Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Facebook Faux Pas for Aussie Craft Businesses

Facebook Logo 

How you represent yourself and your business on Facebook is just as important as other facets of your marketing strategy.

Always put your best foot forward; and avoid these mistakes to build and maintain a professional image in the eyes of your customers, peers and within the Aussie and international craft industry. 

#1 Faux Pas: Writing on the wall of another business for the express purpose of advertising your own business.
There is a fine but very distinct line between wishing to make a genuine connection with someone in the industry and letting them know you are a fan; and simply posting details of your own business on their page, with the express purpose of promoting yourself.

“Hey I just became your fan, feel free to pop by and become a fan of mine too” is common; but comes across as too needy and turns people off. It is more likely to hurt your reputation and give the impression that your business is small, struggling and desperate for fans. People will fan you because they are interested in what you have to offer; not because of this ploy.

Conversely, if you find people doing this to your fan page and it makes you feel uncomfortable, you can feel comfortable to delete the post without any guilt.

#2 Faux Pas: In-appropriate profile pictures. As you cannot make comments as your business identity, your personal profile picture will become associated with your business name. This may be because you mention your business name in your comment, or because you are building a reputation in the industry and people are getting to know who you are and which business you represent. For this reason, it is imperative that your profile picture is either an appropriate head and shoulders shot of you looking, neat, clean and professional; or you can use your business logo as your profile picture. People don’t want or need to see images of your kids (no matter how cute they are), or you looking slopping from the weekend. People want to know who YOU are and you will be judged by your photo... so put your best foot forward.

#3 Faux Pas: Publishing all your posts for the day only minutes apart. It can be hard to apply some structure to your posting timeframes, especially when we have lives to lead away from the computer and Facebook. But nothing will halt people from reading your News Feed faster than seeing 15 posts in a row, crammed into a 5 minute period. It’s just all too hard and overwhelming; no matter how useful the content you are providing. Try to allow at least 5 - 10 minutes between posts, and do no more than 3 at a time - at the absolutely most. If you have the luxury, a good rule of thumb is 1 post in the morning, 1 in the afternoon and a few at night, when people are most active. But space them out as best you can!

#4 Faux Pas: Airing your business or personal frustrations, negative situations and arguments publically on your business page. Having a disagreement with a customer? A competitor stealing your designs? Frustrated that your fabric delivery is late? Your fans don’t want to know about it. Avoid discussing negative issues or airing frustrations on your page. No matter how justified you may be in your argument, discussing it publically may make you feel better, but also makes you look highly unprofessional. Avoid using any negative language at all in your posts. Remember, if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.... or you will just hurt your own business’s reputation.

#5 Faux Pas: Forgetting the importance of using the English language correctly. Because you are representing yourself and your business through written communication, you must endeavour to use this form of communication correctly. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and using txt spk just makes you look lazy and uncaring. If you need to, type your status update and copy and paste it into Microsoft Word to check for spelling and grammatical errors before publishing; and make changes as needed. This small, extra step will speak volumes about your professionalism. We all suffer from typos every now and again, but aim to get it right 99% of the time. You wouldn’t send your advertising off to the printers without carefully checking it first, would you?

#6 Faux Pas: Allowing your photo albums to become out of date. If you are selling via your fan page photo albums, it is imperative that your albums only show items which can be purchased or custom made; and that there is relevant information attached to each photo. Failing to list vital details such as product descriptions, prices, availability and ways that customer can place an order will surely lose you sales. Because you don’t receive notifications when people comment on your photo, it is most important to provide instructions for interested buyers on how they can contact you to place an order; and list your email address under every photo. If you have a album of supplies such a fabric which people can select from to place a custom order, make sure you number and/or name your fabrics, so that you can be sure everyone is talking about the same thing.

#7 Faux Pas: Not having the last word on your page. In the case of your Facebook page, it is best that you have the last word. That is, if someone comments on your wall, on your post, or on your photo, always acknowledge what they have said. This acknowledgement will help build the all important genuine dialogue with your customers, which ultimately builds loyalty.

