You put your business’s Facebook page in front of 1.13 billion people every day.
The way that this huge audience of users reacts to your page can either be deal-making or detrimental.
Though people want to know the secret recipe for a perfect Facebook page, the truth is there’s no one trick that will lead to instant success.
The more important thing is knowing what not to do — what fatal mistakes to watch for and when to re-think your strategy. In practice, this is the best way to create the page that works best for you.
1. Casting a generic net
Broadcasting your business on Facebook is one of the biggest no-nos. But the sad reality is that instead of focusing on fans and being part of a community, too many small businesses blast away about their products and services.
Facebook is all about authenticity, so if a business does not focus on customers in a way that feels genuine and just focuses on itself, the community will see right through it. You should look for ways to nurture the community and support their interests. Caring for fans will bring them back to your page and make them feel like part of a community instead of an audience targeted for promotion.
One of the simplest things you can do in this regard is make your content relevant to what goes on in the lives of your customers. This keeps you in the ‘real-world’ and not isolated in a space of cutting-edge competition.
The clothing store Everlane shared a photo album full of its customers at a retail event in New York City.
Everlane showed that they value their customers as a community by creating this event for the customers and then sharing the event on social media — in the same way that any Facebook user would schedule and share events with friends.
2. Showing inconsistent company culture
Many small businesses neglect the importance of making sure that the appearance of their Facebook page is in line with their business visions and goals. The page is a part of their company, and therefore should display the same personality as the business itself.
It’s important to reflect your identity while interacting with your customers on Facebook. Any page can be a little casual but you should always strive to maintain a balance — you don’t want customers to feel you are not taking the business seriously.
The Facebook page for Community Coffee features different ways to share the coffee with family and friends.
The company highlights both friends and coffee as positive additions to your life — showing that the company values community just as much as they value their own product. The message is that these values are a natural combination.
3. Staying in your comfort zone
With so many small businesses competing for a space in the News Feed of Facebook users, you might feel like playing it safe is your best option. This, for most businesses, means sticking to one type of content and putting rest of the content strategy on autopilot.
But beyond the danger of making your Facebook page a ghost town, you will find it difficult to capture the attention of your audiences if you don’t experiment with different kinds of posts. A successful content strategy should involve a mix of infographics, videos, photos, and other visuals.
Some types of content may go viral, which would greatly boost your organic reach, while others will enable you to ensure that you get consistent engagement, including shares, likes and comments.
Catsville Pet Shop shares different quirky images on its Facebook page. These aren’t your average cute kitten pictures — but that’s why they work so well.
The business tries to keep things fresh by mixing it up. As a result they delight their audience and stand out from the crowd.
4. Writing off Facebook ads
When it comes to paying for promotion, many small business owners shy away. Most of them create a Facebook page to reap benefits free of charge. However, their reach is limited by the amount of customers who already searched for the company on Facebook.
You’ll extend your reach if you consider Facebook Ads. The company has built a powerful platform to assist businesses to extend their customer base and target prospects. You can define audiences based on interest, location, and even their purchasing behavior.
Wakaberry was able to increase sales using Facebook ads. With limited ad budget available, they utilized Facebook to get past the noise. They created a summer advertising campaign where they invited ‘Wakafans’ to celebrate the season with their summer range. Targeted ads were geared towards a predefined demographic and the company gained the best possible return on ad investment.
You can target your ads even more strategically by using AdEspresso. This is a tool that helps small businesses to optimize ads and avoid wasting resources on ads that don’t bring in optimal results.
5. Skimping on external tools
Small businesses mostly rely on ‘what is available on Facebook,’ which limits the features they can use to optimize their campaigns. There are several tools from third-party companies that integrate with Facebook to offer out-of-the-box features that make managing and promoting your page a breeze.
Consider which tools will work best for you:
- AgoraPulse: Allows you to attract more customers to your page and engage them with customizable quizzes, sweepstakes, fan voting contests, and more.
- HootSuite: Helps you to manage different social media pages and schedule posts when the social media department is on a retreat.
6. Being afraid to spend money on tests
The most important step in creating Facebook ads is the testing stage. But as a small business, you may think you don’t have the funds to spend on ad testing.
