Don’t Let Your Facebook Business Page Be An Embarrassment To Your Company

Don’t Let Your Facebook Business Page Be An Embarrassment To Your Company
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Facebook business pages are free; every business can have one.

That fact cuts two ways. Your business can have a well-crafted marketing Facebook business page that matches, compliments and supports its brand or your business can be the subject of this article.

A few months ago, a childhood friend of mine contacted me about helping his business set up a Facebook business page. He is an artist and runs a creative services company. He only needed help with the technical aspects; setting it up, setting up a vanity name, etc.

Once I set everything up, he went about managing the page by adding content relevant to his business.

After a few weeks I decided to check in to see how things were going and I was horrified at what I saw.

He was treating his Facebook business page like his personal account and posting content that was either inappropriate for his business or just plain inappropriate.

I decided to give him five thoughts on what he could do to improve his business page and I’m sharing those thoughts here.

1. Your Facebook Business Page Isn’t For Your Friends.

Your page is about your business. It’s not an extension of your personal life or your relationship with your family and friends.

There are two aspects to that that are important to recognize. First, if you ask all of your friends to like your page, it’s going to give you a false sense of reality. Your friends are not your customers.

It’s great that your friends open their hearts to you, but it would be better if they opened their wallets.

Some might say that from a social proof standpoint, having all of those likes will help you reach more customers, but that’s not science, its wishful thinking.

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t ask some of your friends to like your page; especially if they can help you reach out to new prospects, but having all of your friends from high school that you never talk to Like your page won’t gain you anything; at least not financially.

Secondly, you should not use your page as a vehicle to communicate with your friends unless you are doing business with them; and even then only if it serves a marketing purpose that benefits your business. A little banter here and there adds spice to your page and can humanize it, but constant back and forth, inside jokes and worse – posting images and videos unrelated to your business – will be a major turn off to prospects and clients.

Clients want to feel comfortable knowing that you excel at what you do; they don’t want to know what you and your drinking buddies are joking about.

Clients will be forgiving of activity like that on your personal page, but perhaps not so much on your business page. Why risk it?

2. Your Friends Will Like Everything About Your Facebook Business Page. Even The Bad Things.

One of the most important things any business can do is listen to its prospects and customers. That means that you should be open to hearing the good and the bad.

My experience with people setting up pages for their business and inviting all their friends is that their personal and semi-personal friends will hit the like button on anything posted; even when it’s bad. This is an emotional reaction. It’s a show of support. It’s great for your ego, but terrible for your business.

Posting content about a product or a service and seeing all of your friends like it will only delude you into thinking that your service is good when it might not be.

If you can’t help inviting the kid you knew from kindergarten, then learn to filter out the likes that are relevant and those that are not.

3. Treat Your Page Like A Part Of Your Business. Or Better Yet, Treat It Like Your Mom.

My friend posted a picture of a close up of a hand holding up a middle finger. My friend is a quasi-reasonable person, but he was playing to his audience of friends and not his audience of customers.

Your business isn’t about getting your high school drinking buddies to chuckle. It’s about money. If something isn’t appropriate to tell your mom, then it shouldn’t be appropriate for your business page.

Religion, politics, sex; if you can’t talk about it in front of your mom, then keep it off of your business page.

4. Write Content For Your Page That Looks Like It Was Written By A Grown Up

My friend tends to write in run on sentences with no punctuation and no consideration for spelling. I’ve known him for decades and been friends with him on Facebook for years; in that time, I’ve probably had a comprehensive understanding of maybe three things he has written.

For his private account, this is fine. It’s even cute at times. You know, like the way a dog runs towards the door and then skids across the wood floors when he tries to stop. Cute like that.

But it’s entirely unacceptable for a business page. You need to give potential customers a sense of security that the investment they are making in you and your business is worthwhile. In this economy – or any economy for that matter – prospects have options.

If all things are equal and a potential customer has to pick between your barely-there English and someone who can string a sentence together even primitively into a coherent thought then it’s bye-bye to you.

I suggested to my friend that his wife should write his content and then only after it has been considered for a while. His business does not have the immediacy that requires spur of the moment posting. I also told him that he should not be publishing content to his page from his mobile device while on the go. That’s a recipe for spell check disaster.

5. Post Pictures That Make Your Business Look Good. Never – And I Mean Never – Post Pictures That Embarrass Your Business.

I’m not talking about dirty pictures or off color jokes. That’s covered in #3 above. I’m talking about otherwise good images that are ruined out of nothing short of laziness.

As I mentioned, my friend runs a creative services company; I repeat this because it’s relevant to this point. My friend created artwork and put that artwork on a variety of goods such as posters, canvas and apparel. Then he took pictures of the final products.

With his cell phone.

In low light.

And apparently from a moving bus. They were blurred beyond recognition.

When I saw these pictures, I demanded an explanation. How could he invest so much time in creating sell-able goods only to squander it by displaying them so irresponsibly? Whatever your product or service is, the images you put on Facebook – or anywhere – should reflect your business at its highest quality.

I told my friend that if he had no option other than to use his cell phone, he should stage his products decently in good light and then hold his breath while he takes the pictures to eliminate as much blur as possible.

