By Adrienne Erin

With over 1.2 billion monthly active users and the coveted 25-34 age group making up about 30 percent of its users, Facebook has become the cornerstone to most companies’ social media presence.

Given Facebook’s penetration into daily life, the social networking site is critically important to gaining new customers, increasing sales and building brand awareness. But these five bad habits are likely loosing you followers (and customers!):

1.      You Don’t Speak the Lingo

Delegating page management to a non-Facebook user, someone who isn’t fluent in how social networking works, is a surefire way to get unliked. From not posting updates at the right time to not understanding the difference between shares and reviews, your followers will be unimpressed with rookie mistakes.

2.      You Don’t Engage the Community The purpose of Facebook is to be available to and transparent with an online community. You and your team must be willing to answer complaints about your product, interact with customers and respond to comments as they are posted. As you answer your commenters, you will see a community spirit begin to build and attract new followers.

3.      Your Facebook Page is Robotic

If you post in the same style every day at exactly the same time using the scheduling feature, your readers won’t get a sense of your company culture and personality. Varying post times and content will also allow you to analyze Facebook Insights to determine when you garner the most interaction with your audience. Also, by over-automating you may miss opportunities to comment on current events and trending topics.

4.      You Haven’t Protected Yourself

It is important to give several people at your company administrative access to your Facebook page – never let your marketing agency set it up for you and not provide admin privileges, or they could hold your account for ransom if the relationship sours.

5.      You Don’t Let a Picture Tell Your Story

If you only post long blocks of text, you will be unliked quickly. Facebookers are used to seeing pictures in their newsfeed, and a photo of a happy customer at your flagship office or at a community event will typically garner more likes than a text post about the same thing.

Don’t let these common mistakes scare you off. Facebook is absolutely critical to your communications strategy. Avoid these pitfalls and you’ll be getting new likes in no time.

Adrienne Erin is a social media marketing writer who loves picking apart campaigns to see what makes them tick. To see more of her work, follow @adrienneerin on Twitter or visit her blog.