Facebook marketing is on the rise among businesses of all sizes today but still far too many struggle with the basics. There are many who have a hard time even getting a page set up and others who don’t understand what they are supposed to post on their page. While Facebook can absolutely help build your brand awareness, you need to learn to avoid some of the most common mistakes. Learn them, avoid them and rock on with a popular brand page!
Here are some of the biggest mistakes businesses make in Facebook marketing:
Not Investing Time: Far too many people want something for nothing. Too often brands think if they just make a presence on Facebook, magical things will happen. Unfortunately for them, it takes more effort than that. You will have to spend time on your marketing plan (or hire someone who can). You will have to invest time building a fanbase and then cultivating that fanbase into a committed community.
Broadcasting: Would you stand on the street corner with a megaphone and blast messages about how great your brand is? Ok, maybe some of you would so a better question is probably: Should you? Many brands are guilty of broadcasting on Facebook. For them, the process goes like this:
1. Create a Facebook fanpage
2. Post on my page how awesome we are
3. Facebook users see how awesome we are
4. We make LOTS of sales
So why isn’t this method working?
Well, because they’ve got it all wrong. Facebook is a social networking site, not an advertising billboard. It’s important that you interact, not just broadcast messages. Far too often brands want to know how Facebook is going to make them money. They look at it directly as a method of marketing but it’s important that you understand that people use Facebook differently. It’s not a shopping cart. It’s a place they go to make a connection and to be part of a community. When you are able to make that connect via Facebook, it directly increases brand awareness. It’s a place for a meaningful online experience with your brand- not another location to blast a sales pitch.
Being Too Predictable: Another common mistake that brands make on Facebook is being too predictable. Yes, there are rules. There are guidelines and there is an expected etiquette. But you also have to be unique. If you want people to notice your brand among all the many that are participating on Facebook, it will be important to be authentic. Facebook is a social place where people to go to hang out and have a good time. It doesn’t fit in all the rules of traditional marketing. Sometimes you need to stand out from the crowd, do something different and avoid the boring and predictable. Facebook is a great platform for testing these boundaries within your brand’s community.
Not Understanding Facebook Etiquette: You can’t just pop onto Facebook without understanding the community and etiquette. This is a common mistake that brands make. They think that they “own” their page and the people on it and they forget that since this site is about community building and connecting, there needs to be some wiggle room for fans to comment and communicate. There are both spoken and unspoken rules about what you do and do not do on Facebook. Overly spammy, advertorial or salesly content will not do well. People will unlike your page, hide your feed or even report you for spam.
Violating Facebook’s Terms of Service: Sometimes even worse than breaking Facebook rules of etiquette is violating their actual terms of service. Doing so can get your page removed or your entire account banned. Some of the most common violations are using a personal page for business instead of a Fanpage, tagging people to get their attention (such as tagging them in images that are not actually in), or violating Facebook’s rules about contests. Your first step should be to understand the rules fully. When it doubt about something, don’t do it! Seek the help of an expert. It’s much better to ask and wait, than to move ahead and risk losing your page and having to start all over again.
The more you learn about Facebook as a marketing platform, the community itself and your fans, the better capable you will be of creating content that passes the rules, generates fans and facilitates discussions. These are the types of Facebook communities that users want to be a part of.
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