Organic social branding remains a powerful resource for today’s small businesses and large companies. Defined as the use of free tools and platforms to build a social community that allows the business to interact directly with the customer, organic social branding can help your business to market, answer customer concerns, and develop new ideas. But, using Facebook, the largest and most viable of all social networks for most brands, isn’t always simple. It’s important to “get it right” and to do that you need a combination of the right social media listening tools and the right team behind you.
Is This Really the Right Place to Spend Money?
Before launching into the most common mistakes companies make when building their social presence on Facebook, let’s consider a few key statistics. Out of the $70 billion spent on mobile advertising around the world in 2015, Facebook spending claimed 19 percent of that. The average click through rate on the site is 0.9 percent, significantly higher than other sites.
You need to use Facebook. That’s important as we look at the most common mistakes made because, for some, you may be about ready to toss your campaign to the side. Don’t do it, just improve it instead. Here’s how to do just that:
#1: Don’t like your own posts.
There are some claims that liking your own Facebook post is a good thing. They claim it helps to send a notification to your friends that you’ve taken some action — getting them to potentially find out what you’re “liking.” The problem is, it rarely works that way and, even more importantly, it doesn’t work for business pages. Worse yet, you look ridiculous. After all, it’s like giving yourself a hi-five after making a comment. Do you clap for yourself after you say something? Your goal, on the other hand, is to have others clapping for your post instead. You shouldn’t need this extra “fake” like anyway.
#2: Don’t over promote or spam people.
You don’t like to be spammed and neither do those who follow your page. Don’t over promote your page or spam people. In case there is any confusion as to what spam means, just think of that friend or family member that is always giving out unsolicited advice or tries to one-up all your stories all the time. If you or your business is only talking about yourself or promoting in improper channels, you’ll lose your following quickly, if you even had one in the first place.
Karen Clark, the author of “Social Media for Direct Selling Representatives” puts it well when she says, “Whether it is a ‘wall post’ or a comment, it is not OK to visit another business and tell their network all about yours. Do not go and like someone’s page and then post on their page ‘New liker from XYZ company, like me back!’ either. Do not troll for ‘openings’ on pages and comment with ‘You can buy a great XYZ here:’ and include your link. Would you go into a store and pass out fliers about your store across the street?”
#3: Don’t connect with everyone.
As a business, you need to remain professional. This means creating a professional level of interaction with your customers and social media followers. There’s no benefit to connecting directly with everyone, as some connections may not be ideal for your business image. You want to be at least a little wary of who you connect with on social media, as new connections tend to bring more of the same kind of people. Just take a quick few seconds to read the bios of people requesting to connect with you to make sure they don’t seem shady or inappropriate. If you do connect, try to provide as much value as possible through the types of posts you share, and even through direct contact if the opportunity is right. Opening that conversation not only builds your relationship with that person, but also lets your company show that it cares about each person instead of just the number of followers or connections it has.
#4: Don’t delete negative comments or reviews.
It seems like a good idea to simply remove any negative comments that pop up on your Facebook business page. You don’t want people reading them. How could keeping them on your page possibly help? However, deleting negative reviews is actually bad for business. Basically, deleting the review shows that you don’t try to make up for your mistakes, and you don’t care about customer feedback. It hurts your social media brand building. Instead, you can turn a negative comment into something positive. Here are some examples of how to do this exactly:
- Respond right away and to each negative comment.
- Offer a solution or show you care.
#5: Don’t become unresponsive.
Posting on social media on a consistent basis is important, but there’s no benefit to posting and running. That is, you need to create a post, ask a question, and interact. Daniel Sharkov of Socialmouths says, “In a real world situation where you ask a question, it is quite obvious that you will also wait for an answer and then give your standpoint once again. It’s the same here. Whenever you ask your fans something, don’t forget to observe the answers and reply back (by mentioning the person by name, so that they get notified) with a thoughtful and constructive comment. Also, take the time to like the comments that people are leaving as a way to say thank you.”
#6: Don’t use too much automation.
Automation can be beneficial in most marketing plans. However, over-automating is a problem as well. There are lots of automation tools that let you schedule posts, auto-respond to comments and direct messages, and even add new connections automatically. Some of these tools can really come in handy, but not when they are overused.
Basically it all boils down to people wanting to interact with businesses as if they’re people. Not only do they expect a response, but they expect a response that is tailored to them. Social media brand building is about creating a unique image with a distinct voice that is personalized to the customer. If you rely on automation too much, you can lose your brand voice. It’s important, instead, to use a blend of automation and very personalized interactions.
#7: Don’t post about “trigger” topics.
As a brand, you may find yourself in a gray area on numerous topics—especially current events like elections. It’s a trigger topic. Everyone has an opinion and many people are over-the-top passionate about that opinion. You personally may want to encourage others to embrace your theory or opinion, but doing so on your business page is bad business. Most of the time, brands shouldn’t post on trigger topics at all because it can create a debate that gets pulled out of hand. If you think your thought has any chance of being taken inappropriately, it is probably better if you don’t share that thought at all on social media.