It’s a lot of fun to have a Facebook fan base that interacts with your content. At the same time, it can get a little overwhelming and lead to mistakes. I handled the social media marketing at Adams County Winery for three years and loved seeing our page grow from just over 1,000 to nearly 10,000 likes in that time. We had some great fans who loved our content and even had some pieces go viral, seen by more than a million people all over the world. It was a great learning experience about what to do and what not to do when running a small-business page on Facebook. I also saw quite a few other pages make these mistakes, and want to show you how to avoid them.
Don’t always delete negative comments.
There’s nothing more frustrating than someone openly bashing your brand or product. When someone leaves a negative comment, your first instinct is usually to delete it. But take a moment and think about it first. If that person is upset, deleting their comment can make them furious, often posting even more comments, pointing out that you took away their right to free speech, and turning you into the bad guy. A polite “I’m sorry you feel that way” and an offer to right the wrong they’ve experienced will work wonders – and often turn them into repeat customers.
Sometimes, if the comment is completely out of line, your loyal fans will come to the rescue. At Adams County Winery, we posted a funny picture of one of our wines, and received high praise in most of the comments. However, one person went off on a rant on the dangers of alcohol and accused the winery of targeting children (apparently because children can access the Internet and might see the picture?). Other people jumped to our defense, pointing out how outrageous the claims were and giving even more praise to the winery. None of that would have happened if the comment would have been deleted.
Of course, there are times when your best bet is to hit delete, like if they’re promoting their own product or your competitors’. If someone left a comment trying to sell auto insurance, they would be deleted right away.
Don’t post it and forget it.
You’re busy. We all are. Chances are you do more than run your Facebook page, too. I was also the graphic designer, among other things. So, it can be very easy to post something on your Facebook page and check and see how it did the next day. However, this could be costly. First of all, in the time you’re away, things could go very wrong. People could misinterpret your content and become aggressive, sending a barrage of negative comments and feedback. For example, say you posted what you thought was a funny picture, and someone points out that it’s actually racist, sexist, or gives off a meaning you never thought about. Maybe it was a typo that created a cuss word, or perhaps you were just wrong on your facts, but you don’t want to come in the next morning to a flood of negativity.
Second, in the time you’re away, things could go extremely well, and you come back to find out that you failed to cash in on it. CJ Pony Parts makes amazing infographics. They recently had one about toll roads go viral. After they posted it, they monitored how well it was doing. When they say a huge rush of likes/comments/shares, they knew they had a hit, so they started Tweeting it, linking it from their site, getting others to share, and taking other actions to make sure they got everything out of it if. If they would have just posted it and then checked it the next day, they would have missed out on a huge amount of traffic to their page.
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Cool it on the bragging.
It’s fun to brag about yourself. Say you just won an award or had a great review on TripAdvisor – go ahead and share it with the world. Just be careful not to go overboard. No one likes a bragger in real life, so they’ll get annoyed with one pretty quickly online as well. Learn how to showcase your product without always coming out and saying “Look how good we are!” Whenever we won an award, we would always thank our customers for voting for us or recommending our wines. That way, we still got our message out, but didn’t look like we were full of ourselves.
I know this is going to shock you, but guess what? People don’t care how many likes your page has. Getting to 1,750 likes might be exciting to you, but would you really care if it wasn’t your own business? Sure, it’s OK to do it when you hit a really big milestone, but to share it every time you get a hundred more is overkill. What’s big for you might not be big for everyone else. “Wow, we got 1,750 likes” might make someone else say, “That’s all?”
Taking these three steps will help clean up your page and bring in even more positive interaction. You’ll also start to see fewer people unsubscribe to your page, as well. When in doubt, think of how your fans would react to anything before you post it, and you’ll start to see success.
Scott Huntington is a writer, reporter, blogger, and social media guru. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and son, following and writing about all things social media and beyond. Follow Scott at @SMHuntington.