Are your tweets saturated with hashtags and @ mentions? Have you ever purchased from someone that was pushing their product unabashedly with grammatical errors and typos on Facebook? These are just a couple examples of the worst social media mistakes that startups make.
I don’t have to sell you on the importance of social media marketing in our day and age, where startups and brick-and-mortar businesses are getting between 10-33% of their referral traffic from social media outlets. While some founders handle their channel management with expertise, others unknowingly stifling their brand loyalty with unrefined marketing practices. Here are some of the most common mistakes.
- Publicising Political Views – Boasting political views to your followers will only help alienate half or more of them. Leave the platforming to politicians and let people vote for your company with their dollars, not their ballots.
- Poor Update Composition – Would you rather share “RT @bizybear1: RT exmovrempath: RT crshdummy9: #heptacSweepstakes.com Haptic touchscreen and…” or would you share “A New Way to Look at Competitors | Steve Blank #startup http://growthhackers.com/arti..” Those were actual tweets and it’s a clear choice. An overwhelming amount of research shows that users are more likely to share and engage with your update when it’s easy to read and free from grammatical errors or nefarious looking domains. Next time you put out content on Facebook or Twitter, make sure it’s to the point and not riddled with a forest of hashtags.
- Irregular Posting – One of the worst thing you can do is post twice a month on random days and across different channels. Pick two social media platforms that are best suited towards your audience and post to them during each platform’s highest traffic hour. For example, Instagram and Pinterest have a different schedule than Twitter or Linkedin. Find the optimal post times by utilizing link shorteners like bit.ly for analytics and refine your approach over time.
- No Continuity in Branding – Don’t haphazardly slap together each social media outlet page; engineer it. Use the same pictures, content, and exact color codes as your website and newsletter. Don’t make your potential customers think twice about whether the Twitter account they’re looking at is actually affiliated with your company.
- Aimless Content – Create, share, and like content that is wholly within your targeted audience’s interest. You’re only watering down your brand loyalty when you share content outside the scope of your industry. If a financial services company mostly posted about laundry detergent, optimizing your website, and how to stay fit this Valentine’s Day, I wouldn’t take them seriously. Stay laser focused and interesting. If you’re having trouble finding your follower’s trending content to share, try Twurly. Twurly aggregates the most popular links from your followers and emails a list to you. This will help you cut through the noise on Twitter.
- Self Serving Posts – How often do you pay attention to Linkedin or Facebook updates that are only about the product that the publisher is trying to sell? If you visit a company’s Facebook page and you only see a wall of posts about their services, they’re most likely not receiving a lot of engagement. It’s similar to meeting a person that is only interested in talking about themselves and what they’re doing, rather than discussing interesting topics or asking you questions. It’s ok to post every so often about your own services, but make sure it’s not every update.
- Annoying Auto DMs – One of the latest annoying fads on Twitter are pointless automated direct messages. Once you follow someone, their automated service sends you a message saying “Thanks for the follow” or “Hey there! My name is Steve. Checkout my LinkedIn page.” This personally leaves me with an overflowing inbox of messages I don’t read. Some users will opt for TrueTwit and block your spam completely. If you’re going to use an auto DM service, use it with a purpose and a point. Start off by giving your follower a discount code, a free digital asset, or some piece of advice and encourage them to sign up for your company newsletter.
These are just a handful of the mistakes startups are making. Finding an experienced social media manager or dedicating someone to the job will drastically increase the level of quality engagement you’ll receive. Remember that your social media strategy is a means to an end. If you spend countless hours on it each week, but you don’t have a sales funnel to guide them back to your website somehow, you’re letting all those leads fly into the wind.