6 Things NOT to Do On Facebook As a Brand


Last week Facebook made some impressive changes to its Brand pages, giving both social media geeks and business owners something to get excited about. Many of the changes will provide brands an opportunity to interact on Facebook in ways that were previously unavailable. For example, with brands now having their own identity on the site, it opens doors for business owners to interact as the brand itself, not just a representative of the brand. With the changes comes a new excitement over Pages and, in the end, likely more users.

If you’re a business owners now heading to Facebook to claim your territory or even if you’re one who’s been there for a while, below are some common Facebook mistakes you’d be wise to avoid. Just a friendly reminder from us.

Mistake: Creating a Profile Page instead of a Brand Page

Because Facebook was created on personal profiles, many business owners still think a profile is what they need to promote their business. But it’s not. If you identify with any of the following, you’ll want to create a Facebook Page, not a Facebook profile.

I noticed this mistake a lot while doing competitive research for a political candidate recently. Several of the candidates had personal profiles instead of built out pages. The problem there is that it’s extremely limiting in the features available. Facebook profiles have friend caps, require you to manually approve friends, and are closed off from the rest of the Web. Brand pages, on the other hand, are open, media rich and allow anyone (and as many anyones) to like and promote the brand. Unless you’re creating a Facebook account solely for yourself with no business intent, use a Brand page, not a profile.

Mistake: Cutting Off Wall Interaction

You’re on Facebook to create a hub of interaction between you and potential customers. To do that, you need to let them speak and interact with you. You cannot enter social media and then attempt to hide by turning off your wall functionality.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal. A lot of people prefer to talk to an audience that can’t talk back. But that’s not social media and it’s counterproductive. If you want a social presence, allow yourself to be social. Let people post on your wall, let them respond to what you’re saying, maybe even let them upload their own content. The more you get them talking to you and to each other, the greater the experience you’ll be able to create and the more your brand will benefit.

Mistake: Interacting Without A Plan

Social media is informal. But that doesn’t mean it’s so informal you don’t have to plan for it or that you can pop in and out of Facebook at whim. You need to create a social media plan that will dictate the types of content and conversations you’ll be using Facebook to push. Once you know what you’re hoping to get out of it,  structure content around it. Know how often you should be posting, what days of the week get the most activity, and the types of material that people like to share. For example, in his Science of Facebook Marketing presentation, HubSpot scientist Dan Zarrella found that weekends are most friendly for Facebook sharing and that users prefer video more than Twitter users do. This is all important to know because it can help you plot your course.

Mistake: Leaving Your Page For Death

You know other reason it’s good to have a plan for your interactions? Because when you leave it to chance, it tends not to get done. And then your page dies a pathetic social media death.

On Facebook, regular interaction is even more important because of the EdgeRank algorithm that determines what content is shown and what gets ignored.  Everything you put out receives a quality score. If you have a low post quality score – meaning people don’t tend to comment on your posts, they don’t get liked/shared — then your content won’t make it into a user’s News Feed.  Because of that, it’s really important that you’re using Facebook to share engagement-worthy content.

Mistake: Being Argumentative

Never resort to fighting with your fans on Facebook. I know. You’re thinking what business in their right mind would get into public arguments with their customers? Who does that? Well, Nestle did. Cooks Source Magazine did. And they’re not alone. However, you can be smarter than all of them. Crazy bully isn’t a long-term business strategy, so instead you need to learn how to respond to negative reviews and comments

Mistake: Being Boring

You know what’s a really sucky Facebook strategy? Doing the same thing on Facebook every day. As a small business owner you can use Facebook to poll your audience, ask questions, post pictures, upload video, have contests, get people to check into your business, create Facebook deals, and to BE PERSONABLE – why wouldn’t you take advantage of every part of that? Get creative. When you post the same type of content or indulge in the same kind of interactions, you make it really easy for people to scan over you. Again, that’s going to affect your TrustRank score and whether or not you appear in a users Feed.

Below are six very common Facebook marketing mistakes that I see a lot of businesses make. What irks you? Or what mistakes have you learned from?

Your Comments

  • Michael Dorausch

    Nothing to add regarding Facebook other than I am guilty of leaving a page for death. What I did want to comment on was your discipline of getting a Friday post out on schedule (and not a thin one either) and then you headed out in the snow for your journey into Long Island. Says a lot about your commitment to your readers and the OSM brand.

