As we’re all competing for a share of the ever-growing facebook marketplace, there can be a tendency to concentrate a little too much of your effort on growing fan numbers at the expense of generating a valuable community. There are lots of potential fans – over 750 million worldwide, over 2 million in Ireland alone – but do you want just any fan or one who is likely to buy your product or use your service? I know which I’d prefer…
Growing a facebook community is not a competition, you don’t need to outnumber your competitor in order to get it right. And by getting it right we mean driving traffic to your website, generating real leads, bringing people into your business – that’s getting facebook right, not simply looking at a higher number of likes on your page than your opposition.
So, what common mistakes do businesses make in the quest to grow the numbers;
Breaking the rules
Yes, there are rules and facebook don’t just have them for the sake of it. While the rules may be lengthy, they are pretty detailed and no matter what else you do when you set up your facebook page make sure you read the rules – particularly those relating to promotions. Asking people to like a comment or post a photo to enter a competition breaks the rules, even if it does generate activity on your page and can cost you your facebook page, or at the very least a suspension.
Using a facebook profile
Profiles are for people, pages are for business. Pages can be administered from your profile, can display a range of speciality tabs and give you real facts about those fans you’ve managed to attract. Quite apart from the fact that it is in breach of facebook guidelines, you are actually overly complicating your own marketing processes and if you manage to grow your page, you’ll actually at a point run out of “friends”. Not to mention the privacy issues of befriending people rather than having them like you e.g. bars becoming “friends” with minors?! You don’t have to lose the numbers as facebook now allow you to convert your profile to a page, but stop using a profile as it’s not good for your business.
Too many giveaways
Trying too hard speaks of desperation. You’re desperate to be liked, desperate to grow the numbers, desperate to have people talk to you… If you’re guilty of giving away too much have a look at the entrants for your competition, can you match them up with sales? If you look at other facebook pages who have given away a nice prize or two, will you find the same names there too? There are genuine fans who enter a competition, but there are other “fans” who’ll like any page with a decent giveaway and if your criteria for a competition doesn’t involve any real customer engagement, you may well become known for your generosity without any impact on your profits!
There are no hard and fast rules in relation to how many times a day you post. Depending on the brand and the business, it can be anything from a few times a day to a couple of times a week. You’ll find what works for you and as long as you can respond in a timely manner and the traffic arrives at your website, you’ll establish what’s right. Don’t however make a hard and fast rule that you must post four times a day every day and post even though you have nothing to say. If you’ve got a great new offer tell us, similarly if you’ve got industry news or even some breaking news that’s appropriate we’re happy to hear it. We don’t however like to hear “thank crunchie it’s Friday” every other week, with an overdose of “woohoo it’s the weekend” on alternates! Yes it may be Friday, but we’ve got news for you – there’s 52 of them in a year and some of us work weekends!
Too much information
Your customers and potential customers have liked your page for a reason. They may well be personally connected to the business or its employees, they may be competitors and if you’re lucky, most of them are customers and potential customers. Always think before you post about whether what you have to say can add any value to your brand or whether it really is likely to be of interest to your customer. While a much loved employee leaving to travel the world may be important news in some businesses, does the customer really need to know that the office are a little delicate after a few drinks to say goodbye? Similarly, sometimes “news” that’s exciting to you may mean nothing to a customer. Also, when you’re posting as a business remember that what constitutes a little light-hearted banter amongst employees doesn’t always carry to the web or the humour can be lost, particularly if the fans don’t pick it up immediately.
We’ve just given five facebook don’ts for today, as part of our series The Marketing Shop Five and we’ll cover other areas in upcoming posts, but if you’re starting out these are five areas you need to consider from the off.