It seems like a no-brainer. A social media outlet with more than 800 million active users seems like the perfect place for advertising, marketing, and pushing your latest product, but it’s important to remember that Facebook is largely a personal social media outlet. Too much pimping and pushing and you will see your Facebook fans quickly disappearing.

However, public relations is a whole other ballgame. Now, I don’t mean the stalking game that PR tends to become when you are trying to get media coverage for your product or service. While media relations is a crucial part of every public relations campaign, it is not direct communication with your public. Facebook provides a unique opportunity for companies because it allows them direct contact with their customers without any middleman. If we are really talking about the true art of “relating to your public,” then Facebook is a perfect venue.

But, “relating” without annoying is tricky.

Think about it: Depending on your product or service, you must have something going for you if you were able to get people to “like” your company’s Facebook page in the first place. What is it? Is it a really high-quality product? Was it exceptional customer service experiences? Did you offer an opportunity to win a trip to Cancun for every person who liked your page? Whatever it was, it worked. Now you have to keep them, and to do that, you need to offer relevant information or opportunities to your public.

And I’m not talking about announcing that you just changed the color of the label on your product, or that your CEO was recently given some obscure award. Nobody cares. Really. They don’t.

Here are a few examples of relevant information that your fans might like to hear about:

  • Upcoming contests or sweepstakes your company is offering (everyone likes to win things!)
  • Recent recalls associated with your product (your fans will appreciate you being more concerned with their safety than your image)
  • Anything GREEN! The people of the world are turning more Earth-conscious, and if your product is trying to help save the planet, people want to know.
  • Preservatives and chemicals are so 5-minutes-ago. Is your product becoming healthier in some aspect (all natural, whole wheat, no sugar added)? People want to know.
  • The Human Fund! Is your company hosting a 5K fundraiser? Are a portion of your proceeds going to help charities? Is there something easy your customers can do (like saying something at the register when they check out) to get funds donated to their child’s school? People want to help others – especially when it requires little effort on their part (sad, but true). If so, let them know.
These are just a few examples, but you get the idea. Relevant information that may affect their lives – that’s what your customers are interested in. Using Facebook to communicate that information to show you care, not only about your customers, but the world in general, is true public relations. That’s a relationship most people would appreciate.