10 Common Facebook Marketing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them) - dummies

10 Common Facebook Marketing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

By John Haydon

Just because you’ve created a Facebook Page for your business doesn’t mean that you won’t make mistakes. Of course, mistakes aren’t necessarily bad if you can learn from them, but it’s always good to avoid mistakes in the first place!

Stop thinking like a traditional marketer

Facebook, and most social media for that matter, is still viewed as a free e-mail list to target and market to.

To amp things up on Facebook, you have to flip this mindset 180 degrees and instead think about creating a space for your supporters to share what matters to them.

Start asking:

  • What’s their agenda?

  • What are they already talking about on Facebook that’s in sync with your cause?

  • How can you capture that on your Facebook Page?

Don’t use a profile to market your business

It’s not recommended that you use a Facebook profile to market your business on Facebook, and here are at least three reasons why:

  • Facebook profiles don’t have any analytics tools, which show you how fans engage with your content. Without these analytics in your information toolbox, you have no way of knowing what strategies are working on Facebook.

  • Sending a friend request is very different from asking someone to like your Page. If you’re sending friend requests as a profile, you’re essentially asking the user if you can see her personal information. This crosses the unspoken social boundaries that most people have between their personal life and the brands they do business with.

  • Using a Facebook profile to market your business could end up violating Facebook’s Terms of Service. This means that after spending a lot of resources building up a large amount of friends, Facebook might simply delete the profile.

Don’t use a group to market your business

Another very common mistake that businesses make on Facebook is to use a group to market their businesses. The problem with this is that groups are solely intended for Facebook users to connect with each other around common interests and goals — not a single brand.

Group members all have an equal say about what’s discussed in the group as well as what’s appropriate. Groups with a single person controlling topics generally aren’t successful. Plus, Facebook didn’t create Groups to be used for the purposes of marketing.

Don’t post with shortened URLs

Along with the surging trends in social media marketing, many third-party tools designed to manage multiple platforms have become available. Many of these, like HootSuite and TweetDeck, use URL shorteners to make long URLs fit within the character constraints of sites like Twitter.

BuddyMedia, a Salesforce company, conducted a study that revealed that full-length URLs get three times as many clicks as shortened URLs. In other words, using shortened URLs on Facebook actually has a negative impact on your ability on your business!

Don’t wing it

Another common mistake that Facebook marketers make is that they treat their Facebook Pages with the same relaxed approach that they treat their profiles. People using Facebook profiles rarely have a primary business agenda. For the most part, using Facebook profiles is a completely different social activity that’s relaxed and fun. Pages are very different.

Sure, having a relaxed demeanor on your Facebook Page is important, but so is having a well-thought-out strategy that includes understanding your fan base, presenting a unique message, and measuring results.

Don’t post during bad times

Many Facebook marketers fail to realize that most of their Facebook fans have 9-to-5 jobs and don’t have time or can’t use Facebook during the day. Posting during the workday is generally not as effective as posting in the early morning or early evening. Posting an update during the times when users are present increases the likelihood that you’ll be seen.

Post Planner is an excellent application to schedule posts at the optimum times.

Don’t be pushy

Selling too much is probably the most common mistake by Facebook marketers. Say a Facebook marketer sets up a Page and starts posting content that’s all about her business or products. The problem is that Facebook users don’t care about her products and services, but they do care about things related to those products or services.

For example, hikers want to discuss great places to go hiking. A sporting goods store that only promotes the latest hiking gear through a discount keeps its fans interested only as long as the Facebook Page discount lasts.

Don’t sell too little

Conversely, selling too little is less common, but it’s still a potential mistake. Imagine that the sporting goods store has learned their lesson about selling too much and start focusing on what their fans are interested in. Their fans start engaging, which is great, but sales don’t increase as a result. Facebook users love to converse about the things they care about, but they also love a good deal!

Don’t post lengthy updates

Another study by BuddyMedia found that status updates of less than 80 characters received a 27 percent higher reaction than longer updates. This makes sense when you think about how you use Facebook and how fast the News Feed flies by.

Posting lengthy paragraphs as a status update is like giving your Facebook fans homework. On the other hand, short updates such as questions and short polls get a higher reaction simply because the barrier to participation is very low.

Don’t ignore comments

Facebook fans are people, like you. If they make the effort to leave a comment or reply within a thread on your Facebook Page, they want to know that you’re listening. Pages that consistently ignore posts by fans aren’t as successful as Pages that participate in comment threads. Fans are less likely to return if they don’t feel heard.

The other reason why you want to reply to posts from fans is that Facebook sends that fan a notification, bringing him back to your Page!