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.