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8 Simple Social Media Mistakes Your Startup Probably Makes
by Startacus Admin
8 Social Media Mistakes Your Startup Probably Makes (And How to Avoid Them)
Social media can be a very important part of any business. It can be effectively used for marketing, and there’s no better place to engage with current and potential customers and to show the public that you are a business worthy of their custom. But there are some fundamental mistakes that even the biggest brands can make – and have made. Here are some of those mistakes, and how to avoid them (focusing on Twitter as the example)...
Over-/underused social media
Perhaps the most obvious mistake startups make is to not actually use social media. There are few things more damning that looking at a business’s social media profiles and seeing only a handful of followers and very little activity. Why would this make anyone want to follow that business?
Equally, don’t overuse social media. You’ll soon lose followers by the dozen if you are making 50 posts every hour. Find the balance where you are keeping followers engaged without overwhelming them with an overabundance of content.
Engagement vs preaching
The main role of social media for businesses is, as already stated, to allow you to engage with current and potential customers. This means actually engaging with them, not broadcasting at them. Enter into conversation with them on occasion, reply to questions and feedback (including polite and helpful responses to negative feedback), share content from other people rather than just your own.
People want to see that you are interested in more than just getting the money in their wallets. One of the best ways to create brand awareness is being seen to be friendly, helpful, funny, etc. But always temper everything with professionalism.
This seems to be even more common on Instagram than on Twitter, but every social media platform that uses hashtags suffers. It may be tempting to hashtag every word that you think might get your post more views, likes, and shares, but what it actually does is annoy the hell out of everyone. It makes your post harder to read and smacks of desperation and amateurish social media-ing.
Stick to a maximum of 2-3 hashtags per post, and scale that appropriately for the length of your other social media posts. And don’t think that #stickingawholeloadofwordstogether counts as an appropriate single hashtag. One or two well-placed, well-thought-out hashtags can have much greater impact than overdoing it.
As bad as overdoing hashtags is, even worse is misusing them. There are far too many instances of businesses trying to hijack trending hashtags because they know it will gain their posts more views. This is another amateurish, desperate-looking approach, and appears very much like spam (mostly because it is). Companies that have done this in the past have received serious backlash from for example Twitter users, who aren’t exactly known to mince their words.
Before banner images were unleashed upon the social media world, you might not have noticed that anything was lacking. Now that they are a thing, their absence on any social media profile is hugely noticeable. It gives the appearance of amateurism, lack of care, or that you must never be on social media and therefore there’s no point following you.
A banner image will be one of the first things your audience will see when they visit your profile. Make it relevant, make it high quality, and make it engaging and/or evocative.
Sticking with imagery, neglecting to add an image when you share an article to social media can drastically reduce the impact of the post. Statistically, posts with images can get nearly twice the number of views of one without. As we have said again and again, people are a visual species and our eyes are naturally drawn to images. Again, make it a relevant, interesting, evocative image and your article will see an upsurge in views.
Be aware, though, that if you are including a link in a Facebook post, Facebook will automatically generate a thumbnail section which will include an image pulled from your linked content.
Mention or reply?
Example: TwitterUsing someone’s Twitter handle in a Tweet comes in one of two forms: a mention or a reply. Starting your Tweet with @iamstartacus will count a reply, whereas having literally anything before the handle will count as a mention. The difference is that replies can only be seen by that Twitter handle and any followers you both have in common, whereas a mention can be seen by anyone, just like a normal Tweet.
It may seem like an obvious and easy thing to get right, but you might be surprised. Want to mention that you were featured on Startacus? Don’t Tweet ‘@iamstartacus featured me!’, because the only people who would see this are us and our mutual followers. The most common way to get around this without being too contrived is to simply add a full stop before the Twitter handle. ‘.@iamstartacus featured me!’ will now be seen by everyone. This is also handy to remember if you are replying directly to someone, but you want your answer to be seen be the general Twitter public.
Statistics show that a startlingly low number of customers who complained to companies on social media actually received any kind of response. Naturally, there are a lot of unpleasant people out there and their complaints might not be the kind that can be replied to. Telling Starbucks ‘Your coffee is garbage’ isn’t worthy of a response, but if a customer complains about a specific issue, be on the ball and respond to them. For example - A common tactic of customer support Twitter accounts is to send the complainant a public response (mention, not reply) to say that they are addressing the issue with them via private message. This shows the public that they are doing something, as well as keeping a potentially messy situation more private. However with Facebook this can be much harder to manage - you only have to look a brand's Facebook page to see how quickly examples of poor customer service can go viral.
Some of the best customer care instances come from companies who respond to Tweets where their business is talked about but not directly mentioned with a Twitter handle. This really shows that you are on the ball and actively looking for customers to help and engage with. Just don’t be a stalker.