The #1 Reason Your Customers Hate You on Facebook


Your customers are going about their day. They’re working out (just kidding!) sitting on their couch watching TV, window shopping at the mall or they’re listening to their radio in the car. Suddenly, a voice interrupts their train of thought. It’s YOUR voice, the voice of your brand. They stop to listen because they recognize you – you’re their friend. The person they bought their car from, where they get their groceries, the band they’ve recently been turned on to. You spend a few seconds marketing talking to them and then you utter those four little words – “Find us on Facebook!” And they do.

But then something awful happens.

They begin to hate you. Passionately. You’re screwed.

What happened?

You sent your customers to Facebook and then didn’t give them anything. You focused on the tool, not the offer. Instead of telling your customers WHERE to go (Find us on Facebook! Follow us on FourSquare!), tell them WHY. Better yet, show them why.

It sounds like such an obvious thing, doesn’t it? We know that customers Like and follow brands because they want access to discounts and offers and exclusive content they can’t get anywhere else. They connect because they want something and they expect us to give them something.

But then we don’t.

Why not?

As a consumer, I’m often frustrated by this. A brand or, God forbid, a local restaurant will provide a social call-to-action telling me to “Like them on Facebook”. So I do. But then there’s nothing there waiting for me. There’s no tie-in. There’s no offer. There’s no why, only the what.

Facebook doesn’t work without the why.

But it isn’t just smaller brands, the big brands are just as guilty of it. I was catching up on some Modern Family last night when I saw Pepsi’s Santa Dancing commercial. It’s cute so I’ve embedded it below.

What the YouTube clip doesn’t show is at the end of the commercial there’s a social call to action written in the world’s tiniest font. It says “Like Us On Facebook”.

It doesn’t say why. It doesn’t say what’s there. It just says to do it. And when I get to Facebook, I get nothing from Pepsi. There’s no tie-in. There aren’t exclusive videos of more Santa dancing. I don’t get any secrets about why Santa prefers Pepsi to Coke when he’s on vacation. It’s like that commercial never happened. That experience never happened.

Fragmented social media doesn’t work. You have to give people something.

Depending on how many offline campaigns you’re running, you may not be able to incorporate every one of them into your online media efforts, but there needs to be a brand tie-in somewhere. Something more than just a daily list of random updates.

Disney gives it to me:

They give me the nostalgia for my childhood, the one that will encourage me to purchase their older movies and respark an interest in newer ones.

Bettie’s Cakes gives it to me

They taunt me the location of the truck and the flavors of the day. I can’t tell you how many times someone from Outspoken Media has gotten a hunger for cupcakes and tweeted the truck to come visit us. AND THEN IT DOES!

So does local Troy, NY pub, Browns Brewing, who syncs their email with its Facebook interaction.

The result? I know where I want to go to lunch today to cool down.

How do you avoid being a hated brand on Facebook?

  1. Build the WHY into the platform: Stop treating social media as a knee jerk reaction, joining to join instead of with a clear purpose. Having a Facebook account is not social media. Understand your own WHY and how will use this platform before choosing a social network to participate in. Once you know your why, create your strategy whether its discounts, promotions, contests, humor, high-levels of engagement whatever. Whatever you choose should line up with your overall brand promise and should be something you can sustain long-term.
  2. Build the WHY into your marketing: Once you commit to creating a Facebook presence, build it into your other online and offline marketing. Telling your customers to Like you on Facebook also isn’t social media. You need to tell them why to create that interest. If you have exclusive photos from a recent event – say that. If you have an interactive quiz for them to participate in – tell them that. Add these CTAs into your marketing so that your customers know that not only do you have a Facebook page, but there’s a reason for them to visit you and that there’s something to do once they get there. Asking people to Like you on Facebook doesn’t tell them why they should. You need to do that yourself.
  3. Be social more than you market: You can market on social media. It’s fine. But you need to be social first. Your main objective is to create something that is compelling for your users. You come second.

We hate things that waste our time. Things that look to take from us, without giving us anything in return. If you’re running your Facebook marketing strategy without providing that WHY for your audience, you’re failing. You’re not on Facebook to scoop up fans for sport, asking them to Like you and then never speaking to them again. You’re there to build them, to keep them, and to give them something they can’t get anywhere else. You’re there to build the why into your brand. It’s a snowball effect. But before you can benefit, you have to build your hill.

What are you doing on Facebook to maintain your good status with customers?

Your Comments

  • Stephanie Rosenbaum

    I feel like social media may not work for everyone. Having an online presence is important but like the blog mentioned what are you really offering and are you truly engaged and responding to customers questions and complaints. I’ve added business’s and its helped them be more reputable in my eyes and others it hurt them because they never logged on and customers were asking questions and it would take them weeks to respond.

  • Elaine Speer

    Refreshing writing…like a cool glass of sweet tea on a hot summer day. (We’ve got both here in Florida). Others discuss “customers first” (although not all businesses are listening) but I enjoy how you deliver the message. You go!

  • Jason Stuart

    Great post as usual, Lisa. Spot on – it’s all about the why. Another reason people might hate your brand is if you post 50 times a day…use Facebook sparingly for better effect, I think.

    Also, there’s gonna be a serious rumble over cola preference between Santa and those polar bears…

  • David Hawkins

    Great post Lisa!

    I think the 80/20 rule comes in here – or perhaps 90/10 (value vs promotion)

    But if you make a logical and relevent segue from one platform (i.e. your blog) to FaceBook, people are more open to your marketing efforts.

    But as they say, what goes around comes around, and with social media, if you keep offering value they’ll eventually find your site and hey presto!

  • Josh

    One more reason I think some users might hate pages is the complexity of the pages. The great examples you gave are simple and straight forward. Much like Red Head Writing’s Page and Dexter. Yeah it’s nice to have fancy graphics/designs and even embed a cool game on the page. But those aren’t really engaging with customers, it’s something to do on page “x”. There’s no other incentive other than entertainment. The fans get a time suck and the company gains fans that aren’t there for the product.

    When I did help manage Facebook pages one thing was post weekly coupons and send discount codes to people who answered a few questions or shared about their experience. But we got those results when the fans were told what to do.

  • Lannon

    Thanks Lisa, I learnt a lot here and will be sure to apply it, sadly, it seems I’ve only been steering towards being the hated FB marketer…

  • Jon Thomas


    You straight killed it with this post. Even some brands who actually do provide quality content on their Facebook page still miss out on the opportunity to drive more traffic to their page by including the “why” in their call-to-action. Nice job. Will definitely share.

  • Moosa Hemani

    Thank you Lisa Brone for helping me out! your reporce will be valueable to make my boss undrstand what i mean…

    I mean no one in the world will click on the facebook like button just becasue they want to listen to whats new is happending in you… come on you are not WSJ you have to offer things if you need people to engauge and love you….

  • Kyle Alm

    This is similar to “i’m not on twitter because I don’t need to tell people when I poop” story. Well if that is the most interesting part of your day, there really isn’t a reason for you to be on Twitter.

    If businesses don’t have something worth promoting they should just stay away from social media. Can’t tell you how many times I have felt this way and wanted to ask a client WHY they actually want to be on Facebook. If the answer is just to get customers, stop and rethink it. Why would anyone “Like” your page? Because it has your phone number on it?

  • Stuart Dessler

    Thanks for this! Great post.
    First time I saw the Pepsi advert too :)

  • Joe Schodowski

    Thanks for this post, I want to use Facebook to find more clients and I think this post will help me do that.