by Steve Feldman
We have a Facebook page. If you haven’t friended or liked us yet, please do. Our resident webmaster says it’s important even if I don’t know exactly why. And therein lies the problem. Small businesses know they need to market themselves on Facebook, yet many are struggling to master the basics. What’s worse, some make mistakes that can actually harm the business.
I came across an article recently that outlined some common Facebook marketing mistakes:
1. Broadcasting. The No. 1 pitfall on Facebook is broadcasting your messages instead of providing fans with relevant content and engaging on a continual basis. Facebook is all about authenticity, so if your company is not engaging with customers in a way that feels genuine, the community will see right through it. Peter Shankman, social media consultant, put it in perspective: “Fans are looking for a reason to connect with you, and they’re showing you that by clicking ‘Like.’ Your job is to give them a reason to stay.”
2. Not investing adequate time. Another common mistake is underestimating the amount of time a successful Facebook strategy entails. Many social media consultants report seeing a pervasive “set it and forget it” mentality among small businesses. They often think people will just naturally come and want to be a fan of their product or service. It’s not just fan growth that will suffer from this approach; it may also hurt your relationships with existing followers, particularly customers who have come to expect timely responses to their posts and queries. The page needs to be updated and monitored constantly.
3. Being boring or predictable. Facebook is a social place where people share things they find funny, interesting or useful with their friends. Think about what kind of content your community would actually want to share when planning your posts. The moment you become predictable, boring or annoying, they’ll hide you from their feed.
4. Failing to learn about Facebook mechanics and tools. Some businesses have yet to explore all its functionality and are missing out on creating an optimal brand experience.
Very few small businesses create a custom welcome page. Social media marketing consultant Nicole Krug sees frequent mistakes around one of the most basic elements of Facebook presence: the profile image. “Most companies upload a version of their logo, but the resulting thumbnail image that shows up in news feeds often only captures a few letters in the middle of their logo—this meaningless image is then how they’re branded throughout Facebook.”
5. Violating Facebook’s terms. It’s important to know the rules of the road. Some companies build a community on a personal page instead of a proper Facebook page. Others fail to abide by Facebook’s rules around running contests. Some tag people who are in an image without their permission.
“What sets small businesses apart from large companies is their ability to make personal connections with customers,” said Ben Nesvig of FuzedMarketing. “They tend to forget this when they join Facebook.”