I have such mixed feelings around Facebook Chat. On the one hand, I love knowing who is online. It makes me more effective in terms of sending out the right messages at the most effective times of the day. On the other hand, it’s incredibly distracting to be in the middle of something and have the chat pop up with something completely irrelevant to my task at hand.
For example, the other day I had the chat open, and I got a message pop up that someone wanted me to vote for them for something. (This same person had been begging for votes through a mass email a few days earlier, but that’s another post.) That, in my opinion, is a completely irresponsible use of Facebook chat.
So if you plan to use Facebook Chat for your business, here are some etiquette rules that I suggest you keep in mind:
- Schedule your chat in advance. That way, you know the person you want to chat with has time for it.
- If you can’t schedule it, ask if the person has time to chat before diving into whatever you want. This is being considerate of others’ time.
- Make sure you have a personal relationship with the person you want to chat with. Don’t reach out to random influencers, strangers, prospects, etc looking for free advice or to sell something. It is never well received.
- Make sure your topic is relevant. You should NEVER use chat to ask for votes, fans, etc. If it’s something you would throw into a mass email, it does NOT belong in chat. This is a place for personal conversations, period.
Now that said, chat CAN be valuable. Here are some uses for chat that reflect well on your business.
- Coach your hostess through chat. If she’s told you she’s open to hearing from you through chat (ask how she’d like to hear from you during your party planning session), reach out to her and see if she has questions, or share a bit of information that she needs to have a successful party.
- If a team member has an immediate question, reaching out through chat can be a good way to get her the information she needs right away, so she can be more productive.
- If a customer posts a question or customer service need, reaching out through chat immediately to take care of it can make that customer happy and cause them to buy from you again.
The real key here is to make sure that your use of Facebook chat never constitutes an interruption, and is service-oriented. ALWAYS ask if someone has time if you plan to use it, and stick to conversation that helps others. Otherwise, use the inbox feature, so that people can respond on THEIR schedule, not yours.
Do you use Facebook chat? How’s it working for you? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.