7 Facebook Mistakes to Avoid Like the Plague

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When did Facebook become such a mystery?

I remember a time when a long list of Facebook followers meant a bigger email list, and a more profitable online business.

But things are a little different now.

Facebook continues to poke, prod and refine it’s algorithm.

So even with a massive Facebook following, your content might slip through the cracks – to be seen by only a few.

This sucks.

How about all that time and money you spent building your audience on Facebook?

We could sit here and complain.

‘It’s Facebook’s fault’.

Or, we could see it as an opportunity.

Most people are still marketing on Facebook based on an outdated approach.

Imagine if you took the time to understand how the new Facebook works, and how you can access an even bigger audience by avoiding some common mistakes.

For a moment, let’s focus on Facebook as a vehicle for building your email list. (Because your email list is an asset you own, and it’s where the real marketing happens.)

Here are 7 common mistakes you need to avoid to master the new Facebook and grow your email list.

Mistake #1: Neglecting split-testing

Facebook ads are one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your email opt-in pages.

But if you don’t split-test your ads, your campaigns are likely to be more costly and less effective.

Headlines and images are especially important to test when you advertise on Facebook.

By tweaking the headlines and images of my ads, I’ve been able to reduce my cost-per-click by 70%.

Experiment with different headlines, background colors, and even the time of day you publish.

For example, I’ve learned that quotes with dark backgrounds published early in the evening work best for me.

Mistake #2: Overusing the “boost post” feature

Clicking on “Boost Post” might be easy, but it is far more effective to take the time and use the Power Editor to promote your posts.

Facebook boost post feature

When you boost a post, you have limited ability to target your audience.

Exposing your post to a well-targeted audience is a must if you want to make the best use of your advertising dollars.

Also, because boosting posts is so simple, it can get out of hand and wreck your advertising budget.

It’s okay to boost a post occasionally as long as you don’t make it your only method of getting your content seen.

A great (and free) way to make use of successful posts, is to repost them!

Try reposting your best posts every 3 or 4 weeks on a different day of the week and at a slightly different time of the day.

Mistake #3: Using your page to sell – and being obvious about it

The purpose of social media is, well, to be social.

Facebook is where people go in their spare time to be entertained, inspired, and to interact with those in their social circle.

The last thing your followers want is to see a stream of ads when they go to their newsfeed.

Companies of all sizes can find creative ways to promote their products and services while delivering value.

The image below, posted on Reese’s Facebook page, received 11,815 likes and 7.508 shares.

Sharing a brownie recipe that includes Reese’s Minis was the perfect way to provide value and simultaneously promote the product.

Reese's Facebook post example

Use Facebook as an inbound marketing vehicle. Share a link to an article or video that delivers true value, and ask for people’s email addresses to access complementary (and complimentary) information.

One of my most popular campaigns included a post that directed people to take a personal branding quiz. Once the quiz-takers got their results, I offered them free training to strengthen their personal brand in exchange for their email addresses.

A rule of thumb: don’t let your purely promotional messages exceed 20% of your posts.

Mistake #4: Only posting your own content

Exclusively posting your own content won’t allow you to maximize the value you deliver to your followers.

The more value you deliver, the more engagement. The more engagement, the more subscribers.

Curating content will position you as an expert in your industry, strengthening your personal brand.

People trust experts. If they trust you, they’ll be eager to sign up for your list.

Posting popular posts from other pages will also allow you to capitalize on their positive momentum. As you might already know, Facebook’s algorithm favors posts with high rates of engagement, which means that the already-popular content you share will be shown to more of your followers.

My most successful shared posts are sourced from pages with millions of followers and thousands of shares and likes.

Mistake #5: Broadcasting instead of engaging

What would you do if your neighbor stuck her head out the window every morning, shouted what she had for breakfast, and then closed the window and rolled down the blinds?

Would you want to get to know the neighbor better or would you avoid her at all costs?

Don’t become the “nutty neighbor” on Facebook, or your followers will stay away from you and your business.

Design your posts in a way that opens a conversation. The most engaging posts are those that ask a question, include a poll, or invite comments.

The post below is an example of how Barbara Corcoran, investor on Shark Tank, engages her audience by asking a question.

Barbara Corcoran Facebook post example

IMPORTANT: Once people react to your content, make sure you reply to their comments within 24 hours.

We all want to feel acknowledged, and your followers are no exception.

If you engage your audience, you will gain trust and respect, which will result in followers who turn into subscribers.

Mistake #6: Posting too often, or not often enough

Your audience has a post-frequency sweet spot that you can only find through testing.

Based on the steady decline of Facebook’s organic reach, some social media gurus say that posting 8-10 times a day is ideal. However, when I tried this approach, the engagement rates on my page dropped and the number of “unlikes” skyrocketed.

I eventually learned that posting twice a day was best for my audience.

What matters is that you post at least once a day to continue the momentum of your page activity, and that you don’t post so often that people start to “unlike” your page.

Mistake #7: Not aligning to your brand

For followers to decide to become your subscribers, what your business represents must be very clear.

Posting anything that doesn’t match your core message will confuse your audience and negatively impact your subscriber rate.

Your branding should guide all of your actions on Facebook, from the choice of font in your images to the kind of content you share.

Offer variety with a consistent message.

For example, St. Jude Children’s Medical Hospital features personal stories of patients who benefited from the generosity of people like their followers on Facebook.

The Hospital’s page clearly reflects it’s mission of caring.

Children's hospital Facebook post example

As you can see, avoiding common Facebook mistakes is simple, and will help you strengthen your brand and gain many more leads for your business.

Guest author: Cloris Kylie, MBA, is a performance coach and personal branding expert. She offers coaching and training in personal branding, communications, public speaking, social media, online marketing, and career development. Download her free eBook to learn 8 proven ways to expand your client base here.

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