If you’re using Facebook to market your blog, company, or brand, you have the potential to reach a whole new audience. However, you’ll only reach that new audience if you follow the best practice of Facebook marketing without falling into common traps that many marketers do. Whether it’s being too self-promotional or automating too much, these mistakes will keep you from maintaining a two-way conversation with your fans. And without that conversation and engagement, it won’t be easy to grow your fan base.
Here are nine Facebook marketing mistakes that marketers commonly make, and how to avoid them. Are you making any of these mistakes?
1. Publishing all self-promotional content
The biggest mistake Facebook marketers make is the easiest one to make: only promoting your own content. Every time you launch a new product, publish a new product, or run a new promotion, you immediately think, “Hey, I can share this with my ### Facebook fans and get tons of traffic to it!”
And that’s ok, but only as long as you’re also sharing other content that your fans will be interested in. If you’re only posting content that promotes your own brand, your fans will start feeling like you’re one big advertisement, and they’ll start unliking you.
Post a variety of content on your page that doesn’t only link to your own website. This could be industry news, funny (but relevant) pictures and videos, and you can even share what your fans post to your page. If you’re struggling to get ideas for new Facebook page posts, take a look at the top brands on Facebook, as well as your competitors’ Facebook pages, to get some inspiration.
2. Auto publishing your tweets to your Facebook page
Twitter is a great place to converse with your audience, but it’s a completely different platform, and should be treated as such. Here’s why:
- Posting frequency is different. Although you’ll want to tweet several times a day to get noticed in people’s overloaded Twitter streams, applying the same frequency to Facebook could annoy your fans and lead to them hiding your updates.
- Duplicate content overload. You don’t want to duplicate the same exact content you use on Twitter for Facebook. Fans following you on both networks notice.
- Different character limits. You have much more than 140 characters to work with on Facebook. Take advantage of the extra space!
You can always repurpose the same concepts as your tweets — just rework them to your fit Facebook content strategy. But don’t automatically publish your Twitter posts to Facebook.
3. Not responding to negative comments (or worse, deleting them)
Facebook lets you have a two-way conversation with your audience, both fans and detractors. When you have this open form of communication, you are susceptible to negative criticism. It comes with the territory, but learning about how to handle these scenarios before your face them will help prevent those “freak out” moments.
For the most part, here are the best practices to stick to:
- Stay positive. Being defensive or adding additional negativity will reflect poorly on you and your company, so always have a friendly tone.
- Be candid and open. Voice appreciation for feedback and your willingness to find a solution.
- Respond publicly. Send a reply or a status update to your entire audience, rather than private messages to each complainer.
Don’t just delete any negative comments that crop up. If fans notice that they’re being censored, they will get angrier. The only types of posts you should delete are spam, all-cap rants, profanity, and repetitive bashing of your brand or another fan without sound reasoning. A heated debate is fine — you’ll know when your brand or a fan is being attacked.
4. Thinking that fan growth is the most important metric
While it’s exciting to see the number of Likes on your fan page increase over time, engagement is a more important metric.
If you have 20,000 fans and only 1% of those engage with your page on a regular basis, that’s only 200 fans regularly commenting, liking, and sharing your content.
If you have only 1,000 fans, but 40% of them engage with your page on a regular basis, that’s 400 fans regularly commenting, liking, and sharing your content.
By the way, when fans do engage with your content, their friends see your updates in their newsfeeds, so you have the potential to get more organic likes. So if you’re spending money trying to get 20,000 fans, and you stop spending cash, you might find it difficult to continue growing your fan base if the engagement is so low.
5. Never asking fans questions
A very effective way to get fans to engage with your content is to ask them a question. Show them that you care about their opinions. Many of the top brands on Facebook ask their fans questions all the time. It also helps mix up the content on your page. There are even clever ways you can ask fans a question while still promoting your own product.
6. Limiting yourself to text-only updates
Just posting standard text updates gets boring after a while. You have several different ways to share content on Facebook. In addition to your standard status update, you can also post links, upload photos, upload videos, or post a question (which non-fans can also see). Just like you’d want to vary the content type in your blog to keep readers interested, mix up the content type on your Facebook page to make your wall look fun and interesting.
7. Not optimizing your Facebook page images
When you upload a new profile image, Facebook automatically sizes it down to fit the thumbnail size that appears in users’ news feeds and your wall. On your fan page, your brand’s logo could be cut off in the thumbnail, and this is bad for brand recognition. Here are some fan pages that didn’t get it right for a while:
So make sure you get the dimensions of your Facebook profile image right for the thumbnail resize. A profile image will be 200 px wide, so make sure that your desired thumbnail is within a 12 pixel border.
8. Automating all of your Facebook activity
Facebook is not a “set it and forget it” deal. In order to maintain a successful fan page, you need to frequently post new and engaging content that your fans would want to pay attention to. This includes:
- Timely content. You can’t always schedule this in advanced, especially when it comes to breaking news or advancements in your industry.
- Responses to fans. If you’re getting a common question, you can create a post answering the question. Again, this isn’t something you can know in advance.
- Individual replies. Not all of the content you post will be new updates. You should also reply to all of your fans’ comments and posts on your page to let them know you care.
9. Forgetting to promote your page on your website
If you don’t link to your Facebook page from your website, it’s hard for them to know your Facebook page exists at all.
Your website visitors and blog readers have already found your content by searching for something specific in Google or clicking a link on another website. They’re at least somewhat interested in what you have to say. Include a Facebook like box in your sidebar so that your website visitors can like your page without ever having to leave your website. Also include a link in your website footer that people can see no matter where on your site they are.
What are the biggest mistakes you see brands making on their Facebook pages?