What’s to like? Liking etiquette tips for Facebook

likingettiquettepic1In the wake of the drama surrounding Facebook suspending businesses from posting on other pages, we thought it might be helpful to give you a few tips on “liking” etiquette, because if you’re not careful, a lack of thought in how you interact with other Facebook pages could be detrimental to your business.

When you are interacting with other pages, even pages like ours which are designed for businesses to promote themselves on,  it is wise to post an introduction as if you didn’t have a business (I’m talking about new liker posts. Shoutout posts on designated posting days are fine on our site ofcourse).

If you don’t have a business, you’re unlikely to jump onto someone’s business page and say: “Hi, Sarah Smith here from Blackbutt. Please return the favor and friend me on Facebook to help me look more popular.”

You might say, “Jane Jones referred me to your page. Wow! I love those pink hats you make. They’re gorgeous! Look forward to seeing more of your range in future.”

So, the number one tip is: It is probably a good idea to put some thought into your introductions. Asking for, begging for or demanding a “like” when you’re introducing yourself on someone else’s page may not be the best strategy for attracting visitors to your page.

I seldom acknowledge and often delete “like” introductions which involve a spiel about how wonderful the liking business is. I always acknowledge and respond to an introduction which is focused on the reason why that person has “liked” my page or the things they love about my business (let’s face it, who wouldn’t respond?).

Referrals not shoutouts!

We all love to refer our friends to pages that we like, especially when there’s something special going on like a cool competition that a business has going on its blog. We also love to know when someone’s had particularly good service from a business. It helps us make decisions about who to buy from.

So, the number two tip is: Refer to other businesses by making it all about them and not about you.

If you’re posting about another business, do it from your own page so that your clients and “likers” can go and check it out for themselves.

Referrals have the greatest impact when they are individualized, ie not a massive group shoutout to a random bunch of businesses. Take time to look at the services each business offers, focus on one thing and talk about that.  It is much more meaningful both to the business you are referring to and your “likers”.

If you just do random group shoutouts for the sake of promoting your business, it might do more harm than good. If your shoutouts are repeatedly hidden or deleted by businesses, then it might flag your posts with Facebook, which could result in a suspension.

“Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted”*

Before introducing yourself on someone’s page, have a good look at the page’s posting rules (if there are any) and culture.  If you don’t see posts from other people, assume you need to check in with the business page owner before posting. Nine times out of ten, if you ask for permission to post, a business will likely say “yes”, so long as what you’re posting is relevant to that businesses’ “likers”. Even if you do see posts from other people, it is always polite to ask first.

So tip number three: Get to know a business through a little ethnographic research before you post an introduction and follow up an introduction with an email. This will show the business that you are serious about networking with them.

Write a posting policy for your page

Sometimes it is hard to delete someone’s post even if it is clearly all about them. Newcomers to Facebook often post enthusiastically without taking time to check out posting etiquette.

If you have a business page, it is wise to have a written policy on posting as a guide for other businesses. Make sure that the policy is towards the top of your tabs if you get a lot of Facebook traffic and also noted on your welcome landing tab. This way, if a business is clearly a newcomer to Facebook and unfamiliar with posting etiquette you can simply welcome them by reminding them to check in with your posting policies. This gives them the opportunity to learn the ropes of posting. Then if a business re-offends, you can go ahead and delete their posts guilt free.

Tip number four: write a posting policy and use it to educate posters about posting etiquette.

The main thing to remember is that no one likes feeling cajoled, manipulated or pressured to go into a shop, whether that be in real life or online. Think of “likes” in the same way. If you’re having to use tactics like this to get traffic to your page, consider how you are coming across to others.

If things aren’t working for you, you can always just change what you’re doing. If you keep doing things in the same way, you’ll get the same results, guaranteed!

All the best with growing your business! Until next time… Cas.

*quote from the book “Tomorrow when the war began.