A better idea if photography is going to be a staple of your marketing is to invest in a good camera; not a cheap point and click, but a decent inexpensive DSLR camera with a multi-purpose lens. They say a picture is worth a million words. It may also be worth a million dollars.

My friend has taken down all of the images and content that he published that were low quality. He’s asked his wife to oversee anything that goes on Facebook and is working on re-shooting all of his product photography.

For a small business working on a budget, this is as good a place as any to start.

What does your Facebook business page look like? Let me know in the comments.

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Ralph M. Rivera

Ralph M. Rivera

Ralph M. Rivera is a web developer and co-founder of Rahvalor Interactive, a creative marketing services company based in Holmdel, New Jersey. Ralph began his career in visual effects for feature films and corporate media and has been in the business of marketing, media, and technology for nearly a quarter century. And yes, saying that makes him feel old. As Lead Developer at Rahvalor Interactive, he oversees Rahvalor's team of programmers and developers. As TechnoGeek-In-Chief at {Web.Search.Social}, an online marketing magazine, Ralph oversees all of the day-to-day technology matters as well as contributing regular articles on his experience in the marketing world. Ralph also teaches Web Development at Manhattan College in New York City and acts as advisor and trainer to the faculty of the Communication Department at Manhattan College on emerging technologies. Ralph is married with two cats and spends his spare time trying to build a real life Flux Capacitor.
Ralph M. Rivera
Ralph M. Rivera
  • http://www.thedsmgroup.com/ Jason Diller

    Just found this blog. Lots of great content here.

    Cheers

    • http://www.rahvalor.com Ralph M. Rivera

      Thanks Jason. Don’t forget to subscribe! :)

  • Adrienne

    Hey Ralph,

    Oh wow, I bet you were shocked at some of the stuff he had posted especially if he put a picture of the “finger” on his business page. Why in the world would he do that! My goodness. That’s like putting that on your company website. Dah!

    I’m lucky in the respect that all of my “friends” don’t even have a clue what I do and they certainly don’t read my blog. I would never ask them to like my business page just for the likes. That’s why it’s taken me a year to get over 500 likes. I did it my way.

    Thanks for all these great suggestions and I would hope that everyone is already following these rules.

    ~Adrienne

    • http://www.rahvalor.com Ralph M. Rivera

      Everyone wants to be popular on Facebook. That’s true for business pages too. Asking your friends to come on board seems like a shortcut, but in the long run gives businesses a false sense of security.

      It should seem obvious to business owners, but I find that’s not the case.

      Thanks for commenting! :)

  • Donna Merrill

    Oh Boy Ralph,
    What a story. You must have been shocked when you seen that Picture. And worse yet, the blurry pictures of his product taken from a cell Phone!

    My FB page is a business page and that’s it! My blogs are there, some inspirational pictures, but that is it. Even on my Facebook page, I don’t like any inappropriate goings on. Those “friends” on that page get blocked or deleted if there is something that is not appropriate or much more….illegal.

    Oh yes, I found some unmentionable stuff at times, but now it is on lock down and protected as much as one could on Facebook.

    Thanks for sharing your story,
    Donna Merrill

    • http://www.rahvalor.com Ralph M. Rivera

      I sent my buddy samples of how to properly stage photos. I think that helped a lot. You can’t blame someone for not knowing the right way to do something when they don’t know any better. I think being honest and direct is always a good approach Rarely do find a business owner that takes it personally when I offer up a critique.

      Cheers!

  • http://www.wonderoftech.com Carolyn Nicander Mohr

    Wow, Ralph, you have your hands full with this client! No common sense whatsoever. I don’t even advise putting stuff like that on your personal page! Once it’s on the Internet, assume everyone is going to see it.

    I can see why that client definitely needs your help.

    Do you advise letting other people comment on your Facebook business page? I have seen mixed advice on this and would appreciate your input.

    • http://www.rahvalor.com Ralph M. Rivera

      I think that allowing commenting is a must. But policing your comments is also essential. Blocking or curating comments doesn’t appeal to people if they want to interact with you. If you want some good reading on the subject of online communities, check out my friend Patrick O’Keefe’s book on the subject. it’s about online forums, but much of it is applicable to Facebook communities as well.

      http://www.managingonlineforums.com/

  • Pauline

    Hi Ralph
    I am glad that your friend has heeded your advice and is changing the way his page looks now.
    The only way to have a successful Facebook page IS to keep it apart from our personal page, you must have been so annoyed when you found out how he was running his page!
    I am just building up my page so I always love to find some useful tips but this one I did know :)
    Thanks for sharing
    Pauline

    • http://www.rahvalor.com Ralph M. Rivera

      If I could spin this in a personal way for a moment; another problem I had with his implementation was that it had the possibility of reflecting on me despite the fact that I only did the technical set up. I know that sounds petty, but it’s the truth. Ultimately, I am glad that the site has taken a turn for the better.

