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Facebook Pages: Rules of Etiquette

by Fadra Nally on November 1, 2011

There’s a lot of talk floating around the blogosphere about the way to properly use fan pages, whether for blogs or for brands. The debate is generally over the ability to create conditions that provide incentive to “like” your page. Of course, you want to provide incentive. Why else would anyone want to like you?

It’s a slippery slope and one that I won’t attempt to climb. Too many other people have written about Facebook and their terms of service. Personally, I adhere to Melanie Nelson’s thorough and detailed explanation on Blogging Basics 101. Beyond what she says, you won’t find me jumping into the “like” argument, whether it’s for a giveaway or not.

What I will tell you, primarily from my own observation, is that there are rules beyond Facebook’s terms of service. These rules are really more etiquette-driven but still should be addressed nonetheless.

Five Basic Facebook Page Rules of Etiquette

1. Don’t post your links on someone else’s pages.

Yes, if you have liked a page, you can typically post a link on someone else’s page. Unless it is directly related to the fan page in question, it is generally considered very bad form to post your information on someone else’s page. Even if it is directly related, it’s always best to have the page owner’s permission.

What happens if you don’t? The nice people will simply delete your link. The not-so-nice people will report you as spam. I’m pretty sure getting suspended or banned from Facebook is not in your best interest.

And just in case the real spammers out there are reading this… If my readers are looking for a way to make $5000 per month working on a computer from home, just email me. If it’s a great opportunity, I’ll gladly pass it along. Otherwise, yes, I report you as spam and block you.

2. Don’t tag another page unless it’s reciprocal.

I’m raising my hand as guilty here. There was a contest many months ago that I really didn’t like the sound of. It was an opportunity for people to apply to become a blogger for a certain company. The idea was great. What turned me off was the fact that it seemed like yet another popularity contest. Voting for a job.

So I posed a question on my Facebook page about the company, tagging them in the post. What resulted was a bunch of their angry fans leaving derogatory remarks on my page thinking I simply wanted to disparage the company. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t fair to tag them. But it’s also fair to say that since then, the company has all but disappeared.

3. Don’t automate your blog updates on your page (if you want people to see them).

Melissa over at Momcomm really opened my eyes to this one. With Facebook making changes on what seems to be a daily basis, the latest algorithm suggests that using third party applications to update your fan page makes your updates much less visible to your fans.

Facebook gives higher weight and ranking to manually posted links. This includes your blog post links. I also think people are more inclined to click through if you add your link with a little sentence about your post.

Don’t believe me? Check out Melissa’s awesome post on how she increased her Facebook Edgerank score.

4. Interact with your fans.

Call them fans, call them likers. Just call them once in a while, okay? If you have a Facebook fan page, it should be primarily for two reasons: content sharing and interaction. If you aren’t interested in those two things, you may want to get out of the fan page business.

Check your page every day. Respond to questions and comments. “Like” the comments that catch your eye. Let people know that you are reading and you care. Brands are often the biggest violators of this. I see customer service questions left on fan pages all the time. Weeks go buy and they are never addressed. The brand simply adds their next promotional message. If that’s you, you’re doing it all wrong.

5. Remember it’s YOUR page.

With everything that’s said, the bottom line is that you control the content. You have the right to delete any messages or photos that you find offensive or inappropriate. You have the right to block users from becoming fans. You have the right to moderate discussions.

One word of caution here: if someone has something negative to say about you or your blog or your brand, instead of simply deleting the comment, take the time to address in a public forum in a constructive way. If you delete, it could imply that you aren’t open to criticism (and you should be) and/or you have something to hide.

Looking for great examples of fan pages done right? I wouldn’t start with Social Dialect. I often violate many of these rules. But I do recognize some of the better pages out there.

Bloggers doing it right.

At 14K fans and counting, Dear Crissy is a master at Facebook pages. She gets great interaction and her fans are talking about it!

Tamar is another Facebook superstar. WIth over 16K fans (most of them cat lovers), she has created a loyal and engaged following for I HAVE CAT.

Finally, Jill of Baby Rabies has over 2K fans but keeps them highly engaged and entertained with her daily updates and links.

Brands doing it right.

