Facebook is increasingly becoming the center of the known universe. Yet many businesses, large and small, struggle to gain a following and end up abandoning their pages or punting information to people who simply aren’t listening.
It comes down to fundamental errors in the way pages are put together and managed, and often because of a lack of understanding of Facebook as a social channel. Avoid the following mistakes, and watch your “likes” go up:
1. You only display posts by page
When you first set up a Facebook page, you’re given the option of what to display on your wall: only your own posts, or posts by anyone who wishes to contribute. If you leave the default of “Only Posts by Page” you’re effectively saying to me, “I’m not interested in what you’ve got to say, so I’m going to hide it away where no one will see it.” Gee thanks, and excuse me if I never visit your page again then.
Unless you’re Skittles and have 14 million fans that clutter up your wall, please change it. This is such a basic error that I see time and again, and yet it takes only a few seconds to fix.
2. There’s no customization
Making a Facebook page your own is simple now. It doesn’t take any substantial knowledge of html to implement a customized landing page. Most of the Facebook apps to import blogs, Twitter feeds, video, polls and competitions are simple to use. So, why aren’t you using them?
If you make no effort to make your profile picture exciting (a simple corporate logo really doesn’t cut it), to welcome me to your page with a customized landing tab or to add content to your page with customized tabs, why would I bother hanging around? Answer: I won’t. Take a look here for more information on how to create a custom Facebook welcome tab.
3. Your page has unused tabs
Another very common mistake is to leave the default tabs on the page even if they’re blank. These will typically be Events, Discussions and Boxes. I find it frustrating when I click on Discussions (for example) and find that there aren’t any, or that someone posted something six months ago that got one response. If you’re not using it, remove it (go to Edit Page/Apps, click on Edit Settings under the relevant tab and then click Remove). You wouldn’t have a blank page on your website would you? The same applies to Facebook pages. Leaving inactive tabs conveys that you really can’t be bothered.
4. Your content isn’t social
Imagine picking up a copy of The New York Times, and rather than featuring news and articles that interest you, it’s full of advertisements. That’s what some Facebook pages are like: narcissistic, self-absorbed push marketing that is entirely focused on what it sells. The administrators of these pages post only sales-y content about products and promotions and company developments. They never ask the opinions of their fans. They never even respond to comments (which are normally few and far between).
Social media includes the word “social” media for a reason, and there’s nothing duller than a company brochure in Facebook form. The most engaging pages post content that is quirky, interesting and intended to generate conversation. Yes, it’s important to publicize the brand and important developments; people want that as much as you do. But mix it up, make it interesting, post videos, pictures and jokes, throw in some random stuff. Vary your content and, with everything you post, think “would I share this with my friends?”
5. Your haven’t figured out when to post
You can offer too little content on Facebook. Or you can post too much. Or you can post it at the wrong time of day. If I visit a page that’s updated once a week, I’ll generally leave immediately. That weekly post is going to have to be one pretty darned outstanding post to have me notice it!
On the other hand, I’ve followed pages before that post three, four of five times a day or, worse still, stream in their tweets. They don’t last long before either being hidden from my newsfeed or Unliked. I, typically, like to see at least one interesting update per day and generally recommend two, each at different times of the day. That in itself is a minefield, but experimenting with different times to find when your posts are most effective is important. Customize your page, vary your content and get your post frequency right, and your page will gain popularity.
Paul Sutton is the head of digital PR at Bottle PR. He blogs at Tribalboogie.