The popularity of Facebook goes without mention. As the use of Facebook increases, it is easy to find more and more companies making a presence on Facebook Pages. Although there are many businesses using Pages, not many are using them well. The majority of companies using Facebook seem content with simply having a presence on this particular social media site alone, but the ones who have a comprehensive strategy will be the ones rewarded with an increase in business exposure and with a further strengthening of their brand.
What’s at Stake with Facebook Marketing
When representing your company on Social Media sites your reputation and that of your company is at stake. The reputation your company has built over time comes from what your customers say about you, and is largely influenced by what your company says about itself. By joining social media sites such as Facebook, you are opening a new window through which to spread your message. Although this medium encourages casual conversations, it can be easy to lose track of your message if you are not careful and no oversight exists.
Mistakes to Avoid on Facebook Pages
1. Not understanding the difference between a Facebook Profile and a Facebook Page.
Facebook was designed to allow “individuals” to connect. It was not originally designed for “businesses” to market in the same way. Facebook has now provided businesses and organizations with a method to connect through Facebook Pages. Facebook Pages have similar functionality to Facebook Profiles. But, with Pages you can create a fan base instead of a friends list. Pages allows you to reach a broad market, but only through the recommendations of real people who choose to “like” your business page. Creating a Facebook Profile (rather than a Page) for your business is a direct violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service.
2. Allowing anyone in the company to post updates that do not fall in line with a specific strategy, or have not been pre-approved by your marketing department or CEO.
Imagine your Facebook Page is an additional employee. Further, imagine your Facebook Page is also a marketing professional who will be the face and voice of your company 24 hours a day! They must be well versed on communicating the exciting and new information that your company wants to share, while creating new connections and building a following. This employee must also be savvy, knowing when to take appropriate actions. Be sure that whoever is in charge of maintaining your Facebook page knows when to reply to comments, concerns, and questions brought up by your audience. They must also know when it is time to ask their higher ups for advice, or simply know when to stay quiet.
3. Not completing your Page profile information, or failing to see your page from a user’s perspective.
Your online profile tells others who you are as an organization and what you are all about. It is a deciding factor in validating whether you are a trustworthy source. Be sure your profile is complete and up-to-date. Make sure that your profile image stands out. Facebook will allow an image up to 200×600 pixels, giving you plenty of space to add a compelling graphic. Many companies simply add their logo to this area. Keep in mind that your logo may appear cropped or significantly smaller during a search and not accurately convey just what product or service you offer. Consider adding a more literal image that showcases your products or speaks to your brand. This will ensure you always make a good first impression.
After uploading your profile image, be sure to log out and try to search for your company. Check out your profile image to ensure that it appears properly in the search as it does on your Page.
4. Failing to devote enough time to your marketing efforts may spread yourself too thin.
In all ongoing marketing efforts, devote enough time to build a natural following. Be sure to plan ahead of time in order to allot enough time and resources to make your campaign a success. The amount of time you budget will depend on how many assets you have available. As a general rule, twice the amount of time that is spent online should be spent offline gathering and generating content that will be used in your campaign. Running out of things to say can be easy when you have not invested enough time into creating a proper strategy and failing to gather your content in advance. Assess your human resources to ensure that you have enough staff and time available to dedicate to the maintenance of your Facebook account.
5. Getting personal or getting into divisive issues.
As a general rule, avoid writing about politics, sex, drugs, violence, or anything else that could be considered divisive or politically incorrect. Unless you are directly affiliated with a political organization or are in the business of selling any of the above, avoid communicating about those topics when you are representing a company or organization. Prevent talking about your home life or personal issues, that is what your personal Facebook account is for. It’s important to understand the difference so that you don’t end up embarrassing the company with news about your love or party life.
6. Using Facebook Pages as a bulletin board or loudspeaker.
A bulletin board or loudspeaker does not engage an audience. It is simply a passive way of advertising. Be sure to devote part of your strategy to speaking with people about what is happening at your company. Keep them engaged with interesting information and keep them updated on the most up to date news and press releases. Push it further by asking questions and by adding content that provides value.
7. Lacking a custom Facebook landing page or using a landing page ineffectively.
By default, a user will land on your “wall” inside of your Facebook Page. It is possible though to allow users to land on a custom designed page. By using applications that allow the use of HTML, you can create a unique landing page that will provide a better experience for your visitors. Many companies already use custom landing pages, but often times they are full of information that is hard to digest. Do not forget that the idea of a landing page is to get people to click on the “like” button, not to provide them with all of the information at once. You can provide them with all of that useful content once they have decided to “like” you. Make sure to keep your custom landing page simple and attractive.
8. Leaving the account for dead.
Some companies loose faith in Facebook Pages when they do not see immediate results. This will often lead to abandoned pages that do nothing for the company, but hurt their reputation. Nothing looks worse on a Facebook search than a company with few fans and no recent updates. It will make a company look like one who does not follow through. If this is the case with your company page, it is best to delete it now, until you have a viable strategy.
What’s the Right Way to Market on Facebook?
This is the million dollar question that every business marketer wants to know. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. There are many strategies that a business can take when implementing a Facebook plan. The very first step is to figure out what you want to accomplish. Is this Facebook Page meant to increase sales, is it meant to increase awareness? Perhaps this is simply meant to drive traffic to your site, or is meant to create support for a cause. Until you know what you are trying to accomplish, you cannot create an effective strategy that works. Start by setting small goals. Small goals will provide you with a way to measure how successful a campaign is. Small goals may include weekly tasks such as making 5 new friends per week, commenting on 5 common interest groups. Align these goals with your overall strategy to ensure that each small goal takes you one step further towards your overall goal.
Be sure to contribute with great content. Add content on a regular basis. Try to focus on adding plenty of photos and videos as they are a great way to draw attention to your page. Utilize your strategy to find out what type of content you will be putting out. Will it be informative? Will it be entertaining? Begin documenting everything that is worth documenting such as special events and engagements, notes on special talks you have attended, comments on industry updates, etc.
Things to do When Marketing on Facebook
1. Create a strategy that provides a clear long term goal. Create a list with several short term goals that will provide a framework on what steps to take in creating a comprehensive online strategy that will keep you focused and interesting.
2. Create a “what if” list. This list should have as man scenarios as you can think of on what approach to take if something happens. Begin to think outside of the box with questions such as “What do I do if I get a bad review of the company?” “What do I do if a visitor wants to see an example of our work?” “What do I do if someone re-posts my latest update?” Try to get a good, overall idea of all the things that could go wrong, and try to balance it out with all of the things that could go right. This by itself could help in guiding the everyday conversations taking place about your company.
3. Create an alert for your company name. There are several ways to do this, but they all generally work the same, get updates to your inbox every time someone mentions your company name on the web. This way you will be sure to be on top of all press associated with your company image.
4. Be transparent, not fake. Do make an effort to show your audience that there exists a human behind the scenes by posting frequently, showing sincere concern, and by posting relevant information that will answer posted questions or will address issues relevant to your industry.
5. Make strategic connections with key individuals within your industry. If they like your page, others within their networks may see your updates, further strengthening your fan base and credibility.
6. Do check in frequently with your marketing department to ensure that you have the latest news, developments, press releases, advertisements, and updated content.
7. Do seek the advice of a professional online marketing firm when you are in doubt.
Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency is an award winning branding and an integrated online marketing agency helping companies just like yours find success in the confusing world of social media and Facebook marketing. If you have a company looking to make an online impact, contact us today at 858.523.1822. We can help you connect with your market through successful social media campaigns, and can help you find great new avenues for reaching your audience.