When A FaceBook Page Is Not A FaceBook Page

Recently, I had a conversation with “Tammy” (not her real name) about FaceBook. Tammy developed a stunning line of eco-friendly bath and body care products, and launched last year with a beautiful website and lovely professional product photos. And then, nothing happened. Tammy has grown tired and frustrated for many reasons, not the least of which is that she is not getting the kind of support she'd like from her friends.

She is about to throw in the towel, and that's a very personal decision, especially for INDIEs, many of whom are raising kids and businesses under the same roof. On a hunch, I asked Tammy if she had a FaceBook Page. and she said she did. I went over to have a look and saw that she had posted only a total of 59 updates since the Page launched in September 2009.

While an engaging FaceBook Page cannot save a poor product, and it cannot make up for poor business planning, it can make a good product and a good plan even better — especially where consumer products are concerned. Tammy graciously gave me permission to give her a few pointers on how to use her FaceBook Page to her advantage. I started by letting her know that a FaceBook Page is not a FaceBook Page if it's a ghost town. Here are some of the other things I shared:

  1. Too much of Tammy's products is not a good thing. Nearly every update at the Page is about her products. All of the points are good, but back to back as they are makes the Page look like one big advertisement. Advertising is good, but not as status updates at a FaceBook Page. I suggested keeping sales-y updates to a minimum and focus more on sharing information showing a genuine interest in the people there, and not just their pocket books.

  2. Show your face. Tammy is a very lovely lady, yet I saw no photos of her at the Page. The few photos of show booths display only her products — not her smile. People want to do business with people they can see and relate to. Show yourself at your Page, and your Likers will warm up and feel comfortable showing themselves there too.

  3. Talk with people. This does not have to be complicated. Heck, just pop in and say, “How's everybody doing!?” Share something fun you did over the weekend, or post a link to a news article or video you found especially interesting, funny, or informative. Show people a good tim. Throw a mini-party nearly every time you show up. Exude enthusiasm and positivity and people will remember you and return for more of the same.

  4. Link to others. Don't just show up to talk about your products and how great they are, or how wonderful the ingredients are, or how beautifully they are packaged, or how they are on sale this week. Do that of course. But also, talk about other INDIEs, and share some of the great things they are doing. Link to their pages. Demonstrate support of others, and others will support you.

  5. Host contests. Yes, that's right. Give stuff away. Sorry. There are just no two ways about it. Nothing stirs up fun and levity at a FaceBook Page like a good old fashioned freebie. When you give away the things you make, you demonstrate confidence in your products, as well as a desire to make your fans smile. Confidence and fun — omit one or the other and a business dies.

Schedule It In

There's never a simple answer, and I certainly don't think FaceBook is the only issue here. (There are others, perhaps even some of these.) Surely, it's one of them though, and it's easily addressed. By creating a weekly schedule that incorporates some of the things itemized above, Tammy will build a supportive community around her brand and have fun generating trust, credibility — and sales.

Make It Warm And Inviting

If you're going to maintain a FaceBook Page for your brand, why not make it warm and inviting? If it's not, no one will want to be there.

Another thing about FaceBook is the fact that people who take the time to “Like” your Page turn out to be your biggest supporters. Whether or not a person ever buys anything from you, just having their support and encouragement is sometimes all that's needed to carry you through a rough patch. It's worth a try for that reason alone, if you ask me.

Question: What other things would you suggest toTammy?

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.