Facebook had 1.55 billion monthly active users, as of the third quarter of 2015!
Inspired by the numbers?
We all are; the opportunities are endless in terms of improving brand visibility. But the secret lies in doing it right. Most digital marketers simply post as many updates as possible in an attempt to get as many ‘Shares’ and ‘Likes’ they can.
But wait! Gone are the days when the number of followers (‘Shares’ and ‘Likes’) directly influences an increase in profit for your business.
No doubt Facebook is a great place for many marketers to promote their business, but you should know exactly how to use this platform to your benefit. This social platform is full of people, ready to connect with brands that they find most relevant to their preferences.
Facebook can take your business to the next level but it can also be the reason for your downfall.
Facebook marketing blunders
Here is how some brands have ruined their own image through poor (silly) Facebook marketing:
The London Luton Airport, for example, used the topic of a plane crash for their Facebook post in a mocking way. But the picture they used was that of a 2005 Chicago flight that lost control on the runway and killed a 6 year old boy on-board. Sheer lack of research and bad judgement!
The photo and comment got immediate criticism from the Facebook users before the image was removed after an hour.
The post got some of these distressing comments, including:
‘I am pretty appalled that this is your official page and that this is the image and wording that you use.’ – Kelly Garrett, a Facebook user.
‘Poor form really, as a child died in this incident.’ – James Clarke, another Facebook user.
In another instance, Chick-Fil-A created two back-to-back social media controversies in mid 2012. In the first one, the company’s president and CEO, Dan Cathy spoke out harshly against same-sex marriage, which turned into a great controversy. The critics blasted Chick-Fil-A on various social networks and their Facebook page got hundreds of posts that were severely defaming.
Shortly after, the company was accused of creating a fake Facebook account, to defend itself against the allegations. Though, Chick-Fil-A denied creating any fake account later.
This shows it is extremely important to be careful when using social media as a marketing tool.
Facebook updates its features and algorithm regularly to cater to the needs of the new age users. For instance, Facebook is set to launch the ‘Dislike’ button which will allow users to show their distress towards a particular post. So if you are not updated about the recent upgrades and how they work, you can do more harm than good.
Are you still stuck with the outdated Facebook marketing approach? It’s time that you understand how Facebook works and tweak your marketing strategies accordingly!
The Top 5 Deadliest Facebook Marketing Mistakes
Social media is an extremely powerful tool to engage your target audience, but if perceived in the wrong way, it can become incredibly hazardous to your brand.
For instance, the Facebook campaign for Smuckers went wrong and it earned a lot of negative publicity. Smucker’s, a reliable food brand in the U.S got a lot of criticism from Facebook users for its perspective on GMO (genetically modified organisms) labelling. Hundreds of comments poured in showing their distress. In an attempt to take control of the situation, they deleted a number of comments which further worsened the situation.
Had the company or its marketers known how to use Facebook as a brand building tool and how to manage bad publicity, they wouldn’t have to face such circumstances. The list of brands that have messed up with Facebook marketing is endless, so if you don’t want to be one of them, here are top 5 marketing mistakes that you should avoid:
1. Too much promotion
You might take pride in your company’s accomplishments, but the audience on Facebook is looking for much more. They use Facebook to connect to brands that offer value to them.
It is okay to share your achievements with your loyal followers but you should never overdo it. If you are not offering value to your visitors or are not providing them with the information they are looking for, you’re missing out a lot. People spend time on Facebook to get entertained, inspired and interact with like-minded people. So in order to promote your brand, you should find innovative ways that inspire visitors and give them a reason to connect.
If you become too promotional, you will soon see the ‘Likes’ turning into ‘Dislikes’. Take the example of Newegg, a computer parts outlet that cleverly used this platform to attract 1.4 million likes for a post on their primary Facebook Page. The post congratulated one of their customer service representatives for completing 15 years with the company. This is a more humane way of engaging visitors and company values than flooding them with deals and discounts.
2. You’re focussed only on ‘Likes’
Yes, winning ‘Likes’ for your post is important; more likes means your message reaches more people; but your primary focus should be winning brand advocates and not just likes. These are people who like your post, share it with their networks and promote your brand for free.
A post on Reese’s Facebook page received 11,815 likes and 7,508 shares. The post shared a brownie recipe that used Reese’s Mini’s as a garnish ingredient.
The Book of Mormon Facebook Page, also did a great job to engage its visitors and win both ‘Shares’ and “Likes’. Thanks to their quick witted thinking.
Create an editorial calendar to post content strategically. The study of industry-specific engagement stats, by Buddy Media shows the best days and time to post content and get more shares. Engagement rates for Facebook posts are highest (18 percent higher than other days) on Thursday and Friday, according to the Buddy Media research.
3. Incomplete information on your brand page
Have you ever come across a brand page that mentions its details half heartedly? Did you feel left alone in the middle of the road, not knowing where to go? Surely you wouldn’t want to ill treat your visitors in a similar way.
The Brand Page is the first point of contact with your audience, so it is necessary that you make a solid first impression! It is important that you provide as much information as possible. Mention the hours of work, address, contact details, URL, and whatever you find important for your visitors to know.
4. Too many words
Write shorter posts (between 250 characters) and get 60 percent more shares. You can get even more likes, if you slash down the word count to 80 characters or less.
You need to determine the frequency with which you should post your content. Posting too frequently or not often enough can both be harmful for you. Depending upon your target audience, you need to identify how often they want to hear from you. It is also necessary that you stick to a pattern to maintain consistency.
If you are unable to post for some time, let your audience know you’ll be unavailable for that period of time. When you’re back, let them know you’re ready to go again. The audience will appreciate your efforts.
5. Out of context posts
Failing to align your posts with your brand might confuse your audience. Right from the text to images and videos, everything should be a reflection of your brand. Offer variety but make sure you don’t go out of context. You can cash in on major events happening across the world, but make sure it matches the core message.
For instance, after the incident of Luiz Suarez (star forward for Uruguay’s soccer team) biting the shoulder of a defender on Italy’s team, an array of leading brands like Snickers, McDonald’s Trident Gum, etc. took advantage of the situation.
A final note
Facebook is a critical element in the social media landscape. But this does not mean you have to implement every strategy you come to know about. Measure what works for your audience and what they dislike. Take out a few minutes from your daily schedule and plan your strategies. Update yourself and tweak the Facebook marketing strategies accordingly. Also make sure you avoid the deadliest Facebook marketing mistakes, to position your brand in the best possible way.
Guest Author: Vineet Agarwal is the Founder and CEO of V1 Technologies, a Website and Mobile Application Development company based in London providing premium technology solutions to small and medium businesses. A graduate in Business Management and Post-Graduate in Business Process Outsourcing, Vineet is passionate about helping his clients achieve sustainable business growth. Follow him on Twitter to catch up on any of these topics.