Earlier in June, a Pakistani politician’s press briefing went viral – but not for the reason you might think. The briefing, which was being broadcasted via Facebook live, became the target of a massive, yet comical, internet blunder after an accidental cat filter was applied to the faces of the presenting politicians.
While the cat filter was only live for a few minutes before someone noticed and took it down, the incident serves as a solid case study for highlighting the stark differences between personal and business social media use and how you must tread carefully when you use the platform for each. The filter’s interference with the live stream is just one of many examples of how easy it is to misapply Facebook’s personal functions within a business setting. In this blog, I’ll cover some of the major differences between, as well as best practices for, managing personal and business accounts.
Liking, Commenting, and Sharing with the Proper Account
When you have both a Facebook profile for yourself and a Facebook page for your business/the company you work for, it can be easy to confuse the two. Liking, commenting on, and sharing text posts and images with the wrong account is one of the most common mistakes when it comes to multi-page management. For example, more than once, I’ve “liked” a post on Envision’s Facebook page, only to realize later that I didn’t switch over to my personal accounting before liking the post. Thus, it looked like Envision just “liked” itself – not a huge deal, but it looks a little silly.
To make sure that you’re acting on a post with the correct account, click the down arrow next to the “Share” button on the bottom right of a post. Here, you’ll be given a drop-down menu that allows you to select which profile or page you want to act as. A quick way to check whether you’re posting with the right account is to look at the profile icon next to the down arrow – this will line up with whatever profile you’re acting on behalf of.
Responding in a Timely Manner via Messenger
While it may be easy to put off or ignore a message sent to your personal profile via Facebook Messenger, with a business account, it’s important that you respond to messages in a timely manner. In the “About” tab on the right-hand side of your business page, Facebook automatically generates and displays how long it typically takes you to reply to a message. While Facebook Messenger is probably not the primary channel your business receives inquires through, having a badge that states your business “Typically responds in a few days” isn’t ideal.
The response time displayed on your page is not only determined by how quickly you respond to messages, but also by your consistency in responding. If you have both a high response rate and a fast response time, your page will earn the “Very response to messages” badge. Check out this article from the Facebook Help Center to learn the specifics on how response rates and times are calculated for your page.
Leveraging Automated Responses
Another key differentiator within Facebook Messenger is the ability to configure automated responses for your business inbox. If you navigate to the “Inbox” tab at the top of your business page (assuming you’ve been assigned at least an “Editor” role for the page), you’ll see a tab on the left-hand side of the page called “Automated Responses”.
Within this tab, Facebook gives you several options for sending automated replies when a visitor messages your page. While Facebook will automatically populate responses for you based on the information included on your page, you can personally edit these responses, as well as turn them on and off, at any time. Messenger silos its responses into the following categories:
- Greet Customers
- Respond to Common Questions
- Respond to Feedback
- Communicate About Jobs
While not entirely necessary, turning on and personalizing these autoresponders can improve your customer service and communication etiquette. For example, Envision’s Facebook page has an autoresponder set up to instantly reply to people who message the page, letting them know the communication has been received, and giving them information for how they can get in touch with us if their inquiry is a pressing matter:
Monitoring Your Content Carefully
While the cat filter is both a humorous example of an effect meant for personal use crossing over into business territory, you should be mindful of the content you’re posting to your personal profile. This is especially true if you’ve been assigned an editor or admin role on a business page. As a general rule of thumb, you should refrain from posting offensive, abusive, or illegal content, including photos of drugs/alcohol, negative commentary about your company and coworkers, and even political opinions. Your company may even have a “social media policy” about exactly how you are expected to conduct yourself in an online setting as an agent of the company.
Even though information about role designations on a business page aren’t publicly visible, if you’re tagged in a photo or post on that page, a visitor can access your profile with just the click of a button. Even if you have the most stringent of privacy settings applied to your personal profile, you can still unintentionally make your posts viewable to the general public. When you post an update to your personal profile, at the bottom of the dialogue box, Facebook provides a “Who should see this?” drop-down menu. If you don’t have this drop-down set to at least “Friends”, anyone on Facebook can see your posts.
Additionally, keep in mind that once you post something online, it can become a permanent part of your digital footprint. Even if you delete a photo of a piece of content that you had previously posted, you’ll have no way of knowing if another user took a screenshot or downloaded that content before you had the chance to take it down. Offensive content can come back to haunt you down the road, potentially harming both personal and professional relationships. Thus, even though the content you’re posting to your personal page may not be directly linked to the business page you manage, it’s not difficult to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Even outside of work hours and company grounds, you are still a viable representative of your employer and can be held accountable for offensive conduct.
Pausing Before Posting
At the end of the day, the easiest way to avoid personal blunders on Facebook business profiles is to take a few seconds to review before hitting the “Post” or “Share” buttons. With so many communication options on just one platform, it’s easy to make an error that could end up costing you in the long run. While the extent of your mistakes thus-far may have been limited to accidentally “liking” content on behalf of your business instead of your personal profile, it’s never a bad idea to re-familiarize yourself with the actionable controls on your business page. For more information about how to manage a business profile, visit the Facebook for Business interactive online hub for free online courses, news, insights, and more.