10 Facebook Marketing Don'ts Inspired by Copyranter

Copyranter compiles a list of the worst brand Facebook updates of the month.

It's something I secretly enjoy reading because it can be entertaining in a sort of sad way.  At the same time, it provides a good set of examples of what NOT to do. Even some big name brands are making some big flubs on Facebook marketing, so it's a good idea to check in and see what mistakes other brands have made so you can avoid them.

1.    Don’t be ridiculous

Cottonelle suggesting that people send messages on toilet paper for National Appreciation Day is ridiculous. No one is going to use toilet paper to send someone a message.  There is funny ridiculous, and entertaining ridiculous, and then there is just annoying ridiculous, and this falls in the latter.

2.    Don’t make basic grammar mistakes

It’s bad enough that Travelbag is just sharing an optical illusion which isn’t relevant to their target market at all, but to make a simple mistake such as “your “ instead of “you’re” just makes them look bad.

3.    Don’t make people feel stupid

No one likes to feel belittled.

4. Don’t remind people of something they don’t like

If you remind people of things they don’t enjoy doing, like Proctor and Gamble trying to engage users in a “game” about how long they spend doing household chores, you risk turning people off to your brand. Social Media doesn’t have to be all positive and sunshine, but it doeshave to provide value, and that’s an example of a brand just asking for something from consumers without giving anything in return.

5.    Don’t make people do “busy work

This goes along with P&G’s request for your household chores time sheet. Why on earth would people want to do that for them? Don’t make people do random things that provide them no value.

6.    Know what images you are using

Lalor Creekside Dental shared a picture asking people what celebrity they would like to see in Binghamton, New York, along with a collage of celebrities to inspire people. The only problem is that one of these celebrities, Steve McNair, has been dead since 2009. You should know exactly what images you are using before you post them. You can’t just throw images in without knowing what they are and their potential effect. This makes the brand look insensitive and lazy.

7.    Don’t make people play stupid games

People aren’t idiots and giving users inane games like Burger King’s “spot the chicken nugget,” with the CTA to “like” when you find it suggests they either (a) think people are insanely stupid or (b) are just hungry for likes. My suspicion is the latter. This goes back to giving consumers value. If it was more difficult, suggesting a sense of reward upon accomplishment, then this might be of slightly more value. But giving users idiotic tasks is degrading and doesn’t hide your ulterior motives of being obsessed with getting “likes” whether it's through quality methods or not.

8.    Don’t ask dumb questions

A radio station that asks people to “name a movie which does NOT have an ‘s’ in the title,” is only scratching and clawing for engagement. This might be more acceptable if the question was relevant to the target market, but it’s still not a very genuine way of creating relationships and providing value using social media. Skoda asks which side of the car is more important, which is at least relevant to their product, but honestly, who wants to answer that? Who cares? If your Facebook question can be answered by a reasonable person in your target market with “Who cares?” then you’re off track.

9.    Don’t beg for likes

Costa coffee provides an extremely thin veil around their public begging and crying for likes: “How many ‘Likes’ can one post about coffee get?” This is all around pathetic. It sounds like spam. The grammar isn’t even desirable. It’s not entertaining, fun, interesting, or of value. Don’t do it.

10. Don’t capitalize on tragedy

Don’t ever use a tragedy for social media hype. Using the picture of an Irvine couple murdered and suggesting people ‘“like” to send condolences to the pair’s friends and family’ is an all-time low for NBC LA. This shows insensitivity and an unstoppable desire for self-promotion. Not to mention it’s misleading because sending “likes” does not send condolences. What’s the moral of the story? Marketers must share posts that are:

  • Informative
  • Relevant
  • Valuable
  • Genuine
  • Entertaining, funny, heartwarming, fascinating or unique

What are the biggest mistakes you think brands make on Facebook?

10 Facebook Marketing Don'ts Inspired by Copyranter