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Social Networking for Business: Facebook Etiquette

by Jenny Sussin  |  March 29, 2012  |  14 Comments

And now for our third, and perhaps final (but who knows really) post in our (my) Social Networking for Business series, we’ll cover everyone’s favorite social network: Facebook.

And now for my disclaimer: I want to start each post in my new “Social Network for Business: Etiquette” series with a quick one liner about why I am doing this: too many people in business (marketers, you are the #1 culprit) very obviously to users on the social networks, do not understand the medium they are working with. No one is asking you to create new content. We (we the people, the cool cats on these networks) just want you to put a little effort into making sure the way the content is presented is appropriate for where you’ve placed it.

In talking about Facebook, I am going to split the blame. I’ll take a little away from marketing and I will give some of it to customer service. The most common abuse of Facebook I see by businesses is ignoring questions or legitimate comments on the business fan page’s wall. Some people don’t bother to try and defend themselves, they know they are “doing it” wrong. My three biggest frustrations come with the following three excuses. I will title this section, “Suck It Up.”

1. “Well we have a Q&A tab and that is where we’ll acknowledge and questions.” – Really? Guess what, you don’t make the rules here. If this is your excuse then you’re really just a poser in the social space anyway. Do you remember why you got on Facebook? I do. It was so you could “reach” more people. This is social media not a megaphone. They’re reaching back to you, it’s what you wanted isn’t it? They are using the wall to communicate with you on your Facebook because that is how they communicate with everyone else on Facebook. You wanted to be one of their friends? One of the guys? Well now you play by “the guys'” rules. And if you’re asking me whether or not I care if you already invested in a Q&A tab, the answer is I don’t, not unless you also manage the comments on your wall. It’s called courtesy.

2. “There are too many comments up there, we can’t possibly respond to them all.” – Then don’t have a Facebook fan page. You don’t need to respond to everything, I’m not advising you do that. I am advising that you be able to respond to any legitimate question coming in and not just have a billboard on Facebook where kids (your customers) draw graffiti. Buy some software to help you. Social CRM doesn’t = FREE.

"Storefront Metal Gates of New York" by Dan Nguyen, found on Flickr

3. “Oh a different department owns the Facebook page…” – Really? Because if you weren’t someone who works in a corporation, you would not understand that excuse. I (Jenny Sussin the 20-something that spends at least an hour a day on Facebook) do not care who “owns” your page, solve my problem! Answer my question! You are you! You are not You Lower Limbs (catch my drift?) Gartner clients I have a read recommendation for you on this one. It’s called “Don’t Let Customers See the Cracks in Your Social Media Presence” and if you have ever uttered the phrase “oh a different department owns XYZ” to someone outside your organization, you need to read it.

With the advent of new “rules” around Facebook fan pages in the timeline layout, we the consumer should be able to ignore many of your other common infractions – but please work on these three.

Are you seeing anything else that irks you with businesses on Facebook?

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Category: 360  customer-service  marketing  social-crm  social-media  

Tags: business  crm  facebook  marketing  networking  scrm  socbiz  social  

Jenny Sussin
Managing VP
7 years with Gartner
8 years IT industry

Jenny Sussin is a Managing Vice President for CX and Sales Research. Read Full Bio

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  5. David Chiles says:

    I like your call to businesses with pages to respond to all comments, good netiquette rule. Thanks for sharing your business philosophy, your awesome!

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  9. Jenny Sussin says:

    Thanks David! I wouldn’t say I’m awesome but like to think I’m at least mediocre.

  10. Jenny Sussin says:

    This is another nice way of saying “stop being annoying on Facebook” via the Oatmeal

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