At 1.23 billion monthly active users, the shear number of people using Facebook makes the social giant a solid addition to your Internet marketing campaigns. For certain types of businesses, leaving Facebook out their marketing campaigns can be a serious business mistake. With so many users, there is enormous potential for finding, reaching, and engaging with prospective and current customers.
Knowing how to avoid the most common pitfalls of posting, sharing, and running ad campaigns on Facebook is essential to your brand’s success on the network.
Maneuvering social media can be tricky and there is a learning curve, especially if you’re new to social media marketing. No matter where you start off, becoming a Facebook power user is certainly doable.
Earlier this year, I wrote on the 15 mistakes your business might be making on Twitter ; let’s continue the series by taking a look at 15 mistakes you might be making on Facebook and how you can correct them.
1. Not Understanding the Platform
You know you’re supposed to be on Facebook, because it’s where a lot of your customers’ are engaged, but you don’t know the intricacies and capabilities of the service. It’s important to arm yourself with knowledge if you’re new to Facebook business pages or to Facebook in general.
Not understanding the power of the platform means your business could be missing out on significant opportunities. From poorly designed, undersized cover images to foregoing Facebook analytics, if you don’t know your way around Facebook, it can prove to be detrimental to your business (if not just a huge waste of time).
There are many resources and tutorials available in Facebook’s help section and there’s a plethora of information available on the web. You may find some of it a bit boring, but take the time to read and understand. Staying up-to-date with Facebook’s changes will let you know how they that affect your business and your customers. After all, knowledge is power!
2. Violating Facebook’s Policies
Along the same vein as “not understanding the Facebook platform” is violating Facebook’s terms and conditions. Remember that you “agreed” to certain terms and conditions when you signed up for Facebook and created your business page. It is obligatory (and also beneficial) to abide by your agreement with Facebook.
Two very common violations of Facebook’s terms are:
- Using a personal page as a business page
- Violating contest and tagging policies
Both of these violations make your business susceptible to being reported, as well as monitored and reviewed by Facebook in the future.
Again, knowledge is power and if you know the policies that are most relevant to your course of action, you can avoid these pitfalls. Grow familiar with Facebook’s policy and focus on legitimately growing your audience. There are no excuses for violating the terms of your agreement; you did read it… right?
3. Making Copy Errors
While occasional typos may seem like a non-issue, they are HUGE when it comes to Facebook posts and ads. It is important to find and correct simple errors as they come across as unprofessional to your audience, reducing their trust in your brand. Not only do people tend to notice these types of errors almost subconsciously, they tend to remember them and associate your brand with the error.
This can be detrimental for brands seeking new leads. Errors like typos and misspellings unintentionally turn customers away before they’ve even had the chance to know what you offer, which is money your company will never see.
The fix for this is simple: Check your copy, and then check it again. Sites like Grammarly, while not perfect, are free and better than neglecting proofreading entirely.
4. Using the Wrong Image
Have you ever noticed a Facebook ad with an image that conveyed a completely different message than the ad copy? We humans are visual and the photo you choose for your ad will likely leave a stronger impression than most of the words used. For example, just look at this example spotted by Manny Rivas of Search Engine Watch :
It’s important to have your audience see your brand’s product or service in the best possible light. Also, your image doesn’t necessarily need to be a picture of your product or service. Focus on being sure the ad’s image conveys a positive message that your audience will associate with your brand.
5. Not Responding to Comments
Understand that your customers expect you to be “social” on social media. Even if you aren’t posting regularly, you should be attentive enough that you respond to customers’ comments and inquiries. Not responding makes your business appear out of touch and inconsiderate – neither of which you want to be!
Take the following example:
The company responded with:
Shoppers Drug Mart is committed to delivering value through our promotional events, so we’ve partnered with Canada’s top businesses to provide you with a range of offers. Your comments help us better understand what you value. The McDonald’s gift card promotion may not be the right fit for you, but we hope you’ll continue to tell us what you want (or don’t want), so we can give you what you need in the future.
As a small business, you should be able to respond to every comment, question and complaint as the volume should be manageable. Don’t ignore negative comments (or respond negatively) but rather, handle them in a way that shows your customers that you are concerned and prepared to offer a solution to the problem. Also be sure to check your messages, and use hashtags as a social listening method.
6. Using the Wrong Size Image
Facebook ads display in landscape, so you should always take this into consideration when creating your ad layout. Use images that fit the ad dimensions proportionately. If there’s no image available that will appropriately fill the space, resize the image you have or add a colored box under the image to fill out the area. It’s an easy, quick solution to achieve.
Notice how much bigger the Yellowpages image looks below compared to the Domino’s ad, simply because their image fully fills the space provided:
Let’s not even go into how poorly targeted this Dominos ad is for me, living in central Pennsylvania, who speaks zero Spanish…
7. Forgetting the Call-to-Action (CTA)
Your Facebook advertising campaign is all for naught if there’s not a CTA. It is a necessity for a successful ad campaign.
Effective Facebook advertising is a three-step process:
- Hook users with images
- Sell them with value in the copy
- Convert them with your CTA
How about the following example, does it compel you to action?
There are several issues with this ad:
- That image! It looks like a Craigslist post.
- The need to qualify statements with parentheses
- After all those words, there’s still no CTA!
Listing off your products is not a call to action. Your CTA tells your potential customers what to do next.
Here are a few common Facebook ad CTAs:
- Click for a FREE quote!
- Start today!
- Try it now!
Wishpond has a great list of seven tried and true Facebook CTA formulas .
8. Not Having a Strategy Beyond Facebook
The thing to note about Facebook is that it should serve as a facet of a larger strategy. It shouldn’t be the end game of your Internet marketing. Advertise your services, engage with customers, and Generate leads to push users through your sales funnel and convert them!
