Note: This post was originally published in 2012, and much of what’s discussed below is still relevant and important, but there’s some additional love needed today that wasn’t included originally, so I’m adding in some updates to the sections. Updated March 3, 2019.
Facebook, as a platform, is designed to be extremely easy to use – which is why 800+ million people use the social network. Using Facebook in the day-to-day is undeniable different than using it to promote your business. And if you’re a small business, common sense and experience has shown us that you’re probably doing Facebook wrong.
NorthSocial, a clever Bay Area-based Facebook app company, put together a hilarious video series depicting, humorously, the many ways (mostly) small businesses approach Facebook campaigns incorrectly.
While these videos are entertaining, to say the least, it’s highly possibly you’ve witnessed a number of these approaches firsthand. Don’t get us wrong – we love social media, and highly recommend you develop a strategy to execute your campaign properly.
It’s just that some campaigns are done so haphazardly it looks like the company doesn’t care. And that’s the biggest problem we see. As a marketing firm, we continually try to find ways to relate the right information to the right people at the right time. If you’re not sure whether your campaign is working, take a look at our list of 7 reasons your Facebook approach may be wrong.
1. You Don’t Understand Your Customers
Research, research, research. That’s what it all comes down to. Nobody wants to see a random post every couple weeks that says, “Come on down. We got shirts halfprice.” And yes, that was a post, taken verbatim, from a company I immediately “unliked” after that oozed into my news feed.
Every business owner claims their customers are the most important. Sadly, most don’t expend the minimal effort to understand or know who their customer really is, and what they really want.
Understand your customers through research – trend analyses, analytics (see below), surveys and polls, feedback forms, etc. – and get a better picture of who you are really talking to, and who you should be talking to.
2. Your Images Aren’t Captivating
We get it – you’re a restaurant and you post pictures of food. Neat. You know what else looks like food? Food! Every time I eat it. Show me something more – a behind-the-scenes picture of somebody burning the bread or covered in flour after the mixer shot into high speed.
And for the love of Pete, add a captivating tagline. In the days of smart phones and digital cameras, a picture is not worth 1,000 words, unless you make it.
3. You’re Talking to Anybody Who Will Listen
HELLO! Can you HEAR ME?! It really irks my taters when a company you follow tries to be the every-brand for everybody. That’s not why I follow you. I follow you for your expertise, a glimpse into your world. Be real, be genuine, and be you.
Update: What this really means is your personality can be a benefit, as well as a liability. Not everybody wants to hear a bubbly, rah-rah optimistic soul. If you don’t feel like that’s your vibe (this is personal experience here), then be direct. Direct and blunt can still be entertaining and even humorous. But it comes off as being an a$$hole when you try to force it.
4. Your Value Proposition In Unclear
Don’t send out a massive invite list to everybody in your friends list…unless you have something to give in return. Every one of the 800+ million Facebook users are inundated with these requests.
Unless you plan on offering something useful, don’t bombard me with your request.
5. You Aren’t Monitoring The Right Analytics
Most small businesses focus on “Likes” as the key metric of Facebook success. If only it were that easy, comrade. To be truly successful, you need to be monitoring levels of engagement (“Talking About This”) and your Reach as well as your likes.
And don’t just read the numbers and stare blankly at the screen. Use your noggin. If you have a substantial increase in engagement from females, but you want to ramp up your male engagement, look over your posts. Surely, the content you are posting is resonating with one gender over the other.
When in doubt, go back to No. 1 – always know your demographic: what they want to see, watch, read and know.
6. You Don’t Have a Clear Strategy
This is perhaps the most common infraction in social media marketing – conducting a campaign sans strategy. After you’ve researched your demographic, develop guidelines for engagement. Develop and refine your tone, manner and style of writing – and keep it consistent! There’s nothing worst than feeling like 10 people are working a Facebook page.
Also, outline when you will post (with a content or editorial calendar) and what topics you will be speaking about. Then go back to No. 5 and measure what is working and what isn’t.
7. You Don’t Have the Right Person at the Keyboard
“My grandson’s nephew’s best friend’s aunt’s friend from the hair salon does the Facebook and she’s gonna help us out.”
Trust us, we know a social media campaign is a ton of work and takes a ton of time to do it correctly. But jeez-louise, just because somebody knows how to press a few keys and click a button doesn’t mean they’re the best person for the job.
Do yourself a favor: Ask the person you’re considering to be your social media about any of the 6 topics above. If that person can’t articulate how each of these would be addressed, don’t waste your time.
There is a fence when it comes to doing social media properly. On one side, paying for a compelling campaign is seen as an expense; on the other, it is seen as an investment.
Unfortunately, many small businesses tend to see hiring a professional firm to develop a strategy as a bottom–line number – essentially a waste of money. Fortunately, the other companies, who see a strategy as an investment, stand to reap much higher rewards.
Which side of the fence are you on?