October 4, 2011
Facebook is the fastest growing social network in the world. This also makes it a powerful tool to help entrepreneurs communicate with and learn from their customers. From brand pages to targeted advertising and real-time measurement — it presents a viable and profitable platform to develop and nurture customer relationships.
Creative companies find ingenious ways to connect on Facebook. But have you ever run across the ‘diamond in the rough’ small business that is behaving badly? Some social media experts could write a trilogy on the subject. But we shouldn’t be too quick to judge — or should we? Sometimes it’s as simple as, “We didn’t know!”
In efforts to make social media better for business, here are some classic faux pas known to evoke reactions of embarrassment, disgrace, or mortification — that you may want to avoid.
1. Posting your links on another company’s Facebook page is …
It’s actually considered spam. Sharing a random link on another company’s Facebook page numerous times is like walking up to a group of people and randomly blurting out something irrelevant. Instead take the road less traveled: contact the company, share your message and ask if they would support you by blasting it out to their followers. It errs on the side of authenticity instead of blatant disregard and annoyance.
2. Don’t broadcast your agenda and sell all the time.
We get it, your business is better than sliced bread, but no one lives on bread alone. Make your business a more reputable source and curate industry news, opinions and complimentary products 0r services. Consumers tend to gravitate towards brands that become niche curators (American Fashion Stylist, Rachel Zoe is a prime example). Start to develop strategic relationships with companies you admire by sharing their offering with your tribe. Take a holistic approach and integrate marketing, self-promotion, public relations and customer service into the Facebook conversation. Contribute in a meaningful way.
3. Stop inviting friends who never RSVP, to “Like” your Page.
If someone doesn’t RSVP to a party – don’t take it personally. Of course, the more the merrier, but if your Facebook friend(s) doesn’t “ever” show up it’s okay … “they’re just not that into you (your company).” Take a closer look, your friends may not be your target audience. Sure, sharing is caring but ceaseless invites to like your business is borderline badgering and undermines your message. Share your business brilliance with people who actually care.
4. Tisk! Tisk! Are you using your personal page as a business page?
Can we be honest? It’s lazy. Developing a Facebook Page for your business may require time. Albeit, you may actually have to market it to gain a following. But it’s hard to take anyone seriously who doesn’t care enough not to commingle their business and personal social accounts. It’s the equivalent of having a retail storefront in the basement of your home. Believe me – unless it’s a garage sale – only your neighbors will shop there.
5. Where are the photos?
Facebook is all about visuals and engagement. There are 6 billion photos uploaded each month. Let us see photos of your latest products – or better yet beta test products that haven’t been released to the public yet. If you don’t have photos to share, run a contest and ask your followers to upload theirs.
6. Who are you and what you do?
Incomplete business information is a non-negotiable. If an active searcher inadvertently lands on your company’s Facebook page – he or she would rather not hunt for information about who your company is and what you do. Make it plain.
7. Say something … anything.
If someone stumbles upon your Facebook Page and starts to hear crickets chirping and tumbleweed blowing across their screens … that’s not a good thing. Develop a conversation and ask questions to spark engagement on a regular basis. Better yet, link social feeds to your wall and keep your page fresh with content.
8. Don’t forget to reward your faithful fans.
Everyone likes perks. Some of the best examples are of companies that reward their fans regularly. Not only do customers feel like they have received something exclusive – it will help your company drum up sales on a consistent basis. Use free online apps like Wildfire to run different types of promotions, including photo, video, quiz, trivia and more. Cook up an exclusive deal for Facebook fans and reap the rewards.
9. Facebook shouldn’t replace your website.
From time to time I see entrepreneurs using their Facebook page as their website. With all of the free website tools and landing page applications available today, there really is no excuse not to have a professional website. Want press coverage? Media outlets are not likely to link to your Facebook page. Do you need buyers? Since Facebook is not designed to be a primary content development tool, good luck finding your business in a search engine. If you want to be taken seriously, take the time and energy to develop your web presence outside of your Facebook business page.
10. Find your effective frequency and stick to it.
Champion your brand, but don’t post every 15 minutes and cause a traffic jam on news feeds. There’s a lot to be said for moderation when it comes to marketing messages. In advertising, there’s the idea of effective frequency. It’s the number of times someone must be exposed to your message before a response is made and before exposure is considered wasteful. Test and refine your approach — view your Facebook insights to find your message frequency sweet spot.
Ready to share your Facebook do’s and don’ts for small businesses? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Photo Credit: © iofoto