As the largest social media website in the world, Facebook is an important tool for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re looking to develop a multi-million pound brand or generate more sales for your business startup, Facebook can help.
Marketing on Facebook is very different to marketing on TV, radio or through pay per click advertising (e.g. Google Adwords). In fact, it’s very different to just about any other marketing medium on the planet.
Marketers who approach Facebook with methods that work effectively in other industries tend to end up shooting themselves in the foot. Working with Facebook users is not like working with other audiences!
Here are the top 10 Facebook marketing mistakes that people tend to make, along with how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Going posting crazy
Facebook is not Twitter. People often lump social media into one single category, but these networks are really quite different from one another. One important distinction is post frequency. On Twitter, it’s normal for people to post 10, 20 or even 30 tweets a day. That’s the pace of the action and it is both expected and accepted by the community.
On Facebook however, if you were to post that often, you would be perceived as spamming and as a result, very few of your messages will end up in people’s feeds anyway. Therefore, all that time and energy spent, will have been for nothing.
The ideal post frequency for most people is about 1 or 2 updates a day but if you have a very active audience, you can probably get away with about 4 or 5 updates a day.
Mistake #2: Deleting Negative Comments
This is a definite nono. Facebook users value their freedom of speech and if you take away that freedom by deleting negative comments, then not only do you look like you have something to hide, but you will have uproar on your hands.
Companies who’ve done this in the past have often been surprised by the backlash. In many cases, those who were silenced ended up creating their own Facebook pages dedicated to bashing the company. They posted negative remarks to their whole social network, which got a lot of shares.
If you delete negative comments, they will simply resurface elsewhere. It might be on another page, it might be on their status update, it might even be on a consumer watch website like Watchdog.
It’s far better to contain the damage by responding intelligently to comments. Don’t delete things, but face them head on. You’ll gain respect instead of losing it.
Mistake #3: Not Participating
Most big brands make this mistake, you need only take a quick glance at a big brand’s fan page to see this. Take a look at how often they are responding to comments, are they actively participating? Probably not, however big brands don’t need to. McDonalds for example, aren’t looking to create a McDonalds community online. That’s why they can get away with it.
As a small business however, your goal should be to connect with as many of your followers as possible. Your aim is to nurture goodwill and develop the relationship in order to encourage more discussion. The only way to do this is through active participation.
When someone posts a comment, respond to it. When someone asks a question, answer it. If someone makes a complaint publically, respond publically with an explanation or an apology. If someone posts something valuable, say thank you. The more you participate, the more likely others are to get involved as well.
Mistake #4: Make Sure You Know The Rules
If you’re planning on running a contest on Facebook, then you should definitelty read the rules. Then read them again. Then read them again. Facebook has so many rules about how you can and can’t run contests on their sites that it’s very easy to fall into a trap. Violating even just one of these rules is enough to get your contest and possibly even your whole page shut down with all your loyal followers, gone in just a second.
Many of the contest rules are counter intuitive. For example, you can’t actually announce a winner on your Facebook page and you can’t use Facebook to contact them. The list of rules goes on and on.
Despite this, Facebook is a fantastic platform to run a contest on. However, if you want to use the platform, you must be willing to play by their rules. Read the rules here.
Mistake #5: Boring Content
If you’re only posting one type of content all the time, you’re going to bore your audience. Yes, ice-cream is tasty, but to eat it all the time would be no fun and the same applies to your social media! Try to add a little excitement. Fan pages that only post text status updates or only link to written articles often have a hard time keeping their audience engaged.
Instead, post a variety of content. Here are just some of the many different types of content you can post:
- Text status updates (but make sure you keep them interesting and positive. Nobody cares what you’ve had for lunch or if you’re stuck in traffic unless it’s relevant.)
- Links to audio interviews (record your own or post podcasts and interviews from others.)
- Links to articles and blog content (mix it up between your own blog and others that are relevant. That way, you are driving traffic to your website but are still keeping people interested by providing variety.)
- Infographics and other graphical content (depending on the nature of your business, combine funny, serious and informative pictures to keep people interested.)
- Flash product demonstrations
- Videos and slide show presentations (create a YouTube channel and link to your own videos too!)
