Facebook for Businesses: 5 Do’s and Don’ts

Even if your business is new to Facebook, your customers are not. Understanding how companies are expected to use Facebook – and then doing that well – is the key to getting people to press the Like button and become a fan. Here are a few things not to do when setting up or using Facebook for your business, and what you should do instead:

Don't: Create a personal page for a business.

You might be able to cram your business name creatively onto the “Create Profile” form, but asking someone to be friends with “JustA Business-LLC” will only come across unprofessionally. Plus, there is a limit for personal Facebook friends – and you don't want to turn away customers because you have too many!

Do: Create a fan page for your business

You have as many different ways to personalize “Fan” pages as you do a personal profile – in fact, you have more! You can add custom images, tabs, and other ways to interact with your fans. Check out this fan page for Decisions for Heroes.

Don't: Ignore your fan page

If people come to your fan page for the latest information or other goodies, they will be disappointed to find that your last post was several months ago, or that questions asked by other fans are left unanswered.

Do: Give people a reason to be fans

Coupons, promotional offers, news updates, contests – all of these are good reasons for customers to either become fans or stay fans. If someone wants to be known as your fan, you need to reward them for it.

Don't: Be shy about inviting your customers to be fans

Most customers do not seek out companies to become fans of on Facebook. You need to go to them.

Do: Help your customers find you on Facebook

Have small but noticeable links to your facebook page on websites, e-mail footers, and other profiles online. You could even consider adding a Facebook icon to your business cards or other offline promotional materials. If you are having a Facebook contest or promotion, consider e-mailing your clients to let them know as well. Consider starting with your family and friends – the number of fans is shown to anyone visiting the page, and if people notice your business has fewer than 10 or 100 fans, they might avoid becoming a fan. Or provide a special offer for the first 100 fans or all fans within a specific time period to motivate your fans to invite their friends.

Don't: Be the only voice on your Facebook fan page

Customers want to see social proof on your fan page – if they see others commenting on a status, promotion, or just on your wall, it makes your page more meaningful and accessible, and might even earn you more customers.

Do: Interact with your customers

Instead of waiting for your customers to come to you, come to them. Ask questions about their favorite way to use your product. Offer assistance and make sure they know that writing a Facebook message is an alternative to a dreaded customer service call. Create quizzes finding out what other products or services customers would hope for from you.

Don't: Post the same updates on Twitter and Facebook

At best, it will annoy loyal customers who are following you on both services. At worst, it will confuse conversations. Be aware of the cultural differences between Twitter and Facebook, and watch how your customers use each differently.

Do: Post regularly, and consider a multi-network tool

Posting on Facebook daily or weekly is completely appropriate. To streamline your social media presence without just posting the same updates on all services, consider a social media dashboard or scheduling tool. Respond to messages and posts from fans – thank them for compliments, and answer their questions as soon as you can.

If you want to keep learning about social media by example, become a fan of Single Grain on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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