12 Facebook Mistakes Every Small Business Should Avoid

MistakeMistakes are the stepping stones to learning. However, while Facebook and other social networks promote a relaxed environment it doesn’t mean you should run around with your knickers down around your ankles, as one fellow put it.  In a recent online poll people were asked what they thought some of the biggest mistakes brands made on Facebook, and in particular, what mistakes small businesses  made on Facebook.

Here were the top 12 mistakes small businesses make and should avoid on Facebook:

  1. Post and Run.
    Many small businesses who struggle to find time to post on social media tend to schedule, post and run and not stick around to interact with incoming comments. The lack of engagement was the number one pet peeve among consumers.
  2. Trying to cross post.
    When brands, especially small businesses, try to save time by using Twitter posts on Facebook they don’t always make sense — despite the fact that Facebook allows hashtags now. Plus, messages tend to have different context depending on the network they are placed on.
  3. Too worried about the “number”
    Too many small businesses are worried about their fan base number rather than interacting with their fans. But what they don’t realize is that the more comments they get by posting interesting content that is relevant to their audience, the more people will actually see their brand and potentially become fans. It’s the best word-of-mouth there is.
  4. Not investing and using social media effectively.
    Many small businesses don’t have the funds or time to invest in learning social media properly. But with the amount of free webinars going on these days and YouTube How-To videos, you should try and carve out at least 30 minutes a week to attend or watch one of these.
  5. Try to please everyone.
    This lends itself to authenticity (I can’t believe I just used that word!). But it’s true. Many brands want to appeal to everyone, especially small brands because they don’t want to lose any prospect. But in the end, focusing on a niche or a few things really well is way better than focusing on everything for everyone. You can’t be the waiter, sommelier and the chef.
  6. Using  a profile page for a business account.
    Oh no! I hope that’s not you. There are so many limitations with personal profiles than there are with Pages. Plus, it’s so easy to convert and or merge these days. And if you’re afraid to do it, contact me through the contact form and we’ll get you fixed up in minutes. Truly minutes.
  7. Bad posting etiquette. Period.
    Whether it’s hard selling, bad grammar, too many repetitive posts , or text only updates, people are not happy with bad post etiquette.  Bad grammar? You can get away with that on Twitter because of the character limit, but not on Facebook, people expect better quality. Repeating posts? Instead of repeating a post, consider promoting the original post. Text only? Try looking at your Facebook Insights and varying up your post type. For example, if you say it with text, lay the text over top of a photo and say it with an image instead. Hard selling? No need to do that because the point is that you want to be top of mind for when they need your product or service. Unless you have a coupon or something of value to offer them, don’t hard sell, it’s a real turn-off.
  8. Inbox etiquette.
    This addresses two parts: For those who are in violation of #6, sending a message to someone else’s inbox to sell them something from your brand is as bad as someone selling directly to you on LinkedIn (do you like it?? Well then…). Second, if you do have a Page and you allow messages to be sent to your brand, make sure someone is there to monitor them and respond in a timely manner because nothing is worse than a prospect or customer sending a message and it landing in a black hole. They call that bad customer service.
  9. Running your Facebook Page like a website.
    Facebook is not an alternative to a website, although some may think it is and may use it as such. Facebook is just another marketing tool in your arsenal for you to use to get to know who your brand evangelists and prospects are and what they want. Take advantage of targeting your posts for the news feed.
  10. Not taking your fans off Facebook.
    If you have a brick and mortar business it’s very easy to take people off of Facebook and bring them into your store with a coupon or discount. But if you have a B2B business or are a consultant, it’s a bit harder, yet still doable. For example, you could bring them off Facebook and into a webinar or a live chat where you can get to know them better. Or announce you’ll be at an event and ask them to connect with you there. There are lots of ideas out there, you just have to noodle on them a bit.
  11. Oversharing.
    If you’re  a small business and doing the posting yourself, this is where it gets dicey. For example, if you’re a lifestyle blogger then it might seem okay to talk about a bad experience you just had traveling. But it’s not always okay to vent your problems or your kids’ problems online for the whole world to know because it damages your brand’s credibility and value proposition. You always hear from social media strategists that you should “share a little bit about yourself on social media so that your fans get to know you.” And while that is true, negative outbursts or constant whining are frowned upon because no one goes on social media to be depressed or get enraged. So when you are thinking about sharing something personal aim for something positive and make sure you’d be okay with your mother reading it outloud at a family reunion.
  12. Not caring about the details.
    Believe it or not, people identify with your cover photo and your profile photo. If you’re a consultant or sole-proprietor, consider having your face as the profile photo or in your cover photo so people can identify with you. If you own a small business consider a picture of the team in the cover photo or profile photo. When a business has poor images on their Facebook profile or cover photo it says how you run your business and it says you don’t really care about the details.

Free Facebook Webinar for Brands, Friday, August 23rd at 9am PST.  Have you signed up?

What are some of the mistakes you think brands make? Let me know in the comments.


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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.


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