So you’ve finally gathered a good/acceptable base of Facebook page fans; your hard work has paid off. You’re regularly updating your page and people are noticing your updates. For some time, no one exactly knew how to conduct themselves on Facebook as a business, but today, many know that it takes a combination of posting photos, inserting calls to action, stirring emotion and asking questions to get likes, shares and comments.
While these are best practices, are you sure you’re not annoying your fans?
Engaging your followers is all well and good, but if your posts are forced, they’re going to come across as phony. Social network users are sensitive to marketing attempts; they have spam radar.
Avoid sounding like a robot. Here are different ways to annoy your Facebook fans so you know what blunders to avoid.
1. Long posts
Facebook lacks the 140 character limit of Twitter that forces users to be brief and concise, which is why marketers unaware of social media etiquette paste entire press releases on their timelines or use three whole paragraphs to describe a contest.
Just because you can stuff more words in a Facebook post doesn’t mean that’s a signal to freely write long updates. Remember, you only have about five seconds to capture your fans’ attention because their newsfeeds are filled with updates from other users and pages. If they have to spend a great deal of time reading, they’ll get bored and scroll away.
Also, mobile web is becoming the thing now. Mobile devices are significantly small, so users want to make the most of their device’s small screen size. They’re going to be turned off by your long posts as their screens get blotted out by huge chunks of text.
2. Frequent, nonstop updates
A great thing about Twitter is that it can serve as your Internet diary — you can update it every hour without anyone complaining you post at a rapid-fire pace. But Facebook isn’t Twitter. It’s particularly annoying to find that your newsfeed is flooded with posts from the same person. In fact, surveys have found that the number one reason people are de-friended on Facebook is frequent, unimportant posts.
Think about your fan page in the eyes of your customers. What content would you enjoy seeing in your feed? What posts make you stand out from the noise?
3. Linking Facebook to Twitter
If they wanted to be updated with your Twitter, they would’ve followed you on there. Some users don’t like their newsfeed littered with @ mention symbols and hashtags that clearly don’t belong on Facebook. If you’re active on Twitter and your tweets are auto-syndicated, chances are you’ll alienate your Facebook fans. Some may have gone out of their way to like your page or were too nice to ignore your invite, so don’t push their patience. Keep your Facebook and Twitter separate.
4. Liking your own posts
This applies to both personal accounts and fan pages. Liking your own stuff is like giving yourself a high five. It makes you look egotistical or vain, and no one likes egomaniacal people. It also makes you look desperate to get likes.
5. Thanking people who have liked your page
This is unnecessary and doesn’t benefit your fans. When someone likes your page, you don’t automatically become friends with that person unless you’re already friends or they approve your friend request. And most Facebook users don’t allow random strangers and pages to write on their walls.
So where else are you going to thank your fans? The only possible place is your timeline. But would all your other fans benefit from an update like “Thanks Benjamin for liking my page”? Nope, and that’s just plain annoying.
Also, if you’re going to say “Thanks for liking!” that sounds like a mass-generated message intended to be sent to every new follower.
6. Only post on Facebook if you want something
If you want a quick way to annoy your fans, never post anything useful and only update if you want them to do something for you. Seriously, this is annoying because you’re wasting their time and you’re only writing promotional spam, even if it’s something like “Come to the show this Friday!” or “New merch available!”
Whining about how last night’s show was a disappointment or how hard business is nowadays and posting it on your fan page is pointless. It also shows your lack of judgment in deciding what to publish on a public social network.
8. Begging for likes
This refers to “please retweet this” or “like if you agree” posts. First of all, millions of brands are on social networks and most of them have said the same thing. Pleading for likes won’t do you any good if you want to be different. Secondly, it’s particularly annoying when you’re asked to like or share something you’re not interested in or have no reason to engage into.
Ideally, when someone likes your page, you should reward them with something they find valuable, like great deals, impressive content, priceless information or entertaining pictures. Obviously, they won’t feel rewarded if you ask them to become your very own advertisers. You have to let them find how wonderful your content is; give them a reason to love you. That’s the secret to getting content go viral — use a natural word of mouth strategy.
9. Grammar goofs
The Internet is packed with grammar Nazis on the hunt for even the slightest spelling, punctuation and usage errors so they can display their grammar superiority, point out other’s mistakes and rid the web of bad grammar. Conversely, consistently correct grammar will get you far.
Give your posts a onceover before making it visible to the world.
10. Respond defensively to criticism
Your social media page is an extension of your customer service. When people message you, they expect to receive a prompt response and have their problem resolved. When a customer is irate, the least you can do is try to appease them.
Remember when Ryanair failed to address a social media crisis by saying: “We think Mrs McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid.”?
If you don’t want to alienate your customers, start by not calling them stupid. Even if a customer is decimating your service or business practice, don’t use that as a chance to be defensive because that’s a sure way to generate distasteful reputation.