Keep Personal and Business separate on Facebook PLEASE!

As more and more small tourism businesses move into the social media space, the demand for a “Dr. Phil” type intervention has increased as well. It takes a lot of restraint on my part to keep from saying “What? Are you Stoopid?”

Here are some of the “oh no you didn’t ” moments I’ve had to intervene on from clinet sin the past 6 months (yes this year! 2012!). Names of the innocents have been changed to protect their STOOPiTiDTY! Lol! 🙂

Facebook PageNot a Personal profile for Business!

Just last weekend, I received a Facebook friend request. The request came from a business, not a person. What were they thinking? I don’t want to be friends with a business. My business is built on working with other businesses, but never once have I been contacted by a business entity. I’ve been contacted by the business owner, manager or decision maker, but never the business. I actively look for opportunities to recommend good, trustworthy businesses to our growing online network. But the recommendation is based on the people – the owners, the managers and staff.

Facebook personal profiles are designed for individuals i.e. real people. The way we word it is does the profile have one heart, one brain, one head? Then it’s one person and they can have a personal PROFILE.

Even if you and your business are one and the same (as some of my businesses are), keep your business PAGE and personal PROFILE separate. That’s not to say that you never post anything business related on your personal profile, but it should be VERY limited.

Simple way to think about it:

  • Business have PAGES
  • People have PROFILES

Also, lets get down to it, chances are your mother, your auntie, your niece, your nieces’ boyfriend from last Christmas really are NOT in your customer demographic and will soon cut you off and block you if all you’re spinning out on your personal profile is ‘work stuff’.

Don’t go straight for SALES!

This same friend request had a second hiccup. While the sender did take the time to write a personal note (not the standard friend request message), the message was the problem. The message started out fine, “we have a mutual friend and I would like to connect with you” kind of thing. Had they stopped there, it would have been good. However the next sentence was “I hope you will become an outstanding customer.” What? Are you Stoopid?

Why not just come out and say “Prepare to be spammed forever with my sales messages”?

Social Media Rule #1 — It’s not about you! Why, when we go to a car lot or furniture store, is the first words out of our mouths, “I’m just looking”? We don’t want to be sold to EVER, but we like to buy.

Social media (like any sales opportunity really) is like a piggy bank. As a business, you make social capital deposits into your customer’s piggy bank. When their bank gets full enough, they will cash it in and buy from you. And how do you make deposits? By providing valuable information. If you customer would say, “Thanks. That was cool” then you have just made a deposit in their bank.

Picture of Your Cat? Don’t think so…

Here’s another one we’ve seen a couple of times this year. Right, you’ve decided that social media is something you need to do. Now you are ready to start building your connections. But your profile has no picture or a picture of your dog. “What? Are you Stoopid?”

Regardless of how cute your dog (or cat or hamster!) is, I am just not connecting with it. I want to connect with you. When I see a profile with no photo, it tells me you don’t take social media seriously, not a good connection and are probably not logging in at all and not engaging the medium.

TOTAL Privacy? Not in business thank you…

Another instant “not connecting” sign to us in The Army is having an incomplete or hidden profile. For some, it’s all about how many friends/followers/connections you can get.

But if your social media plan (you do have one right?) calls for building relationships, those relationships will be a targeted demographic, not the mass public. When a profile isn’t visible, there is no way to tell if you’re a serious business minded person, if there is any reason for me to connect with you. Once you make the choice to be in business, you’re now a public figure so your profile should give me an insight into who you are, what you do and why I should connect with you.

Now I’m not saying open the doors completely, but you at least need a window for us to window shop…

Bottom line? To keep Dr. Phil out of your front room, treat social media as you would any networking opportunity — build and cultivate relationships that lead to long term business. It’s not speed dating for the masses!

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