I’ve worked personally with The California Wine Club and I’m amazed at how much traffic they can drive to my blog with a little ol’ Facebook post. With over 75K fans, they still keep the conversation highly engaging and personal.

As some of you know, I’m also working on a project to contribute to Soles4Souls, a charitable organization. They’ve started changing their fan page photo every week to reflect the “shoe of the week,” the most unusual pair donated to the warehouse that week!

Know of a great Facebook page for a blog or a brand? Share it here! And tell me if I’ve missed any important rules of etiquette.

  • http://twitter.com/hchybinski hchybinski

    Really need to pay some love and attention to my FB Page for my Blog. . .I post links to blog posts, respond to comments (if any) . . . but that’s about it. . .need to develop a strategy for improvement.

    Hillary

  • http://www.newmusicmichael.com/ Michael Senchuk

    It’s probably a fair point. I spend far too much time on twitter and not enough on my blog’s facebook page. I’m not going to give up on the auto-posting (frankly, with 2-4 posts per weekday I would just forget more than I’d remember), but since I can do posts right from my iPhone, I pledge to start doing extra posts a couple times a day just to facebook.

    • http://twitter.com/babyrabies Jill Krause

      You know, it’s is a total habit for me now to immediately post links to my Facebook page after the post goes live. It takes all of about 2 minutes, and it really, really increases the number of Facebook “likes” who are reading and interacting with my posts. I post every day, sometimes 2x a day. You just have to make it a habit :)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing these, Fadra. I’ll definitely be changing my page to non-automated posts now!

  • TM

    Once you start following “I Have Cat” with the three main kitties and revolving door of fosters it is hard to not keep coming back to see what they are all up to!

    • http://www.ihavecat.com I HAVE CAT

      Thanks TM – i’m so glad i’ve sucked you in! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1656186097 Bonnie Pinkston

    I HAVE CAT is awesome — there’s so much fun stuff to read there!!

    • http://www.ihavecat.com I HAVE CAT

      aww thanks Bonnie – thanks for being a loyal and supportive fan! 

  • http://twitter.com/babyrabies Jill Krause

    I am SO honored to be included. Thank you, Fadra. I truly love the community I’ve found through my Facebook page. I hate that I can’t respond to every comment on my blog, but I always try to interact as much as possible with my “friends” (as I like to call them, even though it’s a brand page) over on Facebook. I’m always striving to make my community over there stronger. It’s is crazy how much of my traffic comes from Facebook links.

  • http://beforethebabywakes.com Alexandria Campbell

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been trying to actively turn my little FB page into something more interesting & more interactive. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000979830833 Imoe Bakaneko

    Office Depot fan page(?). I wrote complaints once, they asked me for the details and gave me gift card by mail !! Pepperage farm cookies responded my comments(good thing), Meow Mix fan page helped me to solve a problem with their products, 

  • Dsavory

    I love Tamar and I Have Cat – she is great about interacting and promoting kitty causes (plus we are both Armanian).

  • http://www.timmystones.com Timmy

    I Have Cat is a true community. Much care goes into helping others, educating and most of all, having FUN!

  • http://www.marykay.com/rachelwest Rachel West

    Thanks for posting this!  I don’t have a blog, but recently created a “fan page” for my Mary Kay business.  I haven’t posted a lot yet because I don’t have many “fans” yet.  When I created it, I already knew that I wanted it to be an open environment for people to comment and/or ask questions of any kind so I could interact.  I’ll also be creating polls to encourage conversations.  =) 

    If anyone’s interested in becoming a fan, look for Rachel West, Independent Beauty Consultant on facebook.  =)

  • mimi

    Love I Have Cat !!!!!!!!

  • Sharon

    I love ihavecat!! 

  • http://www.catwisdom101.com Layla (Cat Wisdom101)

    Fadra, thanks. I wish I’d known about this when we launched a few months ago. Not clear on #2. I sometime tag when I really love something and want the other group/person to know. With regular FB shares is not so easy to know who shared what or where. Re: social etiquette is no different than any etiquette. It’s about kindness, thoughtfulness. Please and thank-you go a long way. I have a question about page identities. I alternate between my blog brand and my personal page, using both. It gets confusing even though my personal photo and Cat Wisdom 101 on it. Should I keep them completely separate?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=625424415 Rebecca Slattery-Kavanagh

    I HAVE CAT Is a fantastic blog.  It’s not JUST about cats by any stretch of the imagination and the posts are always interesting and so well written.  I too think it is exactly what a blog should be about and something new bloggers should aspire to

  • Hazardhat

    I totally agree about Tamar of I Have Cat. I was so surprised when I got a facebook friend request from her! Then I realized she is really *there* and actively engaged. She cares about what her readers think and what happens in their lives. She has recognized us as real people and has made herself a real person to us as well. 