This is a huge mistake — testing ads actually saves you money by ensuring that you’re not blowing money on ads that don’t work.
Rather than running several different versions of an ad and hoping that one works, you’ll know through testing which version is best. Then you can focus your effort and resources on that successful version. When each ad is more effective, you’ll spend less per ad. It pays to be informed.
AdEspresso tested two ads with two different images and the exact same text copy. One featured the cartoon mustached-man mascot — the little guy is so lovable that his ad was the favorite to perform better. Yet the tests showed that the mascot ad cost $3.13 per download, while the other ad featuring a photo of a person only cost $1.68. Tests will tell you what your intuition won’t.
Create different versions of ads to test them, and consider the following variables:
- Image – Choose images that project different messages or appeal to human psychology in different ways.
- Audience – Popular audiences may be more costly to target but will bring in more conversions, while less popular audiences are cheaper to target but each ad will cost more per impression. Testing will let you know which is the lesser of two evils.
- Relevance Score – These Facebook evaluations of ads are based on several factors including conversions and click-through rates. Ads with higher relevance scores typically cost less per click.
- Copy Text – Try different phrasing, varying the length of the copy, and adding a call to action to see what message really resonates.
Take heed and get to testing to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck on your ads.
7. Acting unapproachable
People like to interact with what others post on Facebook because they can show their approval, express their opinions, and reaffirm things about themselves.
Create opportunities for your Facebook followers to interact with your page by opening contests, calling for submissions, featuring photos of customers, and replying to Facebook users’ questions. Personal interactions with customers fosters trust in your brand and rewards Facebook users for paying attention to your page.
Threadless is killing it by creating constant opportunities for interaction on Facebook. Their page is a stream of posts inviting users to vote on different t-shirts and to submit their own designs to contests, with new contests opening up all the time.
Facebook users then comment on the posts, tag their friends, and share their own work — which as a result makes the Threadless posts more popular and increases the page’s visibility.
Design contests are a large part of Threadless’s business operation because all of their t-shirt designs are submitted by customers. By using Facebook to spread the word and by encouraging comments and shares, Threadless is helping their bottom-line business to thrive.
Another way to connect with your customers is by having a conversation. The psychological need for validation can be satisfied on Facebook simply by showing your customers that you will respond to their comments.
Customers are informed and appreciative (who would want to miss out on a late-night donut event?), and as a result Glazed Donut Works brings more customers from Facebook into their store. By responding, the company is also assuring other Facebook users who might want to comment that their questions will be answered.
The equestrian retailer SmartPak replies to Facebook comments to engage in customer service:
Thoughtful responses like this might be why they get this gushing public feedback:
It isn’t just about providing information — it’s about opening up a channel for communication and signaling that you are responsive.
Mabel’s Labels didn’t have to leave a reply to this user’s comment, but the company’s follow-up and their drive to create common ground with their customers builds trust and shows they care.
8. Posting sporadically
No matter how much work you’ve put into creating the perfect page, if you don’t post frequently enough people will lose interest and move on. Avoid this by creating a posting schedule specific to your product and audience.
When creating a posting schedule, consider both frequency and time of day. The ideal posting frequency will vary from business to business, but a study by Social Bakers found that around 5-10 posts per week is the sweet spot. Post too infrequently and you’ll lose Facebook users’ attention. Post too much and you’ll risk annoying them away.
It can be trickier to optimize the time of day for your posts, but there are tools that can take the pain out of the process. Buffer will create a schedule for your posts and publish them at the best time of the day based on your followers’ activity.
This foresight will ensure that your work gets seen and has every opportunity to make the impact you want without the burden of thinking about posting every day. You can set aside time each week to queue posts for the next several days — and if you want to add in something specific or topical for one day, it’s easy to add it into the queue wherever you want.
Your posts can stay on a schedule while being flexible to reflect your company’s day-to-day evolutions.
Putting it all together
Avoiding these mistakes will help you to use Facebook to the maximum advantage of your business. As you navigate around these pitfalls, you will educate yourself on how to build and sustain an active community and engage with customers as small businesses do in real life. This is your biggest strength — large businesses rarely have time to listen to what customers have to say.
Are you a small business owner? What is your Facebook marketing strategy? Have you committed these mistakes in the past? Let us know in the comments.