There was a time when businesses had two choices for advertising: a daily newspaper or a local television station. Those days are long gone. Scott Hancock, a social media manager at Marketing Plus, says small businesses these days must have digital prowess, especially when it comes to social media.
“Businesses need to go where their customers are, and the majority of customers are on Facebook,” says Hancock, who manages social media for companies all over California.
As more small businesses join the Facebook bandwagon, Hancock has noticed some companies are repelling customers rather than attracting them. To make sure your content breaks through the Facebook clutter, Hancock tells companies not to engage in these five Facebook no-nos.
1. Don’t sell, sell, sell
The best way to drive customers away from your page is to constantly post ads, Hancock says. His company has an 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the posts are social in nature and 20 percent pertain directly to the company’s product or service.
“Posting ads all the time is the equivalent of advertising during your favorite television show,” he said. “You don’t sit through the commercials, you leave the room. Trying to constantly sell on Facebook will cause your viewers to leave your page in a hurry, just like you run from the room during commercials.”
2. Don’t hide positive comments
When a customer posts something positive about your company, be sure to highlight it on the timeline. These messages usually end up in the “comments made by others” section, which is hidden off to the right side of the page, Hancock said. To bring that post onto the timeline, just roll over it, click the X and select “highlight on page.”
“A positive message on Facebook is better than free advertising,” Hancock notes. “Don’t hide it where no one will see it, highlight it and show it off.”
3. Don’t ignore your audience
Interact with anyone who reaches out to you. Even if someone posts something negative, ignoring the message isn’t the answer, Hancock urges his clients. A discount jewelry store found this out the hard way. When customers accused the company of copying jewelry designs, the company ignored the comments and fans started protesting. That’s why Hancock says all messages should be dealt with right away.
“I tell clients they should never let a comment linger longer than 24 hours,” he says. “During an ideal business week, someone should respond within an hour.”
4. Don’t delete negative comments
Facebook is like a public suggestion box. People are constantly chatting about businesses online. If someone makes a suggestion or leaves a negative comment, it’s natural to want to take it down, but Hancock advises against it. He tells clients to stick to this motto: acknowledge in public, solve in private.
“Respond to the comment and have that person reach out in private so a solution can be found,” he explains. “In my experience, if negative comments are handled correctly, people will actually apologize on your page.”
5. Don’t post bad photos and bad content
Put effort into your Facebook page. Post content that’s relevant to your business and usable to your audience, Hancock advises. Be tasteful with your message because your virtual audience won’t hesitate to tell you when you’ve done wrong. A popular retailer got a shellacking when they posted an inappropriate comment about a hurricane.
Quality photography is another must. Bad photography, or no photography at all, can hurt a business.
“I don’t understand why a business would take the time to create a Facebook page and then post bad content and poor photos,” says Hancock. “That page represents your company, so take the time to invest in your digital reputation.”
This post contributed by guest author, Lisa Furgison. Furgison is a media maven with ten years of journalism experience and a passion for creating top-notch content.