I started this article planning to write a ‘top 5′ list of mistakes that companies make with their Facebook Page, but it soon more than tripled. Some of these mistakes are just pure laziness, others are caused by trying to force social media to fit ‘old marketing’ techniques. However many are just simply a lack of knowledge or strategy. How many are you guilty of?

1 – Posting too often

If you’re not posting too often, you’re probably not posting enough. Posting too much is a stand-out mistake I see all the time. But how often should you post updates on Facebook?

Everyone from Dan Zarella (one of his great infographics is below) to Orchid’s account rep from Facebook, suggests the maximum should be every 2nd day. In NZ we tend to err on the side of caution and advise aiming for twice a week.

2 – Not posting enough

Have you ever gone to a company’s website and seen something that proves the site hasn’t been updated in ages (like an expired offer, or a blog last updated a year ago)?

Posting regularly on Facebook shows potential fans there’s a point in liking your page. The type of content you’ve posted previously also speaks volumes to potential fans on what they can expect to see appear on their wall from you if they do click ‘like’ – so make every update count.

3 – Posting updates multiple times in one day

As you’ve probably realised after mistake number 1 (although these are not in any particular order of importance), posting more than once a day is overkill and spamming your fans isn’t going to do your company any favours.

One of the few exceptions is when your page / business is the type where fans expect more frequent updates, like a page where the point is to share 1 deal a day or a news or media page.

There will also be the rare exception when you have that extra exciting announcement that genuinely justifies multiple posts in one day, however the majority of the time this is something to avoid at all costs.

I do think this is an unintentional mistake in many cases however. My guess is the person you’ve put in charge of your Facebook Page suddenly remembers they haven’t posted anything for ages and goes from no posts for days, to multiples in one day, because Facebook is on their mind for the rest of that day. How often have you seen a company suddenly spit out 2 or 3 updates barely minutes apart?

4 – Posting the same content more than once

Though I am guilty of doing this in social media, I save it for Twitter not Facebook, where the communication strategy is very different and reposting has benefits.

If you must post the same content twice, give it a new twist or find a very good reason to tell your fans the same thing more than once.

5 – Deleting negative comments or arguing with your fans

Despite the concerns of CEO’s everywhere, negative comments are rare, especially in NZ. However unless the comment is outright offensive, you’re better to resist deleting it. If you wouldn’t hang up on the person if they rang you to voice their concerns, then don’t delete their comment.

Better that they comment on your Facebook Page where you can address their concerns, than on their own Facebook page out to all their friends.

If you missed the Greenpeace / KitKat uproar there’s a valuable lesson to learn from how Nestle handled the palm oil debate on Facebook around replying to and deleting comments. Some of the comments from the Nestle staff member in charge of their Facebook page at the time were…

Thanks for the lesson in manners. Consider yourself embraced. But it’s our page, we set the rules, it was ever thus.” (I love the ‘consider yourself embraced’ in particular when they were not replying to some comments and outright deleting many others).

Then later came the apology … “We’ve stopped deleting posts, and I have stopped being rude.”

But it was too little too late, the damage was done. Within 72 hours, Nestle’s handling of their fans on Facebook made news headlines around the world.

6 – Ignoring negative comments or getting the response wrong

There’s a right way and a wrong way to deal with negative comments if you do ever get them. Lisa Barone’s article on when to respond to negative reviews and not is well worth sharing with anyone on your team who looks after customers online or offline.

Here’s a quick summary of Lisa’s advice, however I’d highly recommend taking the time to read her full article when you can, which explains considerations for each DO and DO NOT below:

DO respond when…

you really did screw up
… the facts are wrong
… the review/reviewer is getting louder
… you can salvage it

DO NOT respond when…

the person is mad at the world, not you
… it will do more harm than good
… your hands are still shaking

7 – Posting at the wrong time

One of the less harmful on the list, however still a mistake, is posting at the wrong time.

Get it wrong and fewer fans will see it on their news feed or you’ll just fade into obscurity below ‘older posts’ by the time they’ve logged in to check Facebook.

Exactly what the right time is will depend on your fans, so keep an eye on what times get you the most impressions, likes and comments. Your own results are what matter here so always test and measure.

To get you started though, and calling on Dan Zarella’s research again here which has been echoed by others on the web, it’s typically early morning and early-evening that wins out to attract shares, likes and comments.

8 – Posting one type of content

Not only can this get boring for your fans, sadly that one type of content is usually all ‘me me me’. In other words: pure self-promotion about the company.

Mix it up. Try adding some humour, links to news related to your topic, YouTube videos, sharing photos, links to blog articles and asking your fans questions. Whatever you do, stay on topic and focus on content that matches your fans interests and how you want your brand and company perceived.

9 – Duplicating your Twitter strategy on Facebook

This one drives me mad and smacks of either lazyness or a company who wants to turn social media into as automated a task as possible (it’s social media for a reason!).

Yes, Twitter is a superb platform to reach new customers and communicate with your followers, but Twitter is completely different from Facebook.

You should tweet several times a day to get the best results, but doing that on Facebook is just plain spammy. Plus, if it doesn’t lose you fans, they may still just block your content from their feed and you’ll never know.

Also, why should someone follow you on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook if you’re just going to present the same content?

Twitter restricts you with 140 characters (although you should use 120 characters if you want to get more followers) so repeating your tweets means you’re not taking advantage of the extra flexibility Facebook gives you either.

