Don't Be a Social Media Stereotype
As we approach the election, we're sure you've haven't been irritated by anything in your Facebook feed recently, right? More like yeah, right. Social media can be a powerful tool for connecting with old friends, but it can also be the prime range for heated political debates and arguments. Even worse, political statements aren't the only way members of our networks tend to misuse the publish button. From TMI to Vaguebooking, there's a number of ways to lose Facebook friends, fast.
Here's the thing: people aren't the only offenders on Facebook. Brands can be annoying, too. Inspired by Mashable's compilation of the most annoying habits of private Facebook users, we've compiled the worst mistakes your business could be making:
We probably don't need to come up with any specific examples of how many personal Facebook users tend to over-share. From posting details of their break-ups in real time to even more sordid status updates, you can probably remember at least a dozen updates that were better suited for their private journal. In the world of social media for business, the line between humanizing your brand and TMI is much, much thinner. If you're a small business, your clients definitely want to know about your people and what they bring to the table. They might want to see vacation pictures of your President, but not if the images are numerous or he's dressed in a speedo.
2. Overt Marketing
It may come as a surprise, but overt marketing efforts also top the list of the most annoying habits of private Facebook users. Needless to say, hard sells aren't going to be any more welcome on your business page. This could come as a surprise, but Facebook's track record of driving referral traffic that leads to purchases isn't especially good. It's even worse when examined in conjunction with pretty, retail-driven Pinterest. Trying to use Facebook like a network television shopping channel isn't going to be an effective tactic because people aren't there to spend money. Build awareness, strengthen relationships and answer questions but don't act like a salesman.
Urban dictionary defines vaguebooking as "an intentionally vague Facebook status update that prompts friends to ask what's going on." We know you've likely encountered these in your personal Facebook feed before. "Wondering whether it was worth it." "Too late to take any of it back, now." Vaguebooking isn't necessarily taboo or even a poor tactic for brands, unless you're incessant.
The concept of mystery and buzz are actually a pretty effective marketing tactic when correctly approached. Gmail is a prime example - back in 2004, the Beta launch was only extended to 1,000 prominent individuals and their friends and family. Gmail email addresses quickly became a hot commodity, and reports have it that people would pay as much as $150 for rights to the (free) email service via eBay.
Use your Facebook to generate buzz around upcoming products and services. Maintain an aura of mystery - it's far better than TMI. Just please don't make a weekly habit of posting a tiny, over-cropped image of a product and asking fan's to guess what's in the photo.
Call me old-fashioned, but I really don't think many small business brands can afford the PR risk associated with posting political content. News-jacking is a smart move. Taking a hard-and-fast stance on political issues is entirely another. There are definitely examples of brands who've benefited from a company-wide social media statement about a hot-button issue. Oreo is one example who gained a number of social media fans and some life-long advocates through a hard stance back in June. Can the average small business afford that same risk? Unlikely.
5. Redundant Links
Without a doubt, your brand can and should avoid this rookie mistake at all costs. Redundant links look like the following:
Once you've copied and pasted your link into the status update, be sure and erase the extra link from the text to avoid looking completely inexperienced at Facebook.
What are Your Social Media Pet Peeves?
image credit: stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net