Facebook calls to action: Are you using honey or vinegar?

It takes a matter of seconds to realize that someone is selling to you. In person, you may get that vibe from someone and instantly know. The same applies in social media. In fact, Facebook goes to great lengths to prevent businesses from placing ads in users’ news feeds that are overtly “salesy.” That old saying, “You’ll attract more bees with honey than with vinegar,” applies to social media, too. Think of content or posts that social media users find naturally engaging as the honey and the use of inappropriate calls to action as the vinegar.

Selling on social media

Those of you who use social media often likely understand the nuances of engaging content and when it’s right to use calls to action and when it’s not. In situations where calls to action are used in too many or (gasp) every post, consider that a lot of vinegar!

Of course, there is a time and place for advertisements and calls to action on social media. Think Facebook ads. The right amount of vinegar is delicious in certain foods and beverages and can make your offers more appetizing in social media when used at the right time and place. In fact advertising, or boosting posts, is essential for most practices today.

Facebook calls to action

Facebook is a pay-to-play tool and without payment, your posts, page and practice may fall flat. There are many excellent advertising options to choose from on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms. Depending on the ad options you choose, a website link or call to action will automatically be generated for you. Using the Facebook Creative Hub, you can choose from several calls to action, including:

  • Apply Now
  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Donate Now
  • Download
  • Learn More
  • Request Time
  • See Menu
  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch More

The cost of negative feedback on Facebook

Facebook is skilled at determining what people like and dislike in their news feeds. Did you know they even track Facebook “thumbs down” negative feedback that your page gets? That’s right. Negative actions against a post or page can include:

  • Post Hides
  • Hides of All Posts
  • Reports of Spam
  • Unlikes

You can find feedback stats in your Facebook Page Insights. Just go to your Business Page and tap the “Insights” tab at the top, then click on “Posts” on the left. Click the drop-down arrow beside “Reactions, Comments & Shares” and select “Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam, Unlikes.” From there you can see what, if any, negative feedback you’ve received.

The inevitable result of high negative feedback is that Facebook figures out that people don’t want to see what you have to share. Ouch. This will result in challenges with organic visibility and will likely make your paid advertising more expensive as well.

So, when it comes to calls to action and advertising on social media, what is considered honey versus vinegar? If you are only on social media to sell, it’s possible to do nothing but advertise. However, you will pay for it, and you must have an excellent strategy in place. Nonstop ads will turn off page followers and make it difficult, if not impossible, to build a quality community. A strategy full of ads is designed to simply sell. Saturate the market and be done with it. Imagine drinking pure straight vinegar …

However, if you’d like to acquire page likes and followers and grow a quality community of people who like you (pun intended) and are interested in what you have to off er, then you’ll need a strategy that focuses on engaging people with great content and using ads as appropriate. Think delicious honey by the spoonful.

The 80/20 rule

The next time you think about placing ads or calls to action in your social media content, think about your objective. Is it only to sell? If you are motivated by sales, remember the risks associated with too much vinegar. Otherwise, keep in mind the 80/20 rule: 80 percent honey and 20 percent vinegar is a fi ne mix. Too much of any good thing may result in issues. If you’ve shared nothing but honey to date, you likely have great opportunity to leverage all the goodness you’ve grown in your community. We often see this when practices avoid using ads altogether — note, that’s a valuable opportunity to leverage when ads and calls to action are done well. How’s your social media mix of honey and vinegar?

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of Dental Practice Success. It was written by Ms. Rita Zamora, who provide highly customized social media marketing services for dentists and specialists. Since 2008, her team has worked with hundreds of dental professionals all over the world to train them in authentic and valuable online interactions. Learn more at RitaZamora.com.

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