If your marketing plan doesn’t include a social aspect, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to promote your startup. If you’ve incorporated social as part of your marketing strategy, that’s great. But what happens if no one is liking or following your social presence?
Social media can be leveraged to provide your business with a great deal of exposure, but so many companies are guilty of making mistakes that render their efforts ineffective. Here are 10 mistakes companies make with social media, along with how to fix them:
Mistake #1: Not having a plan
When you launched your business, you created a plan. Why should social media be any different? As with any marketing effort, you must develop goals for having a social media presence, tactics to accomplish those goals, and measurement factors to determine whether you were successful. Though social media is a low-cost marketing effort, you need to know that your time is going to be well spent, and that you’re creating a way to produce revenue, boost brand recognition, or provide some other value for your startup.
Not only does a plan help you stay focused on creating ROI, it will help you maintain a clear voice, too. A plan will help carry this over to all other marketing efforts, including social.
Mistake #2: Not completing profiles
Many companies treat social networking sites as separate from their website. But social sites should be treated as an extension of a startup’s website. It’s another online presence and another opportunity to make information available. But, some companies don’t include information, like basic contact details, on their social sites. Why? By not doing so, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Some people may visit your Facebook page to find out who you are and what you offer. If you don’t flesh out your profile and make as much information as possible available, someone may not take the time to go to your website to find out. Complete your social profiles and include a link to your website. Also, make sure that whatever information exists on your website and social profiles is consistent.
Mistake #3: You don’t engage with people
Yes, you’re busy. But so are the people following your social presence. And, if one of those people took the time to reach out to you, it’s a good idea to acknowledge it. Social media is about networking and relationship building. Relationships have the potential to turn into revenue. It sounds silly to think that something as small as thanking a new Twitter follower could turn into anything, but all relationships need to start somewhere. Take those small steps. That one person feel acknowledged, and others will notice it, too. You’ll build a reputation as a startup that truly cares about its audience. Also, realize that social media can be used as a customer service tool. Never ignore a customer who is reaching out to you with a question or complaint. Word travels fast when companies neglect this type of feedback.
Mistake #4: You’re too self-promotional
Have you ever sat down to watch television and skipped past a show to get to the commercials? Of course not. People don’t care as much about your blatant promotional efforts as they do about things that are going to provide them with some value. Take that into consideration when you’re posting on social media. Instead of telling people to buy your new app, tell them what value they will receive if they have the app. And don’t make it all about you—acknowledge other businesses who are doing great things or share industry articles. The point is not to make every post a sales pitch. Remember, you’re trying to build relationships.
Mistake #5: You don’t post the right amount
Have you ever followed someone on social media who posts things all day long? On the flip side, have you followed someone who never posts, and quite frankly, you forgot they were there? There is a delicate balance with posting frequency. Too much, and you could annoy people; too little, and they won’t care about you. The challenge with frequency is that there is no right answer. There are some best practices out there, but it really depends on your startup, your message, how much content you have, and who your audience is. You’ll need to take time to test and see how people respond. Whatever frequency you choose, the first part is making it a point to discover your sweet spot.
Mistake #6: You don’t give people a reason to like you
One mistake many companies are guilty of is adding Facebook, Twitter, and other social logos to their site and calling it a day. Or, companies simply tell people “Like us on Facebook!” The problem with this approach is that you aren’t letting people know what they will receive by following you on social media. People like to know what to expect and what benefit is being offered. People are bombarded with advertising messages from multiple sources every day and they can’t be bothered to check your startup out on social media if they aren’t given a solid reason. It’s much more effective to tell people to like you on Facebook for the latest tech industry news than to just ask them to like you.
Mistake #7: You act like a robot
Social media sites are a great way to showcase your personality. If everything about your website and brand says that you’re fun, innovative, and unique, you’ve got to back that up in your social presence. Social media shouldn’t be a chore. It should be entertaining. It should be a conversation. Being professional is important, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.
Mistake #8: Your grammar and spelling stinks
It may seem like such a small thing, but poor grammar and spelling anywhere on the Web (not just your social media presence) can turn people off. It makes you look like you aren’t credible and that you do not care. If you can’t be bothered to proofread your posts, why should people take the time to care about what you’re posting? This is simple to fix—take two minutes to re-read everything you post on social media. Even read it aloud—sometimes that’s all it takes to catch an error.
Mistake #9: You don’t realize how much time it takes
For smaller startups, it’s unlikely that there’s a full-time staff member managing your social presence. Even at larger companies, this could be a mere task assigned to someone with many other responsibilities. Not dedicating the right amount of time and neglecting your social presence is a big no-no. If you start out being very active on social media and let that effort drop off, you’ll lose everything you did to cultivate those relationships. Be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to managing your social presence. Once you set expectations, stick to them.
Mistake #10: Not picking your spots
Creating a social presence for your brand won’t guarantee success—especially if you are on the wrong sites. Just because a social media site is popular, it doesn’t mean you should be there. It’s important to pick your spots for a number of reasons. First of all, the more social sites you manage the more time and people you’ll need to make them successful. Secondly, you need to make sure you are spending time on the sites where your audience is most likely to be. Don’t waste your time on Pinterest if your audience is predominantly teenage males. Marketing is about delivering your message to the right audience, and it’s impossible to do that if you’re spending time where your audience isn’t.
All of these mistakes can contribute to your startup either losing fans or putting them off so they don’t follow you. For each person that decides not to follow you, it’s a missed opportunity to develop a relationship. It’s important to treat your social media presence as a part of your overall marketing strategy. Consider these potential pitfalls as you plan, launch, and grow your social community.