Facebook Page: Many businesses, large and small, have a page on Facebook for their business. If they’re lucky, they actually control it! Some have been set up by fans, or by cyber-squatters, hoping to milk the business for some cash. But that’s all beside the point.

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Facebook pages are one of the prime platforms that come to mind when we think about “social media.” I know of a number of small- and medium-sized companies that have turned off the ability of the general public to comment on their page. There’s a fairly well-known restaurant that leaves their page open, but the admins delete every single post made by the public, positive or negative. They even delete questions without answering them. Not only is that a waste of the page, but it’s also a waste of manpower to patrol the page like that.

My point being, it’s called *social* media for a reason. These platforms are a wonderful way to reach out to fans and develop relationships with them. FB pages are also a great way for a business to be found by prospects. Your aim should be to interact with people on your FB page.

So before you slap a post up on your business’ FB page, you should have a reason for doing it. By that, I mean: you should have an intent you want to accomplish with the post. I’ve seen many, many pages where the only posts are variations of, “Buy our stuff.” Now, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with beating people over the head to buy stuff, but you should at least have a process in place to be able to track the sales that come from different places. Knowing a sale came from your FB page is okay. Being able to track a sale back to a particular post is a goal to strive for! As a general rule, I call posts that try to sell Sales Posts, or simply “Sells.”

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Most posts on a business’ page are, theoretically, informative. I say “theoretically” because there is often very little information that readers can use or make actionable. In general, I call these posts “Tells.” A message like, “We’re closed on Christmas Eve,” or “We now carry blue widgets” are imparting information, but they don’t actually have any information which the reader can act on. Telling someone about a product or service isn’t a sales message – there’s no call to action. Telling someone you’re close is giving the message, “Stay away.” A message saying, “We re-open at 7 AM on December 26th” is telling the reader “Come on in.” It’s a much better message for you to give, and for them to get!

Facebook Page

There’s a much better post I like to use. It opens up a path to building relationships. As long as you’re willing to listen, it also tells you what people want – or don’t want – from your business. I call these “Asks.” Before you commit to stocking blue widgets, you might create a post that asks, “If we were able to offer blue widgets, would you be interested in buying them from us?” My favourite Ask is along the lines of, “Red or blue widgets – which is better and why? Please leave your answer below.”

Of course, many people are hesitant to post an Ask, because they fear that a flame war (an online argument) will erupt on their page. The best way to keep flames at bay is to stay away from hot-button topics, and not to phrase questions with an obvious bias. “Superior blue widgets or crappy red ones – which one are you man enough to prefer?” Yeah – stay away from saying things like that.

Before you begin crafting even the simplest of FB page posts, ask yourself “What do I intend to have this post accomplish?” If you want to have readers develop a new or deeper relationship with your business, consider posting a Tell or an Ask, and letting people respond. Even if you want to sell something, and you write a Sell message, make sure you give people the ability to respond.

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