An Open Letter to Businesses on Facebook

I’ m going on a bit of a rant here because there are some things that are really starting to bug me on Facebook. This is not an anti-Facebook post. I like Facebook. It has enabled me to connect with long-lost family members and old school chums I might not otherwise have found. I keep up with my friends and relatives on Facebook. I think Facebook is great.

My problem lies more with the misuse of Facebook. It was inevitable when FB started sky-rocketing in popularity, that sooner or later business entities would sit up and take notice. It was even, perhaps, inevitable that you would then start figuring out how to sell us stuff on there. I’m an ardent capitalist and have no problem with that. I just don’t like how you’re doing it.

Here are a  few of my grievances:

1. A Facebook fan page does not replace an actual web site. I don’t want to have to go to Facebook and pull up your notes page for every piece of product information, if it can even be found there. I don’t want to have to wade through hundreds or thousands of user comments to find the offer you’ve posted.

2. If you absolutely insist on posting everything on Facebook, make sure the link you’re emailing or tweeting goes to your actual content, not the FB home page. It’s really annoying to have to find your page and then find the content you were trying to get me to see. Most of the time, if the link goes to the home page, I close it and go on about my business.

3. I don’t want to be forced to “Like” you in order to try your product for the first time. I can’t count the number of offers I’ve seen lately that require one to “Like” a new product in order to receive a coupon to try it. If your product is any good, let me try it and then we’ll see if I “Like” it.

4. I’m tired of businesses (including  no small number of bloggers) trying to boost their numbers by requiring that I join their fan page or “Friend” them in order to enter any drawing or giveaway.

I know these things are not earth-shattering, but here is my problem. When I “Like” or “Friend” or otherwise connect with you on Facebook, that affiliation is then announced to all my friends. For anyone who values my opinion, that is an endorsement of your blog, company or product. But I don’t know you. We don’t have a relationship yet.

If I haven’t read enough on your blog to know if I want to follow or subscribe, why would I want to tell all my friends to go read it? Why would I want to recommend a product I haven’t tried yet? Why would I want to advertise for a company I have no history with?

I would love to familiarize myself with your company or test your product or read your blog, but I hate being asked to put my reputation and good name on the line for someone or something I don’t even know. So, please, let me get to know you a little before you demand my loyalty and endorsement. Those things should be earned.

So, am I alone in this? What do you think about these tactics? Okay or no way?

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