Social media has proven to be one of the most powerful Internet marketing strategies today. It is a low cost marketing tool and most useful for startups. But your success will depend on how well you use social media for your online marketing. The right method can covert a small local business into a global brand. Mistakes will render the effort worthless. Here are some social media mistakes every startup should avoid along with tips on how to avoid them.
Nebulous plans: A marketing strategy without a plan is impossible to implement. So here are some essential questions you need to answer before implementing them at startup:
- What are the objectives of your social media marketing? Do they match the company vision?
- What are the demographics of your buyers? Are they usually found on social networking sites?
- Which of the social media tools suits your company’s image?
- Have you identified the core team that is best suited to implement social media techniques for online marketing? They are responsible and accountable for a good launch.
- How are you going to track the success of your campaign?
Breaking social rules: Social media has some unwritten and unspoken rules. Breaking these rules of etiquette can damage the image of your company. So these are some situations that you can avoid at startup:
- Don’t get involved in too many social media networks. A long absence from any of them will result in breaking the loop with potential buyers.
- A campaign that is just “I, Me and Myself” can sometimes be counterproductive. So an occasional mention of complementary or collaborative businesses would be more informative and engage the attention of prospective buyers.
- Never have a social media marketing campaign that is negative about your competitors or this might have a boomerang effect. They might get curious about their products instead of yours.
- It is best not to follow a person on Twitter or be friends on Facebook unless you intend maintaining the relationship for a reasonable amount time. Add someone as a friend only because you value the person’s opinion.
Bad timing: Let’s take an example – you are just launching a designer line of Indian ethnic apparel. You want to attract the interest of Indians and others living in the U.S. and U.K. Have you studied the timing at which your potential buyers are logged on, considering the difference in time zones? You can plan, design and time your social media marketing at startup when:
- You know the timings at which your potential customers are logged on to social media sites,
- If your target is a particular season, advertise online at least 3-4 months in advance so that customers have time to notice and book orders.
Not tracking success: The amount of online sales themselves is a feedback on your social media marketing techniques when you have just started. But you can also use paid online trackers that provide regular alerts whenever your products and services are mentioned on networks like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. If you don’t know what potential customers are saying, how will you know what improvements are required?
Not knowing your competitors: “Know thy enemy” is a motto that will prove crucial at startup and forever. Keeping abreast of what they are doing, reading comments on their products and services, watching their participation in discussion forums, etc. will help you gauge their strengths and weaknesses so that you can plan an effective social marketing campaign at startup. You can design and modify your products to overcome your competitor’s shortcomings. If potential customers are mentioning some additional services they would like, you can add those in your products at startup and beat the competition.