When most people think of social media marketing, they immediately think of Facebook. There’s a good reason for it, since Facebook is the largest social network in the world with almost 1.3 billion users, but there’s an inherent problem with Facebook marketers, especially those new to the social media marketing scene: they think of Facebook as a magic customer pool instead of what it is, a content marketing platform.
Social media marketing started circulating as a gimmick, drawing in thousands of new entrepreneurs because of its novelty and its popularity as a buzzword. But it has matured as a marketing platform, and the research-focused marketer can harness its power to increase web traffic and brand awareness successfully.
As you begin or continue your Facebook marketing efforts, be sure to avoid these 10 all-too-common mistakes:
You wouldn’t rush into a traditional marketing campaign without thinking through your strategy, would you? Many small business owners have tried—and failed—to use Facebook on a whim, after hearing the promise of increased web traffic and more customer engagements. But before you start posting on Facebook, it’s a good idea to outline your goals. Do some research about your key demographics, look up some case studies of successful Facebook marketers, and develop a game plan that includes both short-term and long-term goals. Follow up by adjusting that strategy gradually as you learn more details about your audience.
Facebook business pages have many available fields for you to input your information. Only a handful of them are required in order to take your page live, but you should fill out as many of them as possible. Have an appropriately branded profile image and cover photo, and be as detailed as possible in your summaries and information fields. Many people use Facebook pages to find hours and directions for local businesses, so don’t leave any of that valuable information out. On a related note, it’s a good idea to create your own custom URL so your Facebook URL isn’t just a series of random numbers.
The “like” function lends itself to being overblown. It’s easy to see a post with 200,000 likes and 10,000 shares and think about the possibilities for your own brand if you were to get that kind of attention. But likes are cheap. Your page could have a million likes, but only a handful of true fans, or your page could have only a dozen likes, but all of them coming from hardcore fans. What’s important isn’t the number of likes you get, it’s the number of truly engaged fans you earn.
Fans of your Facebook page expect some consistency. If you have multiple people running your Facebook campaign, you’re bound to have some tonal dissonance between them because everybody writes in a different voice. However, if you set strict standards for your brand’s voice and make sure all of your posts are consistent, you can avoid this. Posting in a consistent voice helps build your brand and earn your customers’ loyalty. Otherwise, you could alienate your user base with unpredictable—and unprofessional—posts.
Facebook Insights is a data platform that exists solely to provide extensive data to you, the Facebook marketer. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it’s quite useful, so if you aren’t already taking advantage of it, you’re making a mistake. Facebook Insights is like Google Analytics for your Facebook page. You’ll be able to track and measure the popularity of your page in terms of likes, new fans, comments, shares, and even impressions and interest in your page. With this information, you can experiment and learn more about your target audience. Eventually, you can refine your strategy and increase your ROI, but without that critical information, you’ll be running blind.
Amateur Facebook marketers hear that it’s important to post regularly, and take that advice to the extreme by posting on an almost constant basis. It’s true that posting new content on a regular basis is a good thing, but most Facebook users get annoyed when their news feeds are bombarded with companies’ messages. As a general rule, posting once or twice a day is a safe frequency. If you post any more than that, you better have a good reason for it or your followers will abandon you.
While your Facebook page should be consistent, it shouldn’t be entirely predictable. People want to see a variety of content in their news feeds, and you have the ability to give it to them. Post simple observations, links to articles on your website, links to promotions, images, and videos. Use every type of content you can to capture different segments of your target audience and keep your current followers as engaged as possible.
One of the biggest reasons why marketers use Facebook is the promise of acquiring new customers. In a desperate attempt to get those new users’ attentions, some Facebook marketers go over the top. Reaching out to unfamiliar people, trying too hard to get someone’s attention, tagging people who didn’t ask to be, and following up with extensive comments are all practices that can irritate potential users and turn them off of your brand. Instead of reaching out to people on Facebook, focus on making your page as appealing as possible to bring them to you—it’s inbound marketing, after all.
Some marketers think of Facebook as free advertising (which in some ways, it is), and instantly reject the idea of paying for ad space because of it. This isn’t necessarily a good idea. Facebook ads, when constructed effectively, can do wonders for increasing web traffic and improving your users’ relationships with your brand. They aren’t for everybody, however, and it pays to do your research up front to know exactly what you’re getting into and exactly what your goals are. Nevertheless, Facebook ads are at least worth considering for the majority of businesses with Facebook pages.
The most important consideration for Facebook marketing is treating it the same way you would any serious marketing campaign. You have to understand the platform, understand your audience, and use facts and research to support your efforts. Only with a long-term commitment to objective results can you achieve a return on your investment and utilize the platform to its full potential.