For a lot of small businesses, the challenge of building and maintaining an active community on Facebook is scary enough on its own.
Combine that with some of the recent stories about the death of organic reach, and the tales of a mysterious News Feed algorithm, and you might have nightmares too.
But before you crawl under your covers or go to sleep with the lights on, here’s some good news:
Building an engaged community on Facebook doesn’t have to be a horror story. Even with the decline in organic reach, with the right plan, you can get your business to show up on Facebook and avoid turning into a ghost.
Here are 7 common mistakes you’ll need to avoid:
1. Not thinking about your audience
While it’s easy to get upset about changes on Facebook, it’s important to remember that Facebook’s goal is to provide the best possible experience for the people using its site. That means making it as easy as possible for people to connect with the audience and brands that matter to them, and offering users content they will find interesting.
As a business, the best way to stay alive on Facebook is to stay focused on the audience you’re trying to reach.
The last thing you want is to come off like a brainless zombie, feeding off your fans without offering something of value.
Think about your ideal customer. What type of content would they find interesting? How can you create an experience that will make them want to come back and tell their friends about you?
2. Ignoring your Insights
A lot of businesses still treat Facebook Insights like the haunted house in the neighborhood that no one dares to enter.
While this tool can be a little intimidating at first, it’s filled with a ton of helpful information to help improve your Facebook strategy.
You can see what’s working, what’s not, and what you could be doing differently to improve your results.
It will also help you learn more about the people who Like your page, and make smarter decisions about when to post for maximum reach and engagement.
3. Not listening to feedback
In addition to likes, comments, and shares — which your audience can use to tell you what they like seeing on Facebook — your fans can also use negative feedback to tell you what they don’t like.
Negative feedback is when fans hide your posts or report them as spam within the news feed. This is Facebook’s way of helping users ward off shadowy creatures and keep their feed safe.
This negative feedback indicates to Facebook that a fan isn’t interested in the content you are sharing, which is guaranteed to make your posts disappear.
4. Not sticking with it
You’ve probably heard the stories of ghosts and goblins that only come out on Halloween.
Unlike those creatures, you need to make sure you’re showing up on a consistent basis if you want to build an engaged audience on Facebook.
If you’re only haunting your fans when you have something to promote, you could hurt your engagement and limit your reach in the process.
5. Posting too often
Imagine if every trick-or-treater tried knocking on your door six times throughout the night. Even if they showed up wearing a different costume each time, eventually you’d cut them off.
The same is true when it comes to your Facebook Page. If you’re posting too frequently, fans can start to get annoyed. This can result in more negative feedback, but can also cause fans to tune you out.
To keep you from disturbing your fans, Facebook will start to limit your reach. After that, it won’t matter how much you post, no one will see your posts (or hear your screams)!
6. Not mixing it up
With so much to be afraid of, you might feel like your best option is to just play it safe.
For a lot of businesses, that means sticking to one type of Facebook post and putting your posting strategy on autopilot.
But beyond the danger of boring fans to death, if you’re not experimenting with different kinds of posts you could be making it difficult to get your content seen.
A successful posting schedule should include a mix of text, photos, videos, and links. Some of these posts will be better for reach on Facebook; others will be better for engagement (likes, comments, and shares).
7. Running away from Facebook Ads
When it comes to paying to promote on Facebook, many business owners think they need to run for their lives. After all, you probably signed up for Facebook expecting it to be a completely free platform.
But while you may have been reluctant to promote your content in the past, you shouldn’t treat Facebook Ads like a monster under your bed.
Facebook has built a powerful ad platform to help businesses extend their reach and target potential customers. You can target based on location, demographics, and even past purchasing behavior, and then choose to promote your content to existing fans, or reach an entirely new audience.
Facebook has worked hard to make ads accessible to small businesses. Start small and see what type of impact promoting your content can have. Just like your other posts, you’ll want to promote content you know your audience will value. Pay attention to negative feedback to make sure you’re using ads effectively.
Over time, you can experiment with different types of promoted posts and make ads a consistent part of your Facebook marketing strategy.
Don’t be afraid!
Facebook is still one of the most powerful social networks for small businesses. With the right strategy, and a commitment to making your Page a place where people can find useful, interesting, and relevant content, you’ll be able to face your fears and achieve big results.