Facebook has become an indispensable tool for business. Why? Yes, because there are a billion people interacting there. Also because your friends, relatives, and most importantly, your competition, are interacting--creating great relationships and building trust--in this global community.
Did you know that Facebook is primarily a consumer-driven community? And most of them are savvy enough to smell (and block) a disingenuous marketer a mile away. We asked author and speaker Brian Basilico for his top five Facebook "don'ts" for your business. What are your pet peeves? Go ahead, add to our list!
1. Don't Post and Run
People talk. A lot.
Either you are part of the conversation, or you're going to be the topic of conversation (that's not always a good thing!). You can't get away with simply posting information that is only about you. Be part of the conversation by liking and commenting on everyone's responses to your posts--and to other relevant posts.
If others' comments are negative, try having a direct-message chat to smooth out any questions or problems that people may have with you and your business.
2. Don't Only Be a Business
If you own a small business, people expect you to communicate in person. They want to know that you are real and have a life, with passions and struggles, just like they do.
Having a personal profile is key to being successful on Facebook. If you have only a business page, people will feel like you are just there to make noise. Worse yet, treating a personal profile as a business profile is not only against Facebook user agreements, but also the fastest way to get hidden or un-friended! Be real on your page and personal profile. Make occasional mention of your pets, hobbies, and other things that create human connections. When it's all about business, it just gets boring!
3. Don't Post About Politics or Religion
If you want to alienate about 50 percent of your audience, then creating posts about your political and religious views is the fastest way to do it.
In business, you need to stay neutral--at least fairly neutral. Nobody is telling you not to have beliefs, values, or opinions, but you run a risk when sharing them openly on social media. Whether you are conservative or liberal, pro- or anti-anything, keep that limited to personal and off-line conversations.
4. Don't Expect Anything in Return
If you want to have an impact in social media you'll want to find or create content that creates responses, likes, shares, and comments. You need to work hard at it and monitor your content well. Don't be offended if your posts get little to no response, just learn from that what didn't work for your audience. You may post a lot of duds before gaining meaningful traction.
5. Don't Anticipate Immediate Success
Most people don't ask their first date to marry them, but that's how some people treat social media. They don't take time to focus on the relationship and think that simply posting messages should yield results. Most relationships take time to nurture. It's taken years for some to see predictable and measurable results. Be patient and continue to learn what enhances your relationship with your fans and followers.
Do more of what works, less of what does not, and learn to know the difference. Don't be afraid to ask friends and colleagues what they like and what they don't; and don't take their responses personally!