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12 Facebook Etiquette Mistakes You Want to Avoid

Posted 16 August, 2015
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outstanding customer service


outstanding customer service

Elbows off the table!

In a way, posting on Facebook is like eating at a banquet: There are numerous points of etiquette to consider.

Have you ever read the book on Facebook etiquette?


Neither have I. There isn't one (that I know of).

I've made a study of Facebook etiquette, though, and some of my findings are surprising. Well, they were surprising to me -- and I'll bet you might feel the same.

Invest a couple of minutes to consider these 12 simple etiquette rules to get the best results from your Facebook Page.

After all, one little mistake can cost you a client, a sale or maybe even your reputation!

Let's go!

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12 Facebook Etiquette Mistakes You Want to Avoid

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1. Tagging Pages or friends who have no relevance in the post

We get notifications daily on Facebook, and the last thing we want to see is "tagged" notifications for posts that have no relevance to us.

Not only is this a quick way to lose trust with your fans, but you may also be running the risk of friends hitting that "Block" or (worse yet) the "Unfriend" button.

To combat this, you should only tag Pages that appear in the post and request permission from friends you want to include in the update.

Facebook eitquette: Tagging friends

2. Overselling your product or service

You created a Facebook Page to help sell your products or services. However, there's a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

Posting multiple updates about your offers comes across as "salesy" and can put off fans (who may be looking to purchase from you).

Pushing sales too hard is also the quickest way to invite fans to hide your posts and unlike your Page.

You want to ensure you are giving your fans a reason to purchase and not just constantly promoting.

Try mixing up your content with different types of posts:

  • Competitions
  • Special offers
  • Newsworthy announcements

Facebook eitquette: Selling on your Page

3. Complaining about other businesses or customers

While I understand that its impossible to please everyone you meet... the worst place to vent your anger or to complain about someone is on your Facebook Page.

Not only does that make your business look unprofessional, but it also gives a false first impression to those who have either just joined your Page or are viewing it for the first time.

To deal with difficult fans, you want to aim to take the conversation away from your wall and talk with that person on a one-to-one basis (outside the public eye).

4. Ignoring Facebook comments

I understand you may not have time to reply to every comment on Facebook right away -- and that's OK.

However, leaving the comment totally unanswered is unacceptable.

That will cause your fans to think you don't care. It will destroy their trust in you.

If you don't have an immediate solution or an answer to their query, then let them know you'll look into it and get back to them a little later. That will keep fans from thinking they are being ignored.

5. Asking your fans to exchange likes

Asking for likes and offering a like in return is one of the worst things you can do on Facebook.

Not only does it make your business look needy, but it shows others that you don't actually value your fans -- instead you're just trying to increase your fan count.

Let visitors make the decision to like your Page themselves. Don't beg or offer a "like exchange.'

Facebook eitquette: Complaints

6. Linking Your Facebook account to other social networks

I get it -- you're getting busier each day, and all you want to do is save some of that precious time.

I'm here to let you know linking your Facebook Page to your other social channels is not the way to achieve it.

Facebook's structure is totally different with regards to character count, and media is displayed differently across different social channels.

If you are looking to save time, your best bet is to schedule your posts on Facebook and then restructure those posts for your other social channels.

Tailoring your message to suit the various social networks increases your chances of engagement and delivers a much better result in both the presentation and the audience response.

7. Using every current event as an opportunity to promote

Facebook gives more weight to content that's trending, so it's perfectly understandable that your business should want to capitalize on current events.

Not every event, though, relates to your business.

Sharing off-topic content makes it obvious that you have no interest in the actual trend, but are only interested in driving traffic back to your own site.

I don't know -- what do you think? Does this attempt to turn Martin Luther King, Jr. Day into an opportunity to sell clothing reach a bit too far for a tie-in?
Facebook etuquette - MLK

8. Using other people's content without attribution

This has to be one of the biggest rule breakers on Facebook.

We all want to increase engagement on our Pages and get more views on our videos, but taking other people's content and using it as your own is not the way.

Despite the legality of claiming ownership of content that does not belong to you, it's also morally wrong. The creator invested the time and effort to create and publish that piece of content and therefore should be acknowledged.

Here are 3 ways to share content the right way on Facebook:

  • Share a link to the original image in the Facebook status update
  • Share the piece of content via the original Page instead of transferring it to your own
  • Ask permission before sharing, and ask the owner about the type of attribution preferred
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9. Sharing other peoples content ONLY!

If 90% of the content you share is not yours, then how will your fans and customers create a relationship with your brand and business?

It's important to post original content as well as shared content on your Page. That will help build relationship and trust.

Posting original material is also a great indicator of how well your voice is received in comparison to the work that belongs to others.

10. Inviting all your friends to your business events

One of the key distractions on Facebook is notifications, and one of the most common notifications we see constantly is event notifications.

While its completely acceptable to create an event for your business -- maybe a promotion, webinar or grand opening -- it's not acceptable to invite all your friends and fans to participate without their consent.

In fact you will find fans "unliking" your Page or blocking you for unwanted notifications (synonymous with SPAM).

Best practice is to create an update linking your fans to the event. That gives them a choice on whether they would like to attend or not.

PRO TIP: Encourage those who do show interest to ask and invite friends they think would also enjoy the event. That's a simple way to boost exposure.

Facebook eitquette: Invitations

11. Reposting a chain post

I hate to break it to you, but Facebook chain updates do not work.

Chain posts are one of the worst practices on Facebook.

Here's the #1 rule to remember: If an unusual announcement doesn't come from the original source, it's probably a chain message and it's a FAKE.

It's always a good idea to do a little research online to verify claims before posting or sharing something that seems off kilter.

Chain messages annoy your friends and fans.

Here's is a perfect example of a user not doing proper research.

Facebook eitquette: Chain posts

12. Using long hashtags that have no meaning

Hashtags are great! They can help you find content and conversations on Facebook that you never knew existed.

However, that doesn't mean every word should be turned into a hashtag.

Adding # to a word doesn't help it trend on Facebook, nor does it increase shares (unless others are using the hashtag or it's recognized in your niche).

Facebook eitquette: Using hashtags

12 Facebook Etiquette Mistakes You Want to Avoid -- Conclusion

Facebook etiquette all boils down to consideration for others.

Take time to acknowledge people, to get appropriate permissions and to build relationships.

A good rule of thumb is that if you think it's spam, it probably is. And if you think you are pushing the limits of good etiquette... you probably are.

How about you? 

Do you agree with what I've said? Do you have experience or thoughts to add?

Let's talk about it!

Comments are open.

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