Anyone with an Internet connection can have a Facebook account.
But that doesn’t mean that everyone can use Facebook well.
In fact, we see brands and other organisations making big mistakes on Facebook all the time. These mistakes are cringeworthy, and make us want to facepalm.
If you plan to succeed on social media, then please, please, don’t do any of the following.
1. Forgetting About Line-Breaks
The Internet has transformed the way we read. We skim content instead of taking time to absorb it.
That means we prefer content that’s written using short words, short sentences and short paragraphs. This is true for blogging, and it’s even more relevant for social media.
Facebook posts should never be made of long paragraphs, without a single line break. In fact, if possible, Facebook posts shouldn’t be long at all. Shorter is almost always better for engagement.
If you do have a longer message to share, break it up. For a Facebook post, one or two sentences per paragraph is plenty. And those should be short, snack-size sentences too.
2. Yawn-worthy Writing
Every brand has a personality. Some are bursting with life and energy (Red Bull). Some are creative types (Apple). Others are safe and reliable (Volvo). Your brand’s personality should shine through on your Facebook page with every update you post.
Yes, you can write Facebook posts in the same way you were taught to write papers at high school. But seriously, do you really want to come across as a grey-suited accountant? Probably not, unless you are an accountant…
Here are some questions you can use to help uncover your brand’s personality.
If you were a…
- dog… which breed would you be?
- car… what type of car would be?
- celebrity… who would you be?
- city… which city would you be?
Once you’ve figured out your brand’s personality, write your Facebook posts in that voice. You’ll have more sparkle, and you’ll engage better with your followers.
3. Posting Your Business News on Your Brand Page
Great things happen in business. You hire a new staff member to handle your finances (yay for no more bookkeeping!). You have your most profitable year ever. You score the client you’ve always dreamed of working with.
Understandably, when good things happen, you want to celebrate. Likewise, when things don’t go as planned, it can be helpful to have a listening ear to talk things through with.
Facebook, however, is not the place to share your business news. Your customers don’t need to know the ins-and-outs of your business. And frankly, they’re not interested.
Make sure everything you post to your Facebook page is useful, inspiring or entertaining to your customers. And share your business news with those who really care about it – your investors, partners, mentors and employees.
4. Link Stuffing
You’ve got a ton of cool stuff you want to share, right? Maybe it’s useful articles you want to link to. Or products on your website (see number 5. before you do that…).
So why not put as many links as you can in each Facebook post? The more the merrier, as they say.
When it comes to putting links in your Facebook posts, it’s a case of too many cooks spoil the broth. You should never put more than one link in a Facebook post. Why? Because otherwise you’ll give your fans analysis paralysis. With too much choice, they won’t do anything.
It’s also worth remembering that links are one of the worst types of Facebook post for engagement. When people click links, they navigate away from your Facebook post, so they’re unlikely to go back and click “like”. For engagement, share videos, photos, and short text updates.
5. Putting On Your Sales Hat
Business is all about sales. If you’re not shifting product, you’re not making money. No money, no business. Simple.
Does that mean you should take every opportunity you can to sell? Damn right it does.
But Facebook is not a sales opportunity.
This isn’t idealistic woo-woo. It’s about how people use Facebook. Facebook is a place for relationships. Nobody goes to Facebook to buy stuff. They go there to hang out with people (and sometimes brands) that they like.
Making your Facebook page into a sales floor is a surefire way of alienating your fans.
That’s not to say you can’t share offers and promotions on your Facebook page. It’s just that the primary purpose of your Facebook page is about having a good time with people who like your brand, and helping them in the best way you can. So if you do share a promotion, make sure it’s fun and relevant to your fans.
6. Ignoring the Pleas of Frustrated Customers
Did you know that 71% of people who got a quick and effective customer service response from a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to others?
What’s quick and timely? Well, 42% of people who have complained on social media expect a response within one hour. And 67% expect a response later the same day.
Consumers are increasingly turning to social media to voice their frustrations. And if brands fail to respond, then they’ll lose customers.
So get out there and start listening to your customers today. You’ll be glad you did.
7. Treating it as a Broadcast Platform
Before social media took the world by storm, media was a one way thing. Media producers created cool stuff, such as TV shows, newspapers and advertisements. Everyone else consumed the media.
These days, we’re all producers.
In other words, social media isn’t a broadcast platform. It’s not all about you. It’s a dialogue platform, where you get to talk to your customers. That’s a big responsibility, but it’s also a privilege. By talking to your customers, you can find out more about what they want, and better serve their needs.