If one of your goals for 2013 is to have a stronger presence on Facebook, don’t make the mistakes that too many businesses make:

1. They break the rules. Facebook changes the rules often. And unless you are diligent about staying up-to-date by following blogs like Socially Stacked or AllFacebook, some rules might change and you won’t know it. Even if you inadvertently violate Facebook’s terms of service, your Page may be removed — along with all your content and the connections to people you’ve made over the months or years. To save yourself a headache, bookmark Facebook’s Terms of Service and read them periodically — along with our blog, of course — and make sure you’re playing by the rules.

2. They ignore their fans. Remember the #1 tenet of social media? It’s the “social” part of the equation that matters most. If you have fans who leave you messages and ask questions on Facebook, you must answer them. No two ways about it, and there is no such thing as a stupid question (or at least you shouldn’t make your followers feel like their questions are stupid). Another thing to remember is that on social media your fans/followers expect a response fairly quickly. A question asked on Facebook is not the same thing as a question asked via email. At the very least, when someone directs a positive comment your way, “Like” it — it’s a pretty easy way to let them know you’re paying attention.

3. They post inconsistently. If Facebook is part of your marketing effort, attend to your Page. It’s that simple. You have Likes and followers because people are sincerely interested in your business and what you have to say. There are tons of studies out there suggesting the best times of day, and the numbers of times each day or week to post, but there are so many variables to consider that it’s tough to say there is a hard and fast rule. Aim to post at least once a day and remember the 70-20-10 rule: Seventy percent of your Page’s content shared should be information that is valuable and relevant to your Facebook fans. Twenty percent of your posts should be shared content, i.e. content that comes from other people. The final 10 percent is Facebook posts that are promotional: sale announcements, new product alerts, events, etc.

4. They leave URLs in Status Updates. If you’re linking to your website or some other content remove the extended hyperlink — or at least shorten it — before you hit post. Why? Once a pasted URL appears in the body of the unpublished Status Update, the link appears in the status box so you can safely remove the link without affecting the content. Leaving in the the URL just clutters the post.

Which looks better? This:

or this?:

5. They forget to include a visual with every post. According to a recent Fast Company article, “44 percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media.” Why? Pictures help us sort and understand the piles of information we’re exposed to every day. Plus, they can be fun!

Which would you rather see? This:

or this?:

6. They don’t add basic *free* apps. There are dozens of free apps you can add to your Page to make it more engaging — for free. Using the default apps, such as Events and Photos is a good start, but why stop there? If you’re a retailer, you should have the Pinterest app; if you’re in the service industry, install SnapGuide and create step-by-step guides — for cooking, building, fashion, etc. — that you can share with your fans.

7. They don’t create custom apps. Obviously this one is near and dear to my heart, but create custom apps to make your Page stand out! It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. With a third-party provider you can create contests and promotions — as many businesses know — but also newsletters, calendars, reservation and appointment requests, forms that let customers request more information about your business, maps, customer support, testimonials, surveys and the list goes on.

Have you made any mistakes with your Page? What have you vowed to do differently this year?