/Eight Ways to Fail at Facebook

Eight Ways to Fail at Facebook

800px-Paris_Tuileries_Garden_Facepalm_statueWe all know that you learn more from your failures than your successes. The thing that’s both fantastic and horrifying about social media is that your failures come swiftly. And they’re public. Sometimes all too public. Just ask the fine people of London’s Luton Airport. Or Applebees. Or Kenneth Cole. Or Justine Sacco.

But you can learn from these folks’ failures and avoid the following mistakes. These are all sure-fire ways to fail at Facebook:

1.       Don’t share pictures with your content.

Facebook is a profoundly visual medium. Sharing pictures, videos and visual links are all great ways to improve your engagement. Indeed, including photo posts can get upwards of 84% more engagement than posts without images. Here is a handy infographic for more detail.

2.       Respond badly to criticism.

Ah, yes. Also known as career-limiting moves. Or brand killers. Or how to make top ten social media failure lists all over the world.

Fortunately, responding positively to public criticism is easy. All you need to do is follow these simple steps.

A)     Breathe.

B)      Calm down.

C)      Determine whether the poster has any validity to their argument. If yes, follow these steps.

  • Say “Sorry to hear that.” Sometimes the poster just needs to feel like they’ve been heard.
  • Address the valid argument, and use it as a chance to position your brand as responsive. “We totally hear what you’re saying about ____, and we’re definitely looking into how we can solve this problem.”
  • Thank them for bringing it to your attention.

D)     If the poster is a troll, or uses profanity, direct them to your comments policy.

3.       Don’t bother with a comments policy.

Facebook is designed to encourage engagement, and comments are the holy grail of any social media community manager. However, every social media community is bound to attract some trolls. Or, my personal favorite, the CAVErs (Citizens Against Virtually Everything). You haven’t made it as a brand if you haven’t had a few “#$*&  you and the horse your rode in on” type comments, and you need to have a policy in place that protects you from these kinds of posters. Post your comments policy publicly, and refer to it whenever you need it.

4.       Save time by posting the same content as Twitter.

This is what our lovely friend Dana DiTomaso at Kick Point calls “lazy marketing.” And, as Dana says, “Lazy marketing kills kittens.”  So keep those kittens safe by clearly establishing a different (though related) voice on Facebook, and post content accordingly.

A note about those pesky hashtags. Hashtags and @ symbols are dead giveaways that you’re drawing your Twitter feed into your Facebook. Yes, yes, I know that Facebook allows hashtags now. But in practice, they’re rarely well in professional circles, and IMHO, they detract from Facebook’s aesthetics. Also, IMHO, bringing in hashtags is a slippery slope to other tactics that are appropriate on Twitter, but not Facebook – for example, using shortcuts like “r” and “2” instead of spelling out the words. Facebook is a more literary platform, and writing needs to be exemplary, despite its inherent informality.

5.       Live and die by the numbers.

Ack! Your post reach plummeted by 3000% this week! Your “people talking about this” number dropped to the three digits! Your new likes slowed by 200%. Feel like jumping off a bridge?

Facebook statistics are important. But it’s the impact over time that is important, and it’s the human insight into the stats that are significant. It’s possible your reach dropped because last week you had a huge spike, and this week it’s evening out, back to normal. Could be you need to run some new ads, or pick up your content writing game. But don’t panic when you see fluctuations – dig a little deeper to see what’s causing them, especially if you’re seeing those numbers drop consistently over time.

And then fix it. Most likely the solutions lie in your content development and schedule, your ad spend or your community management strategies.

6.       Post too frequently.

More of good is not necessarily good. Ask Upworthy, or Viralnova or i09. Or other meme generators. You’ll actually see engagement drop if you post more than once or twice a day. Most brands only require 3-5 posts per week. If you flood people’s timelines, expect to see them turn off and tune out.

7.       Don’t boost your posts.

It is an unfortunate reality these days that brands need to put some money behind their content in order to see any kind of significant reach. Since the December 2013 algorithm change, Facebook has made it necessary for brands to pay for reach. Particularly if you have a small Facebook following, your reach will stay in the double digits if you don’t throw at least a few pennies at your posts. But the good news is that a little goes a long way, and most brands can maintain their reach on a relatively small budget – even $30 or $40/month will keep your posts on your audience’s radar.

8.       Don’t learn from your failures.

 This one’s a freebie: Facebook makes it easy to quickly assess the successes and failures on any page. Don’t hang your head in shame or self-flagellate if a post doesn’t work as well as you want it to. Learn from it, and move on.

Facebook is pretty much like life, that way.

Original Source

Marliss Weber is the principal social media monster of Jibber Jabber Social Media, a new boutique social media community management firm based in Edmonton. She has run social media campaigns for WinterCity Edmonton, the Alberta Motor Association, Winter Walk Day, and Uwalk, amongst others, and is so used to writing in 140 characters that anything more seems superfluous. Marliss is also the main brain behind Parodos Communications, a corporate storytelling company. While Parodos is evolving into Jibber Jabber, Marliss still produces videos, writes stories and spins web copy for Group of Rogues Marketing and Communications. When she's not tweeting, she's likely shopping, as she is also a co-partner in the personal branding firm, The Retail Therapists. Marliss holds a Master of Arts in Communications and Technology from the University of Alberta.