Getting screwed up every now and then is part of entrepreneurship. But, not all mistakes are productive! If you are starting a business, it’s important to avoid as many mistakes as possible. Of course, it’s not possible to take it to zero, since mistakes are a part of learning process too. However, if you have the opportunity to learn from those who have come before you, you can be that much better off.
Here are the most common and easy to avoid mistakes:
Ignoring social media because you don’t have time to analyze the impact
Few years back, it was usual for entrepreneurs to achieve success without social media. Today, however, customers want to engage with brands, meaning brands have to be both publishers and participants.
For some who see the value of social media, yet believe they lack the resources and time, commit another mistake to outsource the work to agencies. No matter how good the agency is, nobody is better qualified to represent your business than your own employees.
Tip: Single mistake made by entrepreneurs when it comes to Social Media is not doing it at all. Don’t be one of them.
Jumping in with no plan or strategy
This is something interesting. Entrepreneurs spend exhaustive time doing market research, competitor scanning and creating financial plans, but rarely spend time to craft social media strategy. Doing things with no plan, can actually do more harm than not pursuing the medium at all. So, plan ahead or sit down with someone who can help you align social media strategy with the goals of your company.
Social media is not about spreading the same message in different platforms. It is much more than that and surely deserves your attention. Usually the people who are following you on social media platforms are aware of your brand. They are expecting interesting content from you to guide them through the product or service.
Make your strategy as concrete and achievable as possible. For example, say you are getting 2 new leads in a month, setting a goal of 50 leads in a year is more realistic than to get 1000 new leads.
Tip: Things just work well with a plan in hand. Take out few hours from your schedule to atleast outline the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when and why).
Talking too much about themselves and not listening
In fact, you need to talk less and listen more. The true purpose of social media is – being social and this is not supposed to be one-way conversation. It is a place for customers to express their opinions.
Some brands only talk about their features and how good they are. This is traditional marketing style and can work only for traditional platforms, not social media. Social media is more of a conversation, than simply blasting messages to customers. This is not just another channel to market your product.
There has to be a two-way communication for brands to engage with the customers and respond to their feedback almost immediately. Listen to what your customers are saying; else your reputation can be damaged in a matter of seconds. Make the platform a conversation instead of a monologue.
Spend some time of your day scrolling down through posts by your potential clients and followers to see what’s going on with their professional or personal lives. If there is something awesome happening, act on it. Call them or send a card to acknowledge.
Tip: Leave marketing here and try to be interesting for once. Listen to what your customers have to say. Interact!
Not measuring success and ROI
Not an unknown concept for entrepreneurs, ROI is important to know exactly how much worth social media is for your business. It’s more than just the likes and followers.
You are required to measure both the financial statistics and the value delivered by their social media efforts. As long as you can interpret your customers, you can keep them interested. If you are using old tool for measurement, you are making a mistake again. You cannot really count on old metrics – comments and conversations to measure the impact.
There is no particular tool to measure ROI. It remains a challenge to keep up with the changes in algorithms, implement latest tools that hit the market, and get the most out of the investment in social media.
Tip: Knowing where to start from and where to accomplish, is the best way to measure ROI and know if your social media efforts are actually working or not.
Trying to be active on all platforms
Unless you are a big corporation, there is no reason to be active on all platforms. It is better to perform well on few platforms than do poorly on all.
Take your time to understand where your audience is most active and figure out where you should focus. If any new social media pops up, feel free to experiment and also be prepared to let it go if it doesn’t work for you. Analytics is the best guide for any entrepreneur.
Simply having a presence on multiple social sites and publishing content won’t work. You have to be active as well as responsive. There is nothing like one-size-fits-all approach in social media. Each platform is different.
Limit your active social media channels to 4 or 5. If you are not sure where to start, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Plus are safe bets, having large audience that span many domains and demographics.
Tip: See where your target audience is and hit them there.
Not entertaining unsatisfied customers
If you are getting negative word of mouth on social media, time is simply not on your side. The longer you wait to respond, the angrier the customer would be and the more viral it will be.
It is a surprising fact that in today’s social media savvy environment there are big companies that fail to connect with their customers and especially the unsatisfied ones. Don’t hesitate to respond to any negative comment. In fact, consider this as a sales opportunity for yourself.
Frame a response to negative comments like this:
“Hi, my name is — and I hear you. We are looking into the matter and will get back to you as soon as possible. If you have any query, contact me at @—.”
This message will have advantages as negative publicity would not be spread far and you get to talk to the person at some place other than social media.
Tip: Deleting things on internet is just an illusion. So better not even try it.
Not admitting mistakes
Social media is the most volatile marketing channel and can also be one of the powerful tools for entrepreneurs and marketers – if done correctly. At some point or another, all companies tend to make a faux pas on social media but an important thing to learn here is not to become overly defensive and admit mistakes.
DiGiorno recently caused a stir by using inappropriate hash tag to promote their product. The company since then spent a lot of time personally apologizing for their tweet. It later on proved to be a great example by personally apologizing to each tweet.
Even the most responsible and careful entrepreneurs can end up making mistakes on social media. But, never let such mess-ups stop you. Instead learn from their mistakes. Humbly and honestly admitting mistake often diffuses the tension instead of exacerbating the issue. In the long run, people will remember how you handled the mistake, instead what it actually was.
Tip: To err is human, but apologizing and correcting mistakes is smart business.
You cannot afford to treat social media account of your brand like that of a college guy’s account. Be professional. Avoiding these mistakes and improving the way you use social media can enhance your business and likely to get the most out of your business efforts.