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5 Social Media Mistakes Startups Need To Avoid

By Tereza Bízková 8 January, 2020

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Marketing without social media is like ordering pizza without any toppings on. 

Sorry Margherita lovers, but that’s how indispensable it has become. 

The overwhelming majority of companies now manage their own brand sites. Moreover, it’s said that 73% of small businesses want to invest more in their social media. However, the consensus is that many simply lack the knowledge to turn their strategy into a success. 

Many startups don’t even have a designated social media team.

Shocking, right?

We get it. In a startup’s early days, you need to wear multiple hats. Although, when it comes to social media, it may not be wise to rely on a skill set based on praise your relatives gave your holiday photos on Facebook. 

An effective social media marketing strategy can do wonders for both your brand image and overall business performance. We really can’t stress enough the importance of social media for your startup.

However, building a strong social media presence is not easy. Just as you can become a superstar overnight, a slight mishap could ruin any reputation that you worked so hard to build. 

With that in mind, we’re going to look at the 5 social media faux pas’ your startup need to avoid: 

Posting on your social media channels too little, or too much

Social media is overwhelming. 

Therefore, before you get the ball rolling, you need to ensure your goals are realistic. A lot of companies try to build a presence on many platforms at the same time. This is before they have the resources to do so. In addition, some startups underestimate themselves and only post sporadically on platforms irrelevant to their target audience.

Neither is ideal. Trying to do too much (or too little) could end up in a waste of precious marketing efforts, or dearly missed potential.

Not having a clear social media marketing strategy

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “fail to plan, plan to fail”

The same is true with your social media marketing.

If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What is your main social media goal?
  • How many resources can you dedicate to them?
  • What message do you want to share?
  • Who is your audience? 
  • What channels are they likely to be using?

Just by answering these questions, you will have a clearer idea of what your strategy should be. 

At Publicize, we recommend maintaining a presence on the big five social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

Here’s a breakdown of each one:

As you can see, the channel you lean towards depends largely on your product and brand.

For example, if your brand is extremely visual, Instagram is your bet. If you’re B2B, chances are that LinkedIn will help you reach out to the business professionals you’re looking to engage with. Or if your target demographic is mostly teenagers, Snapchat or TikTok may do the trick.

In addition to choosing which platform you want to focus your effort towards, you want to have a clear idea of what you will post, when you will, and how often you’ll post. Consistency is extremely important. Avoid posting once a month only to subsequently overcompensate by spamming your followers all day! If you’re new to social media, keep an eye on your engagement levels to see what frequency and timing work best for you.

Identifying a clear brand persona is equally important. Implementing a strong brand identity with a quick glance means that any social media user who comes on your social media should be able to tell who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Therefore, make sure that your voice comes across clearly, and use imagery, quotes, and unified fonts and colors to really back it up. 

Not interacting enough with your social media following

You can’t have social media without being social.

As community interaction becomes even more mandatory for brands, interacting with your audience is something you can’t afford to miss out on. 

Customer service is undoubtedly the main part of these interactions. Providing support through social media is seen as important by 88% of social media marketers. This is for good reason. Social media allows users an easy and direct way to connect with brands, and feel heard at all times. 

That’s why keeping an eye on the activity on your posts and brand mentions is fundamental. 

Yes, some exchanges may be frustrating, but always make sure to keep your cool. Snapping out at your customers will earn you a place in their burn-book forever. So no matter what, maintain a calm and constructive approach. After all, how you handle negative feedback tells users more about your business than the existence of a negative comment in the first place.

PRO TIP: Remember, it’s not just about what’s seen. Responding to messages received privately is equally important to build strong brand-customer relationships. Actually, it’s said that 89% of social media messages to brands go ignored – so don’t contribute to this lamentable statistic.

Posting content that has no value to your audience

Your page isn’t a sales platform.

Remember, social media isn’t about you, it’s about your audience.

The sooner you realize your approach needs to be audience-centric the better.

Why?

It will save your brand reputation and precious time thinking about what might have gone wrong.

Your success depends on your ability to capture attention, engage, and offer value. This comes down to posting content that is actually interesting. 

Startups often struggle to balance the ideal content mix and end up excessively filling their followers’ feeds with promotional messaging – something that will only earn an unfollow. 

Finding the sweet spot can be difficult. The golden rule is the 80/20 principle. It means that 80% of your posts should have an entertaining or informative tone, while the remaining 20% can be of a more promotional nature. 

Neglecting to monitor your social media channels

Everyone knows that the only way to improve is by understanding exactly where you went wrong.

Therefore, monitoring and analyzing your social media activity is an absolute necessity. There’s a plethora of metrics that can help you generate actionable insights. An understanding of these metrics ensures that you constantly moving forward. 

But how can you measure social media success in the first place?

Many startups often get lost in the sea of metrics or focus on those that aren’t really relevant. So, make sure to focus on the ones relevant to you. 

These may include:

  • Post engagement (likes, shares, and comments)
  • Reach
  • Click-through rate

Tools like Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics are a great help!

However, don’t be discouraged if your results aren’t what you hoped them to be. Social media marketing is not a sprint, but a marathon. With that in mind, use the data you gather to constantly reassess your strategy. For example, if your posts have little reach in the first place, you might need to invest in promoting your posts to get some visibility beyond the organic reach.

Wrapping up…

We are reaching a stage in marketing where no matter the question, social media is the answer.

Therefore, if you avoid these common pitfalls, you’re on the right path. Remember that at the end of the day, it’s mostly about being patient. So, don’t be afraid to experiment a little to see what works best for you!


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