Facebook Etiquette, Are You Doing It Right?

In order for your business to succeed on Facebook, you need to observe the unwritten rules of how to behave. Failure to observe the rules and pour the tea correctly will get you shunned and you won’t be invited back again. 

Facebook is the daddy of all social media. In Ireland 64% of the population has a Facebook account and 74% of those people are using it every day. But just because every Tom, Dick and Harry are on Facebook, does not mean that it doesn’t have it’s own strict social etiquette.

All social media platforms have their own unwritten rules, just like any social situation there is a way that you are expected to behave. We also know that there is always someone who breaks the rules (pyjamas doing the grocery shopping, getting sloppy drunk at a conference), however this doesn’t have to be you.

I always find it fascinating that people know what they like and don’t like on Facebook when it comes to their personal pages. They know the rules with out realising it or having to write them down. Oddly though, when it comes to their business pages, they throw the rulebook out the window leaving shattered glass everywhere. The ‘bottom line’ is blinding business owners and causing them to shoot themselves in their social feet (and damaging the point of social networks as a whole).

All social media platforms have their own unwritten rules, just like any social situation there is a way that you are expected to behave.

Since I spend most of my time slamming the rule book back on meeting room tables and sweeping up the glass, it’s time for me to share there rules with all of you – for the good of your company, my sanity and Facebook as a whole. I’ve outlined eight basic rules that will help your company work well on Facebook and save you from yourselves.

1 – Twenty Per cent

The main function of a business is to make money, however the main function of Facebook is to be social – forget this and your followers will forget you. This is why you need to make 80% of your social media social and not about promotion. Only 20% of your posts will be about offers, sales, new products, discounts and other monetising initiatives. The rest is helpful and informative bog posts, videos, behind the scenes, inspiration and useful industry statistics or news.

2 – Respond to the positive

When it comes to trolls or complaints we are all over that s**t, we call in the A-Team, Spiderman and The Order of Malta. However, when it comes to positive comments we sit back proud as punch and walk away. You need to turn up for these too, your customers are looking for recognition or acknowledgment they have chosen to take the time to engage, they like your brand and want a pat on the back. It takes just a few seconds to answer with a witty comment, image, emoji or a simple thank you. This makes your brand seem more human, you open yourself up as a warm and approachable rather than just a faceless logo.

3 – Allow your followers to post

Allow your followers to post on your Facebook pages.
Allow your followers to post on your Facebook pages.

Baring in mind that your followers want to get involved and are looking for recognition, let them contribute. If your Facebook wall settings have “Only Posts by Page” as the default view, or “Fans can write or post content on the wall” is unchecked, change these to allow more engagement. This is good for making your page interactive and busy. It opens up your brand to be approachable and friendly too.

4 – Often but not too often

Make sure your putting up regular updates on your Facebook page, this can be hard to manage for smaller companies where the recourses are not available. You can use a system that schedules a calendar of posts for you such as Hootsuite. The problem I often see is that companies post in busts putting up too much content at a time. Depending on what your company does 12-15 posts a week is fine, if you are publishing news or very regular articles 5 a day is acceptable but for most other businesses this is spam.

5 – Hashtags

Hashtags were born on Twitter, they were used on Instagram, they are super intelligent on Google+ and have flooded our lexicon sine. However, they are a late arrival to Facebook and are not that welcome. They carry the same function as they do on other social media but they are just not well received. Best bet is to stay away from them on Facebook

6 – Jumping on the band wagon

With things like world events, news and public holidays you need to be careful how often you mention these. If they are brand relevant then go ahead. If your following is most likely going to be attending or celebrating a holiday then yes it’s ok. However, just jumping on every holiday so that you can say something, this doesn’t add value to the community and it looks desperate.

7 – MEME Overload

Memes are fun quotes are cool but doing one every 10 seconds is not. The best way to handle these is to use them sparingly. How about trying a funny meme or gif on the last Friday of the month and a motivational quote on the first Monday of every month. Leave it at that.

8 – Cross Population

Each social media is it’s own entity, the personality of the platform has been chosen by a real human to suit their own personality. Treat this with respect and make the effort to do an individual and tailored post for each platform. You can still use Hootsuite or similar for this just make sure you do each post one by one. This ensures you have the right hashtags, images or content length for your posts. Also it helps not to have exactly the same content on each platform. Sometime cross population is ok, you can post Instagram photos to Facebook and you can share your YouTube videos there – now leave it at that.

Over the next few weeks I’ll cover the most popular social media platforms and give you an idea of the etiquette involved in each one.

Social media behaviour - Facebook
Social media behaviour – Facebook