10 things companies should never, ever do on Facebook

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Every brand needs social media as part of its social media strategy these days. But why do so many still get it wrong? SocialBakers – the social media analytics specialists – give us some valuable insights into what *not* to do when sorting out your social media.

#1 Make Irrelevant Content Viral 

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Brand pages seem to be doing almost anything for a higher engagement rate on Facebook. The word has spread that photos of cute kittens and puppies generate a lot of Likes, Comments and Shares. But who engages with your close-ups of chocolate dipped strawberries when you are a car dealer? Not just your chocoholic dedicated fans but also users that didn’t even have to Like your page to engage with your posts.

In that case, those puppy and chocolate-generated interactions have no value to your brand page because these users will probably not revisit your page and they are less likely to convert into paying customers. Plus, they will effectively decrease your Engagement Rate as the formula takes into account interactions over the official number of your fans.

Tip: Stay brand-relevant

From time to time, post random content to spice up your engagement but don’t base your strategy on it. Stick to your industry and product portfolio to create genuine relationships that carry true value to your Facebook Page and viral pots.

#3 Sharing Timeline Updates

News feeds are becoming noisier and noisier and some page admins seem to overlook that Timeline updates are visible to everyone unless they select the Hide from News Feed option. So if you decide to update your brand’s history from the birth of your company’s founder, don’t forget to hide the updates so that you don’t spam or clog your fans’ stream while you are working on your Timeline.

Tip: Share Updates Wisely

Share your updates only when they communicate a compelling message, for example: an updated Cover Photo of your new fashion campaign, related upcoming events or seasons like Queen Elizabeth´s jubilee or the summer holidays. British retailer Marks & Spencer shared the update of their Cover Photo to launch Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s ex­clusive lingerie collection for M&S.

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#3 Spam your fans with posts

Posting too much on your wall can decrease your Engagement Rate. Some brands and media can post as much as they want and they will still be engaging. But most Facebook pages aren’t so lucky and if the fans feel that you are haunting them in their News feeds, they may either unlike/unsubscribe from your page, hide your posts or simply ignore them.

Tip: Choose quality over quantity

Don’t waste your best content in a News feed that isn’t interested in you. Bear in mind that the quality of your posts is more important than their quantity when you want to keep your fans’ interest and attention.

#4 Pay For Bad Content

moneyPromoted Posts are designed to increase the reach of your content, but that will not automatically guarantee a boost in Engagement Rate. If you promote a low-quality post, you can’t expect it to generate more Likes, Shares and Comments. Remember that promoting your content will not increase its quality, just its reach.

Tip: Save your money

Save your money for content that works. Listen to your audience and then exceed their expectations by promoting posts they want to see and want to engage with. And bear in mind that organic and viral reach will always prove to be stronger than paid reach!

#5 Duplicate the URL

It’s nice when the post looks as clean and neat as possible but some pages upload videos or articles with a link and forget to delete the URL address, which makes it look messy. Don’t duplicate the address and make it look as simple as you can, preferably not exceeding three lines in the accompanying status update.

Tip: Take time for a readthrough

Before you hit the button, take a moment to look at your post to make sure it’s as neat as it can be.

#6 Ignore Contest Guidelines

A staggering amount of brands violate the official promotion guidelines which apply to any contest, competition or sweepstakes using Facebook. For example, they use the Like button as a voting mechanism although it’s banned to use Facebook features or functionalities for promotions of any kind.

They also shouldn’t be notifying winners through messages, chat or posts on their Timelines. Facebook is monitoring illegal sweepstakes and the social network can shut down your page.

Tip: Follow the Facebook Contest guidelines

Click here to view the official contest guidelines and make sure that all your promotions are administered as a Facebook application.

#7 Violate Cover Photo guidelines

Although Facebook released strict guidelines for the Timeline Cover Photo, companies fail to follow them. Their Cover Photos include price information, contact details, calls to action and references to the Like and Share buttons which are all banned. That information is definitely not worth the risk of losing your page.

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Tip: Follow the guidelines

Cover Photos are designed for storytelling, not promoting. Follow the guidelines below to get things right.

#8 Ignore fans

handAs we found out in our study, up to 70 per cent of questions don’t get answered on page walls and over 25 per cent of global brands go as far as closing their walls. Ignoring fans is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in social media and some companies have chosen to use Facebook primarily as an advertising platform. But Facebook shouldn’t be a corporate monologue, it should be a resourceful dialogue.

Tip: Become socially devoted

Follow the Socially Devoted standard to prove that your brand is here to build a community and create a strong relationship with fans and customers.

#9 Not have House Rules

Generally, page admins aren’t advised to delete posts from Facebook users because that violates their freedom of speech. But some people take advantage of it which is one of the reasons why pages should release House Rules or Terms of Use and Privacy Policy in their “About” section under the Cover Photo. For example, home improvement store IKEA reserves the right to remove comments that refer to an IKEA co-worker by their last name or any threatening or abusive posts.

If there are no House Rules, companies risk their reputation for tolerating abusive fan behavior which could also detract other fans from participating in the debate. As a result a brand could lose both engagement ratings and Likes, as well as suffer from irreparable damage.

Tip: Set your own House Rules

House rules are not only about restrictions, they are also about your vision and the community you would like to create on Facebook. Let your fans know what you can offer in exchange for their fair and proactive behavior. Will you perhaps discuss home improvement ideas together?

#10 Fight with fans 

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Probably each Facebook page has experienced a fight on its wall and not every admin knows how to deal with them. Usually they react to the comments as fast as possible to prevent further drama but sometimes it’s wiser to let the users talk it out together unless it crosses the limits stated in the House Rules. But never, ever get into a situation where you are arguing with your fans.

Tip: Choose your battles wisely

If a fight occurs on your wall, let them cool down first. And if you decide to step into the conversation, don’t forget to stay calm and respond diplomatically.

Image credits
Puppy – flickr user brykmantra
Talk 2 the Hand – flickr user mel7ares
Money – flickr user jeffbelmonte
Wrestling – flickr user familymwr