Beginnings are difficult for startups, more so for startups trying to make their presence felt on social media platforms. While it is a fact that social media marketing can help accelerate the growth of your startup, damaging your online reputation is easy if you don't do it right.
This shouldn’t put you off the idea of taking your startup online though: you only need to make the right efforts to see your brand gain followers on social media. If you're planning to use social media to take your startup to new heights, here are 9 mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.
Not Having a Plan
Social media marketing is not about getting online and posting all you can about yourself and your startup. Before you make your presence felt online, it is imperative for you to have a social media strategic plan in place. Your social media efforts need to have a solid foundation and a strategic plan that outlines your goals and details your resources will be just that.
Get in touch with your lead sales and marketing members and identify your target audience. Also discuss how you plan to engage with them and how you’ll measure your success. List down your social media marketing objectives and be clear about how your social media campaign will augment your traditional marketing plans. Lastly, appoint specific people to put your social media marketing plan into action.
Not Being Committed to the Plan
If you’re not committed to your social media marketing plan, your social media accounts will end up being inactive, which will in turn, create a bad impression. Keep in mind that not having a Twitter account or handle is a lot better than having your last tweet date back to a year.
Your social media marketing plan is not a sprint; think of it as a marathon. If the results are making you impatient, tweak performance by analyzing metrics, adapting to audience behaviors, and tracking competition. Don’t let your enthusiasm fade; if you focus on your strategy and put in required efforts, your social media marketing plan is sure to work.
Selecting Random Platforms
Given the rise in the number of social media platforms, you might think it necessary to market your brand everywhere. However, all social media platforms have a different purpose and a different set of users. Subsequently, you’ll have to have a different social media marketing plan in place for each platform.
The key to marketing effectively on social media platforms is defining your target customers. Once you know who your customers are, selecting the right platform for your social media marketing plan will be easy.
Advertising on the wrong platforms will only be a waste of time and money. For example, you know that LinkedIn is primarily used by employers and job seekers, so advertising something that isn’t even remotely connected to recruitment or job vacancies on this platform will obviously not show positive results.
Consider using LinkedIn if you are a B2B company or if you want to establish yourself as a thought leader. Twitter can help you connect with like-minded thought leaders, join on-going conversations, and broadcast messages to followers. A social media marketing strategy based on SEO tactics will do great on Google+, while Facebook and Pinterest are great for sharing highly visual content.
Being All over the Place
As mentioned, all social media platforms have a different purpose, and as such, require different marketing plans. Being a startup, you might not have the time and energy to come up with engaging content for several platforms. Moreover, you don’t need to post on platforms that won’t get you desired results. So stick to picking a couple of social media platforms and trying your best to make your presence felt there.
Posting at Inappropriate Times
Simply knowing who your target customers are isn’t enough; you also need to know what time zones they live in and at what time they are most active on the social media platform of your choice for your posts to be noticed.
Take Facebook for example: a post shared on this platform has an average lifetime of about 23 hours in the Newsfeed section. If you share something when your target consumers are asleep or away at work, you lose out on those precious hours. Needless to say, sharing content during the peak hours will definitely get your brand noticed. So determine your sweet spot before you post and gain the upper hand easily.
Posting Too Often
While not posting consistently can be bad for your business, posting too frequently can also be a deal-breaker. Think about how annoying it is to see posts shared by a particular person all day- you certainly don’t want to annoy your target audience, do you?
Get the balance right: posting something once or twice in a month can cause your brand to become invisible, and sharing a dozen posts a day is way too much. Find out what works for your brand and stick to it.
Boring Your Audience
It is possible to bore your target audience without even knowing it, so be wary of what you’re posting at all times. Talk with your audience and get them engaged in a conversation, attract eyeballs, use humor, and ask genuine questions and give intelligent answers.
In addition to this, don’t be robotic; showcase your personality and you’re sure to engage more users. Aim to sell your brand without actually selling- you want to be on people’s minds, not forgotten the minute they log off.
If you only talk about yourself and your company, people are bound to unfollow you. Instead of putting your company in the limelight, focus on your target audience. Talk about things that interest your end users and you’ll end up engaging them in interesting conversations.
Furthermore, don’t be too aggressive in your approach. Build your brand’s reputation by empowering and educating your target audience instead of being a salesman.
Giving Users a Reason to Laugh
The worst thing you can do for your brand is to give your target audience a reason to laugh at you. Avoid gaffes by thinking about your posts and taking the time to analyze probable outcomes.
Most importantly, proofread all your posts and ensure there are no spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. If you happen to make a mistake, accept it and try to resolve it instead of hiding from it. Note that deleting an erroneous post won’t help- someone out there is sure to take a screenshot.
Additionally, refrain from giving canned responses to negative comments. Acknowledge issues and be genuine when engaging with users.
Social media mistakes have the potential to put a company out of business. As a startup owner, you can only be too cautious about what you post online. So put adequate thought into your social media marketing plans and ensure you don’t end up making the mistakes mentioned in this post.
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