Facebook is no doubt one of the most important tools you’ll use to connect with your customers and community. Though many brands have been using Facebook successfully for years, even more brands are just starting to learn about the benefits. The brands that do well are those taking the time to put a lot of thought and effort in to how they use Facebook. You can tell it’s important with them to engage with their fans and keep a top level of communication.
There are also what I call the “going through the motions” brands. These brands have Facebook pages up because they read somewhere it was the right thing to do. Every now and then they’ll post a sales call to action but for the most part there’s not too much engagement because they haven’t taken any time to research the best ways to make Facebook work for them.
Not everyone needs to hire a community strategist or manager to handle the social networks. However, there are a few best practices and rules of the road to consider when starting a Facebook page. To not have at least a general knowledge of how things work and how to make Facebook work for you means you could be making some big mistakes.
What follows is a look at some of the goofs brands are making on Facebook. Give it a read, and add to the list in the comments.
10 Mistakes You’re Making on Your Brand’s Facebook Page
No invitation to interact
Talking about your day to day routine might be interesting on occasion, but it’s never interesting if your community isn’t invited to share their own daily activities. So when you post that you spent the day in meetings this means nothing unless you also ask your Facebook fans how they spent their day as well. Most people won’t interact without some sort of invitation. When you only mention what you do, it looks like you only care what yo do. You should be updating with everyone else in mind, and use their comments as research and feedback. The way your community responds to even the most non-sales pitchy posts is important and you should always gather up and use this information for future interactions, products or services.
Only updating when it’s time to sell or promote:
The best way to show your community you’re only courting them for the sale is to only update when you’re selling. People aren’t dumb. They know the reasons brands are getting into social media. That doesn’t mean you have to be so obvious about it. Take the time to get to know the people who make up your community and enjoy their company. They’ll learn something, you’ll learn something, and the sales will come organically.
It’s all about you, you, you
There’s a difference between a brand Facebook (and yes, a blog is a brand ) and a personal Facebook. On our personal accounts we’re expected to talk about ourselves. However, very few people join a brand page to learn about the person who’s maintaining said page. If your page is all about you, your family, your city, your habits and, well, you, no one else can relate. Is it a page that reaches out to a specific type of community? If so, that’s what you should talk about. Is a page about a certain hobby? If so, leave your weekend visits to Aunt Martha off the page unless the hobby is knitting and Aunt Martha had a houseful of needlework. Is it a page open to everyone in the world? If so, update beyond your city. It’s great (and important) to add your own personality and voice to a page, but there’s a difference between personality, and making it all about you.
You ignore all comments and questions
If you’re looking to grow a thriving Facebook community, the emphasis has to be in community. Not only should you allow questions and comments on your page, but you should also be on hand to respond. When you ignore your community, your community will ignore you in return.
Not allowing tags, fan posts on timeline and, generally, discouraging interaction
The word “community” pretty much means the same online as it does offline; a collective of people gathered around a certain goal. If you weren’t given a chance to speak or respond to your community leaders in your neighborhood community, you’d no doubt be a little angry. You might even consider not living in a place where you’re not allowed to have a voice. Well, the same applies to online communities. Your Facebook fans want to be a part of the fun too. They want to be able to post comments and questions, tag themselves and their friends, and add to the discussion whenever they can. When you shut off the ability to do these things, you’re going to have a quiet, closed community that will one day turn into a ghost town.
Deleting negative comments or feedback
No. you shouldn’t let your Facebook page become a hotbed of negativity and should absolutely remove spammy and abusive comments. However, some comments are negative but not disrespectful, nor are they posted with malicious intent. For example, if you maintain a page for a cereal company and someone posts how disappointed she is because you discontinued her favorite fruity flavor, and others in the community respond in a similar manner, this is important feedback. By allowing these types of comments you’re telling your fans their comments and feedback are important to you. When you delete comments like this you’re saying, “Tough. We don’t care what you think anyway.” Just because comments aren’t sunshine and puppydogs, doesn’t mean they have no place on your wall.
A generic Timeline cover photo
Your Facebook Timeline is a perfect opportunity to showcase your brand. While you’re not allowed to post specific calls to action on your Timeline cover photo, you can certainly use your Timeline to better illustrate your product or service. A logo works, or better, find an image that best illustrates how people are using your product or service. The Timeline cover photo is the first thing that catches a person’s eye when they’re on Facebook looking to learn more about your brand. How are you going to grab their attention?
Too many posts
As much as we’d like to think Facebook fans would like to see updates from us all day, the truth of the matter is that a sure-fire way of losing fans is to post updates all day. You need to spread those puppies out. Try narrowing your updates to one to three per day, depending on how active a community you have. Note the best times for engagement and post during those times.
Bringing in the Twitter feed
I hate to break it to you, but very few people want to see your Twitter updates on Facebook. This is especially true if your brand account tweets often or takes part in Twitter chats. First, it’s all one sided because the Facebook folks are only seeing your half of the conversation. Second, no one wants a rapidfire stream of updates. Also, if you’re posting the same things on both Twitter and Facebook, it’s redundant. You can get around this by installing a tab for Twitter instead. This way, if folks want to see your Tweets on Facebook they can click on the tab. I use TweetTab for the BlogWorld account.
Not caring about spelling or grammar
I can tell you from experience people notice when you don’t take the time to proofread your posts. It tells them you’re more interested in the update than the post itself. Show your community you respect them by proofing your Facebook updates. Trust me on this one.
If they don’t like it offline, they won’t like it online
My rule of thumb is this: The same sort of things that bug people offline, bug people online. Sales jargon, one-sidedness, being off topic and not giving anyone a chance to participate cause us to get turned off from our neighborhood community functions. It stands to reason we’d be put off by this with our online communities as well.
Ask yourself, if I was visiting this page and knew nothing about the brand but wanted to learn more, would this be a turnoff?
What mistakes do you see brand pages making on Facebook? What are some things that causes you to UnLike a brand?