As part of my consulting, I manage Facebook pages for brands. I’m constantly evaluating and testing to see what works. Because of this, in the past two years, a page I manage has grown consistently and regularly has an engagement rate of over 30% (the average is around 12%).
This has translated into significant traffic, sales and income for the business. Just last week we had the highest day ever, and I’m convinced that it was because we had a strong community built added to a single well-timed post that went viral.
Here are 5 mistakes you need to stop making on your Facebook Pages
1. You use the default preview when they post a link.
When you post a link on Facebook, it pulls an image and text from the link to display. The problem is, the text and image are too small to see well or read. You also can’t control what Facebook shows. The worst is when the image or text doesn’t really tell you a thing about what to expect. Here’s what a naked link looks like (and why posting directly from instagram isn’t the best option either):
Instead, upload a catchy image that illustrates a main point or the story to go with your links. Not only will you get more likes/comments and shares, but when you do this, you get more space. If your update is too long, Facebook will insert a link to “read more”. Most people won’t click that link to read more. When you include your own image (sometimes just a screenshot of your blog post title and image), you have more space to write. This is especially important if you’re explaining a contest and how to enter it. That usually requires more words.
Here’s a link with a gorgeous image and catchy headline…look at the # of shares in just 12 minutes:
Always write your own commentary about the link (your goal: entice people to read it) rather than letting Facebook pull it automatically.
2. You only post about yourself, most of the time.
Some brands that have a large affinity and have built a strong following and have so much social capital, they can do this more often than the rest of us can. Cheerios is one that comes to mind. It’s either about Cheerios in some way or about people who eat them. But you’re not General Mills and don’t have their marketing budget. So be careful about posting too much about their products or business. Instead, post things that will resonate with your audience. Yes, that means you have to get to know them.
The better you understand your target market the more you can shape posts and your commentary in a way that they will like (including clicking the thumbs up arrow). Everything you post should be filtered through the lens of what your audience cares about.
3. You have thousands of fans, but double or single digit engagement.
When I see a page that has thousands or even millions of fans, and then posts that have very few likes/comments or shares, I know something is wrong. They either aren’t managing their page (neglect) or they’re not eliminating posts that consistently get a low response from their audience. Maybe they are doing what I warn against in #2. Remember, if you have 1,000 fans you should have an engagement rate of at least 100, but it should be even higher — 300-400.
Look at your insights. Facebook gives you stats on each post at a glance and you can compare to see what is effective and more importantly, what isn’t. Stop doing the kinds of posts that get a low response, unless there is a strategic reason to.
4. You post too much at once.
One mistake I see over and over is a page admin that posts status updates back to back. Or a whole lot of updates at once and then nothing. Don’t. Be consistent and space things out. Unless you’re covering breaking news or running a contest with updates about winners, it’s never a good idea to sabotage your audience by posting twice or more in the same hour. People will unlike, hide your posts or tune you out. All of these things hurt you.
With the new Facebook insights you can easily see when most of your fans are online. You can also look over posts and see the day and time you posted them (or your when your competitors or people who reach a similar audience post). It used to be almost impossible to tell this information. Since discovering the change, I completely changed when I post. It’s made a HUGE impact. The page has gotten more likes and higher engagement because more people are seeing our posts.
Every audience has its own personality and habits, it’s your job to learn them. Are your fans early risers or night owls? I discovered mine were most online at 8pm. Before that I scheduled almost everything at 3pm. I missed an opportunity to reach more of my fans by posting when they’re more likely to see my updates.
5. You won’t pay to promote your posts.
Some page admins think it’s admirable that they’ve built their pages organically, without spending a cent on advertising. I see that as a missed opportunity. They’re missing out on an easy way to gain more fans in their niche at a low cost (less than they pay for an hour’s worth of my work).
Here’s what I do: when a post is doing well already, I pay to promote it, so it will go even further. This is especially effective when the issue is hot and you’re one of the first to write about it in your niche or to relate it to your audience. When a topic is trending and important to your audience, it’s your chance to attract new fans.
Another benefit of promoted posts is that you have more space and you can include images, video or other media. Just be aware that if you promote a post that is an image with more than 20% text, it will likely be rejected.
Your time is worth money and it’s a smart investment to even spend $15 to double your results and gain more fans faster than the organic route. You are showing off your best content. I wish the targeted was better, but be sure to target it to your country and language. Sometimes I target by age range too.
I recently read another tip related to this one – if a status update does really well with your target audience – use it in a Facebook ad.
“A good strategy is to use your existing Facebook page fans as a testing board. If you write a status update that gets a great response, use that post as an advertisement in Facebook and target it at people who like similar pages to engage a new audience immediately.” -Jon Goodman, Author of Race to the Top: How to Take Over the Social Media Feed
There you have it, my long-winded hard-earned advice. Hope it was helpful!
I admit when I see these mistakes, it makes me wish the admin would hire me to coach them for a few hours to dramatically improve their results over time. Or, it makes me think they need to hire me (you never do that, do you??). When I see someone in my niche who is crushing it, I’ll pay them to coach me. Even if I don’t learn anything new, to hear their take on things gives me new inspiration and usually we partner in some way to improve both of our results (help promote each other’s work where there is common ground).
I’m also always learning. You have to in order to keep up with Facebook’s changes, test them, and make them work for your page. Every page has peaks and valleys in their stats and results, but follow these best practices and I promise it will make a difference in your Facebook marketing. I’ve invested in learning. That includes attending webinars, studying my stats, reading books and blog posts, paid hundreds of dollars for courses, and the occasional one-on-one coaching.
If I missed anything or if you disagree with any of my points, please comment and let me know. I also welcome stats or your examples that confirm what I’ve found.