5 Worst Things Companies Do on Facebook Today
Have you ever seen the Condescending Corporate Brand Page? If not, check it out right now. Then come back to this Inc. post.
Okay, welcome back! It's hard to be a brand on Facebook. After all, Facebook is primarily a place for connecting with your close (and not-so-close) friends. While that's happening, companies are furiously competing to get into your News Feed and get you to "engage" with them. And they're not necessarily wrong to do that. Every day, people are having conversations with brands and 50 percent of people say they trust a company's Facebook page more than its website. Facebook pages from brands can offer a lot of deals, information, or relationships with employees. But when competing in a crowded marketplace, brands tend to adopt certain personas that can make a consumer's skin crawl.
Below are five brand personas your company should not emulate:
While studies show that asking for a Facebook 'like' or a comment can increase your interactions up to 26 percent, the Beggar does it constantly and at inappropriate times. If your posts are great, you won' t need to ask for a like for every other one. Use the power of the "ask" when you're trying to spread an important company message or helps the community. Don't do it for the sake of doing it. My personal favorite Beggar post is from Oxi-Clean, asking people on tax day to like Oxi-Clean if they've filed their taxes. Because, you know, when you think Oxi-Clean, you think tax filing.
The Stock Boy
No, this isn't the guy filling the grocery shelves at your local supermarket. It's the guy who purchases stock photography of random smiling people and uses them for every single post. I wish the Stock Boy would invest in an iPhone and Instagram some pictures of his company's products, behind-the-scenes at the office, or himself and his employees--anything other than a photo that has nothing to do with his brand. Stock imagery looks like advertising. And advertising is something people have been trained to ignore.
Many brands struggle with how to handle tragic current events. Not this dude. This guy cannot resist mentioning the latest recent catastrophe. Not only does he mention it, but he attempts to use it for his benefit. Check out Kenneth Cole, who is infamous for this. During the revolution in Egypt, he tweeted "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available." He then deleted the tweet and apologized after negative feedback. You would think that the brand would have learned its lesson, but just this April, it posted an albeit less offensive but still controversial commentary about gun control. Here's a tip: Not every world event is necessary for you to comment on. Express what's in your hearts, and how you feel as an organization. But whatever you do, don't use a national tragedy as an attempt to game engagement. It's simply bad taste.
The Long-Winded Lady
You know her. She talks a ton, but listens very little. She writes lengthy, meandering updates with three calls to action in the same sentence. Then she doesn't understand why she's not getting people to 'like' or comment. I'll keep this persona description short because the thought of those long-winded, text-heavy posts makes me want to stop talking. Now.
Have you ever seen a brand throw up a picture of a cute kitten or a baby despite the fact that it doesn't sell a pet or infant product? Images like these definitely resonate with the Facebook community. But the Cheeseball is all sentiment and little substance. The Cheeseball may garner a lot of 'likes,' but its community doesn't identify with the image of a puppy, or know what it has to do with the brand. It's okay to use images that are likely to be popular--just don't go totally off-brand for the sake of being cutesy. You'll get likes and shares--but then see a ton of unsubscribes when you show up in consumer feeds talking about something they're not interested in.
If you recognize the personas that consumers shy away from, you can make your content a lot better. And stay tuned for next week's post: The 5 Best Brand Personas on Facebook Today.
As a consumer, what brand activity on Facebook annoys you the most?
Carrie Kerpen is the co-founder and CEO of Likeable Media, which she grew from a husband-and-wife consulting firm into a global social media and word-of-mouth marketing agency. She led her team to more than $15 million in revenue and landed the agency on the Inc. 500 List in 2011 and 2012.