Using Social Media to Build Your Startup
Social Media is a great way to create buzz and connect with your users in a personal way. Since it’s free and open to everyone, instead of investing money as you would with traditional advertising, you need to invest time in building connections. This is easiest to do if you grow your social media presence along with your startup.
Friends become Fans
Beginning musicians fill their shows with friends and many entrepreneur’s first customers are there parents. The same is true with your start-up’s online presence. Invite every Facebook friend and every friend of friend to like your page. Many people are willing to do a little free press for someone they know personally. All you have to do is ask. By recruiting your inner circle to act as a foundational fan base, you can build your presence on positive buzz. Pay special attention to anyone you or your coworkers know who acts as a tastemaker. People with large numbers of Instagram and Twitter followers can be very helpful for any startup.
Your type of business will determine what the best use of your social media presence will be. The more you focus on the interactions that will directly benefit your growth and user satisfaction, the more successful you will be. Choose one of these goals
Spreading the word
This goal can apply to a variety of different start-ups. If you have a product people would find useful if they only heard about it, focus your Social Media activity on getting your name out there.
Twitter Direct Message has become a major tool for customer service. Instead of sitting on hold, users can quickly message with someone from your team to get a problem fixed. If your product requires significant tech support, this would be a worthwhile Social Media focus.
Social Media is where content is shared. If your startup is in the business of creating content, a content-focused social media presence is essential for getting eyes and ears exposed to your work. This may mean teaming up with other content producers the spread the word about each other’s work and cross-promote.
Your E-Commerce site will only be successful if potential consumers are able to find your site. If this is your focus, make sure your posts are in service of getting click-throughs.
Smarter — Not Harder
Social media moves fast and you don’t want to be stuck creating separate content for each site you maintain a presence on. Hootsuite and other social media management tools allow you to send one message out over multiple platforms, on your schedule. This synthesis allows you to stay plugged in to several networks without doing duplicate labor. Management tools allow you to consistently pop up on users’ and potential users’ social media feeds, without requiring your social media manager to be constantly on call.
And you should have a social media manager because social Media presence needs continuous attention. You never know when a meme relevant to your brand will go viral, requiring you to act fast or miss out on engagement opportunities. The best way to keep tabs on these trending topics is by having an employee at your start-up who specializes in Social Media. The person in this role will be able to keep your brand’s voice consistent and respond in real time to users and jump on trends a soon as they emerge. This can be especially important when problems arise either on your platform or in the wider community. A social media coordinator can communicate with users and others in the Social Media community to manage a crisis.
Take a Moment
Apple released a new batch of emojis in April 2015, notably including a variety of races in addition to their classic yellow people. Clorox bleach thought it would be a fun opportunity to promote their brand and tweeted “New emojis are alright but where’s the bleach.” This tweet caused a major backlash from Twitter users who felt the comment was racially insensitive. The whole incident created a lot of bad press for Clorox and serves as a great example of how trying to jump on a Twitter bandwagon can backfire. Once your brand posts content online, it loses control over that post. It’s out in the world. This means that both in terms of grammar and subject matter, your post needs to be exactly what you want before you press send. Be sure to have an editing protocol for your posts.
Being purposeful and savvy with your social media presence will help you spread the word about your company while engaging on a personal level with your users and/or clients. By maintaining a presence starting from the beginning you can build a large network of connections that create continued business.