The Top 3 Facebook Marketing Mistakes Right Now

What are the biggest mistakes people are making in Facebook marketing right now? I’ll tell you the top three.

The #1 Facebook Marketing Mistake: The Young People Fallacy

The situation: Business owners who have rarely or never been on Facebook decide they have to take advantage of it. They don’t understand the pitfalls. They don’t have a strategy. They don’t understand or like the website.

The mistake: They hire a young person to do it since “those young people are texting and Facebooking all the time, and of course they understand it, right?” Wrong.

Young people are familiar with Facebook but most haven’t done marketing, don’t have experience with analytics and insights, have never gotten business results for a company. That would be like having your teenager fix your car because “those young people drive a lot.”

The truth: Age is not the most important factor. There are likely some youngsters who have the talent and diligence to learn (despite many weeks or months of learning curve) what works and do a good job for you. But you need to have the right person, because…

The risk and consequences: If you have the wrong person as your social media voice, that person can make a mistake that damages your brand for years.

Have you seen what happened to Nestle? Google “Nestle” right now. The #6 result is about the brand’s big Facebook screw-up. The administrator was too snarky, and CBS News, among others, wrote about it. This happened two years ago and the bad mark is still visible — here I am bringing it up again, creating even more bad press.

I list this as the number one mistake because if the wrong person doing your Facebook marketing, he or she won’t be able to fix any of the rest of these mistakes.

The solution: Hire someone who has marketing experience, customer service experience, poise, is positive and courteous, and can write well. I don’t care if they’re 19 or 91. Just don’t use age as the only hiring criteria.

And if you don’t have the money to hire someone, and you don’t have the time to learn yourself, check out my One Hour Per Week Social Media Plan.

The #2 Facebook Marketing Mistake: The Timeline Fallacy

The situation: Facebook released timeline for profiles, then for businesses, then about 7,000 people wrote blog posts about it. This seems to be big news and really important.

The mistake: You assume that timeline is a big deal, so you generally freak out and decide to change your entire Facebook strategy. The biggest problem here is not thinking through how people actually use Facebook. Timeline is not that important.

The truth: Less than one percent of your fans ever go back to your Facebook page, so few people will see your business’s timeline. The reason to have fans is that they may see your posts on their homepage, not to get them to go back to your page. When was the last time you went back to the pages of businesses you’ve liked? Most people never do it.

One of the most affordable ways to get new fans is buying ads that have like buttons included, and you probably won’t be setting that up to direct people to your Facebook page initially. Some of your fans will never see it even once.

There will be no more default welcome tabs anymore with the new timeline, so the like-gate is no longer as viable a fan-growth method. Only those you send directly from an advertisement, email link or website directly to that tab will see it, and those are likely a small number.

The solution: There are certainly some things you need to do to adapt your business page to timeline, before March 30th. But you don’t need to completely change course, unless fan gates were your primary strategy and you weren’t paying attention to how many people interacted with your posts.

Use the 80-20 rule (spend 80 percent of your time on the 20 percent of things that get the biggest results) on Facebook, which means:

  1. Advertising to increase awareness, traffic and fans, and
  2. Posting in a way that gets you more interaction and thus more visibility to your fans.

The #3 Facebook Marketing Mistake: Fear Of Negativity

The situation: You know there are negative reviews online and you’re afraid of your business’s reputation being marred.

Many businesses have had trouble with review sites, with raging slander by irate customers, and with competitors pretending to be customers and posting negative reviews.

Sometimes it’s a business problem they can fix, and sometimes it’s not something they can control. This makes them leery of any website where people can post their opinions.

The mistake: You assume Facebook is the same as other websites, that it could hurt your company’s image, and let this keep you from getting started.

The truth: You can’t control the web. People will post negative reviews about you. But people do this less on Facebook.

Facebook is more positive because there is no dislike button, and Facebook shows people things they are more likely to like.

As covered in the previous mistake, people don’t go to pages that much, so if someone posts something negative on your page, chances are that few people or no one will see it.

What’s more, many companies have seen their fans defend them against negative commenters. Your superfans are valuable as defenders of your honor. And that’s a much more powerful statement than you replying to them. You can’t really afford to ignore Facebook while your competitors leverage it, so get on there.

The solution: Run a quality business with good customer service. Have a good social media voice. Follow this decision tree when considering how to respond.

To learn about the other seven mistakes in the top ten please join me at this link for a free webinar on April 24, hosted by the publisher of my book.

Brian Carter is author of The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook.

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