While using social media can be an effective marketing strategy for startup companies on a small budget, executing them isn’t always foolproof. Falling victim to any of the common flubs can end up damaging your business’ reputation and chances for success even before you actually start with your work.
Here are five of the most common social media mistakes and how you can avoid making them.
1: Starting without a plan.
By developing a strategic social media plan, you create a critical foundation upon which the rest of your social media efforts are based. It would give you a road map for what you need to do to reach your particular goal.
Here is what you need to ask yourself before framing a Social Media plan for your start-up.
- Who is your target audience?
- How would you engage with them?
- How can you link your social media campaign into your traditional marketing mix?
- Who is going to handle your social media efforts?
- What are your social media objectives?
- How will you measure your success?
While you are figuring out the answers to these questions, take time to compare them to other social media strategies to help identify and fill the gaps.
2: Poorly timing social media posts.
One of the biggest mistakes startups tend to make is not being able to identify who their customer is and how he or she behaves on the social web. Timing is key to engage the customers and yield more likely outcome. For example, if your business is on Indian time and you tweet at 10p.m., you’d be missing the “sweet spot”. Thus, timely and relevant posts taking into account customer behavior is one of the most important aspects of Social Media Marketing.
3: Breaking rules of social media etiquette.
Don’t start a social media campaign without having at least a basic understanding of some of the rules. Here is a simple list that I follow:
- Start conversations by asking thought-provoking questions. Tapping into trends can be a great way to increase engagement among your social followers. These daily changing trends might give you a fresh idea for new and innovative content.
- Don’t follow someone on Twitter, then unfollow them when they follow you. The only reason you should follow a person or a brand is because you value the content he/she shares and not because he/she has more followers and them RTing you can get you followers.
- Promote other people as well as your own brand. For every personal social media mention you share, you should mention another person or business five times. When you self-promote, make it a short mention that focuses on the benefits for your readers.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin. Focus on using four or fewer networks at a time. Otherwise, you might not have the time to consistently provide relevant content that engages users.
4: Failing to measure social media success.
Although it might not be easy to measure something like a conversation, one is able to measure factors such as the total online community size, the number of mentions of your brand across the social web in a given time and all the traffic referred to the business’s website. The following tools can help you stay on top these important metrics:
- PageLever is a paid tool that helps you analyze your Facebook Page impressions for any date range.
- Simply Measured is a paid tool that can collect social media data such as engagement per blog post, or tweet distribution per country in an Excel report.
- SocialMention is a free search engine that allows you to have alerts sent to you daily containing mentions made online of you and your brand.
5: Don’t ignore your competitors.
Knowing who your competitors are and what they are doing is just as important as knowing everything about your own business.
To keep an eye on your competitors over social media, look at their website, locate the social media icons, sign up as a fan and start watching what they do. It’s just as important to see what their fans are saying and use those reactions to improve your own business. For example:
- Are your competitors’ fans complaining about a missing feature? Can you easily and profitably include that feature into your product?
- Are they praising something both you and your competitor do, but you aren’t actively promoting it in your ads? Maybe you should.
- What emotions do their fans seem to connect with in regard to your competitors’ products? Can you tap into that same emotion?
If you have a strategic plan, and avoid the above mistakes, social media can give your startup a cost-effective marketing boost. Additionally, your plan will remind you why you’re spending time on social networks and how to improve your efforts.
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