Every small business should consider having a Facebook page to keep in touch with customers. I have run a Facebook page for my small business for over six years. Here are the top mistakes I have both seen and learned from myself:
Mistake #1: Don’t use your Facebook page as your main website
It can be tempting for a small business to simply put up a Facebook page instead of a full website, but it is a bad idea. Not everyone uses Facebook, and customers need a Facebook account to be able to see most of your page. Also, a Facebook page for your business may not show up as highly in search engine rankings. Another problem with a Facebook page as your primary web site is that you have no control over it. If Facebook changes its policies or starts charging businesses fees, you have no choice in the matter.
Mistake #2: Don’t assume everyone sees your updates
In its early days, Facebook was a great place to keep in touch with customers. These days, it’s more difficult, as Facebook selectively shares posts with users. This means that if you post a status update to your Facebook page, only a fraction of your customer base will ever see it. Also put important updates on email lists or blog posts, as there is no guarantee your news will reach the right people on Facebook. Focus on using Facebook for connecting with customers and giving them less essential news.
Mistake #3: Don’t post too often
It’s very easy for customers to hide your posts or unfollow your business on Facebook. Unless you have a devoted and active fan base, post no more than a few times a week. If you post too often and customers hide you, Facebook will start showing your posts less to the customers who haven’t hidden you. Facebook is looking for high engagement (likes and comments) in every posts, so make your posts count.
Mistake #4: Don’t ignore inflammatory comments
Facebook makes it easy to deal with trolls and belligerent commenters, and too few small business owners take advantage of this feature. If you see a comment that doesn’t fit in, all you have to do is click the “X” next to it. When you hide a comment on Facebook, the commenter and the commenter’s friends still sees the comment, so no one knows it was hidden. I personally do this a lot to keep my page friendly and on topic.
Mistake #5: Don’t post a wall of text
One of the worst things a business can do on Facebook is to post a huge paragraph of text that’s difficult to parse. So many businesses I know do this, and I always ignore those updates because they are too difficult to read. Facebook is formatted differently than a blog post or email, and it’s best to keep updates to a few sentences at most. If you must post a longer update, make sure to include separate paragraphs to keep it readable.
Mistake #6: Don’t ignore complaints
While I am a firm believer in squelching trolls and argumentative types on Facebook, I don’t feel the same way about genuine customer complaints. Make sure you respond to customer complaints in a friendly, constructive, and timely matter. More people are paying attention to these complaints than you think, and how you respond reflects on your business.
Mistake #7: Don’t ask for likes or comments
Likes and comments are huge for getting more people to see your Facebook page’s status, and it’s tempting to ask customers to “Like” or “Comment” on something. I don’t recommend doing this, as Facebook now penalizes status updates that ask for engagement. Try to make your status update as positive and exciting as you can without being promotional. You will see that good updates naturally get plenty of likes and comments from your customers.