7 Facebook marketing myths that will sink a campaign

Lisa Wehr

Marketers have pretty much figured out this Facebook thing, right? Sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite the platform’s popularity and essential role in marketing strategies today, there are still a lot of incorrect notions out there about what does and doesn’t work on Facebook. Let’s correct some of the most popular misconceptions.

Myth 1: Paying for fans is a good way to build your fan base

Not so much. It takes time to build a fan base, so it’s understandable to want to concoct ways to drive that “like” number up. But there are multiple reasons why buying fans is not a good idea.

If you purchase fans, how many would actually be sincere fans? Probably not many, and since the idea is to promote through engagement, all you’re going to get is a bigger number. It would actually have a negative effect on the page’s visibility to have masses of fans who don’t engage with the brand.

Interactions create the affinity score that is then factored into the EdgeRank algorithm. If you’ve bought fans who do not engage, it’s less likely that you’ll earn a spot on the news feed. So, not only can you rank yourself right out of the news feed, but it also isn’t authentic. It is authenticity and genuine engagement with real fans that will ultimately win more “likes.”

Myth 2: Your cover photo should be an ad for your business

It might seem natural to use the big photo at the top of your brand page as an advertisement or promotion, but that’s not what Facebook has in mind for that banner-sized photo. According to Facebook, the cover photo may not include price or purchase information, contact information (web address, email, mailing address), or other information intended for your page’s About section. It also may not include references to user interface elements (“like,” share, or any other Facebook site features) or calls to action, such as “get it now” or “tell your friends.”

A better option would be something like a high-quality photo of your product or a lifestyle photo that reflects the attitude of your brand. A company graphic works well, too. This way, you are still advocating for yourself by sharing what you’re about without the selling factor.

Myth 3: You can promote anything you want on Facebook

Even though it is a social site and feels laid back, there are still rules to abide by when it comes to content and promotions. Let’s assume we are discussing legit businesses and offensive or spam-like content is not an issue. If you want to run a contest, which is always fun for fans and a great way to engage them, there are guidelines. Beyond guidelines, there are laws and legal ramifications associated with contests, gaming, and sweepstakes that you should seek counsel on before running a contest of any kind. Rules shouldn’t be an obstacle, but just know what they are so there isn’t any backlash.

Myth 4: You should offer rewards to get fans

This is a horse-before-the-cart method. Of course you want to increase followers by offering something of interest, and this could come in many forms. Once you get the “like,” keeping them and gaining loyalty is what will improve your EdgeRank score and maintain customers offline as well. If someone gets the offer up front for “liking” the page, there isn’t much to come back for. If your brand regularly offers followers access to exclusive content, like first looks at a new product and tips on upcoming events in addition to exclusive discounts, they will be much more likely to visit more often.

Myth 5: Facebook marketing is free

Sure, you can join for free, build profiles, pages, and apps, and do loads of different things without a single fee. But whoever is doing the work to make those things happen is putting in time, and, as we all know, time is money. Social media is a pillar of online marketing, so it’s absolutely worth the time, and it does take time to build and monitor a quality presence on Facebook and everywhere online. Facebook marketing isn’t something that runs in the margins of the to-do list; it needs attention. This is one reason businesses have either an in-house social media expert or hire an agency to manage their presences.

In addition to time, there are a number of ways to advertise on Facebook that have associated fees. If you really want a full marketing strategy, consider options like PPC ads and promoted posts. These are affordable ways to expand your Facebook reach.

Myth 6: Your Facebook page should duplicate your website

Your authentic brand voice and style should definitely remain consistent with your website, but Facebook is an opportunity to tailor copy, contests, and images to your fans. Using Facebook Insights, you can see what types of posts get the greatest response, and sometimes you can tell just by a feedback in a thread of comments. It’s also important to differentiate your sales voice from your social voice. While “shop now” might work on your website, Facebook is for two-way conversations, not sales directives.

It’s also real-time engagement. While your website is the cornerstone of your online identity, it’s not a daily destination for your fans and customers the way Facebook is. And, when fans see your posts in the news feed, they want something more interesting than a link to a website that is just like the Facebook brand page. When you offer different content or make website updates, it becomes newsworthy and fans will be interested to follow the link to your website.

Myth 7: Facebook is only on Facebook

It started out that way, but no longer! With the Graph API and Facebook’s social plugins, there is now the potential to share on Facebook what users are doing off of Facebook. The Graph API allows people to “like” products and selected content across the web. This activity is then shared in the Facebook news feed. The same is true with Facebook’s social plugins, which enable even greater web-wide engagement. Social plugins allows things like recommendations and comment threads to occur off of Facebook. This is how businesses can integrate websites and blogs with their social strategy and take sharing a step beyond posting a link.

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