Everyone is talking about Facebook, but few businesses seem to be making the most of it.
Recent studies have shown that small businesses regard Facebook and social media as one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to promote their brand. However, I found that small businesses are by far the biggest culprits of the following Facebook mistakes.
If you are a small-business owner, heed this warning: Do not go on Facebook simply because “everyone is doing it”; go there because you are looking for a new, innovative way to promote your brand.
When I started doing research at TemplateZone for our Facebook page creation tool, my boss told me to find the top 10 small-business Facebook pages. I found zero. I started to look at some of the bigger corporations on Facebook and concluded that only a handful of companies really “get” Facebook pages.
So, I asked myself, “If big companies that have marketing departments with deep pockets don’t get this, how will any small business or startup create a desirable Facebook page?” This question gave me a fever for Facebook fan pages. I started looking at as many as possible. I found that across the board there were some very serious issues that needed to be addressed. The great thing about these 12 common mistakes is that they are very easy to overcome. Most of these changes can be done quickly but have not been implemented by the greater Facebook population.
Check your page to see if you commit some of the most egregious mistakes you can make on Facebook.
Studies have shown that the No. 1 reason people “un-friend” another person is because they post too often. If friends and family members will drop each other for over-posting, what chance do you think your company has? Post one or two times a day with something substantial to say, and you will engage your fans without spamming them.
2. Syncing your updates with Twitter
Posting a lot on Twitter is an acceptable practice because it is a constant flow of information. However, people do not want their Facebook feed littered with status updates from your Twitter account. Keep your audience in mind on social media; remember for Facebook to “post regularly, yet frugally.”
3. Scheduling updates
A recent study by EdgeRank Checker showed that Facebook penalizes users of any third-party API used to update your Facebook page. The likelihood of engagement by a fan decreases by 70 percent when you use a third-party tool to update your statuses. EdgeRank Checker concluded that one major reason engagement drops is because Facebook collapses third-party updates and displays just one individual update for that platform.
4. Forgetting to set a default landing tab
This is one of the most common Facebook mistakes I have seen by small and large businesses alike. This step is crucial; a default landing tab with a clear call to action can increase your “like” rate by close to 50 percent. If unique visitors are just landing on your wall, they will not take part in any desirable actions (because you never asked them to).
5. Posting the same type of content
The Facebook EdgeRank dictates the number of impressions your posts will receive by measuring affinity, weight, and time decay. Different types of content hold a different weight, and this weight is also contingent upon how often this type of content is posted. When you are posting, keep in mind the adage, “Variety is the spice of life,” and don’t turn your status feed into an RSS reader or Flickr account.
(To learn more about Facebook EdgeRank, click here.)
6. Deleting fans’ wall posts
This one is a big no-no. Fans will notice if you delete their posts and will call you out for doing so. If you are receiving bad comments from disgruntled fans, talk with them to resolve their issues. Never sweep them under the carpet, because those commenters will retaliate. (I was banned from a certain fan page for asking a question.)
7. Pushing the hard sell
Lately, there’s been talk about social e-commerce, but this is still in its infancy. Use Facebook as a way to create and promote quality content to increase your brand’s reach and authority. By updating daily about new promotions, you are only asking people to click, “Hide this post.”
8. Removing fans’ ability to post
I am often surprised by how many pages actually remove fans’ ability to post comments on their wall. By removing this feature, you are making it much more difficult for a fan to engage with your page. The fear of social media is bad PR, but fans will find a way to talk about your company regardless of whether you remove posting ability. Wouldn’t you want them to talk about your company in a place where you can defend it?
9. Regarding only vanity metrics
Now that social media has shown to have some tangible benefits, many organizations are hiring social media managers to increase Facebook likes and Twitter followers. Though increasing these numbers is important to your social reach, the more important number is your interaction rate. For posts on Facebook to be seen, you need a higher EdgeRank, and you get a higher EdgeRank through increased affinity. Your affinity increases with higher interaction rates; a page of 10,000 fans and no interactions is not doing your company any good.
10. Using a profile image that is too small
Your profile image is a great way to get messages across to current fans. A current fan always lands on your wall and may not know the latest and greatest happenings on your page. Use the full 180-x540-pixel profile picture to your advantage; this is a lot of real estate to promote new offers or Fan Only bonuses.
11. Interrupting conversations
When people start commenting and responding to one another, let them have their conversation. Offer your view as the conversation is dying down to give your expert take on the matter and spark more conversations. You need to find a delicate balance; don’t neglect your fans, but don’t smother them, either.
12. Forgetting to post community rules
By having a set of rules, either on a separate tab or in your information, you are setting clear guidelines as to what can be said on your Facebook page. This will help you justify yourself when you remove a disgruntled fan’s post that used a lot of profanity (assuming that is stated as a deletable offense).
So, how many of these mistakes have you made or seen others make?
Justin Rondeau is the director of marketing at TemplateZone, speaker, and all around marketing junkie. He directs social media strategy and email marketing for TemplateZone and its suite of services, including High Impact Designer. A version of this story first appeared on the 12 Most blog.