We explore nine common mistakes made by startups on social media. Source: Shutterstock

Social media mistakes that spell doom for your startup

THE need for a strong social media presence has never been greater. Today, 66 percent of the population owns a smartphone and therefore, having a strong brand presence on social media can be incredibly advantageous.

It can help you get your name out there, connect you with your customers, and showcase your products and services. Yet for many startups, the need for a solid social strategy is often swept under the carpet.

If this sounds like the bad habit your startup is guilty of, then take a look at these social media mistakes and learn how to avoid them.

1. Not having a target

A social media strategy should be an integral part of your business plan. When starting up on social, it is important to identify your target customers and then determine where to find them in the digital world.

For instance, if you’re looking for customers under the age of 25, you should consider a brand presence on Snapchat.

2. Not measuring success using metrics

While outlining targets is crucial, this only works if you can measure how well you’re hitting it.

Luckily, there are many tools available such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics which allow you to track social media behavior such as customer engagement with your posts, how often your brand is mentioned, as well as audience demographics.

3. Using too many platforms

When just starting off, it is wise to stick to just a few social media platforms instead of trying to juggle too many. Instead, focus on the platforms where you are more likely to find your target audience.

By having fewer platforms to manage, you can focus more time on creating content of good quality. As the saying goes, focus on quality over quantity.

4. Losing out on traffic

Although you may get your finest work done in the early hours of the morning, this doesn’t mean your customers will be awake to read it.

It is important to ensure you are posting content at a time when your audience is most active. Tools such as Instagram Business even hands this data to you on a plate, ensuring optimum chances of reach.

5. Too much detail

Though you will be eager to share every little detail about your startup to the world, on social media, less is more. Research by Buffer Social has shown that Facebook posts with 250 characters or less get 66 percent more engagement than longer posts.

6. Not paying attention to visuals

Research has consistently shown that including visuals in your social media content significantly strengthens your success. Tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets than those without, and Facebook posts with images get 2.3x more engagement than posts without. So in order to really capture the attention of your audience, including imagery is vital.

7. Over-promoting

Promoting your business too much can actually backfire for your marketing strategy.

According to Social Media Today, just 20 percent of your content should be brand promotion, and 80 percent should be other industry-related content such as links to news stories, and consumer posts.

8. A lack of engagement

It is important to actually be social on social media. This involves connecting with key industry-players by sparking up a conversation via private message, as well as liking and sharing their content.

Engaging in conversation shows that you’re not just a cold organization disconnected from your audience. Instead, you can get your brand’s personality across and start to really build strong connections.

9. Not hiring a social media manager

After reading these common mistakes made by startups on social, you may be wondering how you’re going to put the time aside to effectively launch a social media campaign. The answer? Hire a professional.

Though you may think it’s cost-effective to get your receptionist to handle the social media accounts on top of her endless to-do list, you are mistaken. Hiring a social media marketing professional will truly pay off for your brand in the long run.