  • Carol Furgal

    I’m so happy to see I Have Cat mentioned here.  She is very engaged with her readers, entertaining, and informative.  I Have Cat is an amazing site.

  • Mandy

    Woohoo, Tamar! I love I HAVE CAT! Not only do I love the cat aspect, being a CCL, but Tamar is a great person and so down to earth. If I were closer, I so know she’s be awesome to hang with. If you’re reading this, give that Petie a big smooch! Love that pink nose of his!

  • http://www.facebook.com/zoe.spumoni Zoe Marie CuppiecakePeanut Spu

    Oh mi gooness gwayshush!!! PEEEEPOLES! Dis is be SOOOOOO twooiful!!! Spesilly abowt Miss Tamaw…an Petiful too (dats one uf herw kibbies!)! Miss Tamaw is be wike one uf…NO! DEEEE bessest bwoggy fingy peepoles…EBER!!! Twoo dorey!

    She fwiended wittle teeny tiny bwind cewtiful…an chubbiful…an pinkiful wittle me wike foeber ago! Wike wongerer dan a millon billon TWILLON Sessyme Stweets ago or sumpin’! An Miss Tamaw is be one uf mi bessest fwiends! Herw fabrit Zoeism is be vebijinairyan! So I say it now jus fo herw! VEBIJINAIRYAN! Heeheehee! An I hab TWO pickers uf Petiful dat Miss Tamaw sendereded ME!!!

    Aldoe I agwee wif ebryfing herew—besilly bowt Miss Tamaw—I fink woo fogotteded one barewee BAREWEE inpowrtant fingy! Sooooooooooo:

    1. (acuz I can’t cownt taller dan dat! But I not hab to acuz I is be wittle an showrt! Heeheehee!) Enyhoos! Herew is be DEEEEEE abowsowootwee mosest impowrtantiful fingy bowt eetykits in Faseypoo…CUPPIECAKES!!! BIGGIFUL PINKIFUL YUMMIFUL CUPPIECAKES…an wots uf dem! An hosies! An unihoseys! An…oooh! Did woo no mi bowyfwiend is be a unihosey!? Twoo dorey!

    I fink Faceypoo needs sum uf darew own rools! Wike fixin’ stuffers insted uf jus addifying stuffers! Acuz I hab wike a millon billon twillon fwiends an I not eben can hawrdly vibsit dem! An stuff!!! I awso defernatwee finks Faceypoo needs to be pinkiful not bloo!!! Yuckiduckidoodledwops! Dats as ickiful as hamboogers! BLAH! Ebryone nos da “TWOO dorey of…DA GWATIFUL GWOWND BEEF INNOSDENT OR HOW GWAMMIKINS BWOKED WITTLE BWIND BABEE ZOEKIN’S HAWRT!!!”

    Enyhoos! As I was be sayin’, wen I jumpeded up to peek ober inno da girlws cwub, wat I see but Stink Fase sweepin’ in da barewee cwubhowse dat saes ‘NO BOWYS! Girlws an Mommy ownwee!’ Sooooo! I not can go darew no moe or I get cooties! An mi daddee gabed me dat! Mi daddee is be a bewdee callwed a pare-wot! I wuv him eben doe he is be a froot!

    Otay! I wuv woo! Hi-byes! Mwah!
    Reply to: Reply to Zoe

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  • http://twitter.com/socmediastudio Social Media Studio

    We appreciate your authenticity with regard to the etiquette you foster on your own page. There’s very little on the web regarding Page to Page etiquette, and we’re glad you touched on that. What are your thoughts regarding Pages liking other Pages? – you know, where other Pages then get featured in the bottom left corner of your Page. We always used it as a way to showcase Pages our fans may find useful, but are there other advantages?

    The I Have Cat Page is priceless, btw.

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