A lot of married folks run their own businesses, and the latest category of tool is social media, with Facebook being the 800-pound gorilla. Facebook for business can help you develop and strengthen relationships with your customers and community. That is, if you are doing it correctly. These etiquette tips will help you treat your Facebook "likes" with the courtesy, respect and attention that will make your readers want to share your information with others. Here are seven tips that will get you going.
1. Keep a watchful eye on your page. It's a waste of valuable time to create a Facebook business page and then forget about updates. It's imperative to check your page daily, post updates and interact with supporters of your business. Respond to questions and comments on your page in a timely manner.
2. Post wisely. Consider the frequency and the content of what you post. Post engaging content that fosters interaction. Don't overdo it; posting a non-stop stream of multiple updates throughout the day will burn out even your most devoted fans. Update the page with content that is thoughtful, helpful, relevant, important and entertaining.
3. Use your Facebook page interactively. Your Facebook page is not a one-way bullhorn for blasting sales messages. It's a way to create a dialogue and form a community of people who are interested in your product or service. Not only do you have to post engaging content, but you interact with fans who post questions or comments. If your post draws 50 comments, you don't have to respond to each one individually, but do answer any questions that arise or chime in to let people know you're there.
4. Deal with negative posts. Don't ignore them and hope they'll go away. If a fan posts a complaint or other criticism of their interaction with your business, address it swiftly. If they are unhappy with an experience your company has provided, apologize and address their concerns. Own up to an error and give an explanation as to how you will correct the situation and take steps to prevent the problem in the future. It's often best to acknowledge the negative post, then ask them to message you privately to correct the situation and take the problem off your wall. Whatever the issue, by acknowledging a complaint you're sending the message that you care about your customers and their satisfaction.
5. Avoid business page and personal page crossover. Keep your business postings limited to your business page. Don't mix pictures of the kids with information about your company's new product. Avoid bombarding your friends and personal contacts with sales pitches. The occasional post about business-related subject matter is fine ("I'm excited to be named Widget manufacturer of the Year!"), but in general, keep posts about your business limited to your business page.
6. Post like a pro. Keep your Facebook communications professional. Spelling and punctuation are as important on a Facebook post as they are in an email or professional letterhead. Also, just as you wouldn't post signs in your bricks-and-mortar location stating your personal views on religion or politics, avoid it on your Facebook wall.
7. Be patient. So you only have 15 likes on your Facebook page? Follow the rules above, continue to post thoughtful and engaging posts and keep in touch with the 15 people who have taken the time to become your fans. Take pride in your Facebook business page and it will progressively grow.
Diane Gottsman, a nationally recognized etiquette expert, is the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in etiquette training for corporations, universities and individuals, striving to polish their interpersonal skills. You can reach Diane at 877-490-1077 or www.dianegottsman.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @: www.twitter.com/DianeGottsman.