Some brands have mastered the art of Facebook marketing; others, not so much. As with any social media platform, there are rules by which we should abide. 

Over the last few weeks, we've offered etiquette advice for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. It's Facebook's turn. 

On this platform, there's one protocol for brands and another for individuals. The tips below land somewhere in between and apply to both groups: 

1. Stop asking people to"like" your updates. A few years ago, it was common to see posts that started with "Like this post if..." Sadly, it's still common. Create remarkable content. and people will like it--and"like" it. 

If you think about it, a"like" is an empty action--the simplest form of engagement. Asking for people to like your status is cheap and adds no value to your fans' news feeds. 

2. Don't overpost. Quite simply, if you clog up news feeds, people are going to hide, unsubscribe, and even"unlike" your brand's page. 

The same goes for your personal page. Obviously, we're all free to give our friends as many updates about our lives as we want, but you should beware of the consequences. 

3. Keep those hashtags to a minimum. We're not exactly sure how hashtags are affecting brand engagement on Facebook, given that they were introduced just this summer. But the same advice we gave for Twitter holds true for Facebook: Make sure your hashtags are relevant and not excessive. 

4. When tragedy strikes, just shut up. We've dedicated entire posts to this, but there's no reason brands should post when national/global tragedy strikes. Sending"thoughts and prayers" to the people in the affected area also feels a little thin--garnering engagement that way smacks of desperation. A better technique would be to offer your audience a way to help in the form of donations, etc. 

5. Don't be patronizing. Condescending Corporate Brand Page has become my favorite destination on Facebook. It offers so many examples of what not to do. It's also clear by looking at all the posts they call out that we seem to be running out of new ideas on how to engage on Facebook. 

6. There's a fine line between real-time marketing and"brandjacking." For brand pages, Oreo's foray into real-time marketing during the Super Bowl power outage was great--but it was also a bit destructive overall. It inspired a ton of imitators, and their attempts at real-time marketing aren't always relevant; they can be downright spammy. Not sure what we're talking about? Check out this story about real-time marketing during the Oscars. 

7. Keep it positive. This one goes for the personal and the brand side. As much as you want to rant on your page, consider your audience and whether they're really interested in hearing you. 

Ask yourself: Are we sharing this content because it serves us or our audience? 

8. No one wants to visit your brand's mobile unfriendly Facebook tab. No one. 

9. When there's a PR issue on your page, the worst thing to do is stay silent. So often, brands will shut down all Facebook communication when they're facing any kind of backlash. You're only going to exacerbate the problem by staying silent. Respond, even if it's just along these lines:"We hear you. We're working on it." 

10. Personalize your reply to people who take the time to contact you. Whether it's a direct message or a comment, the response should never be rote. Seldom does a"Thanks!" suffice. Every person who comments on your page represents an opportunity for a personal connection. Make that connection special, and you've got a fan for life. 


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