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A How-Not-To Guide to Promoting Facebook Pages

By Ava Naves, Principal

Spam. It can take many forms.Facebook Spam

We’re all familiar with its more traditional incarnation – by e-mail. Then, there’s Twitter spam. You know the kind… you have barely started to follow someone, and BAM! There comes a “friendly” Direct Message, inviting you to visit their affiliate site. There’s also Twitter spam that arrives through “@ replies”: those that come from illegitimate Twitter accounts and contain a link to a titillating site where “ladies” (if you can call them that) await for you.

Worse, even, is when someone starts using his personal Twitter profile to retweet content from a client’s account.

Last but not least… there’s Facebook spam. This type of spam really, really annoys me. From what I recall, I’ve received messages from people in my Vancouver network inviting me to “like” the Page of a local company that I had never heard of; a charitable initiative in Alberta (whereas we’re based in British Columbia), and the Facebook Page for a tourism campaign, just to name a few. You can just tell that people are pimping their own projects. Have they no shame?

What’s even more deplorable is that these (hopefully well-intentioned) folks brand themselves as social media professionals! Little do they realize that they’re throwing their professionalism out the window!

Can they genuinely approach their client (or employer) with a clear conscience, and tell him that all those “likes” came from people who are genuinely interested in their brand?

There are many reasons why Facebook spam is just bad form. Here’s a few:

- Chances are that those friends, who were so nice to accept the Facebook Page suggestion, are not the target audience that will translate into conversions for the client. Yes, they have given their “thumbs up”, but by no means does that imply that they will pay attention to the updates posted on that Facebook Page.

- Those “likes” will probably disappear as quickly as they came. It’s always better to have a slow – yet steadily growing – number of supporters, than to have a windfall at first, followed by a high percentage of “unlikes” shortly after. I bet THAT won’t look too good on that monthly report to your client, will it?

- Facebook Insights (the metrics that Facebook provides about a Page’s performance) analyse the ratio of feedback that an update received (through comments, “likes”, etc) versus how many impressions the update generated. People who organically “like” a Facebook Page are more inclined to interact with that content, causing a higher feedback percentage per message. Now that’s something worth bragging about to a client in that monthly report.

- Last but not least… if you want to erode their professional respect for you, invite them to “like” a Facebook Page that you almost certainly know that they have absolutely no interest in.

There are other reasons why this practice should not be part of your online marketing arsenal, but I’ll stop here. Stop viewing your Facebook friends as commodity, and preserve that network that has taken you so long to grow.