Facebook is here to stay. People from all age groups and walks of life are posting and interacting. It’s a great place to help build your business brand, increase awareness and drive traffic. Yet many business owners just don’t know how to use Facebook effectively.

Just like in face to face interactions, you only get one chance to make a good first impression on Facebook. Here are some tips to help you.

#1 Your Public Profile

Facebook has rules. One of them is that you shouldn’t use your personal profile to market a business. That’s what Facebook Fan Pages are for. That being said, many people still use their public profile to market their business. Breaking Facebook rules isn’t the problem with this tactic. The problem is that many people combine their personal and their business interactions.

They post personal information on the same wall that they publish business information. This doesn’t give your followers a consistent voice or brand. It’s confusing. And you probably don’t want a potential customer’s first impression to be, “Ugh. Drank too much at TGI Friday’s tonight.”

#2 Too Much Information

Separating purposes for your Facebook profile is the first way to make a good impression. Create a separate business profile and a separate personal profile for interacting with friends and family.

On your business profile, make sure to keep it strictly business. Anything and everything you post online is there to stay. Post something personal or share too much information and you could offend people, turn people off, and lose potential customers. Make sure you’re not sharing too much personal information with your business followers.

Instead, focus on providing the type of information your readers and prospects will find valuable. The more value you provide them, the better impression they’ll have of you. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t share personal information. However, it needs to be related to your business.

For example, “I just tried out a new cookie recipe. Received rave reviews from the PTA. Pictures and details are on my blog.” This is a great personal post for someone who owns a cooking website or blog. It’s personal but it also provides information and drives traffic to their site.

#3 Stay Positive

Unfortunately, many people use Facebook as their personal complaint board. They complain about clients, about other marketers, and about situations. This isn’t a great way to make a first impression. Nor is it a good way to keep followers interested. If you must vent, then call a friend or write in a journal. Don’t vent online! Stay positive and you’ll always make a good first impression.

Facebook is an exceptional business building tool. Create a plan for using Facebook that includes a personal voice, brand, and content strategy. Before posting anything, ask yourself this one final question – “How does this benefit my audience?”