monthly newsletter to go out to subscribers that would have promotions as well as helpful information. Spam, whether it's on Facebook or email, is never welcome.
6. Do not constantly post promotional content on your business page. Facebook is about building relationships and engaging with your audience. No one wants to see coupon after coupon, sale after sale, featured product after featured product. If you want them to fall in love with your brand, give them a reason why. Show them you truly care about them by offering them value...not only promotions. The 80-20 rule is a good standard to follow: keep promotional posts under 20% of total content. (We actually recommend much less than that.)
7. Do not connect Facebook to Twitter or Twitter to Facebook. When your tweets go to Facebook, it is very obvious and it devalues your brand. When your Facebook posts go to Twitter, they are most often shortened and cut off...and again, this devalues your brand. Users on Facebook and Twitter want different things. Find out what they want and give them that in unique ways.
8. Do not make negative comments about other businesses on your business page or personal profile. Whether it's the competition or simply a company that you're unhappy with, this is not a good practice. Consider how you would want your unhappy customers to approach things. If you have a beef with another company, it's best to contact them directly in a private way in order to resolve your issues. If you handle professional conflicts with other organizations in a negative way, what does this say to your audience? Perhaps it indicates to them that you will handle any issues they have with you in the same, negative manner. This definitely isn't the image you want to portray.
9. Do not complain about a customer on your personal Facebook profile (and certainly not on your business page). Even if you think this is "private" - IT ISN'T! One way or another, the message will get back to your customer and it will work against you. Plus, everything is a reflection of you. If you're complaining about your current customers to your friends, why would your friends want to become your customers? If you have an issue, it is better to deal with it privately with your customer.
10. Do not "borrow" the content that another company posts and duplicate it as your own. Whether it is a picture or content, this conveys that your company does not have its own original thoughts and does not offer unique value. Take the time to develop your own unique content, and your audience will come to have more respect for you and look to you as an expert in your field. SHARE content from other pages but do not pass it off as your own.
When you want some help with your Facebook strategy & learning effective ways to engage on social networks, give me a call and connect with me on LinkedIn.