Don’t make a Facebook Faux pas

Don't make a Facebook faux pas

When you were new to Facebook you were the equivalent of a village idiot drunk on sangria. Posting photos and observations with wild abandon. You took up virtual farming, with Facebook’s inane game, Farmville. You didn’t know, or didn’t care about the consequences of your actions.

Have you ever seen or participated in the likes of the following post?
facebook post
Mike WillisOf course you have. Don’t deny it. Or how about compromising photos like Congressman Weiner sent out of his namesake, “Little Weiner”.

I’ve since deleted this picture of myself that I posted in a folder of  “vintage photos from the 80s” in which i appear to be a young male prostitute with a mullet.

In case you don’t know how Facebook works, here’s a crude explanation diagram.

How Facebook works

Now imagine instead of a cat video, you posted a tip or blog announcement related to your business. You can see how effective Facebook is at getting out your message, not only to your friends, but to complete strangers as well. Now you see why they call it “going viral”. Your message, if valuable or compelling enough, can reach hundreds of people in a short period of time, at no expense to you! Conversely, compromising statements or photos can do the same.

So, you may ask, how can you use use Facebook to promote your business, but also  enjoy the social aspect as well.

First let’s define what Facebook is NOT for. It’s not for answering questions about pricing. It’s not for scheduling appointments. In fact, any specific question directed towards you pertaining to your business is best answered privately. Keep in mind your posts are visible to everyone.

There are a couple of options Facebookers looking to use it as a business tool. Facebook introduced a feature in response to those that wanted to promote their business- it’s called a fan page. I’m not a big “fan” of the fan page. The reason why is that I now have to coax people to “LIKE” my fan page and I have to maintain it as well as my personal page with schizophrenic abilities. “Here’s me doing tequila shots I in a bar in Cabo, and oh,  I have a good deal on wood flooring.”
I think a better strategy is to balance your social posts with your business posts and consolidate the two together. Take my client/friend Wayne Kress, Industrial Real Estate Broker for CB Richard Ellis, he does an excellent job of promoting himself on Facebook. He finds interesting nuggets of information and shares them with a short synopsis and link to the article or video. He’s like my Facebook town crier. But he also shares information and photos that give insight to his personality and interests.


Here are some Wayne’s posts I found interesting:

Don't post pictures of you dancing on a bar.

In the beginning I was really choosy about who I “friended”. Third grade classmate that ate paste? Nope. Distant aunt I’ve never met? Nope again. However, once I understood the benefit to my business of having as many friends as possible, I let the floodgates open. I was like the Ellis Island of Facebook. “Give me your tired your poor your hungry, your design-seeking huddled masses.” Also, having to keep in mind that these people don’t really know how nutty I am, and I don’t want them drawing conclusions from  odd ball posts.

This blog is just the tip of the iceberg in regard to utilizing social media. It can be a powerful arrow in your marketing quiver. And now is the time to start thinking about it- because once that video of you dancing on the bar at Narducci’s is out there… it’s really out there!

Teresa Adamo - June 28, 2011 - 3:16 pm

Made me literally lol!

Jimmy Phillips - June 28, 2011 - 3:25 pm

When Facebook was still perceived as a fad (as opposed to a way of life), I personally experienced the “I didn’t know other people could read my wall post” excuse. Turns out, a “friend” of mine was semi-complaining about me to another mutual friend. Only he did it on her wall…making it really awkward when I went to her page that morning. Well, naturally, I called him out on it. But instead of being mad, I ended up giving him an overview of Facebook etiquette. I feel like it really made a difference in his life.

Today, Willis, you’re taking the first step to saving hundreds of ignorant souls the embarrassment of needless public Facebook drama. Mayor Hall might as well give you a gold key to the city.

(just don’t post pictures from the after-party on Facebook)

Rick Cardiel - June 28, 2011 - 8:27 pm

Good points Mike. As professionals, my wife and I have been aware of the dangers you described for some time. We keep personal networks and business networks separate to minimize the risk that such a faux pas will occur. We use LinkedIn for our business networking, and are extremely careful to qualify our contacts. Privacy settings on Facebook are another way to protect your information. For example, pictures can be made available to “Everyone”, “Friends of Friends”, “Friends Only”, or “Customize (to specify individuals or groups to include or exclude)”. Cases for all exist, but it’s important to be cognizant of your content. A good way to check to see if the cat may have already slipped out of the bag is to do a Google search on yourself. btw I haven’t eaten paste in years, but I’m sure the third graders still love it.

Rocio Garcia - June 28, 2011 - 11:56 pm

You are hilarious, Mike. This post was entertaining, funny, and very informative. Too bad not everyone takes the time realized the power of social media.

Wayne Kress - June 29, 2011 - 1:58 am

Hey, Mike, excellent post…with a surprise ending. Thanks for the plug!

willisdesign - June 29, 2011 - 1:21 pm

Ha! Jimmy- I think you might be overstating… but thanks anyway! Good story, emphasizes my point perfectly.

willisdesign - June 29, 2011 - 1:22 pm

Good tips Rick! Thanks for sharing. I agree- I stopped eating paste when I got a taste of beer.

willisdesign - June 29, 2011 - 1:24 pm

Thanks Ro. Its taken me some time too.

willisdesign - June 29, 2011 - 1:24 pm

Thought you might like that Wayne- keep up YOUR good work.

chingpea - August 2, 2011 - 10:19 pm

I agree with Ro on this one. This post made me laugh, too.

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