4 Social Media Success Tips for Startups

Social Media Tree

(soundbeatmedia)

There are so many things happening at once in a startup. Well for beginners, you’re probably working in a small team, focusing on building the business, acquiring clients or sales, finishing projects with limited resources… I could go on but I think you get the point. Then you think, oh yeah- social media! What is our position on that? Having a social media presence is essential for any business, especially a startup. As well, you need to approach it differently than that of a larger organization. So let me fill you in on 4 tips to follow to successfully conquer social media as a startup.

1. Use social media to promote your business

 

You are new to the game; as a startup your are trying to just get on anyone’s radar. Social media can do wonders for your business- if you use it properly. One of the most important uses (hence why it’s #1) of social media is to establish your brand. There are many platforms to send out updates, blog posts, pictures, company achievements, and new products- anything about your business that’s worth sharing.

For example, Twitter is a very power tool to tweet interesting articles, opinions or updates that will engage your community. It also presents excellent opportunity for networking and building relationships. Start a conversation on Twitter, relevant to your business of course and see where it goes. Let’s say you just opened up a cupcake shop and you see there is a competition for the best cupcakes in Ottawa. You apply- but there is no interaction there. So hop on Twitter and get involved in a conversation, tweet at the organizer and say you just applied and are so excited to show Ottawa how awesome your cupcakes are. There, you just put your name out and are now on the radar of organizers, competitors, sponsors and participants.

I’ll tell you about one way at OAK we used Social Media to propel our business name. Recently, we attended a Gala where they had a live twitter board- front and center. They encouraged people to tweet about the event using a specific hashtag and it would be featured on the board. Well, challenge accepted! It was a full team effort and we ended up dominating the twitter board, OAK everywhere. We even received a thank you the next day from the event coordinators for making the feed and hashtag such a success.

 

2. Do your research, not all social media platforms will work for your business.

 

Having an account on every single social media site does not mean you’re going to get an A+. Choose ones that are relevant to your business and target market. Do a little research to discover which social media sites your target market predominately uses, so you can reach them better. As a startup, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. So choose one or to social media sites where you can focus on being the most effective.

If you just opened up a dental practice then Pinterest is probably not for you. Even if people want to repin the benefits of flossing or what a cavity looks like, as a small business realistically do you have time to upkeep pinterest? More importantly, are people going to think of you next time they need dental work because they repined your pictures? Probably not, so don’t bother. Having a Facebook business page or Google+ are both good mediums for posting your blogs, helpful articles about oral hygiene, or a place for clients to say how much they love your dental Clinic.

As a startup you need to focus on the platforms that will drive traffic to your website, and subsequently acquire more clients or sell more products. Pinterest is great if your business is in fashion, photography or crafts. If you’re more B2B or service based, focus on Google + and LinkedIn. Facebook has over 1 billion users, and can be used to promote many facets of your business. However, it’s constantly evolving and you have to be prepared to keep up with the changes. With more paid advertising options, they are making it more difficult to actively interact with users without paying something. Most importantly, as a startup your time is valuable, don’t waste it. Keep a clear focus and like I said, choose your top one or two platforms to minimize time commitment.

 

3. Your social media needs to reflect your brand

 

If your brand is chic and creative, then your social media needs to represent that. Be smart as this is a very powerful tool to build your brand, create a loyal following and ultimately grow your business. Don’t sound like a robot or what you think a businesses should sound like, be real and express your opinions (tastefully) and share your excitements with the world. This takes prior thought, sit down and really think about your company’s brand. If your business was a person, how would they be? Think specifically about tone, attitude, messaging, and how it will be conveyed.

Use social media as an extension of your business- be tactful, professional and show personality.  Express your skills and passions for your business and industry. Social media lends you the opportunity to really show your brands personality and gain the trust and affection of people.  The companies with the largest following truly engage their market and effectively tap into the emotions of customers. By effectively capturing people’s emotions through messaging they will most likely share it with their network. And we all know word of mouth is priceless for a business.

 

4. Measure, measure, measure

 

Always remember to measure your social media, it’s so important! Don’t blindly post, without seeing what comes out of it. Facebook integrates analytics and tells you how many people your post reached, and for a price they will give you more in-depth insights. Also, make sure to keep track of how many people retweet or favorite your tweets- you will discover your twitter champions! There’s so many analytics programs (I.e. HootSuite, Google Analytics) out there that you can use to see how much web traffic you’re getting, where it’s coming from, and what people are searching to find you- this data is invaluable, take advantage! You will also see which social media sites are and are not effective. And going back to my second point, your time is valuable so be specific and steer your social media focus where it’s working!

Also, it’s good to scope and see if the market is talking about you. Sign up for Google Alerts, you will be notified when your company is mentioned on the web. Also, on twitter, search your company name- see what comes up. You will be surprised how many times you could have been mentioned, but people are either using the wrong handle for your company or not using one at all! This creates an opportunity for you to interact with this person, and at the same time showing them your real Twitter handle (and probably gain a follower!).

 

 

Social media is quite the adventure, really think clearly about your business strategy and what you want to accomplish with social media. Also please keep your profiles active, don’t let them fall to the side. Nothing looks worse then looking up a company and seeing the last post was from over 6 months ago, or their last blog was from March 2012. It deters customers and shows a lack of commitment to your brand. Never ever ever let your social media die out. Again, that’s why it’s important to choose a handful to manage to make sure you don’t become a case of “what not to do”. If your startup is extremely busy and hectic- dedicate 5 minutes a day to social media care and ask your team to do the same.  By having a clear focus and determination for your start-up’s social media, you will be a rock star in no time!

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