Social Media for Startups
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Which Social Media Channel is Best?
Social media has changed the way startups market, leveling the playing field in many ways against competitors with larger budgets. In fact, it’s key to just about every stage of the inbound marketing methodology. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest can all draw people in, convert them to customers, and continue to engage them to earn their loyalty — if you go about it the right way.
Rather than dive in headfirst, startups should take a step back and consider a few critical items before blitzing the world of social media. Here are four essential tips for any startup about to enter the social media fray.
Tip 1: Know Your Strategy First
Before you dive into social media, even before you create your accounts, it’s important to take a minute to consider your strategy. Different platforms cater to different audiences and purposes, and because of that, social media for startups really requires a thoughtful approach. Ask yourself:
- What are my buyer persona demographics? (age, gender, interests, etc.)
- What platforms are most used by these targets?
- What type of content connects with them and what am I willing to post?
- Who will manage our social media accounts?
- How active will the accounts be?
The worst way for startups to handle social media is to create a bunch of accounts, make many initial posts before gradually fading away. For any business, a thought-out strategy to communicate to your audience over the long-term is needed but this is particularly true for startups with limited resources.
This starts with understanding your audience, and that goes hand in hand with understanding the strengths of each platform and their respective demographics.
Tip 2: Use Tools to Track Engagement
You’ve done your research and created social media accounts to best suit your industry and buyer persona demographics. And you’ve established who’s managing your social media posting and what the long term plan is.
In short, things are up and running. But how much traction are your posts getting?
Most social media platforms come with various analytics tools to track views, mentions, and other key metrics. Other external tools such as Buffer offer a bigger picture perspective, bringing a multi platform view for key social media metrics. These numbers can help guide your strategy, allowing you to quickly see what’s working and what’s disappearing into the social media ether. By using hard numbers to drive strategic decisions, your social media base will grow over time, building the customer foundation for your startup.
Tip 3: Talk to Your Customers
In the world of social media, people like to be engaged. For startups trying to build a customer base, this is even more important. The more you engage individuals, the more they’ll feel connected to your product. And the more you post on your accounts, the more people will notice the activity and see that your accounts are worth following. In fact, if you engage people enough on social media and they enjoy your product/service, they can quickly become your ambassadors simply by sharing your posts — so encourage them to do it. You may even discover new employable talent this way!
Of course, social media can be filled with negativity. However, negative comments can be turned into positive opportunities. Critical mentions are an opportunity for engagement; not only can you give your side of the story (without being defensive — that’s important), you can show the disgruntled person that your company listens and wants to make amends. Another approach is to openly invite constructive criticism by saying you’re looking for feedback on your product/service. Both of these techniques demonstrate customer engagement, which is key to generating positive word-of-mouth in the age of social media.
Tip 4: Evolve
Every marketing campaign evolves and adapts over time. But traditionally, marketing campaigns involve ad purchases, content creation, and other tasks that involve a range of time commitment. Social media is a real-time medium, and it’s easy to experiment with new ideas with only a day or two of planning. With advanced metrics tools, numbers can clearly establish whether or not an experiment has any traction or not.
For example, let’s say your startup is mostly posting on Twitter but you want to experiment with more video integration into your feed. With something as simple as a smartphone camera and an idea, you can create a series of 1-2 minute videos and send them out day by day while tracking metrics in real time. Perhaps it’s something that works, perhaps not, but social media provides a platform where experimentation is easy and the results may be game-changing.
Need further tips on starting an inbound marketing campaign? Download Forward Push’s The Startup’s Guide To Inbound Marketing to learn even more about social media and beyond for inbound marketing.
By Marc Apple
Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.
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