Businesses trying to make it in the world of social media are forced to walk a tightrope. Success on social media demands your page be filled with a steady stream of interesting content and personable interactions. On the other hand, small businesses have to maintain an image of professionalism and eventually push their products and services. It’s all too easy to see how social media novices end up leaning too hard on one side or the other, and exactly what the results will be. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to avoid these mistakes once you’re aware what they look like.
Not Enough Pro-Social Behavior
Being on social media is like attending a party. At the party, plenty of small businesses will post up in a corner, look interesting, and wait for people to ask them questions. Although that works great for celebrities, small businesses behaving that way don’t have a hope of maximizing their potential interactions. In other words, you need to go out and be proactive about engaging in two-way conversations, which includes asking questions of the people you’re talking with.
You could ask for product feedback, or even just ask about the weather. Much of the same good etiquette you would apply to your everyday life can also be applied when socializing online. Reciprocal interactions, thank-you notes, and other basic social gestures can be an unparalleled source of fuel for engagement on your page.
Another pro-social behavior is gift giving. For example, you could offer a small discount on a customer’s next purchase if they’re a Facebook fan. Apart from coaxing new fans to join your page, gifts can be used as an avenue to keep your current fans loyal. And this all works because pro-social behaviors are about give-and-take relationships. If you want to receive engagement, you can start by giving first.
Timing content on Facebook isn’t as simple as it is on Twitter. With Twitter, your tweets are pushed into your followers’ feeds each and every time you post. With Facebook, you’re at the mercy of the algorithm responsible for deciding if your content ends up in your fan’s feed or not. When your content gets positive feedback in the form of likes, shares, etc., Facebook’s algorithm grants slightly more visibility to that specific piece of content and slightly more credibility to your page as a publisher.
In other words, the full visibility of your next Facebook post might occur an entire day or more after you’ve originally posted. One might carelessly conclude that because Facebook content undergoes a kind of ramp-up in visibility as audiences react, it doesn’t matter when the content is posted to begin with. But that’s a considerable mistake because the ultimate visibility of your posts critically depends on early momentum.
You can’t achieve a snowball effect without a push to get you started. To make the most out of your content’s visibility, be sure to publish during peak audience hours. Most people tend to log into Facebook around noon, and then again in the evening around 7 pm. Although every audience is unique and you should test to ensure when your own audiences is most active, those two times generally outperform others.
Quality, Quantity, and Post Types
The average user spends half an hour on Facebook every day, and that finite amount of time and attention is fiercely fought over by hundreds of content creators. Because the performance of your Facebook content contributes to or detracts from the visibility of your future content to your fans, a good plan to maximize your exposure is to determine which types of content draw the most performance, and heavily emphasize that content.
Whether it’s the inspirational quotes, questions you’ve answered, videos you’ve created, or even product information, creating a disproportionate amount of your best-performing type of content will gradually build-up the visibility of all your posts. In many cases, the content may not directly build your brand or shill your services. It may seem backward to prioritize content performance first, but this strategy ensures that when you do end up posting self-promoting content it will ultimately achieve reach a larger audience.
On the quest to post interesting stuff, another mistake to avoid is posting content that’s not relevant to whatever it is you do. If you post jokes, memes, news articles, studies, or similar information, be sure it has at least some connection to your business.
Facebook emphasizes quality above quantity. If you’re looking to improve engagement with your page, the answer isn’t posting something new every single day. Posting three times per week, you’ll most likely find more engagement with your page than if you’d posted six times instead. And unless all six posts were well-received, you would certainly receive more engagement in the long run by sticking with three high-performing posts.
Wrapping Up with Images
Several of these mistakes relate to differences between Facebook and Twitter. But one thing Twitter and Facebook users have in common is that they all love images. Photos can help break-up walls of text, provide a sense of authority, keep people engaged, and help you deliver complex information in more digestible ways.
The visibility of your Facebook content is directly tied to performance metrics, and photos do far better in those metrics than posts without. In other words, if you’re not including clickable photos in almost all your Facebook posts, you’re missing huge opportunities. Being social, posting at the right times, and prioritizing high-performance content can go a long way towards developing your social media pages, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t have the graphics to help readers along.