We all have those annoying friends on Facebook – or worse, family – that we’d like to unfriend but we can’t because they would be mad. You can always put that person on a separate list or unsubscribe from their posts. You’ll still be friends, but their posts won’t be shown to you in your feed.

If you use your personal Facebook timeline for business, there are some things you need to be aware of that could not only get you unfriended, but get your account shut down because someone complained about you.

Have you noticed your friends list shrink instead of grow? If you have wondered why people are unfriending you, here’s some of the reasons why:

Facebook Groups

Do NOT add people to Facebook Groups without their permission. If you know the person and you think they would be OK with it, then it might be fine. But I cannot believe the range of groups I’ve been added to that I have no business being in. I was recently added to a high school alumni group but I didn’t even attend the school, or even live in that city!

Promote your group on your personal timeline, your business page and sometimes you may be allowed to promote it in other groups, depending on their rules.

Selling via Private Message

I relate this to someone coming over to my home or office, barging in and pitching me on their product or service. I didn’t invite them, they just showed up and started spamming me. Facebook is not your personal email list – you do not have permission to send me your offers. You can post them publicly and I can scroll past them, or I can choose to stop and read them – but it’s MY choice.

Use private messages to build your relationship. Do not try to sell too quickly. Get to know the person, just like you would if you were networking in person.

Fan Page Invitations

This one is tricky – how long do you wait until you send someone an invitation to Like your Fanpage? I have had people send me a friend request, and then the second I accept it they post on my timeline, thanking me for accepting their friend request and immediately ask me to Like their page. There is a well-known social media manager promoting this strategy, but I can tell you I find it very invasive.

Imagine if I walked up to you in a meeting, we exchanged cards and then without any further interaction you proceeded to invite me to your business. How do you even know I would be a potential client?

I will usually like people’s posts, comment on some things, etc. before I ask them for a favor. Add value to them first.

Using a Business Name on Your Personal Timeline

It’s actually against Facebook’s terms of service to use anything other than your actual name on Facebook. Of course, a lot of people use partial names, nicknames, etc. but when it comes to business names, be careful.

For example, I’ve seen people use their profession as part of their name, such as Jane Realtor Jones, or John Smith NameofCompany. When someone with this moniker tries to friend me, I don’t accept their friend request. It looks like they are only there to sell me something if that’s the first impression they give me.

Controversy

Now, controversy can be a good thing or a bad thing. A little controversy can shake things up and get conversation going. But if you are constantly being confrontational, or pushing the boundaries of everything, it becomes like the boy who cried wolf. People will tune out after a while. Use controversy sparingly. Nobody likes it when someone rants all the time.

Facebook is a great platform for keeping in touch with friends and family and also meeting people that you could potentially do business with. Just remember it is their sandbox and they allow us to play in it. Unless you are paying for ads, it’s free but even then, you have to follow their rules. You’ve worked hard to build up your friends list but if you suddenly find it shrinking, or worse, you are faced with potentially having it shut down, have a look at these suggestions, and be sure to read Facebook’s Terms of Service. These do get updated from time to time, so if you haven’t read them for a while, be sure to check it out.


Debbie Peck Digital