Many business owners think that putting up a Facebook page is all they need. Aside from the limited scope this strategy covers, what happens if for some reason your Facebook page becomes inaccessible? What about if your customers do a Google search for your business, will they find you elsewhere on the web?
Even if your business is just getting online and Facebook is all you have, you need a plan in place to get a website or blog up along with at least one other social media account. An entirely Facebook-dependent strategy may not doom you to failure, but you’ll be fighting an uphill battle.
9. Pushing Your Product Too Much
Yes, it is true that you are in business to earn money. It is also true that you are looking to give your customers what they want. A common theme in many sectors of internet marketing and content generation is the 80 /20 rule. You can find out more about its origins here , but when you hold your business to the same standard, 20% of your content should focus on your own products and services while 80% should be industry-related content.
If you’re updating your page regularly, you don’t want to bombard your customers with constant posts pitching them your service or product. Grab your fans’ attentions with interesting, engaging content, like this update to a Mustang community about the road trip someone took in their classic car:
There is an exception for businesses that tend to post engaging, shareable content on their own. I start salivating anytime my favorite local restaurant, Bricco, posts their specials to Facebook:
This is the case with most restaurants and bakeries. People are generally in love with photos of food, and won’t mind too much seeing mostly self-promoting posts from their favorite eateries. After all, this literally is the thing that they want to see from the business!
10. Using Too Much Text in Your Ad Image
The text in your ad should be your value proposition and CTA. No text should be on the image, except for very powerful words or vital information. For example, the work “Free” or a dollar amount would be good to include on the actual image if necessary. But tiny text that no one can read? One, it looks bad; Two, it does nothing to draw in the customer and is possibly in violation of Facebook’s 20% image text policy (where you can't have more than 20% of an image be text).
Take a look at the before and after images of this ad:
The new ad features an image of a sad dog, which has quite the emotional punch, as opposed to the image before, which is too small and confusing to be effective. The simple, attractive image works best. Always preview your ad before it goes live. If it doesn’t appeal to you, it likely won’t appeal to your audience.
11. Using Too Much Text in Your Posts
While we’re on the topic of text, let’s tackle the issue of too much text in your Facebook posts. Facebook’s character limit currently stands at 63,206 (good luck filling it). However, this does not mean you should be using every bit of text real estate available. Aim to keep your posts around the size of a tweet (under 140 characters) and use an image in your post.
This post spotted by Nick Steeves shows just how confusing too much text can be, especially if you’re conveying important information.
This update could have easily been split into 3 or 4 separate posts, each using an image to capture the attention of people viewing the status and maybe a link to additional information.
Beleave Teas does things the right way. The post features an eye-catching photo of a new tea they’re selling. There’s a brief sentence, a hashtag and a link to the product page. This post is simple and effective.
One thing they could have done differently would be to remove the hyperlink from the post (as the image itself serves as a link). This would clean up the post a bit and make the hashtags pop out more.
12. Not Focusing on Your Target Audience
According to Webtrends, targeting ads to existing fans may get you 700% more click-throughs and actual conversions can increase by up to 400% . Those are significant numbers!
While you can run different types of Facebook ads (to gain followers, likes, comments, etc), the most common Facebook ad aims to convert click into cash. If your goal is short-term revenue, targeting fans is the best way to increase the effectiveness of your ad dollars. Spending money targeting non-fans and non-customers with ad copy that is intended to sell to current customers is a great way to waste your ad budget.
Be certain that you are matching your ad copy with the audience you choose. Run multiple campaigns to target multiple audiences and focus on either converting current fans into paying customers or on building a following that you can then convert.
13. Overly Automating Your Updates
While automation can be a very good tactic when done correctly, overuse can actually cause you to lose fans. Even when using automation, it is important that the human side of your brand isn’t lost. Several noticeable and worrisome problems can arise when automation is overused, such as updates that are too close together. Also, if much of your audience is following you on both Facebook and Twitter, having Twitter update to Facebook or vice versa is a bad idea. You’ll look out of touch and robotic.
Understand that posts on Facebook and Twitter need to be tailored to each platform. Also use scheduling services wisely to avoid multiple and repeat updates. Social media scheduling apps like Buffer offer a method to space updates naturally and let you choose when you want to post.
14. Not Testing Images
A/B testing is a best practice that is easy to forego when you are strapped for time or have a small budget. Don’t assume that the image you would choose for a Facebook ad is going to be the best image to encourage click-throughs. For instance, we often hear that images with faces attract our attention more, but as Webtrends revealed, this isn’t always the case.
After showing their audience the following slide , they ask them to choose the one that performed the best in a Facebook ad.
Which image do you think performed best? Most people chose the images of the women, but as it turns out, the image with the colorful holiday ornaments was the “best in show”. As a business owner or marketer, A/B testing is the most effective method of determining the best way to develop your ad to best target your audience.
15. Not Knowing When to Post Updates
Sure, you’ve heard that some days and times are better for posting on Facebook than others, but people seem to disagree on the best times. While it’s important to remember that every business’ audience will respond differently, studies have found that there are some ideal times and days for engaging on Facebook.
A study by Buddy Media revealed a correlation between work and Facebook use. As they frankly put it, “the less people want to be at work, the more they are on Facebook!” The study shows that engagement is 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays than other days of the week. There is some variation on this stat depending on industry, but generally end-of-the-week posts garner more engagement.
This snippet from an infographic by KISSmetrics shows Saturday as the best day for sharing on Facebook.
As for the best time of day to post, this varies largely between 9am and 7pm, but early afternoon posting seems to work well.
Other Social Media Resources
Have you seen a mistake that wasn’t covered in this post? Share your discoveries in the comments below!
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