#8 Faux Pas: Sending a Friend Request without a message. If you have decided to mix your personal profile page with your business presence on Facebook, you make choose to ‘Friend’ people in the industry with whom you wish to make a connection. But sending unsolicited Friend Requests without a personal message attached will not yield you a good result! Be sure to take a few minutes to send a message along with your request, explaining who you are (including your business name) and why you want to make a connection. And don’t take it personally if your request is not accepted; many people choose not to accept Friend Requests from anyone who is not a genuine friend. Oh and if you do have business contacts as friends, then you need to monitor your personal status updates and photos for appropriateness too; it still all represents who you are and impacts your business reputation.

#9 Faux Pas: Becoming a stalker. If you comment on everything posted on a page, you will start to creep people out. While comments are always sought after and welcomed on business pages, it will become weird if you always comment or ‘like’ everything that page publishes.

#10 Faux Pas: Presenting content as your own; when it’s not. It’s great to pass along interesting information which you think your followers will find useful, but it’s not ok to represent it as your own work. Always attribute photos, blog content and other unique thoughts which are not yours to the owner. A good way to do this is to thank the creator and @tag their Facebook page when publishing the information in News Feed. Of course, if you are linking to their blog, website or other location, it is clear who the content owner is; but it’s extra nice to acknowledge them in the News Feed post too. Plus it lets them know that you are sharing their content and may attract them as a fan to your page, or even start a new business relationship.

What Facebook Faux Pas do you see? What drives you nuts?

Cheers, Chicken

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  1. Great post - the thing that annoys me most is when businesses post 20 times a day on Facebook and Twitter, and then post again using their personal profile. It's overkill, and I've had to start hiding feeds because it drives me crazy!

  2. This is a great post, I found it very useful. Thankyou.

    The thing I find as a turn off is when businesses post an update that is so long that I have to run my scroll button 4 or 5 times through my news feed to get past it. I'm not too sure how they do it though as I thought there was a word limit. I may be wrong.....

  3. Great post. Something that always worries me is the number of businesses that offer giveaways when they reach a certain number of likers - in violation of Facebook's terms and conditions and at risk of having their page removed.

  4. Thanks for this. I'm about to start my business so it is wonderful to know what I should and shouldn't do - right from the start!

  5. Hi, Great info and help for a newie who is also setting up a new business using FB. Did not know violation conditions "from Michelle" as was thinking of doing something like this. Thanks Michelle. I already follow some of your recommendations and just used the spell check one. Keep up the good work. Cheers.

  6. Found this article very useful... just starting to use Facebook for business and great to find out what the Faux Pas are ! Thanks again.

  7. Excellent tips, no matter what your geography is - will definitely pass this post along to folks in the states as well!

  8. P.S. - I would love to see another similar post with "To Do's on Facebook!"

  9. Very useful information, thanks guys, what annoys me is when business's post constantly, thank goodness for hiding feeds :)
    Have a great day and thanks again.

  10. This info is fantastic!
    I still need help...with...Making a business page on Facebook and whats involved with expense etc? Can anyone help me with this? If so please contact me through alilliebug@gmail.com
    Thanks Sandy

  11. Ellies Pretty Things wants to thank you for a great article - great tips and makes me feel a lot better about being a little put out when strangers drop by unannounced to tell my fans to check them out.

  12. Thank you for a great article. I now feel less guilty at feeling put out when people drop by unannounced to advertise themselves to my fans!

  13. Thanks so much for this. I'm still learning so much having a business on facebook and I'll probably need to read it all again tomorrow. and then follow up on it!

  14. This was excellent, thanks so much. Really helps me to draw that line between promoting and annoying our precious fans!

  15. Thanks so much for this info. I'm afraid I have managed to make a few faux pas already without realising it. Being a newbie to FB, I have played hit & run. I appreciate the info.

  16. agree with all of the comments... really really helpful!!!

  17. This was very helpful. I am still trying to learn how to use FB better - on both my personal and my fan page.


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