Facebook Etiquette … Please & Thank You

This past summer, when Facebook changed its algorithm, the reach on my business page plummeted. I had to do some serious soul searching. Keeping that page active and highly engaged was, indeed, a work of heart. Curating material for my business page and posting every couple hours took a great deal of time, energy, and … devotion. I knew I could keep it flourishing, albeit not as prolifically, but I really had to ask myself: was this the best use of my time? I am a writer, a consultant, a coach. My time is precious.

The answer was no.

So I simply stopped posting there, indefinitely, with the exception of an occasional announcement when I had an event or class coming up and I wanted to let my followers know about it. I didn’t leave Facebook. I simply stopped posting on my business page for a while and spent more of my time engaging in the ‘social’ aspect of social media. And then, I sat back and watched fellow entrepreneurs and writers and business owners manage their pages. I’m a keen observer. I have been closely watching Facebook since I opened my business page in 2011. Some pages are thriving. Many are not.

I know there are a lot of questions out there about the wisdom in using Facebook as a means of growing your following or generating income. Here’s what I’d suggest if you’re wondering whether or not to put your energy into your Facebook business page.

Some do’s and don’ts if you will:

Do

Do look closely at your engagement. If it remains strong in spite of the algorithm changes, by all means keep posting and sharing and engaging with your community on Facebook, if and only if, that page is serving you in some way and it doesn’t have to be monetarily.

Do support fellow page owners by visiting their pages and sharing their content. The best way to grow community on Facebook is to be generous and to support your peers. This is not a one way street.

Do acknowledge people when they respond to something you share on your page if even just to ‘like’ their comment. If Elizabeth Gilbert can take the time to interact with her followers (hugely flourishing page!) so can you.

Do consider growing community in smaller groups where you give your members mostly wonderful value and a sprinkling of paid offers or invitations but please be sure to ‘invite’ your members. No one wants to be added to group without a proper invite.

Don’t

Don’t schedule all of your posts through something like Hootsuite and expect engagement on your Facebook page. And by that I mean, schedule some of your posts (you’ve got a life) and then schedule in some time to actually interact on your page. People want to feel you; they want to know you’re there.

Don’t turn your personal page into a business page. I thought this trend was over but it appears to be back. Entrepreneurs are thinking it makes sense to turn their personal pages into a business page when they reach 5000 friends because it sure beats having to ‘attract’ 5000 followers. Here’s the thing, those people did not ask to be your followers. Chances are, when you sent them a ‘friend’ request, they believed you genuinely wanted to get to know them. Socially. (SOCIAL media, right?) After all, it’s not a ‘will you be my follower’ request. Respect that. When people send me a friend request I look at their page. If it appears to be a billboard for their business, I delete the request. And speaking of billboards. . .

Don’t turn your personal page into a billboard for your business. That’s why Facebook has business pages.

Don’t drag and drop your offerings in groups you belong to unless that group is set up with that intention. I engage in many Facebook groups. It pains me to see people show up in groups to hawk their wares by dragging and dropping their latest offering when they rarely, if ever, ‘interact’ in the group. Call it social media etiquette; call it common sense. People are far more likely to engage with you (and possibly even with your offerings) if you actually show up in their world (online or off) with something other than a pitch.

Don’t expect your page to flourish with promoted posts or ads if it isn’t flourishing without them. Crickets. I know there are ‘experts’ out there who would disagree with this one but I think we need to do a whole lot of experimenting and some deep reflection before we spend our hard earned money on promoted posts or Facebook ads because someone told us we ‘should’. Look closely at your community and the people you’re hoping to reach. Do a survey, ask your followers how they feel about ads. Case in point: I have Firefox adblock on my computer. I don’t even want to see those ads. Another great question to ask your community, particularly if you’re selling high end packages or programs: would you invest in a program or service before you got to know, like, and trust the person delivering that program and if so, how much? As in price point. I don’t know about you, but I follow someone for quite some time before I invest in a high end package or service. I want to be sure we’re aligned.