  • http://twitter.com/BarbaraCharles Barbara Charles

    I’m in agreement with all your comments. I immediately get turned off on any webpage, FB fanpages when I see incomprehensible ‘English’ or typos or photos. I constantly tell my children, what you put on FB, the whole world can see and share. I constantly remind people also that what they put on FB, employers can see as well, not just our customers. It’s a weird, weird world out there that people think they can hide behind the mask of technology and say what they want. Something that confuses me on a regular basis. If you wouldn’t say, post it, show it to someone’s face, then don’t show it on FB, especially if you are running a business. Thanks for the write up. Maybe people will pay attention now! :)

    • http://www.rahvalor.com Ralph M. Rivera

      Good points. As a teacher, I tell my college level juniors and seniors the same thing. It’s a much smaller world that they are living in. If you are not on your game, it will be noticed.

  • http://twitter.com/uncommonchick Lakesha Brown

    Yep, this all sound like common sense but we’ve all seen those business pages that don’t follow these very simple tips! Maybe I should tag a couple of pages with this post. LOL

    • http://www.rahvalor.com Ralph M. Rivera

      Thanks! Unfortunately, “common sense” is not universal. Fortunately for my friend, he learned and adapted.

  • http://twitter.com/LifeCoachingPro Sylviane Nuccio

    Hi Ralph,

    I would definitely agree with everything here. If your fan page represents your business, then don’t act like a fool on that page. Frankly I would say don’t act like a fool on any page, but gosh your business page! That would be so bad for your business.

    If you can’t write, then, maybe learn and later write on there, but until then, don’t make yourself look bad. Like uneducated bad :) And common sense doesn’t hurt either, right?

    • http://www.rahvalor.com Ralph M. Rivera

      Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately, not everyone has good common sense. I also think that putting a business page together should be at least a two person job. It’s nice to think of the ease and simplicity Facebook offers, but one person managing content on their own doesn’t provide any safety net.

  • Hale

    You just have to wonder don’t you. It is always amazing that obvious things aren’t obvious. Something like “common sense isn’t common.”

    Thanks,
    Dr. Hale

    • http://www.rahvalor.com Ralph M. Rivera

      I like that! Common sense isn’t common. I’ll have to use that in front of my friends to impress them. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  • http://twitter.com/benbarden Ben Barden

    Hi Ralph,

    What’s the impact of doing everything right on your business page, but still making all of these mistakes on your personal Facebook profile, and people being able to find it? Especially if you list your employment history on your personal profile. Even though your personal profile isn’t written from the company’s perspective, sharing vulgar pictures or writing extreme comments on your personal profile may still be found by potential customers.

    • http://www.rahvalor.com Ralph M. Rivera

      This is a really good observation. The easy way out of this dilemma is to say that personal pages should not impact on business pages, but that’s just not practical. I tell my students that they should never publish anything on the internet impulsively because once it’s up anyone and everyone will see it. I also teach them that there is such a thing as a “personal brand”. Companies who are going to hire them are not going to hire them if they feel that the potential hire’s personal brand will dilute or harm the business’ brand. It’s all just very complicated; so I resort to the mom rule. If you don’t feel comfortable saying or doing something in front of your mom, they you shouldn’t do it on the Internet. I wish I had a simple or better answer.

  • clarestweets

    Love this!

  • http://www.mayura4ever.com/ Mayura De Silva

    Hi Ralph,

    Pretty interesting post with valid points to consider for business pages :)

    When I created my brand page for my blog, I’ve invited friend who would like the content of my blog and not all, but few liked and engage with my content though they have no faith in commenting or sharing though. Some just liked it but don’t know whether make use of ‘em or not. However that’s not a bad practise to invite like-minded friends, but not everyone, no? :)

    Personally I believe if a company operating a business page, that’s need to be much formal. Else if it’s just for blog updates or to build up a community, still they have room to select words of their choice, no Ralph? :) I know… I know… This is about a company’s business page.

    The last point of yours, that low-quality images, makes me feel they are not dedicated enough if I’ve seen ‘em :) I can recall few pages I’ve seen, actually some business pages for privately held companies, but they or the person who manage the page has no idea how embarrasing the low-quality images are and affects on company’s reputation. I’m glad your friend got it and taken ‘em down. Some folks just don’t care and refuse advice ;)

    Cheers…

  • Neghie

    Great post and great blog. I see number committed all the time. I was wondering though. What would you suggest one could do, if they had a product that people would probably be a little embarrassed to Like because their friends would see it, however helpful or great. As a business, how would I get over the hurdle of getting them to Like my Facebook page? Thanks.

    • Carol Lynn Rivera

      Hi Neghie, I have a thought on this one… I think that it all depends on how you approach the marketing of the page and product.

      If you take a very serious and factual approach, that may turn people off. But if you add some humor and fun then people will be better able to relate and more likely to join in.

      The Charmin Facebook page is a great example of this. You might think – who wants to be associated with toilet paper? But they take a lighthearted and sometimes silly approach that gets their message out without being so serious and embarrassing.

      See if you can find a way to add some humor to the page and that will take out a lot of the embarrassment. You’ll give people a way to laugh with you and at themselves.

  • GK

    Don’t listen to tip number one. Your friends and everyone you know should be aware of your business and what it does. The more likes, the more people who know about your business and can refer you when the opportunity arises.