Most marketers understand how Facebook works very well from a personal standpoint — but some of the recent rules and changes that Facebook has made in how it treats business users make it easy to commit a Facebook faux pas.
- Creating a Profile Instead of a Page — People have profiles, businesses have pages. What’s the difference? That’s worth a chapter in a thick book, not a short blog post. Here are a few of the big differences. Pages can have tabs, and page owners have much more control over how their pages look, what kinds of features they can add to their pages, and what kind of analytics and reports they can get. Profile owners are given access to the same tool set — and the profile page for a Fortune 500 company looks almost exactly like the profile page for a 15-year-old.
- Failing to Understand EdgeRank— The wall is the basic way to deliver a Facebook fan Page message. Every post gets a post quality score. A low post quality score, as determined by an algorithm called EdgeRank, means that your post won’t actually be seen by very many people. (EdgeRank has to do with the number of interactions, such as likes, comments, shares, and how much attention a post gets in a short period of time.) Posts with high EdgeRanks stay in the newsfeed, posts with low ones don’t.
- Posting Too Often — Or Too Rarely — Posts made in the morning (before 8 a.m.) and on weekends get more “buzz” than posts made in the middle of a work day. Companies that post an average of every other day — especially if the posts contain specific offers that fans benefit from (discount codes, specials, information).
- Treating a Corporate Fan Page Like a Profile — This may sound like Faux Pas #1, but the point here is that pages provide custom tabs, while profiles don’t. Custom Facebook tabs provide the perfect tool for business objectives like growing a mailing list, subscribing to a blog, generating discussions, and so on. Not using the Facebook fan page as a landing page that delivers clear calls to action is deprives your business of the chance to harness the real power of Facebook. (Now you can use HTML for this instead of the custom coding language FBML — Facebook mark-up language — required until recently. This makes it easier to create the custom look you want.)
- Forgetting Facebook Ad Tools — The Facebook ad platform is a great way to find customers on Facebook. You don’t even have to launch an ad to use it, either. The process for setting up a Facebook ad allows targeting by specific demographics or audiences based on their interests, age, gender, location and so on. If you want to know what the potential for your brand is on Facebook, start the process of launching a Facebook ad — you’ll be amazed what kind of information Facebook will deliver, free.
- Rushing the Process — If you think of Facebook as a marketing channel, and your Facebook page as the lynchpin in leveraging that new communications channel, then you’re not likely to create and post a page in 5 minutes or less. Sure, you could — but doing that just isn’t smart. Smart marketers plan the process, from how the page will look, to who will update content, to what messages will (and won’t) be shared on Facebook. One big part of the planning process is handling customer comments — positive and negative — and mobilizing appropriate resources when (not if) an unhappy customer uses your fan page to vent or ask for a resolution to a problem.
What other Facebook faux pas have you seen businesses commit — or committed yourself? What tips do you have for compliance, marketing success, or finding the right tools to manage your corporate Facebook presence? Please share!
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Note: The Facebook faux pas outlined in this article relate to setting up a new Facebook page. But no corporate marketer can afford to overlook the subject of compliance (legal, brand, and regulatory) in any social media marketing effort. If you work in a regulated industry like insurance, financial services, healthcare or banking, join us for a free webinar on July 14 titled Drawing the Line Between Personal and Professional to learn more about compliance, social media success, and avoiding the most costly social media faux pas. Register now. The webinar is presented by Distribion, LIMRA, and Socialware.