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I have a Facebook friend that has recently been trying to promote a new product that he is a part of through his personal account. I really don’t mind when a person uses their personal account to promote something business-related, because, after all, the website was created for networking.

However, I believe that it is a dangerous balancing act. Your friends logged in to Facebook to socialize. If you’re not following Facebook etiquette, your marketing strategies will fail and your Facebook friends will no longer trust you. Here are a few things I’ve learned from this man’s shameless promotional attempts:

  • Social media is all about being personal and human. Even large corporations know that interacting with fans on their level is the only way to appeal to them. So it’s great to use slang and give personal opinions on the product. What’s going to kill you is to post status updates that are obviously scripted by someone else for you. If I’m your friend on social media, chances are that I know what you sound like when you speak in real life.
  • Instead: You may be a novice at marketing and feel like you don’t know the exact right words to say. That doesn’t matter! You’re marketing directly to your friends. Whatever you say in your own words will work. Make it as personal as possible. Tell them how you’re using the product in your life. Or even just say that you’re excited be a part of something new and would like them to check it out. Just talk how you do in real life!
  • Posting too constantly on social media will drive away fans. This is true of any business on any social networking platform, though what constitutes “too much” is different. You don’t want to bombard your friends or fans with too many updates.
  • Instead: Your Facebook friends want to hear more about YOU. Make sure there are lots of non-promotional updates about you, your life, and your interests in between pushing a product. You can even post articles related to your product (but I wouldn’t suggest lots of articles about your product). And by lots, I don’t mean multiple times a day! Maybe just once a day.
  • Vagueness is the death of any marketing strategy. Don’t ask your friends to sign up for something without giving them details.
  • Instead: Be very clear about what you are asking of your friends and the nature of the product. People are cautious about giving away too much information on the Internet, and rightfully so.
  • You aren’t fooling anyone when suddenly you have tons of friends who are commenting some of the same script on your posts about your product. We know that those friends are part of your business and not satisfied customers.
  • Instead: If you aren’t following a script, your secretly-business-but-not-really-a-secret Facebook friends shouldn’t either. You’re allowed to have new Facebook friends for whatever reason you want. They can like all your status updates without breaking any etiquette rules. They can even comment! But ask them to do so naturally, like a real conversation.

Do you have any Facebook friends that annoyingly promote business-related content on Facebook? Tell us the story!