This past spring, Carter delineated the top seven biggest Facebook fan page marketing mistakes. There’s a lot that businesses can learn from these mistakes. Here’s the list (drum roll please!):
Fan Page Mistake #1: Assuming People Go To Your Fan Page (Versus Seeing Your Posts In Their News Feed)
Most people, if they ever go to a fan page, only go there once. Some highly interactive pages get more visitors, and you can bring fans back to the page or to specific tabs with posts or ads, but usually fans see your page’s posts via their news feed.
One of the biggest surprises to me, in teaching Facebook marketing to many audiences, was that most business owners don’t understand how people use Facebook:
When you log on to Facebook, what you see is your news feed, and this is all Facebook is, to most people.
Your news feed doesn’t contain every post from all your friends or all the pages you’ve liked.
You can change your news feed to show more, or everything, or the most recent from everyone, but fewer than 10 to 20 percent of people do this.
If you have a Facebook page, all your fans do not see all your posts. The fans who have liked or comment on your page’s posts will see more of your posts.
If you’ve done a poor job getting people to interact, you may need to rehabilitate your fan base by paying for sponsored stories.
This is also a good reason to look at Facebook Groups, because every time any Group member posts or comments, everyone gets a notification.
Fan Page Mistake #2: Expecting Welcome Tabs To Get You Lots Of Fans
Reveal tabs, aka Fan Gates, are very popular. Some people think they possess magical powers. But they don’t help most businesses very much because:
For a welcome tab to get you fans, you have to get non-fans to go to your Facebook page, because only non-fans see the pre-like version of a fan gate.
If you have a website with a lot of traffic, you may get a significant number of people who do this by clicking on a Facebook icon from your website.
If you use a like box to get fans on your site, these new fans will never see your welcome tab.
If you get new targeted fans the cheapest way there is (via Facebook ads), most of these like the page by liking the ad, so they also never see the welcome tab.
See that big circular diagram from the last mistake? Notice how many fans go to the actual page? That’s the percentage of people likely to see your beautiful welcome tab. Actually, less, because once they’re fans, they’ll go straight to the Wall.
Fan Page Mistake #3: Overestimating Apps and Tabs
Some people also seem to think creating a Facebook app is a magical move that will create all kinds of buzz and engagement. While this may be true for big companies who can get mass media coverage for deploying a clever new app, for most companies this the long way around to less results.
The Facebook app’s fatal flaw is the ominous opt-in page that requires you to share your Facebook data with the App. I can’t find any authoritative percentage of how many people bounce away from that page, but anecdotally, I know the number is high. I only became more willing to allow once I knew where to go to remove App access from my account. But this extra step means at least 25 percent and maybe as many as 75 percent of people who go to try an app will not carry through with it.
What that means is- you spend all kinds of money and time programming a new app (and programming efforts, especially if you’ve never been involved in one, are always more money and time than you expected), and may come out with less results than if you just use the incredible tools Facebook has available.
Think about it, if 100 percent of users already interact with posts and pages and groups, won’t you have a better chance of getting engagement by using those, than by using a weird new app that they have to give up privacy to opt-in to?
Fan Page Mistake #4: No Budget For Ads To Acquire Fans
As discussed above, the cheapest way to get targeted fans for your page (fans who are likely to be good customers), is with Facebook ads. The power, depth and precision of the Facebook ad platform is unrivaled and historic. And you can get fans for anywhere from 1 cent to $1.50, depending on your niche and parameters. You can’t get email subscribers that cheap anywhere, and this is the same kind of owned media.
But so many companies go to ridiculous lengths to avoid spending money on ads, or they just don’t have ad spends in their paradigm. They use a ton of time on roundabout tactics that yield fewer and less qualified fans. They forget about the cost of the employee time required to do so. And then when their fans don’t produce a return on investment, hey wonder why. Well, because you went cheap and you didn’t get good prospects. That’s why.
Fan Page Mistake #5: Posting In A Self Centered Way, Not Trying To Get Likes And Comments
You’ve seen it on hundreds of corporate blogs: post after post about them, them, them, and few comments, if any. Comments from sycophantic employees who want their company to look good. You can see it on Facebook pages too: me, me, me posts, and very few likes and comments, especially compared to the fan base. Your actual active fan base is about 100 times the number of likes and comments you usually get. How does that compare to the number of fans you have?
You would think by now that everyone would understand the lessons of web 2.0; push and pull, conversational marketing, etc. But no. So many marketers have never learned to care about what their audience cares about. You can’t communicate effectively until you know your audience. You can’t get responses if you don’t ask for them. You can’t get enthusiasm until you stimulate it.
And if you don’t get responses, you become invisible.
Fan Page Mistake #6: Not Optimizing For Impressions And Feedback Rate
If you don’t have a metric for every stage of your marketing, you simply can’t optimize your tactics for that stage. Your goals for the fan page should include:
Visibility to as many of your fans as possible, calculated by dividing post impressions by your total fan base
Responsiveness to your posts, calculated by feedback rate, which is the total number of likes and comments divided by post impressions
If you aren’t getting at least a one percent feedback rate, you probably are missing the mark in connecting with the bulk of your audience. Think about what passions and interests your fan base has in common, and speak to those. If you used Facebook ads to grow your fan base, you should know exactly what interests comprise the bulk of your fans and which ones were most passionate (measured by ad CTR).
A couple of caveats: I haven’t seen pages with more than 100,000 fans get one percent feedback rates, but I also don’t see pages that size using best practices in post content. Also, for pages of any size, when you post blog posts or sales-focused discounts, the clicks to your website or blog aren’t counted in this feedback rate. In those cases, a lower feedback rate is acceptable, if you’re getting sales and ROI from your efforts.
Fan Page Mistake #7: Over-Selling and Hard-Selling Without Conversing Or Arousing Desire First
This is very similar to the “me, me, me” selfish mistake discussed in #5.
Think about the typical conference. There’s a reason they have a separate area for vendors: The selling approach doesn’t always jibe with the conversational focus of the main part of the conference. And similarly, a fan page is a bunch of fans who typically are fans of something besides your offering. What they’re fans of is related to your offering. You have to continue to fan the flames of desire around that passion. My rule of thumb is to engage, converse and stimulate four times as much as you sell. Go for 80 percent interaction, 20 percent selling. There’s a wisdom to this that goes beyond Facebook.
Why does Corona sell relaxation and the beach rather than just show people drinking beer? By reaching beyond features and benefits to sell the dream implied by the offering’s benefits, playing with follow-through, focusing on the vision beyond, companies knock the ball out of the park.
Conversely, companies that focus on themselves and selling immediately end up disappointed, much like the college freshman looking for a one night stand. Not knowing the value of romance, he ends up rejected and alone. There’s a reason why it’s called foreplay and there’s a reason that flowers are a billion dollar business.
Brian Carter is CEO of the Facebook Marketing Training Company, FanReach, a social media trainer, and Facebook consultant.