The 9 Worst Ways to Use Facebook for Business

    by Diana Urban

    Date

    October 21, 2010 at 8:00 AM

    Facebook Logo Facebook fan pages are useful tools for connecting with your audience on a site they visit each and every day. You can broadcast messages on their Facebook homepage newsfeed, spark conversations that can provide your company with valuable feedback, and encourage fans to upload their own content. But there are some common mistakes that companies make when using Facebook for business .

    You learned a lot from the 9 Worst Ways to use Twitter for Business , so here are 9 Facebook for business strategies to avoid, as well as how to steer back in the right direction.

    1. Duplicate your Twitter Strategy on Facebook

    Twitter is another great place to converse with your audience, but it’s a completely different platform, and should be treated as such. Although you’ll want to tweet several times a day to get noticed in people’s overloaded Twitter streams, applying the same frequency to Facebook could annoy your fans and lead to them hiding your updates. Additionally, you don’t want to duplicate the same exact content you use on Twitter for Facebook. Not only will fans following you on both networks notice, but you have much more than 140 characters to work with on Facebook. Take advantage of the extra space! You can even repurpose the same concepts as your tweets; just rework them to fit Facebook.

    2. Post Only Plain-Text Status Updates

    Just posting standard text updates gets boring after a while. You have several different ways to share content on Facebook . In addition to your standard status update, you can also post links, upload photos, upload videos, or post a question (which non-fans can also see). Just like you’d want to vary the content type in your blog to keep readers interested, mix up the content type on your Facebook page to make your wall look fun and interesting.

    3. Don’t Allow Fans to Share Content

    Not letting your fans post to your wall defeats half the purpose of having a Facebook page . Not only do you want to share your updates with fans, but you want to allow fans to share their thoughts, opinions, feedback, and even pictures and videos with you. Don’t you want fans sharing pictures of them using your product for the rest of your Facebook audience to see? Or hear what sort of product ideas your fans wish you’d add to your product line? To make sure the share settings are turned on, go to wall settings and make sure all the boxes are checked.

    Facebook Page Wall Settings

    4. Don’t Comment on Your Fans’ Content

    If your fans have started posting on your wall and sharing pictures on your page, don’t ignore them. Comment on what they’ve posted, even if it’s just a simple “Thanks for sharing!” or click of the like button. Not only will it encourage them to post even more content, but new fans will see that you care about what your audience has to say, and they’ll start sharing content with you as well.

    5. Don’t Share Your Fans’ Content

    As someone who works at, well, any business, you’re probably really busy. Coming up with content to post on Facebook and Twitter probably takes up a fair bit of your very valuable time. So why not share some of that user generated content? If someone shares a great photo of your product in action, click the share button and say “Check out this great photo Joe Smith posted!”  Not only do fans love other fan photos, but you’ll make Joe Smith awfully happy.

    6. Don’t use Facebook Questions to Find More Fans

    Facebook recently launched Questions , an application that allows anyone, including Fan Pages, to ask and answer questions from the Facebook community. Just like LinkedIn Answers, Facebook Questions is a great place to establish yourself as an industry knowledge leader. It’s also one of the only ways that pages can go out and reach out to non-fan Facebook members for free, so take advantage of it!

    7. Use a Profile Image That has a Poor Thumbnail

    When you upload a new profile image, Facebook automatically sizes it down to fit the thumbnail size that appears in users’ news feeds and your wall. On your fan page, your brand’s logo could be cut off in the thumbnail, and this is bad for brand recognition. Here are some fan pages that still haven’t gotten it quite right:

    Facebook Page Bad Thumbnail Images

    So make sure you get the dimensions of your Facebook profile image right for the thumbnail resize . The Facebook image size will be 200 px wide, so make sure that your desired thumbnail is within a 12 pixel border.

    8. Don’t Share Your Facebook Page on Your Website

    Don’t keep your Facebook page a secret from your website visitors, who are the people most likely to actually like your page and become a fan. Facebook provides pages with a Facebook like box , formally called a fan box, which you can add to your website so that people can like your page without ever leaving your website. It’s just a matter of copy/pasting a bit of code .

    9. Don’t Develop a Personality

    Your company Facebook page shouldn’t have a corporate, stuffy tone. Facebook is a place where users go to connect with their friends. They don’t want to go to Facebook to get your sales pitch. You can still maintain a professional presence and have a casual tone. Just take a look at the Starbucks , Coca-Cola , and Skittles Facebook pages; these are three of the top product pages on Facebook, and have established fun yet professional personalities on their pages.

    What would be your #10? Let me know in the comments below!

    Diana Urban  is the Head of Prospect Marketing at HubSpot. She is the author of the ebook  Stand Out on Facebook You can follow her on Twitter  @dianaurban .  


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