Why Social Media
Every day, popular social media sites are bulging with users who go there to socialize and interact with other people. Part of that experience involves following and communicating with their favorite brands. Users also depend on social media to find the products and services that meet their needs and desires.
When you introduce your startup on social media, you gain immediate access to millions of daily users, many of whom comprise your target market. Therefore, you can expose your brand to relevant audiences and collect leads that can become customers. In other words, failure to use social media amounts to leaving money on the table.
Of course, one the most attractive part of social media marketing is its relatively low cost. You can orchestrate organic campaigns that cost you practically nothing, aside from time and effort. You can also use paid social media advertising platforms to expand your reach without breaking the bank.
Surprisingly, many companies jump into social media with unrealistic expectations. After all the low cost and high exposure makes it attractive. However, making it profitable, involves much more than simply opening an account and uploading your logo. Instead, it requires a plan, effective tactics and diligent effort.
Establish a Social Media Strategy
In the first place, you need to realize that social media is already packed with brands that are vying for attention. Getting noticed in such a competitive atmosphere requires you to develop an effective strategy that will define your tactics and govern your activities. Besides, haphazard approaches to social media can lead to discouragement, embarrassment and failure.
Building a strategy entails a methodical assessment of the needs of your firm. Additionally, you will need to identify and understand the needs of your audience. In the end, your strategy will help you stay focused so that everything you do on social media contributes to your goals.
Determine Your Goals
Before social media can work for you, you need to understand what you want to gain from it. As the owner of a startup, you will probably want to choose one of the following goals that traditionally help new brands get traction in the marketplace.
To begin with, you might want to use social media for the purpose of making people aware that your brand exists. In addition to introducing your startup, this goal will help you explain to your intended customers what you can do for them.
You might also use social media to distribute content. When you publish valuable information that improves the lives of others, you encourage sharing. As more people find your content useful or entertaining, you broaden your audience.
Another common social media goal for startups is lead generation. Generally speaking, you can generate leads by encouraging people on social networks to click links that lead to your website or blog. If you choose this as your goal, plan on investing a lot of work over a long period of time before you see significant results.
A related goal, customer acquisition, can be the natural consequence of other goals. After all, you want people to buy from you after becoming aware of your brand and becoming interested in your products.
After setting your goals, you should select which social networks to use. Rather than attempting to engage every popular site, attempt to find out which ones are preferred by your target market. For the most part, you can safely choose Facebook and Twitter, because of their large audiences. Still, don't forget to consider other niche sites that can contribute to your goals.
Engage Your Employees
As has been noted, a social media strategy requires a lot of work. Part of that includes the strain of consistently creating various forms of engaging content. Your effort will also involve responding to the comments, complaints, inquiries and other feedback that you receive. To do the job, you need help.
Rather than trying to do everything yourself, get your entire team involved. For starters, you can solicit them for their ideas for content and topics. You can also encourage them to post directly to your blog, update your status pages and send tweets. In effect, you can use your employees in the role of a brand advocate.
Most of all, you should encourage your staff to engage with customers and followers on social media. A high level of interaction can build a solid reputation for your startup and give you an edge over your competitors.
Although your entire team can help, your salesforce should be at the forefront of your social media marketing effort. Aside from contributing content, your salespeople can give you insights into customer behavior that can influence your activities. For example, they can let you know what questions people have and what objections they have when asked to buy. You can use that information as topics for your content.
If you either work alone or have not yet built a team, you can still get help. To do this, consider hiring a virtual assistant. Such a solution can help because the expense of hiring remote workers is usually less than that of traditional employees. Also, home-based workers have comparatively high productivity rates, meaning that you can get a lot of work done for the money you spend.
Build a Community
As you do business, you have a chance to build a following on social media that will promote your brand. For instance, based on their experience, your satisfied customers can refer their friends and followers to your brand. Additionally, some enthusiastic customers may answer questions and offer suggestions to new prospects. All in all, you can form a social media community that is centered on your brand.
Obviously, such a methodical approach takes a longer time to produce results than indiscriminately adding large numbers of friends. Nevertheless, your community-building effort can pay off handsomely over the long run. In the case of social media, the quality of your followers can mean more to you than their quantity.
Notwithstanding, maintaining a community requires a concerted effort. You must interact with your followers in a positive way and involve them in your business by asking for feedback. Meanwhile, you must promptly and respectfully address any negative issues.
Track and Measure
Rather than blindly executing your social media marketing campaigns, monitor their results in real time. Third-party tools such as Moz, Google Analytics and Hootsuite illustrate just a few opportunities you have to measure your performance.
These applications can help you identify the topics and content types that most contribute to your goals. Additionally, these tools can monitor social “mentions” of your brand so you can quickly address problems and mitigate bad publicity.
While assessing your results, be sure to identify metrics that relate to your goals. On balance, statistics such as the number of leads gained during a period coupled with conversion rates can help. When you identify your most productive tactics, you can use your data to optimize them for improved results.
Also, as part of your tracking and measuring policy, be sure to include competing brands and their firms. Doing this allows you to learn from both their mistakes and good ideas. By the same token, you can use your competitor's performance as a benchmark for your own.
Avoid the temptation to mimic what other startups do on social media. Although you can learn from the success of others, you need to think outside the box. To put it differently, you should allow your creativity to build a unique social media presence that stands out and makes a statement.
Experimenting can help you and your team discover new talents that can lead to new opportunities. For example, you might find out that you enjoy producing exciting video content.
In the same fashion, your team can use brainstorming to get new ideas that can revolutionize your social media strategy. When combined with your humanity, your ingenuity can create solutions and improve efficiency while adding value to your brand. You never know what you can do until you try.
Your startup can harness the popularity of social media to help you achieve success. Not only can you find your target market on social networks but also you can reach them on a budget. In like manner, social media offers you a vital opportunity to build a loyal community that will promote your brand for free.
In a word, you can use the above six tips for using social media to help grow your startup. Even if you come across new questions, help is always nearby. Now, get started.