VerticalResponse Blog

There was a time when businesses had two choices for advertising: a daily newspaper or a local television station. Those days are long gone. Scott Hancock, a social media manager at Marketing Plus, says small businesses these days must have digital prowess, especially when it comes to social media.

“Businesses need to go where their customers are, and the majority of customers are on Facebook,” says Hancock, who manages social media for companies all over California.

As more small businesses join the Facebook bandwagon, Hancock has noticed some companies are repelling customers rather than attracting them. To make sure your content breaks through the Facebook clutter, Hancock tells companies not to engage in these five Facebook no-nos.

1. Don’t sell, sell, sell

The best way to drive customers away from your page is to constantly post ads, Hancock says. His company has an 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the posts are social in nature and 20 percent pertain directly to the company’s product or service.

“Posting ads all the time is the equivalent of advertising during your favorite television show,” he said. “You don’t sit through the commercials, you leave the room. Trying to constantly sell on Facebook will cause your viewers to leave your page in a hurry, just like you run from the room during commercials.”

2. Don’t hide positive comments

When a customer posts something positive about your company, be sure to highlight it on the timeline. These messages usually end up in the “comments made by others” section, which is hidden off to the right side of the page, Hancock said. To bring that post onto the timeline, just roll over it, click the X and select “highlight on page.”

“A positive message on Facebook is better than free advertising,” Hancock notes. “Don’t hide it where no one will see it, highlight it and show it off.”

3. Don’t ignore your audience

Interact with anyone who reaches out to you. Even if someone posts something negative, ignoring the message isn’t the answer, Hancock urges his clients. A discount jewelry store found this out the hard way. When customers accused the company of copying jewelry designs, the company ignored the comments and fans started protesting. That’s why Hancock says all messages should be dealt with right away.

“I tell clients they should never let a comment linger longer than 24 hours,” he says. “During an ideal business week, someone should respond within an hour.”

4. Don’t delete negative comments

Facebook is like a public suggestion box. People are constantly chatting about businesses online. If someone makes a suggestion or leaves a negative comment, it’s natural to want to take it down, but Hancock advises against it. He tells clients to stick to this motto: acknowledge in public, solve in private.

“Respond to the comment and have that person reach out in private so a solution can be found,” he explains. “In my experience, if negative comments are handled correctly, people will actually apologize on your page.”

5. Don’t post bad photos and bad content

Put effort into your Facebook page. Post content that’s relevant to your business and usable to your audience, Hancock advises. Be tasteful with your message because your virtual audience won’t hesitate to tell you when you’ve done wrong. A popular retailer got a shellacking when they posted an inappropriate comment about a hurricane.

Quality photography is another must. Bad photography, or no photography at all, can hurt a business.

“I don’t understand why a business would take the time to create a Facebook page and then post bad content and poor photos,” says Hancock. “That page represents your company, so take the time to invest in your digital reputation.”

This post contributed by guest author, Lisa Furgison. Furgison is a media maven with ten years of journalism experience and a passion for creating top-notch content.

© 2013 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

  • Colleen Corkery

    Hi Melissa!

    On your business Facebook Page, if you look on the right hand side near the top, there’s a box/section called “Recent Posts by Others.” In that section, you can highlight any of comments, click on the “X” and there are options to Highlight on Page, Allow on Page, Hide from Page, Delete and/or Report as Spam.

    Hope that helps!



  • Kimberley Morris

    I’m not VR, but as a Facebook user (and a cat lover), for your niche…I personally think that as long as you post a picture of your adoptables, that sort of counts as social. Just talk about the animal in sweet, cuddly, social terms first, focusing on that animal’s appeal, and then list the “stats” after that. Just because it’s an animal doesn’t mean there’s no social aspect to it. Spend the time to get the nicest photo(s) of the animal that you can. That’s my opinion from an animal-oggling perspective, anyway 🙂 And talking about things like problems that have been solved with certain animals or issues at the rescue are social, and they also provide free tips to your readers. Free tips = value given, right? And nice pictures = free smiles, even if there are no LOLZ captions. That’s my opinion, anyway.

  • shannon

    I do Facebook manaement for my local non-profit animal rescue. The first suggestion was surprising to me! 80% should be social, so like cute LOLZ cats and stuff? I put about 80% adoptable pet info (the animals are what we are trying to sell, sell, sell – well really adopt out is the prefered term), 10% volunteer requests and 10% cutesy animal stuff. Just wondering what VR thought if we’re talking about animal rescue here?

  • Melissa A

    Am I doing something wrong that I am not able to highlight a post? If I roll over the X, the only option I see is to ‘Remove’ the post. I surely don’t want to do that. I do see that I can highlight a post of my own, but not those of others. I’ve searched Facebook help about it and have found nothing. Thanks for the tips!

  • Jill

    Great article and examples of each tip. Working for a photography studio (Gamut One Studios) I can especially relate to tip 5 – sometimes it is better to go with no photo until you get a high quality one. Nice job!

  • Michael Leahy

    The 80/20 rule is definitely valid. But what do you post in the 80%? If you find yourself struggling, stand back for a second. Although cat photos seem to be an irresistible topic, you might want to look at your company’s mission statement for themes that you could use to highlight. There are plenty of posts and quotes about innovation, caring, professionalism and well-being you can dip into. if you focus the 80% on these, you could create a very nice vibe on your timeline.

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