9 deadly Facebook mistakes—and how to avoid them


Your Facebook page can make or break your business.

With the amount of time people spend staring at their News Feeds, taking advantage of their attention should be your priority.

As you try to accomplish this, though, you may be unaware that you’re making common mistakes that will prevent your Facebook page from selling or engaging.

Facebook’s current organic reach is hovering just above 2 percent. That’s not great news, but it’s not the end of the world, either.

There are two ways to drive more people to your page. One way is to boost posts (which costs money); the second is to create a thriving Facebook page.

To do the latter, you must stop making these common mistakes:

1. Your page has too much text.

People’s attention spans are short. Research shows that our attention spans are shorter than that of a goldfish.

Sometimes you might have to explain something on your business’s Facebook page through text. Providing updates and tutorials is great, but keep your followers’ attention spans in mind.

For example, consider Dell’s post below. It has a lot of text.

If this post had less text, it might have driven more audience engagement. It received only 37 “likes” and five shares.

The solution:

“Less is more” applies to text more often than not in Facebook posts. Use images and video to deliver your message with fewer words. Research shows that posts with 80 characters or fewer have 27 percent higher engagement rates than longer posts.

2. You’re not using optimized images.

The first rule of posting images on Facebook is to ensure they are the right size. Images that are not optimized for Facebook make you look unprofessional. No one wants to interact with a brand that’s unprofessional.

Would you “like,” share or comment on this?

You probably wouldn’t.

Additionally, non-optimized images are less likely to get through Facebook’s filter. Facebook filters posts out of everyone’s News Feed to try to keep people on Facebook as long as possible. Images that are not optimized won’t make the cut.

As Lars Backstrom of Facebook says, “Every time someone visits News Feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow and Pages for them to see, and most people don’t have enough time to see them all.”

The solution:

It’s simple: Use the right size image. If you need help resizing images, use Canva, PicMonkey, Picresize or Pablo by Buffer. Use this guide as a reference:

  • Cover pictures: 851 x 315 pixels (minimum size: 399 x 150 pixels)
  • Profile pictures: 180 x 180 pixels (shown as 160 x160)
  • Post pictures: 1,200 x 630 pixels (maximum width in the News Feed:470 pixels; maximum width in pages: 504 pixels)

3. You don’t watermark your images.

When you create and optimize images for a new marketing campaign, you want people to know who created them.

Look at the image below. You know it relates to poverty and malnutrition, but you have no idea which organization it’s promoting:

The solution:

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square said, “Make every detail perfect, and limit the number of details to perfect.”

The connection to watermarks is simple: You’ve spent time planning and creating images, but without a watermark, you’re missing a crucial detail.

Do you see this image’s watermark?

4. You ignore complaints (or give below-average support).

This may be the biggest mistake of all because of the damage it can cause your brand.

I found this statistic on the Help Scout Blog. Isn’t it astonishing?

Customer support, experience or success (whatever you want to call it) is the foundation of your business. If you provide only average customer support, you’re in for an uphill battle.

The solution:

Simply guide your customers to the right path. You can give a customer an immediate solution, or you can give him your email address so you can talk privately. For the sake of transparency, I would provide a solution on the spot. After all, what’s better: exceeding, meeting or falling short of a customer’s expectations? You know the answer.

5. You share only one type of content.

Imagine having the same breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for a month. That doesn’t sound enticing, does it?

Now, imagine your favorite brand started sharing the same type of content every day. You’d get bored quickly.

One mistake many Facebook page managers make is thinking they can get away with sharing only blog posts or images. In reality, a successful page features a variety of content.

The solution:

Experiment, and see what your followers like. Try posting GIFs, relevant articles, videos, infographics, tutorials, images with and without text, and behind-the-scenes stories. Discuss future products, and ask followers for their opinions.

Notice that the brand depicted below posts a variety of images. The online manager of this brand also uses video. (One video got more than 50 “likes”; another got more than 80.)

6. You post too often.

We all want attention from as many followers as possible, but there is a right and a wrong way to get in front of a large audience. Posting too much can repel followers.

Instead of trying to boost a post’s reach by making it more engaging, many social media marketers will post more often in the hope of reaching more people. Bad choice.

The solution:

Quality beats quantity when it comes to engaging your community on social media. The rule of thumb is to post no more than twice a day.

These are the results from a HubSpot study:

If you have more than 10,000 followers, posting twice a day can increase the number of clicks per post. On the other end of the spectrum, pages with fewer than 10,000 followers received fewer clicks per post when the number of posts increased. Companies with fewer than 10,000 followers that posted more than 60 times a month received 60 percent fewer clicks per post than companies that posted five or fewer times per month.

7. Your cover image isn’t branded.

Your cover image is meant to help you stand out. It should tell visitors what your brand is and what it does.

Do you know which organization this image represents?

What about this one?

Both images are from the pages of huge organizations, but we would never know that because the images are generic.

