The 4 Most Annoying Things on Facebook and How to Avoid Them
by Matt Groenm.firstname.lastname@example.org
I joined Facebook about two years ago. I’ll admit it, I was a hold out. I really didn’t see the need or the benefit to join, but eventually I broke down and figured it was at least worth a try. Now, I like it. I have reconnected with old friends and it has become a useful tool for keeping up with people I care about.
I have also seen some things on Facebook that drive me crazy. If you do these things on your personal page, stop. At best, these activities are annoying; at worst, they are obnoxious, self-serving, narcissistic, arrogant and stupid. Here is a list of things you should never do on Facebook and how they apply to your business Facebook page as well.
The Spouse Conversation
One thing I established real early on with my wife is that she should not expect me to be one of those husbands that posts messages on her wall. If I have something to say to my wife – who I live with; who is often sitting in the same room as me when I’m on Facebook; – I will say it to her, in person. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
Sue (Post) – Had a great day at the park today with my wonderful husband Bob Johnson and our adorable 18-month old son Jimmy. Little Jimmy had so much fun on the swings!
Bob (Comment 1) – I’ve never seen someone laugh so hard going down a slide Sue Johnson – Jimmy looked like he was having fun too! LOL!!
Sue (Comment 2) – That slide was really steep!!!
Sue (Comment 3) – We should put a play structure in the back yard, maybe under that tree?
Bob (Comment 4) – Sounds like a lot of work; maybe you should ask your boyfriend to do it. Ha ha ha!!!!
Sue (Comment 5) – Oh Bob, you are so funny!!!!!
Bob (Comment 6) – Can you pass me the remote?
I think we all know I didn’t have to exaggerate very much to create this example. It happens.
If you have something to say to one person, say it to ONE PERSON. There’s no need to include the rest of us innocent Facebook bystanders. We’re just on Facebook to make sure our kids are still cuter than your kids and that we aren’t the fattest person from our high school graduating class.
This applies to business pages too. Don’t let your site devolve into a message board to discuss internal issues – unless it’s a private page and that’s really what you intend for it. Keep your target market in mind – whoever you are trying to attract to the page, make a reasonable effort to ensure the content is relevant to them.
How about that person that, in the name of eliciting feedback, will post ANY question on their wall and beg for a response? You know, like “Brown or Orange?” What? Or better yet, they just slip out some little comment like “Well, good thing we live in a country where everyone is entitled to health care. Oh wait, we don’t have that.” Reeeaaaal subtle. Feel free to have an opinion, heck, feel free to share it if you want to. But there’s no reason to get all passive-aggressive with it.
Facebook is great; it’s a tool to communicate, allows engagement and even fosters a sense of community. There are places where two (or more) people who disagree can have a reasonable discourse, but Facebook is typically not one of those places. But chances are, you already know this. In fact, you probably want to publically debate me about it on Facebook. Just know that if all you do is pick fights, that “Unfriend” button starts to look awfully big. And not because I disagree with your opinion, but because you are lame.
For your business page, this would apply to those who fall prey to the line of thinking that any publicity is good publicity. If you were Kanye West, it might be a different story…but alas, you are not. You don’t want street cred; you want business cred, which is very different. It’s fine to want to get someone’s attention, but if you are constantly picking at your ‘friends,’ you will drive them away. You want to engage with clients and prospects, but not at the expense of your image and professionalism.
‘Have I Got a Deal for You’ Guy
How about those people that are constantly channeling their inner-Vince Shlomi (better known as the ShamWow® guy) and private-message you about some great new business opportunity they have and as a favor they are introducing it to their Facebook friends first. Here’s the thing; I want to know what you do; I want to know who you work for and what products you sell or represent. What I don’t want is you leveraging our friendship and pitching me like I’m a prospect. Talk to me like you’re my friend, not a used car salesman.
If you are committed to your business, start a business page. On your personal page I expect you to talk about activities, events or your family; I expect you to talk about work, but I don’t expect you to talk about buy-one-get-one-free sales. I could also do without you twisting my arm to try the cleanse/detox product you just started representing out of your home.
If all you’re doing on your business page is Sell! Sell! Sell! You are going to need a really compelling reason for someone to stay there and remain engaged. It is hard enough to get someone to your page to start with, don’t chase them away once you have their attention. What value can you offer them once they are there? Steer them to resources. Maybe give them insight regarding trends in your industry. You can have weekly or monthly drawings. Bottom line: if all you do is take, you’re going to be awful lonely. If you give (knowledge, news, gifts), people will come and people will stay.
Have I Reminded You Recently How Great I Am?
It’s bad enough when you decide you want to share some inane thought or idea from your day (“Went to the grocery store, man I miss Tato Skins™.”), don’t make it worse by using your personal Facebook page for self-promotion and affirmation. It might look something like this:
“I feel like every time I go to Wal-Mart people always stop me and tell me I should be a model!”
We get it; you have high cheek bones, no need to hit the rest of us over the head with it. The rules for sharing on Facebook are essentially the same as they are in real life – a little humility and grace go a long way. Digital media is not a license to drop all pretenses of common courtesy and manners.
This one is different for personal pages than it is for professional pages. If you do it on your personal page, you’re a tool. If you aren’t doing it on your professional page, you’re wasting a tool (hey-oh)! Take pride in your accomplishments. When you tactfully share your successes it instills a sense of confidence in your current clients and gives your prospects a reason to latch on to you.
Remember why you are on Facebook. To inform, educate, engage, be a resource and to reward your “friends” with scoops on new products or promotions. In short, to benefit your clients, customers and contacts who took the time to “Like” you. At the end of the day, it’s not about you, it’s about how you can meet a need that a prospect may or may not realize they have.
Well, I hope you learned something today. I’d write more but I’m late for an appointment with the President of Harvard University who wants to talk with my wife and me about putting our 9-year old in some accelerated learning courses. Crazy! He’ll probably be the fourth person today to tell me I should be a model, too.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seanbonner/3325716451/ via Creative Commons