Now that Facebook has become the de facto social hub for just about everything on the web (or off), it’s more important than ever for small businesses to be able to harness the full power of Facebook or be left behind by those businesses who truly get social media. While it might seem like all you need is a good profile or page and some regular daily posts, the deluge of content on Facebook makes it more difficult than ever to get your business’s content to really stand out in the crowd. Luckily, there are a number of common mistakes made by small businesses on Facebook that if avoided can truly help your brand shine on your audience’s news feeds.
- Leaving Your Profile Incomplete
One of the most common yet easy-to-avoid mistakes many small businesses make is not fully filling out their Facebook profiles. If your business has a retail space or storefront, make sure your page has plenty of pictures of it, the address, hours, and contact information. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many small businesses leave their profiles incomplete. Another common mistake is not making your page visually appealing. Colorful, eye-catching photos will draw visitors to your page and the complete information you provide will keep them there.
- Failing to Promote Your Content
As will be repeated throughout this article, the Facebook algorithm is a tricky and complicated one. It might seem like you can just share your content and people will magically flock to it, but it’s far too easy for your posts to get buried by the daily avalanche of content on users’ news feeds. Luckily, Facebook has plenty of built-in tools to help you promote your content. Some of these cost money, but they’re ultimately worth it if they drive customers to your page.
- Failing to Engage Your Audience
Creating regular posts isn’t enough. Facebook is a social medium, meaning it’s all about getting people to come together and share information. Audience engagement is a huge part of Facebook’s algorithm. Merely creating posts isn’t enough; to make your business stand out on Facebook users’ news feeds, you’ve got to engage your audience. One of the easiest ways to do this is to reply to comments on your own posts or make open-ended posts that encourage users to reply. Post a picture and ask users to caption, or create posts that ask users an open-ended question – just use your imagination.
- Ignoring Video Posts
Businesses and pages which regularly share video content are much more visible than those that do not. While you might feel it’s unnecessary or narcissistic, Facebook’s own statistics show that video posts outperform text or image-based posts by up to 135%. When you share video posts, make sure you’re using Facebook’s native video player; research has found that these are ranked much higher by Facebook’s algorithms than embedded videos from other sites like YouTube. Now that we all carry around high-quality video cameras in our pockets, what’s your excuse?
- Leaving Out the Human Element
It can’t be stressed enough that Facebook is a social platform. The key to making your business stand out is to get people talking. Anyone – or any bot – can create a profile. The easiest way to engage your audience is to show your business’s human side. Let your audience see the faces of your employees, or share some (modest) personal information from time to time to let your audience know that there are real people on the other end of your profile. Doing so will make them much more likely to share your posts.
- Not Harnessing the Full Potential of Facebook Ads
Facebook has become one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to advertise online. Think about it: nearly everyone uses Facebook these days, and most people log on at least once a day (or much, much more). Facebook has built-in tools which use your business’s location to target users in your local area. It’s not solely about purchasing ads, however: you need to have a plan for your ads. Want to promote a sale? Looking to expand into a new market? As with anything, think before you buy.
- Being Too Sporadic in Posting
One of the keys to Facebook marketing is staying in users’ news feeds. That means you have to post regularly, perhaps even multiple times a day depending on how large of a market your business serves. Many businesses think that creating a page and posting now and then is enough, but nothing could be further from the truth. Thanks to the speed of the information age, 21st-century attention spans are short. Your business needs to post as regularly as possible to stay relevant but be warned: post too much and you risk getting unfollowed. There’s a fine balance to be achieved, and it can only be perfected with experience. Look around to see how much other businesses in your area are posting and start from there.
- Making Your Facebook Page Difficult to Find or Share
It’s foolish to think that users will automatically find your business’s Facebook page after you create it. Your Facebook page is essentially the ‘face’ of your business. If your page is too difficult to find or share, it will not be found. As mentioned earlier, one of the ways to make your page easier to find is to post regularly, but other effective methods include using Facebook widgets or “share” buttons on your business’s website, including your Facebook page’s URL on business cards and other official materials, and ensuring that your website, Facebook page, Twitter profile, and other social media all use the same name, title, or keywords. Remember: it’s about gaming the algorithm. Link to your page in as many places as possible.
- Not Alerting Followers Before You Go Live
Facebook Live has become one of the most popular ways to engage with audiences. Since Facebook introduced the live feature in 2015, user engagement with Facebook Live videos has risen 330%. Facebook’s algorithm promotes live videos more than any other type of post, and (more interaction if you plan in advance and promote)
- Failing to Harness the Awesome Power of the Giveaway
Everyone likes free stuff. Are you telling me you don’t like free stuff? Because if you do, I’d have to ask you to leave. Small businesses can (and should) take advantage of the innate human love of free stuff by using Facebook as a platform for giveaways. To get more users to enter, try and make it as easy as possible by making the entry as simple as liking or sharing your post – but NOT your page. Make sure you check out Facebook’s own set of rules and guidelines for giveaways or other promotional contests before you post.
- Failing to Create Shareable Content
Remember: no matter how many comments or likes your posts get, it’s all about the number of shares above all else. Shares are how your posts reach a wider audience and how your page rakes in new views and likes. A New York Times study found that the types of posts that get shared the most are ones that change opinions or encourage action, help users identify who they are to others, and above all else, the ones which entertain Facebook users. It might feel hokey or corny at first to create humorous or emotional content, but these are ultimately the types of posts that get shared the most.
- Not Having an Overall Strategy
Above all else, your business should consider why you’re using Facebook before you jump right into buying ads, promoting posts, and sharing live video. Many businesses join Facebook merely because they know they should, but they don’t think about what their overall Facebook goals or strategy might be. Are you looking to attract new customers, retain existing ones, open a new market, or boost online sales? Whatever your strategy is, there are different ways to approach and use Facebook. Do your research or even look into hiring or consulting with social media marketers before diving headfirst into the sometimes confusing and complicated world of Facebook marketing.