7 reasons your Facebook page is a hot mess

Branding efforts on the social network can go awry because of poor visuals, lackluster content, or an absence of fun. See how to turn things around.

It’s in a state of disarray so chaotic that it’s dizzying to look at—a mess beyond the normal range of disarray.

It may sound like I am describing Lindsay Lohan heading to court on a Monday morning, but no, I am describing a Facebook business page that lacks a strategy for consistent engagement but has potential to become super hot.

Could this be your business’s page?

Facebook boasts the largest user base of any social network, so if your business doesn’t have a solid Facebook presence, you’re simply missing lead generation opportunities. There are plenty of ways to sabotage your success when it comes to creating Facebook content, and we’ve all been guilty of them at some point.

Here are seven reasons your fans might view your Facebook page as a social media hot mess:

1. You don’t use enough visuals.

Facebook’s new timeline, which rolled out in March, is designed to support big, bold visuals. According to a recent study by Fast Company, 44 percent of social media users are most likely to engage with companies that post visual content: graphics, photographs, videos, and infographics. If you’re not using visuals liberally, you’re ignoring your audience’s needs and inviting them to go elsewhere to find compelling visual content.

Go BIG. Go bold. Quote famous individuals. Share videos. Use your company colors, and play with font shapes and sizes to optimize for both desktop and mobile.

2. You don’t use your real estate wisely.

Did you know Facebook recently lifted the ban on using calls to action on cover photos? (Here’s an explanation of the change.) The cover photo is front and center on your page, and it shows up in the feed when someone “likes” you, so you should absolutely be rotating relevant marketing graphics in that spot.

Additionally, take full advantage of customizing Facebook tabs to point to graphically appealing landing pages that bolster lead-generation efforts. Let’s say that you just produced a new piece of content—an e-book or a guide, for example—and have created a cover image specifically to promote this content using words and colorful graphics. Your new content will get more “airtime” with a customized tab, and your image will always have a home in your photo album. The most recent post area will provide yet another visual that points directly to your content’s customized landing page.

3. You don’t tie your posts to offers.

Once your hot mess begins to take shape you might be soaring with great content, but if you’re not leveraging that content to lead viewers back to a landing page or website, your efforts are wasted. (Don’t listen to the crazies who preach that Facebook is only for branding; heeding this advice will only cause you to miss opportunities.)

You can increase your customer affinity by gaining their trust with good content. The best way to do this is to use both organic and paid posts to direct your audience to customized landing pages within Facebook. (Facebook rewards your marketing efforts with better reach for your campaigns if you keep your landing pages within Facebook, instead of sending users to your website.)

On landing pages, you can provide a timely, relevant webinar registration offer or an e-book in return for contact information, for example. By giving away content that users value, you get something even more valuable in return: recipient info that bolsters your marketing automation efforts.

4. You don’t have an editorial calendar.

I know it’s a cliché, but content is still king on Facebook, so you need a strategic plan that works in tandem with a controlled publishing cadence. In other words, you need an editorial calendar.

Not only do we have a Facebook editorial calendar, but we plan our publishing lineup with all devices and platforms in mind, which gives us the greatest reach and keeps all our content integrated and on point.

5. You don’t pay to upgrade your reach.

Those thumbnail ads that run on the right side of Facebook don’t work, but here’s what does: paying to promote your own good content.

To make a substantial impact with your Facebook content-and break through to the coveted “friends of friends” pool—use strategic, targeted Facebook ad techniques such as sponsored stories, like sponsored stories, and targeted newsfeed ads designed for both desktop and mobile devices.

Want to take it a step further? Try using custom audience targeting by uploading your email database into Facebook’s Power Editor.

6. You don’t experiment.

Social media is all about prudent trial and error, and Facebook is no exception. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your ad tactics and your content. Determine the types of content your target audience engages with, and then produce more of it.

You might be surprised at the success of nontraditional content experiments, so it’s always worth entertaining new ideas. Marketo recently created the Big Marketing Activity Coloring Book, and offered it to our audience in exchange for email addresses.

Think a coloring book is an unsuitable freebie to offer adult marketing leaders? Would you change your mind if I told you we’ve had over 7K views in just four days? Facebook is the perfect place to experiment with whimsy in your marketing.

7. You are not having fun.

Your customers and prospects are not on social media to be pitched 24×7. Instead, entertain them, tell them a story, give them something to share, and help them along the way. When it comes time for them to buy, your company will probably be top of mind because you’ve put in the work.

Use these lessons effectively, and you’ll dramatically ramp up your Facebook presence. More than the numbers, your Facebook page will become a go-to hub for your customers, fans, and the general B2B public to find your content—a symbiotic setup, of course, because you get their brand awareness in return.

Remember, a hot mess might be fun to look at on the pages of TMZ, but it’s not the way you want your customers or prospects to refer to your company’s Facebook page.

Jason Miller is the social media strategist at Marketo. A version of this article originally appeared on Convince & Convert.

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