The Essential Guide to Social Media for Startup Businesses

Every start-up needs to establish a social media presence. Find out how to go about doing this and why it's crucial to success.

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social media guide for startup
Interaction Social Media Abstract. Image Source: Pixabay.com

In today’s digitally driven marketplace, social media is one of the best ways to reach your target market online. It’s a measurable form of advertising in terms of reach and engagement, and it’s cost effective and relatively simple too. However, all social media marketing still needs to be strategic, and should be carefully planned.

As someone who’s taken an idea and turned it into a start-up, you may think that all you need to do is set up a profile on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and then add these links to your website. Sadly, that’s going to get you nowhere. Social media has become an integral and sophisticated part of our everyday life, and your marketing plan needs to treat it as such.

1. Start With Research And Planning

Any marketing strategy starts with research and planning. Each campaign you run should have specific goals. If you lack goals and don’t measure metrics, you won’t know if your campaign was a success, or if you should repeat the process at another time. 

With social media, there’s often a major temptation to post and worry about targets later. Rather, take some time to look at what your competitors are doing. If they have social media profiles, you can review the type of content they post, and what reactions they elicit from their target market. Use this information as inspiration so you can refine your social media marketing campaigns.

The next step is to plan out your campaigns and posting topics. 

Start with an overview of the year ahead, marking important holidays, occasions, or events for your business. This will help you plan when to start building up to specific days, and what competitions or promotions you want to run at those times.

Next, consider the type of topics you want to cover in your social media content. Always keep in mind the general rule of 80-20. You only want to go for a hard sell and direct promotion of your business 20% of the time. The rest of the content should be informative, educational, or entertaining to your target market.

2. Pick Your Platforms

Once you have an idea of who you’re talking to on social media, and the type of content that’s good for your brand, you can look at the available platforms. Every social media platform offers something slightly different in terms of engagement, content type, and target market. For example, Facebook’s users have a wider age range than TikTok. Instagram is all about pictures you’ve taken, and Pinterest is all about pinning other people’s pictures.

Take some time to research the different platforms and determine which demographics are more likely to be using them. Match this information to your target market to help make a selection. It’s often best to only pick one or two platforms to start with, and get those right before growing your reach.

3. Think About Your Content

When creating content for your social media platforms, it’s important to make sure it looks like it belongs there. Instagram is more about beautiful visuals that tell a story. Twitter, on the other hand, is about short bursts of information, and can be a lot more news-like. While you might share the same image to the two platforms, write original captions that will speak to what people expect to find on each.

Another part of this is to make sure that your brand stays consistent on each platform, and across all of your profiles. This can be done in the type of images you post by including your logo or some kind of brand identity. The type of language you use can also create consistency, although this can change slightly to fit the platform—LinkedIn would be more formal and business-like than Facebook.

4. Build A Community

The social aspect of social media is what sets it apart from other forms of media. Think of your profiles as a place for conversations that take place between yourself, your customer, and other brands. You’re opening up a two-way street, and it’s important that you’re there for the conversation. This means replying to every comment, acknowledging content posted by your customers, and actively engaging with them.

In addition to being responsive and engaging, you need to spark conversation on your platforms. This can be done by keeping up to date on social media trends and newsworthy topics that relate to your brand. You can also join social groups or follow hashtags that are relevant to your industry. Just be sure to be part of the conversation, rather than interjecting with your latest promotion or a hard sell about your company. You’ll quickly get blocked or ignored if you come across as pushy and overly promotional.

5. Look At The Insights

Social media is one of the best ways to track the results of your campaigns. You can see exactly how many people viewed your content, how many people interacted with it (gave it a like or wrote a comment or shared it), how many people clicked on the link you provided and, if it was a boosted post, how much each click, or engagement cost you.

These metrics are golden, and should be studied monthly. You can see which posts gave you the best kind of engagement and the worst. Based on these stats, you know what you can do better, and what to keep on doing. There are plenty of tools to help you do this, and to manage your customer relationships. Using them is key to a solid marketing strategy that provides measurable results. 

Invest In Social Media Marketing

A brand that doesn’t have a social media presence is missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. Social media provides B2B and B2C businesses with a platform that encourages customer engagement and connection. This forges a feeling of community and trust, which can boost sales dramatically. 

Investing in social media marketing is something every start-up needs to do, and those that don’t will miss out. If your start-up is operating on a small budget, it may be worth taking out a loan to fund your campaigns initially. You can calculate the costs for your loan, or you can approach investors who’ll see the value in adding this type of marketing to your business.

The world has increasingly gone digital, and new businesses need to be on the cutting edge of trends. Social media has provided the ideal platform for businesses to not only define who their target audience is, but to create marketing campaigns that speak directly to them, in a way that’s accessible and relatable. For start-ups, this is an incredibly valuable resource, and one that should be utilized to the best of its ability.

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