In February, I wrote about "7 brands that post awesome Facebook updates." Now, let's come at it from the other perspective. Content is still king when building a brand presence on social media. And as Facebook implements more ways for users to control exactly what content they want to read in their news feeds, brands need to be especially creative to make the cut. Community management is the art and science of engaging these communities, and the best way to see what's working and what isn't is to engage, moderate, and analyze all interactions. There are some brands that get it. And there are some brands that don't.
Consider these Facebook update don'ts:
- Don't spam your audience. Posting updates back to back, multiple times per day, is the best way to get hidden in the news feed.
- Don't neglect issues or problems on your page. Social media is a two-way conversation you can have with your customers. When you ignore concerns or questions, it appears as if you don't care.
- Don't use formulaic responses. In the same vein as ignoring comments, it's just as bad to post a canned response to all issues or concerns.
- Don't automate your updates. Users notice when they see the same exact content posted on all your networks or marketing channels. This includes linking your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- Don't turn off the wall. While neglecting issues or problems is a bad practice, turning off the wall completely sends the message that you just want to broadcast, not engage.
With Facebook implementing new features every day, it's becoming increasingly easy for users to hide status updates from appearing in their news feed. While this might be a plus in the personal sphere, it's a little scary for brands that also appear in the same news feed. In fact, it's now possible to "unlike" a brand page directly in the news feed without needing to visit the page at all. By adhering to the following best practices (as evidenced by brands that did the exact opposite), your brand's chance of getting hidden or "unliked" is reduced significantly.
In this example, the "Glee" brand page has published at least one update per hour on this day. Several of these posts include a link to the same episode recap. This is a surefire way to annoy your fans as you overload their news feeds.
Best practices indicate that a brand page should not post more than three times per day maximum. If a brand is unnecessarily posting content incessantly throughout the day, they will overwhelm their users, which will result in their hiding or "unliking" the brand. An overload of content is spammy and will turn your fans off rather than engage them. Determine when your fans are most active on Facebook and publish content at those times.
In this example, Aquafina has not responded to any questions or concerns posted on its Facebook wall. If your fans are asking questions or expressing concerns, it's important to acknowledge them and respond -- even if you can't directly answer their question (not recommended, but understandable if there are legal implications). If you don't, it appears as if you don't care about the customers or their concerns.
Social media is a two-way conversation, and Facebook pages are public domains where everyone can see if you're addressing questions. If you're not, you're setting the precedent that you just want to get your message out and not engage with your community.
While Bally Total Fitness is adhering to best practices by responding to these comments, it is perceived equally as negatively when you publish the same response no matter what the issue or concern. Copy and pasting the same response to each customer question or complaint is highly impersonal and lacks sincerity. Users are less apt to engage with a brand knowing they'll just receive a canned response if they voice a concern.
Being personable, transparent, and sincere will gain true fans and potentially turn them into loyal brand advocates, while using this insincere, lazy tactic will show that you don't care enough about each user as an individual.
Whether you're linking your Twitter account to your Facebook or just posting identical content, users notice. Addressing the former, you should never link your Twitter and Facebook, as Wet Seal has obviously done below. You might have similar content to share, but do so individually on each network. Twitter and Facebook have very different audiences, and when you're publishing content, they should be treated as such.
Content can be similar, but delivery should always be different. Leverage hashtags on Twitter, shorten URLs, and make each post unique per network.
While ignoring comments and questions on the wall is bad practice, eliminating the ability for users to comment on the wall at all is even worse, as BP America illustrates below. This is sending the message that you care so little about what your fans have to say that you don't want them to be able to say it at all.
Once again, social media is a two-way conversation. Even if your brand has a bad reputation, or is going through a tough PR time, it's important to give your fans a voice, respond to concerns and questions, and be as transparent as possible. If you shut off the ability for users to engage with you, you're turning your Facebook presence into a soapbox.
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