I think it’s time we put the ‘social’ back in social media. Please & thank you.

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11 Responses to Facebook Etiquette … Please & Thank You

  1. Cathy April 4, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

    Go SuE Ann!

    iT all needed to be said. I have coaches who post pictures without saying anything, give all preachy posts…and I have other coaches who get in there and speak from the heart and respond the same way. websites can be salesy…social media needs to be social. great points. (sorry, I’m not meaning to shout here, I can’t seem to turn the caps off).

  2. Susie April 5, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

    Great post sue ann!!

    Facebook’s algorithms are too much to keep up with.

    I have pulled back on much of the content i put out oN my business page because it bagan to feel exhausting. Now i simply post and share what resonateS With each week.

    (Not sure why I can only use all caPs right now)

  3. Cathy April 7, 2015 at 1:55 am #

    Hear! Hear!

    I keep my interactions very separate between my personal profile and business page. I don’t necessarily want to be sharing photos of my newborn nephew with my followers and I don’t think all of my friends are a good fit for my work.

    Thank you for pointing out the bit about ads. I found out the hard way that paying for post boosting and other ads doesn’t necessarily translate into more (consistent) engagement. I’m much happier with genuine conversations and organic growth.

  4. Kelly Hine April 7, 2015 at 2:03 am #

    I love these tips Sue Ann. Social media hasn’t come naturally to me so I’ve really had to put a lot of thought into my approach. I have a private group that I nurture (women who’ve attended any of my retreats). To engage with the private group as well as my business page, I need to feel inspired. When I’m really working “in a flow”, I find that I can post content which gets good engagement. When I’m not, I simply don’t post! As for my personal page, well that’s just for personal and I hardly update my status! I really agree with your approach and suggestions.

  5. Michelle April 8, 2015 at 12:11 am #

    My sentiments exactly. Excellent points, Sue Ann.

    There are so many of what I call “Me-Me”s in social media today. “Look at me! Look at me!”

    And the super-promoters with money breath are the most obnoxious. “Buy from me! Buy from me!”

    I ignore them. The ones who are actually SOCIAL grab my attention. 😉

  6. LauraB April 8, 2015 at 12:38 am #

    Super post, Sue Ann! I don’t currently have a business, but I file away all these sorts of common sense articles because I’ve got this niggling feeling that I might need them at some point. And I appreciate it when other businesses follow your guidelines — I’ll unfollow in a heartbeat if it seems like there’s no real person behind the posts.

  7. Elizabeth MacLeod April 8, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

    Carry on, wise soul. I am glad you are here to say what is on so many’s mind and are unable to articulate it or have the permission to feel it and know it… or the ability to feel okay saying no.

    here here… I stand beside you wise one oxo

  8. Maria April 8, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

    As I read the post Sue Ann, I found myself saying out aloud “Here, Here!!!!”. Yes and YES – so good to read. Thank you for sharing your wisdom xx

  9. april April 9, 2015 at 4:45 am #

    i appreciate all of your tips, sue ann. and i plan to study each of them more carefully, one by one, because i have struggled with these very issues. my personal life and my business life are integrated in various important ways, and i have often wondered whether to combine my facebook pages. so far i have resisted, but the traffic on my business page is low and i actually have new clients reaching out to me through my personal page. still considering and contemplating it all . . .

  10. Laura W. April 11, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    “Don’t turn your personal page into a business page.” Could we shout this from the rooftops, please? I know I was guilty of this. I felt like who I am as a person was melded with who I am in my worklife, and I was probably boring my friends to death with my work-related posts. I still see this all the time, and it makes me want to block people…the opposite response you want on social media, right? Great tips, thank you!

  11. rebecca@altaredspaces May 12, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    I always feel like I can sum up your business philosophy: be kind. Do the right thing. Think of others as well as yourself.

    Which seems like a pretty obvious way to be in business.

    So…why so much struggle? Bells and whistles are very diverting. It’s all part of the practice to remain true to this core message. Thanks for remaining TRUE.

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