Many companies jump into Facebook without a clear social media strategy, focusing on ‘fluffy’ goals like getting more followers than their competitors. Most of the time they just replicate what other Facebook pages are doing, without understanding the reasons behind those activities or the desired outcome.
This is very dangerous, as some of these seemingly harmless actions can result in the opposite of what was originally expected, and when this happens there is a tendency to blame Facebook.
The following is a list of publishing activities where many Facebook pages still go wrong, sometimes combining two or more mistakes and thus multiplying the negative consequences.
1. Post Links As Part of Text Status Updates
Text updates were the ugly duckling of Facebook: nobody liked them because of their lack of visual content…until someone realized they were getting more Reach than other types of status updates.
Hoping to beat EdgeRank and boost their Reach, some pages started to post almost everything as text updates, including links. See the following example:
This is a big error: firstly, the fact that text updates were getting more Reach in the past didn’t mean they were getting more engagement and clicks on those links.
Further to this, Facebook recently announced they were demoting the Reach of text updates for pages. So now there are even less reasons to keep doing this.
Text updates should be used only to post comments or ask questions to your audience.
2. Post Links As Part of Image Description
For quite some time link updates were not visually appealing, so to get more attention pages used to post an image instead and included the link as part of the text description.
However in September 2013 Facebook changed the way links were displayed, offering enlarged images.
Many pages still use the old practice though, which has an important consequence: it splits your audience’s engagement in two groups:
- People attracted by the image: they click on the image, but ignore the link
- People fully engaged with the content: at some stage they also click on the link
By doing this, you could be missing a lot of traffic that could otherwise have visited your destination page.
For example, in the next image, only 41 users clicked on the link, whilst 350 clicked on the image. This means 309 potential visits were lost!
3. Accepting Whatever Photo Facebook Selects For Link Preview
Did you know you can choose the thumbnail image for a Link Update?
When a link is published, Facebook will look for a featured image in the destination page that satisfies the platform optimum dimensions, and if more than one is found, it will give you the option to choose your preferred one using the two arrows marked in this image.
Sometimes Facebook may not work properly and cannot find a featured image – or no images at all. If this is the case, you just need to use the Facebook debugger to solve the problem.
Furthermore, you can also upload a different image not found on your destination page by clicking on the ‘Upload Image’ link located right below the displayed image. This is especially useful if, for example, you want to include a call-to-action button or message aimed at Facebook users only.
4. Post When Everyone Else Is Doing It
Everyone knows that in order to maximize the Reach of your content it’s important to post when most of your followers are connected, right?
Well, that’s not necessarily true, and in fact your competing Pages could affect your Reach.
To find the optimum publishing time frame, most Pages just go into the Post report within their Insights and focus only on the spike of the time chart presented. However this only represents when your fans are online, NOT when they are more likely to receive your content in their News Feed – or engage with it.
If many Pages post at the same time, the amount of competition on users’ News Feed could make Facebook filter your content reducing your Organic Reach even if technically more followers are connected.
The best way to identify the optimum time for publishing is by tracking the results of your past posts, trying to identify trends. Check what times provide you with the best reach and engagement.
Do not ignore the time chart altogether, but do not rely on it as your only source of information.
And of course, post at different times during the day.
5. Not Using Targeted Posts
Have you ever received an invitation to an event from a friend living in another country? Many Pages use a similar approach and publish everything to everyone.
This may not necessarily upset your followers, however there is a risk associated with it: since those users are very unlikely to engage with the post, Facebook will perceive it as a lack of interest towards your Page and gradually show less content from it.
Your Reach may decrease and eventually they may not receive other content that could be interesting for them.
Targeting your content to the right demographics will limit the Reach of those posts, but it will certainly provide a higher engagement that in return will improve the Reach for that particular audience segment.
6. Not Posting After Hours
The world doesn’t stop at 5:00pm on weekdays, so why should your content? Especially as most users connect to Facebook after hours or while commuting.
And somehow there are still companies that do not schedule their content. Some people use the cost scheduling tools as an excuse.
Which tools? Facebook also allows scheduling content!
This option is available for all pages, regardless of their audience size; it allows editing or rescheduling later in the Page Activity Log… and it’s free!
Scheduling content is especially important considering what I explained previously about optimum publishing time frames (point 4).
7. Use Non-Related Content To Get Engagement
Many pages post lots of funny images as a way to get more followers. They know people are more likely to engage with certain types of posts and generate some viral reach that will eventually increase their audience.
It’s true that messages on social media should not be exclusively about your product or company. But that doesn’t mean you should post about cats… unless your business is a pet company.
This is especially important since December 2013, when Facebook announced they were demoting the score for the so-called ‘meme’ images.
Content on your page should be around the core of your business and industry. Posting funny images is OK as long as they are related with what you do, like in this example from a company producing kitchen appliances.
What other publishing activities have you seen on Facebook not being applied correctly by pages? Let me know in the comments below!