A strong social media presence is no longer a ‘hack’ that savvy startup guys use to get a one-up on their competition. Most companies have a Twitter account and Facebook page that they use to communicate with their audience and target new customers. However, it’s too often that I see young startups floundering in their social media approach. This is not particularly surprising; mastering social media is no easy task. It’s something that you need to constantly study and improve upon.
For many startups, this is a daunting proposal. They’re juggling a massive codebase that requires frequent upkeep, fundraising, user acquisition and a myriad of other things more important than social media.
However, there will come a point, for many companies, when a social media presence will be necessary, if not crucial to continued success. This list will help you plan, prepare and execute on an effective social media strategy, when you get there.
|Five Top Tips For Social Media|
|Know your Audience – A common mistake that fledgeling startups make is engaging influential people on social media instead of their customers. Think of it like this – if you are a music startup, are you better off engaging Ars Technica or indie musicians looking for new mediums to distribute their work? You might be a tech person, but that doesn’t mean your customers are too.|
|Be active – There are few things more cringeworthy than an inactive social media account. If you’re going to be on social media, be active. Now, proper activity can vary across industries. If you’re not a content heavy company, you might not need to Tweet 12 times a day. However, you should be engaging with your audience at least as often as your competition does, if not more.|
|Be consistent – You’re better off Tweeting 7 times/day than 15 times on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. This goes hand in hand with activity. Find the right amount of activity for your company and then maintain across days, weeks and months.|
|Be fun – we’ve seen countless blunders from well known and well-respected companies on social media. This has led to young startups being dull and using social media as a PR platform instead of way to gain users and grow their company. Now, this makes sense if you’re GAP or Nike, but not if you’re a bootstrapped startup competing against industry heavyweights.|
|Try different mediums – When many think of social media marketing their minds immediately go to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — and they should. These are the biggest players in social media, and the mediums marketers have found the most success with, to date. However, your competition is likely there, and consumers have long since been skeptical of anything they might consider advertising or marketing on these platforms.|
Be silly, be daring, take risks – the odds are stacked against you. Do everything you can to improve them.
Note: Be fun but don’t be mean, malicious or overly distasteful.
Look for mediums where your competition might not be. Why not try Snapchat or Vine? Assuming it fits your company, what can you achieve with a youtube channel? Content heavy startups might do well on sites like tumblr or ello. For e-commerce companies, places like Reddit can be fantastic. There’s likely a subreddit dedicated to your industry where you can engage with potential customers, answer questions, solicit feedback and provide deals to worthy candidates.
With this understood, getting it wrong on untested and anti-marketer mediums can have dire consequences. You need to be careful. It could be your ticket to that ever-elusive hockey stick growth, but it could also turn off a lucrative market that you could have reached in the future using better tested mediums.
Note: do your research, be honest, test the water and don’t force it.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. This is simply a starting point. There’s a ton of information out there on social media. You just need to look for it. And Remember – social media isn’t easy. Mastering it takes research, practice and extreme dedication.