10 – Posting without descriptions

Sharing a link with no description is lazy and also doesn’t give your fans any info about why you think it was worth sharing with them.

In other words: why should they bother leaving Facebook to check out the link? This is not as damaging as some of the other mistakes listed here, but still less than ideal.

Although links usually pull a title, image and snippet text from the page or video you’ve linked to, that’s no reason to not bother with a description, talk about impersonal!

11 – Repeating the link title

Almost as bad as no description is repetition.

Almost as bad as no description is repetition.

(sorry, I couldn’t resist).

You’ve found a superb article, let’s say it’s called ‘What’s Happened to Facebook? Facebook Page Upgrade Explained’ and you want to share the link with your fans.

But what description do you write? Yep, you just write the title of the article. Snooze!

When Facebook adds the link remember the title is included anyway. You want to add value for your fans. Explain what it’s about, why you think it’s of interest or how they’ll benefit.

So for the article above, something more suitable might have been:

Wow! Have you noticed all the changes on your Facebook business page this morning? Don’t click ‘upgrade’ without reading this article first…”

12 – Responding too slowly (or not at all)

Not replying to comments is like not answering an email or phone-call from your customer.

Social media is a new avenue of communication and should be treated the same way you would other communication methods (unless you have a habit of not returning phonecalls and taking ages to reply to emails of course).

Thankfully the Facebook Upgrade for Pages now means you now get an email when a fan engages with your page, so you don’t need to constantly log into Facebook any longer to see if there’s anything new.

Aim to reply as soon as you get that notification, however if that’s not doable, at least make it the same day. One study in the UK reported 41% of fans expected a reply to their question on a company’s Facebook page within 60 minutes, however I think you can be a bit more relaxed in NZ (some might disagree with me here).

The sooner you reply the more likely it is the person is still online and may comment back, creating that all important conversation and true engagement, plus a higher level of interest from other fans who like to snoop on other’s conversations!

Having a lot of comments on your Wall also makes you look more appealing to potential fans when they first view your page before they’ve clicked ‘like’.

Just like wanting to be one of the cool kids at school, social proof counts for a lot.

13 – Landing Facebook Ads on the Wall

Facebook self-serve ads may be easy to set-up and still relatively cheap; however that’s no excuse for spending the money without doing everything you can to get returns for your company.

If you want your ads to increase your number of likes, then land people on a tab that relates to the ad – not on the wall.

For extra brownie points it should not only relate to the ad, but also actually ask people to ‘like’ you.

If you haven’t used Facebook self-serve or premium ads before by the way, feel free to get in touch as Orchid can help you with both. We also design and build custom tabs and reveal tabs (more about those below).

Here are some custom landing tab examples that are just simple, static tabs; some of which include that all-important call to action (to ‘like’ the page):

Diet Coke
Cadbury NZ
Victoria’s Secret

You can even go one step further and get a reveal tab created for you, where the content can’t be viewed until after someone has clicked ‘like’. This can really boost the number of fans you get. Here are some reveal tab examples:

Teesy Tees (I love this one in particular)
Red Bull
Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind

If you’ve seen any other custom tabs you thought were particularly effective, add them in a comment below for everyone to check out for inspiration.

14 – Only sharing content from your website

This is similar to the ‘posting one type of content’ mistake and is another common slip-up that belongs in the ‘me me me’ basket.

Yes, you should do what you can to move your fans to your site, however there’s no point in everything on your Facebook Page just mimicking your website. Keep it interesting and engaging. Introduce relevant content from the web as well.

15 – Being erratic

You’re better to start off slow (eg: just 1 update a week) than launch with a roar, updating every other day, only to become erratic with your frequency of posts when you get busy or lose interest. How often you communicate sets expectations. Be consistent and be present.

Facebook shouldn’t just be ‘something the company must have’ so your marketing team can say ‘Yes, we’re on Facebook!’. Many a company has a Facebook Page set up on a whim with only 1 or 2 updates and then nothing for weeks or even months.

16 – Tpyos

My mother will love me for including this one: spelling and grammar.

It may be Facebook and therefore seem more forgiving of the casual approach, however your Facebook page still represents your company.

If you wouldn’t place an ad in a magazine with a typo (yes, I did that on purpose in the title by the way), then it shouldn’t be accepted in Facebook either. Little things like spelling and grammar mistakes can make you look unprofessional.

If the staff member who looks after Facebook for you didn’t have a Mum like mine (and I’m far from perfect despite that), then let them know how important it is to you and buddy them up with a spelling and grammar guru in the company to check their copy for them before posting.

17 – Giving up

Everyone’ may well be on Facebook but that doesn’t make it a mass media tool like TV or radio.

It will take time to build up a base of devoted, engaged fans. It’s not a matter of ‘build it and they will come’ so if you expect an influx of fans overnight you will be sorely disappointed.

Many companies give up just when they are on the edge of true success. Give it time. Time to get likes, time for fans to want to add comments, time to see results in leads and sales. Yes, that could mean a lot of time at first, more than what you get back for a while, but over time the initial investment will be worth every minute.

18 – Not using free Facebook advertising (bonus tip)

Facebook gives you 5 free ads right at the top of your wall for all your fans to see. Here are the 5 places for free Facebook advertising you’re missing out on plus lots of ideas for how other companies are taking advantage of them.

Do you have more Facebook mistakes I’ve missed that annoy you? Add your comment below and let me know.

By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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