The Entrepreneur's Guide to Facebook.
As a shy extrovert, I find that Facebook is the place where I can open up. I love writing and it’s often my preferred communication style. Since we all stopped using OpenDiary in the early 00s, Facebook truly opens up many possibilities to connect and share through personal text and photos.
The downside? This can become a trap if you're not careful. Oversharing, binge-posting, and neglecting your audience can all lead to a whole bunch of wasted time and posts liked only by your grandma (true story..)
Here are some general guidelines that have helped me massively to keep things growing and flowing instead of wasting precious energy:
Do not post just to post.
Whoever told you that you absolutely *must* post every day to stay relevant was wrong and/or wanted to set you up for disaster (let's assume they're just wrong and had good intentions). The truth is if you post too often, people lose interest fast.
Aim to post 2x a week on your Facebook page and if you have an insight you’re burning to share, post it to your story or do a Live. Static posts should be kept to a minimum and only shared if they are telling a great story or communicate something relevant to your community.
Face- to face always creates the best connection.
As I write this, we are in the midst of an international quarantine. Now more than ever, we can feel the power that face-to-face communication has. Meeting people in person is always going to be the best way to get to know someone, but video communication comes solidly in second place. It can connect people across nations and you can find your tribe virtually if you have something in common and make a face-to-face connection with them.
Use your time on Facebook to network and build face-to-face connections where you Zoom each other weekly. When you get to know other leaders this way, you can take turns going Live or posting in each other's groups and pages. If you are going to post something in a connection's group or on their page, introduce yourself and thank your host, then challenge their audience playfully to shift their current paradigm (little shifts make the most impact… don’t ask them to change everything at once!)
Plan content in Hootsuite or another content manager before posting.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve posted only to smack my head and delete something later because it sounded cheesy or irrelevant. Planning my content in a scheduler gives me the time and space to ground myself instead of posting on a whim. It also gives you an extra layer of “are you sure you want to do that?” I don’t believe in censoring yourself and self-freedom is very important, but social media is just that - social. If you are posting something just to get it out of your head, use a diary instead. If you are posting to engage in a two-way conversation or touch someone’s heart, then you know you’re ready to schedule it.
Post location-specific or subject-specific posts.
Your goal on Facebook (if you are using it intentionally) is to create and foster connection. A great technique to do this is to create content that gets ‘your people’ to feel like they are in your shoes, either through something they are going through as well or a place they have been or want to go. Share a view from your morning run or spark a debate on a food item you’ve got an opinion about. You’ll be amazed who opens up if you set up the right questions.
Use groups to network and leverage your influence.
For the past couple of years, Facebook has become all about the groups. Here is your chance to find other vegan mac n’ cheese lovers or amateur orchid fanatics. These are oddly specific but they illustrate my point - groups make it so easy for you to find your tribe.
If you’re posting in a group, make sure to read the rules before joining. If there are no rules, be careful because chances are that the group will be filled with spam. Don’t become one of the spammers, it’s rude and looks bad. It’s totally ok to post your event or offer if it’s relevant to the group, but try to avoid mass reposts inside of groups because you’ll end up getting blocked or banned. It’s best to find a handful of groups to try out at first and expand to new groups if you’re looking for new ways to genuinely connect. If you belong to groups and you absolutely never look at them, leave the group. It’s better to have a small yet intentionally cultivated community.
If you are going to start your own group: congratulations! That’s a huge step forward and holds rewarding possibilities. Come up with rules for your group such as: How often can others advertise their stuff on your page? What is your policy on cyber-bullying/ negative speech towards other members? What could someone post that would be over the line for you? You can always update your rules, but having boundaries when starting out is a powerful way to kickstart your group’s success. You can also come up with themed content for each day of the week to maximize engagement, such as #Tuesdayshare, #Wednesdayreads… et cetera.
Going Live in your group 1x a week is a great way to foster engagement. If a group member shows up to your life, make sure to say hello to them in real-time. Lives can be scary at first, but they will get easier and more enjoyable over time. If it is your first Live and you are nervous, name your fear. Honesty about your feelings puts others at ease and draws them closer to you, as long as you stay away from victimhood and aim to uplift. Go Live when you have an insight or a story to share that will inspire your specific audience. Try not to go off-topic too much - remember, your audience joined your group to connect on a specific topic.
I hope this Facebook etiquette post serves you well and keeps you from countless hours of regret. Come back later and give this post a like if I’ve saved you from using the “delete post” button today!
What is the most embarrassing thing you've ever posted then deleted later? Mine is in the comments.
Would you like to connect?
You can reach me @helloangiesunshine across all social channels.
About the Author: Angie Sunshine is an American expat living in the Netherlands. She uprooted her life in an unexpected way to seek adventure and romance. It's led her to inner awakening and a career as a storybased marketer and a meditation facilitator. When she's not writing or meditating, she's traveling through Europe in a VW Campervan or baking lavender thyme scones in #coronaquarantine for her partner and cat.