  • Mark Churchill

    Just from reading this post, I have earmarked you as one of the top five clear thinking marketing geniuses of the 21st Century.

    Thankfully the chance that any brand’s competitors are still making any combination of the above mistakes is very high, so anyone reading and implementing this will earn a huge competitive advantage.

  • Anne Hill

    Couldn’t agree more–but you may have some confused readers who think they can create a business page on Facebook without first creating a personal profile. Every brand or company page has to be created by someone with an existing Facebook profile.

  • ChateauRoberts

    Hi Lisa,
    ‘Love your point about not being boring….so true. I have noticed that most people consume information at different levels such as video, text, audio etc. and tend to favor those individual preferences accordingly.

    I makes sense that a healthy balance of media rich conversations and postings should be a part of anyone’s plan to manage an FB page, so that it is engaging and interactive enough to communicate any given message effectively.

    Awesome post- keep up the good work.

  • Jonathan Beaton

    I would like to add one that falls near the first category:
    *Don’t obsessively promote your business on YOUR personal profile page.

    I know too many people that put in the effort of creating a brand page but because no one “liked it” they post everything on their personal profile.

    If I wanted updates about your “business” then I would “like” your page.

    In a world of shameless self-promotion, this is one is up there.

    • Sloane

      I cannot agree more with this! It drives me crazy when I see business owners updating their facebook profile page the exact same way thu update their business fan page. And when I say “exact same way” I mean same status updates, same links, same pictures. It’s as if the profile page isn’t a profile for a person anymore, but a business. Fail.

  • Jeff Ente

    And now that an admin can ‘become’ a business Page there is a whole new avenue available in which you can hurt yourself. You can now visit other pages and spread some good will, or maybe not so good will.

  • brent

    how can i make a page private like different brands do on facebook

    the best example i have off hand is

    the creator is kept private. how can i do this?

  • karen gunton

    great post! i especially like the part about having a social media plan – so many businesses don’t have a plan and don’t consider their goals with their page, and just use their pages to sell, sell, sell instead of interacting. i call this ‘spam-ish’ and go on about it all the time on my blog.

    i just wanted to add that not only is it beneficial to create a page for your biz fb rules/guidelines actually state that you cannot use a personal profile for biz reasons. in answer to the question above, you do need a personal profile in order to create your page. but then you need to never use your personal profile to promote your biz. people who use their personal profile as a ‘biz profile’ risk having their entire account deleted by facebook. another great reason to create a page!! =)

  • Stuart

    Great point on the Brand Page requirement, it def has a lot more to offer for a business, it is amazing how many businesses out there have personal pages and have used a business name for it!

  • Elisa Michelle

    Honestly, I’ve never considered a social media plan! I know that sounds ignorant, but, to be honest, I am completely new to this arena.

    Very happy to have stumbled onto this blog–all the comments are informative, too, which is incredibly wonderful. More information to help me learn!

    Elisa Michelle

  • Sloane

    I was doing some research the other day for a client and came across way too many restaurants (research was for a restaurant client) that seemed to be confused about whether a profile page was the same thing as a fan page. Then I realized there was a profile page AND business page for the same restaurant, attempting to function as the same thing, as if two pages on facebook for the same business is better than one. It was hard to not immediately call the restaurant and offer my social media services since whoever is handling theirs is making it harder for customers to connect with them. Yikes.

  • Brandon Cox

    You’re absolutely right. I’ve made the mistake in the past of abandoning a page, assuming I could simply feed it by RSS and forget about it. But it doesn’t become a useful tool until I engage it.

  • Jeanie

    I really don’t like to friend someone on facebook when they have a persaonal profile instead of a business page set up. I wonder why they don’t get it.

    I try to interact and limit my sales pitch. I recently mentioned that I video recorded myself and you see me in my PJ’s at the end (as I get up to stop the video). My work apron covered them otherwise. I had a little giggle and shared that. People seemed keen to see the ‘real behind the scenes’ footage. I decided to enter it as the exclusive page you unlock on my blog when you sign up for the newsletter. I only heard crickets. I’m amazed at how lazy people are, that extra step was too much – even though it was different and they were interested. I find it fustrating. I guess I need to keep working at it. Maybe another video, but this time straight to my facebook page with no extra step.

  • Charles Richey

    Don’t fight with your fans. No kidding. I see so many businesses try to control their pages and ultimately upset the very people that used to like them. There is a reason it is called social media!