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FACEBOOK ETIQUETTE FOR BUSINESSES, BRANDS

By NBF NEWS
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When your business establishes a presence on Facebook, you make a commitment to be a good neighbour, a trusted Facebook friend. The emphasis is on being a friend, not a store, a business, or even a customer service help desk (although these days, your customers are likely to ask you a product support-related question via Facebook as they are through your website, but that's really a topic for another blog post). Experts writing through www.entrepreneur.com say if you are not careful, social-media marketing, particularly on Facebook, can do more harm to your business or brand than good. To improve your chances of success, adhere to the following rules of business etiquette when launching and managing a business-related page on Facebook.

* Avoid 'I' statements
Unless you are your business, speak about your business in the third person (they) or second person (we). For example, to announce that your company is exhibiting at a conference or trade show, post '[Your Company Name] will be exhibiting at such-and-such show later this week,' rather than 'I will be….' Using 'We will be…' would also be appropriate. The same holds true for responses to fans' comments… never respond with 'I' or 'me' (e.g., 'I'm on it, email me that info right away.').

Focus on quality, not quantity
You might not agree but I wholeheartedly believe that the quality of your business's or brand's Facebook fans counts more than the quantity. If you're thinking about posting a message like, 'Help us out, we only need 257 more fans to reach 3,000,' don't! Arbitrary numbers do nothing but stroke someone's ego. Focus instead on the quality of your relationships. If the quality is high, the quantity–through referrals and authentic word-of-mouth–will rise with it.

* Display your fans' wall posts
While it's true fans and others visiting your Facebook page want to see what your business is up to, they also feel they have a right–and therefore, they have a reasonable expectation–that they'll be able to see what other fans have to say. If your Facebook wall settings have 'Only Posts by Page' as the default view, or 'Fans can write or post content on the wall' is unchecked, change both right away. If you're uncomfortable with fans posting content when you're not around, uncheck the latter before heading home for the evening or weekend, but be sure to turn the feature back on the next workday. Remember, as the page admin, you can always remove a comment or wall post (and you can even remove a fan should the need ever arise).

* Avoid the heavy self-promotion
Remember, this is called social networking, not social selling. While your prospects and customers expect you to be on Facebook, they don't want you pushing yourself on them or intruding into their social time. With this in mind, limit the number of times you send updates to fans. Just like the little boy who cried wolf, no one wins when you treat everything like breaking news or a matter of immediate urgency.