- Software, web software and other tools.
The idea is to mix things up so people are constantly exposed to something new through your feed and therefore never get bored and decide to press that evil little unlike button.
Mistake #6: Sending Promotions via Private Message
This is a huge mistake. Marketers might do this because they actually genuinely think their product is so good that it warrants private messaging, or they might just be desperate for the sale. Whatever the reason, no matter how good it seems to you, don’t do it.
Many Facebook users have experienced their accounts being hacked by fraudsters and false information being messaged to all of their friends. If you private message in this way then the chances are high that that is how your message will be interpreted.
Private messaging on Facebook should be reserved for real friends only. Sending commercial messages on Facebook messages is viewed as even lower than email spam.
If you post high quality content that your followers click on, Facebook will prioritise your status updates so it shows up more often in your followers’ feeds. This is the best way to reach your followers. Don’t overstep the bounds between commercial and personal, or you’ll jeopardise your relationships and even your fan page.
Mistake #7: Not Sharing
It’s a pretty natural inclination to want your content to be the only content you share on your feed. Unfortunately, that is not the way to create the best customer experience. You aren’t always going to be the first one to create content on a topic and believe it or not you won’t always be able to create the best resource on a topic.
When someone else beats you to the punch, you have the choice of either ignoring it or sharing it with your fan base. By sharing it with your fan base, you give them something valuable, help them solve a problem and build goodwill.
It may not feel as good to the ego to share someone else’s content, but if you’re truly looking out for your followers, this will often mean that sharing someone else’s content is what you have to do. Obviously, aim to put out as much high quality content as you can, but always share any outside pieces of content that you think would help. The chances are high that if you share another persons content, then they are more likely to do the same for you in return.
Mistake #8: Bad Design
Facebook’s timeline and covers allow you to create a highly customized look on both your Facebook profile and your Facebook pages. If you’re still using the standard Facebook look, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to build your credibility and your brand.
You should have a highly professional and great looking Facebook cover for both your Facebook fan page as well as for your personal profile.
What if you aren’t a great designer? No problem – You can have someone do a design for you.
Likewise, make sure you have a professional looking photo. If you want to go the extra mile, look for some way to add some interaction between your profile photo and your timeline cover photo.
In addition to having a great profile picture and cover photo, make sure your fan page is filled out completely. For example, if you run a restaurant, make sure your opening times, website, address and your online menu are all linked to from the page.
Mistake #9: Not Using Facebook Insights
Metrics are an important part of any marketing campaign. You need to keep track of the resources you’re putting into your campaign and what kind of results you’re getting out of it. Facebook marketing is no different.
Facebook’s insights give you a lot of valuable data that you can use to determine how well your campaign is doing. Your raw fan count is not the only important number to look at, through Facebook insights, you can also figure out how many friends of your fans saw your content, how many people are talking about your posts and you can see how many people interacted with your post in any way – whether it’s a share, a comment or a like.
You can use Facebook insights in real time, which allows you to do things like promote or pin a post. You can then watch as your Facebook influence rises or falls to see exactly how much impact various efforts have.
Get to know Facebook insights. When it comes to Facebook marketing, it can be your best friend.
Mistake #10: Wanting to be Liked
Facebook marketers tend to focus too much on the number of likes they get. The theory is that the more likes you have the better you appear to be, but this really isn’t the case at all. It’s entirely possible for a Facebook fan page with 5,000 followers to bring in more revenue than a Facebook fan page with 50,000 or even 500,000 followers. It’s not just follower count that matters.
Other factors you should pay attention to include:
- How often do your fans share your content?
- How often do fans come back to your fan page?
- How many of your fans do you know in person?
- How many would buy a product if you recommended it?
- What’s your virality %?
- How many of your fans are also on your email list?
The quality of your fan base is every bit as important, and often more important, than the number of fans you have. Paying attention to getting more fans is a good thing, but don’t neglect investing in the quality of your fan base.
These are ten of the most common mistakes people make on Facebook. When done right, Facebook marketing can help you spread your message, bring more people in the loop, build your brand and drive revenues. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to a successful Facebook campaign.