On Facebook yesterday I received yet another suggestion from a “friend” to join their fan page. It was the umpteenth such suggestion. As I was exhausted from hitting the Ignore button I decided to send a direct message. It said simply:
Hi Kim (not their real name),
I’m really happy to be your FB friend but would you mind not sending me invites to your FB page.
Sure I could have gilded the lilly, wrote some crap about how lovely their page looked and how I just can’t possibly add another page to my newsfeed. Perhaps I should learn to be more diplomatic. Instead I chose instead to state clearly the action I wanted them to take. Their response was to de-friend me. Instantly!
It was an immature response. Rather than simply respecting my wishes their choice was to cut me off completely. It’s not how the “social” part of social media works.
There are a couple of lessons here for Page owners. First, don’t piss your friends off by constantly inviting them to join your page. Sure, suggesting your page to friends builds fan numbers. It’s a proven strategy. But once you’ve invited them, back off. Don’t push it too far. If you do you’ll start alienating people.
Second, if you get a message asking you not to send page suggestions don’t take it personally. Respect your friend’s wishes and look for other ways to grow your fan base. Remember, thick skin good, thin skin not so.
There are ways Facebook could help page owners. First, they could add an “invite pending” indicator to a friend’s profile pic. Currently when suggesting a page to friends those who are already fans are displayed with a slightly opaque profile pic and can’t be added to the invite list. Facebook could add a similar function with the invite expiring after a period of time, say a month or three.
Facebook could also add a “block page suggestions from this person” button. This would mute out serial page-suggesting admins. They’d never know their message wasn’t getting through. But then again they probably wouldn’t care.