Social media networks are the bread and butter of digital marketing. If you’re running a brand-new startup, your business is and will be dependent on your social media presence. Why?
Well, first off, Facebook has over 2 billion active users. Instagram – over 800 million. Twitter? 330 million. LinkedIn? Over 500 million professionals across the entire world. These numbers should be convincing enough.
Social media are taking over traditional marketing channels and becoming a top priority for emerging businesses.
Many startups are not seeing good marketing results because they fail to create and apply an effective social media marketing strategy. Without a solid social presence, a brand will not be fully recognized by its potential customers.
I guess you’re here, reading this article because you’re eager to lay the foundation of your social media channels and strategies in a professional and productive way. Well, in today’s post, I have collected a list of insightful tips and tricks that will help you reach this objective.
Without further ado, let us have a look at 8 proven social media tips for startups.
1. Study your audience’s social behavior
Before creating your startup, I suppose you’ve already defined your target market. If you haven’t, you should urgently do it.
You’re a shark, and the social networks are oceans. You cannot (and don’t want to) eat all the fish out there, only the ones that are relevant to your needs and desires.
By the way – did you know that sharks cannot breathe like us, humans? They can only breathe when they move, so they’re always moving (even while they sleep). This is a good reference to what your startup should do in order to stay alive.
But I digress.
To create purposeful social media campaigns, you should understand the social behavior and habits of your target audience:
- What channels do they use?
- What do they usually post?
- What do they like, comment, and share most of the time?
- At what hours are the most active?
- What type of content do they consume: text? Images? Videos?
Brainstorm first, and use surveys later once you’ve gathered a decent database of followers. The more you know about their social behavior, the easier it will be to engage your audience and build a community of loyal customers.
2. Choose the best social media sites for your startup
If you run a B2B startup that offers professional services to professionals, posting content on Pinterest or Tumblr would be a foolish mistake. However, promoting your startup on LinkedIn would be very advisable.
Before you invest time, money, and attention in any social media network, study its users and uses. Facebook is universal. Instagram is mostly used by young individuals and has a strong visual appeal. Twitter is the best social platform for sharing news. Snapchat – youngsters and lots of visual content.
You get the point.
Here’s a useful resource that shares insightful details about the characteristics and the demographics of the most popular social media channels. Do your homework and choose your marketing channels wisely!
3. Establish your objectives
There are many social media marketing goals that you can set before starting the work. As a startup, I believe that your highest priority is to build brand awareness and establish a good reputation online. Simpler put, you should focus on positioning your new brand (along with your product or service) in an established marketplace.
You should always work with precise objectives. For example:
“By the end of the year, I will gather over 100,000 Facebook followers by consistently curating the most relevant industry content, by promoting my original content through ads, and by using influencers to speed up the process.”
Of course, your objective can be different. Some startups are mainly looking for lead generation opportunities. Others are looking for straight sales. Establish your objectives, put them on a piece of paper, share them with your team, and stick to them!
4. Analyze competition
You can gain a lot of powerful insights by carefully researching your main competition. For example, you can understand how your competitors are driving engagement. You can see what works best in your industry, and you can discover the PROs and CONs of each brand that you’re competing with.
I’d highly suggest you leverage social media competitor analysis tools to speed up the process. You can also use Buzzsumo to figure out the most shared content in your industry and the most reputable influencers that you can potentially start working with.
5. Develop a content publishing calendar and automate
A content publishing calendar is extremely useful because it allows you to keep everything in check. Rather than chaotically posting and curating content on social media, use a content calendar to keep your social media presence organized.
‘A calendar will also help you stay focused on different important tasks, and will prevent you from repeating the same content. Moreover, a content calendar will help you repurpose your content in case you’re sharing it on more social media platforms` – says May Hunter, Content Creator at CakeHR. Ultimately, a content publishing calendar can be optimized with various social media scheduling tools. This means that you won’t have to publish your content in real-time manually, so you’ll save a lot of time and attention.
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6. Leverage influencers to boost your brand’s awareness
Influencer marketing is still an underrated social media strategy that many low-budget startups are afraid to test. There’s a common myth that only big brands can get access to influencers. This is truly false.
Depending on your budget, you can reach less popular influencers that, collectively, can provide valuable reach. For example, an influencer with 10,000 followers may be as effective and useful as an influencer that has over 100,000. The former might impose a higher degree of respect and loyalty, and for that reason, his followers might follow his advice and click on most of his links. Once again, you can use Buzzsumo and other influencer marketing platforms to discover influencers from your industry. Contact them, explain to them your startups’ value proposition and story, personalize the advertising strategy (news feed posts, stories, emails), and negotiate a price.
7. Don’t try to sell – educate, inspire, and engage
When people spend time on social media channels, shopping isn’t always top of mind for them. If they want to buy something, they’ll go to a traditional store, search for products on Google, browse Amazon, or their favorite e-commerce stores.
Many startups fail to understand that social media campaigns are not supposed to lead straight to purchases.
Social media users are mostly online to communicate with their friends and known ones, to scroll their news feeds for various reasons, to play games, to watch videos. Generally, people want to relax, entertain themselves, learn new things, discover news, and so on. Very few social users are using social channels to find products to buy.
For that reason, you shouldn’t only focus on marketing campaigns that focus on your services and products.
What you should do instead is to try your best to bring value by educating, inspiring, and engaging with your target audience. To do that, you need to develop exceptional content that resonates with your prospective customers. That’s the only way to win their trust and capture their interest.
Don’t be afraid to invest in quality content. Perceive it like an investment that will soon materialize. A great piece of text can be repurposed into an amazing video, infographic, or graphic.
8. Focus on Developing Solid Relationships Rather than Acquiring Lots of Followers
Most traditional marketing techniques are focused on gathering numbers rather than relations. Nowadays, customers’ relationships are the name of the game. Ten years ago, there were only so few brands in every industry. Nowadays, every marketplace is clogged, and customers are bombarded with options. The best way to successfully launch your startup is to get personal with your customers and show them that you’re acknowledging their existence. Simply put, you need to show them that they’re not just numbers but people.
You can develop solid relationships by listening to your customer’s needs and problems and effectively turning your social media profiles into customer service platforms. You can do so by monitoring your social media channels. Every time your customers ask something, reply with a friendly and helpful comment. Whenever you receive a negative review, make sure you apologize (if it’s justified) and offer fair compensation to the unhappy customers that have a good reason to be unhappy.
Hold events, live video sessions, and live-chat sessions where your prospects and customers can express their opinions, concerns, and dissatisfactions.
Another great way to make your brand more “human” is to showcase behind-the-scene moments. Show your team working on a new project, or show the way your products are being created.
Lastly, try to engage with the happiest customers and ask them to become your brand’s advocates. Offer them discounts and free products. In return, they’ll support your brand on a consistent basis.
“Knowledge, strategy, and action – these are the three primary keys to startup success,” says Arjun Mahadevan, the co-founder of Doola. These are also the elements that mark the difference between a mediocre social media presence and a successful social media presence.
Try your best to put all of these tips and tricks into action as soon as possible and never neglect your startup’s social media presence!