Visitors see your profile picture and cover image before they see any of your posts. Because Facebook allows cover photos to be so large, it would be a shame not to capitalize on the opportunity to make a lasting first impression.

The solution:

Consider what your brand represents, then express those values in an image. Unlike the cover photos above, you know exactly what brands these images represent:

8. You haven’t completed the “About” section.

The Internet is like a giant shopping mall. Everyone is selling something. On your Facebook page, you’re trying to trying to convert a follower into a customer by building trust.

You don’t build trust when you leave sections of your page blank. Don’t forget the details.

The solution:

Providing as much information as possible about your business can help you create a trusted brand. Don’t give people a reason not to buy from you.

In the screenshot below, see how Daily Chic included both a long and short description. It also lists a contact email twice.

9. You make too many sales pitches.

We all want our Facebook marketing efforts to increase sales. Certain strategies and tactics will accomplish that, but simply sharing a picture of a product and listing the price is not one of them.

If you make your followers feel as though they just walked into a retail store with pushy salespeople, your sales won’t improve.

The solution:

The highest-converting Facebook advertisements have one thing in common: They don’t sell the product. Instead, they share a story or the benefits that come with using the product.

One great way to increase sales on Facebook is to promote a Facebook shop with a marketing campaign, such as StoreYa’s Group Deal or Scratch & Win. This gives followers the social shopping experience they want.

Below is a great example. There isn’t a lot of text, but what is there perfectly matches the image. The organization added a reminder about a free product and shared the product’s link. This post gets two things right: It helps the brand sell while engaging followers.

Now that you know which Facebook mistakes to avoid, take a look at your organization’s page. Are you making any of these deadly gaffes?

A version of this article originally appeared the StoreYa blog.


The 7 deadly sins of Instagram


You know this, but it bears repeating: Your brand should be on Instagram.

It’s not too late—as long as you know what you’re doing.

It’s disturbing to watch sophisticated brands make rookie mistakes. Like any social network, Instagram must be learned. The following guide can teach you the ropes. If you’re committing any of the gaffes below, please stop. Make Instagram a better place:

1. Advertising in other people’s comments

Self-promotion is tricky. After all, you’re on Instagram to promote your brand, right?

Like most social networks, Instagram is more complicated than that. You need to invest time and energy to cultivate an audience by building goodwill in the community.

One of the fastest ways to anger Instagram users (and lose followers) is to leave an irrelevant, annoying comment like, “Want to earn BIG $ $ $ with no work? RIGHT now??” on someone’s post.

2. Posting inconsistent content

The most popular Instagram posts have clear messages. “Behind the scenes with your favorite celebrity” is probably the most used angle, but many accounts have great success by using other immediately understandable angles for their messages.

An account that only posts photos of weird-looking pumpkins is much easier to understand and share than one that posts random snapshots. Your brand should send clear messages on all online channels, anyway.

[RELATED: Harness the power of communications to transform your organization into a Best Place to Work.]

3. Begging for likes or followers

Begging sometimes works. Say you are an agency charged with building an Instagram account, and your only metric for success is total followers. Begging will probably achieve that goal, but you’ll annoy many people. If it’s worth damaging your brand, go for it. But you’ll degrade your audience, consisting of users who don’t mind shamelessness.

Be aware that most Instagram users don’t like those who post, “Yo, dude! Follow me for awesome pics!!” in the comments. It’s irrelevant and adds nothing to the conversation.

4. Ignoring comments

Instagram is a social network, so if you’re not social, you miss the point. When people comment on one of your posts, they speak to you. Respond like the polite, interesting person you are. And since you speak on behalf of your brand, judiciously bring the brand into the conversation.

5. Not using hashtags

Hashtags are Instagram’s backbone. They organize content and help users discover content. But hashtags can be awkward at first. It might feel silly to tag every fifth word in your caption, but if those tags place your post in a content category, it was the right thing to do.

If you don’t tagging your posts, start. To familiarize yourself with hashtags, Google the most popular tags, and click through them on Instagram. Notice how popular accounts use them, and follow suit.

6. Posting other people’s images without credit

This is obvious, but people still do it.

I guess if you post uncredited work, you probably don’t care much about my advice.

Instagram doesn’t have a mechanism for re-sharing content, so users often turn to third-party apps that watermark content as re-posted. Responsible users also tag the creator in the post’s caption.

Users usually encourage re-posting since their content reaches a wider audience, but re-using other people’s photos without credit is creepy. You’ll be exposed as an image thief, and you’ll suffer mass unfollows.

7. Buying followers

You can buy new followers pretty cheaply. Sometimes buying followers might make sense; for example, you launch an account that quickly needs to looks legitimate. The quality of bought followers will be terrible. They won’t care about your content or like or comment on your posts.

Buying followers doesn’t make sense long-term. The point of Instagram is to build rapport with a new audience. Buying followers only means a larger number on your profile page.

Drew Hubbard is a social media and content marketing strategist and owner of Foodie Content Studios. A version of this article originally appeared on iMedia Connection.