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9 Things You Need to Immediately Stop Doing on Facebook

Facebook’s offers brands awesome power to connect with their customers. But, as with great power in any context, sometimes that power is abused.

“… With great popularity comes some shameful characters looking to tap into Facebook's viral market to sell you their crappy products or scheme your money through affiliate links or worse,” writes Daniel Zeevi.

What are the biggest sins in Facebook etiquette? What annoys you the most? The Oatmeal makes great comic strips about the most heinous of Facebook blunders. I'd love to include them here, but they are a bit rude. (Funny, but rude.)

1. Don’t Like Your Own Posts

If you posted that picture of your cat licking your dog’s ear, we can already assume that you like it. You don’t need to click like. You aren’t communicating anything meaningful if you do.

Why do people do this? “The real reason people feel the need to do this is that the action of liking the post will again show up in the streaming news ticker, giving the post even more exposure (it's potentially seen twice),” writes Zeevi. “These are typically the moves of self-proclaimed social media gurus or people who just feel insecure about their status posts.”

It’s like blackhat SEO on Facebook. It reads as smarmy.

2. Don’t Tag Random People in Photos

Tag yourself. Tag your best friends. Tag your mother. But please don’t tag people you don’t know. Or that person you met once. Please don’t tag everyone in a group shot of 50. It’s annoying, but it is also a classic move by spammers. Be cautious of anyone who does this.

When my mom tags an ugly photo of me, I send her an email and ask that she untag me. When someone tags me who I don’t know, I report it to Facebook right away.

3. Don’t Add People to Random Groups

This is like tagging random people in photos. When you sign people up to a group, they’ll start getting every single notification for each post to the group. This is spamming, plain and simple.

4. Don’t Cross-Post from Twitter

Don’t assume that your audience on Facebook is completely separate from your audience on Twitter.

Yes, you can share some of the same ideas on different networks, but don’t have an automatic restatement of your Facebook posts on Twitter. Or the other way around.

Why? “For one, you'll get much less engagement posting to Facebook via any third-party app let alone Twitter which basically disregards Facebook etiquette,” writes Zeevi. “If you do this, it's a clear sign you're not really engaged on Facebook or maybe just too lazy.” 

Also, it’s annoying to read things twice! As well, you should optimize your messages for each social media platform. A good Facebook post is qualitatively different from a good tweet.

5. Don’t Send a Ton of New Page Invites

Friend me. Invite me to your business page. Now stop. Seriously, no more invites.

If you want me to join another page of yours, how about you just share some of its interesting content on your profile, and if I like it, I can join on my own. Allow me to feel like I am doing things because I want to, not because you are begging me to. We’ll both feel better about it, I promise.

6. Don’t Send App Requests Either

When you are using a Facebook app like Farmville or join something like Klout, the app will ask you to invite your friends. It’s free advertising for them. But it actually has a cost to you: you are irritating members of your social network.

If your Facebook friends wanted to use Farmville, they would be on there already. Also, consider how people perceive you when you send app requests. People will think, “Oh, right, she’s always wasting her time online.”

7. Don’t Embed Too Many “Like” Buttons on Your Blog

Has this happened to you? You go to a blog, only to be greeted by an alarming pop-up Facebook like box baiting you to like the page. You click to close it. But then, after it disappears, you realize there are a bunch of other buttons placed throughout the site. Do you end up reading anything on that blog? Or do you click away?

I click away. And many people would. Be mindful of embedding buttons.

8. Don’t Send Off-base and Mass Messages

What do you do with junk mail when it arrives in the mail? You throw it away, right? While a letter that is written to you, you treasure.

Same goes for Facebook messages. When I get one that is addressed to dozens of people, I erase it.

“Stop sending mass messages with dozens of people attached,” writes Zeevi. We all get messages that say "please like my page" or "vote for me in an online content.”

“People loathe being addressed in this style, and if you really have something to say at the very least personalize your message to each individual or, better yet, refrain altogether from sending out mass messages,” writes Zeevi.

9. Don’t Send Event Invites to Everyone You Are Friends With

Send Facebook invites only to people who are likely to want to go to your event. Inviting only people in the same city as the event is a good way to start putting together your invite list.

Don’t invite your ex-boyfriend from 15 years ago. Don’t invite your 6th grade teacher. If it would be weird in person, it is weird on Facebook.

Main Take-Away: The etiquette for communicating on Facebook are much like the rules for communicating in real life. When you enter a restaurant, you don’t yell at everyone you see. You talk to your friend at your table, and you listen when they talk to you. People prefer communication that is addressed to them specifically. And we’ve learned to ignore communication that isn’t.

We are all trying to get people to pay attention to us online, but we don’t need to do it in ways that alienate our audiences. Indeed, that would be counter-productive. Don’t act needy. Instead, be confident that if what you are saying is interesting or important, people will listen to you.

The people and brands I follow on Facebook are the ones that tell me about things I want or need to hear. And I’d listen even if they whispered.

Anything else people should stop doing on Facebook? Comment and I'll add your point to the list.

image via shutterstock

Join The Conversation

  • CollinMccullough's picture
    Jul 28 Posted 2 years ago CollinMccullough Hi Sarah, This is indeed a great post with useful information. Also, I really hate those people who post a long message and then saying if I want to stay your friend, I MUST copy and paste this to my page and send it to all my friends, or else you will KNOW that I'm not your friend...bla, bla...this is really annoying. Anyway, really appreciate your effort in gathering resources!
  • FloydPierce's picture
    Jul 28 Posted 2 years ago FloydPierce Dear Sarah, You did write useful info for audiences, including me. But I want to add more: that is not to post something related your family members, especially kids on Facebook. Some days ago, I read an article, which indicated that a woman posted the picture and some info about his child on Facebook. Later, when she picked him up in kindergarten, the teacher said that he was picked up by a man, and the teacher thought this is his dad. But it was a kidnapper. He read all info about the child, and then had a plan in advance. You see, it is very dangerous, right?
  • Robert.Nissenbaum's picture
    Jul 24 Posted 2 years ago Robert.Nissenbaum


    Great article.  The first point is interesting.  I like my own posts to gain that extra visibility, but I'll normally due it when I can monitor my ticker to see who's active.  If liking your own post is black hat, by the same token, so is tagging yourself in a post to have it appear on your page or sharing your own content.  It's just leveraging a tool at your disposal.  

    The other way to look at it - it's the art of shameless self promotion.

    Just a thought. :)


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