Start-Ups – Getting Social

So many start-up businesses I meet are confused or nervous about using social media. It’s a channel that you can no longer ignore, nor should you as it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to reach a huge (and segmentable) audience. A recent study by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK found that nearly 80% of consumers would be ‘more inclined to buy more often in the future because of a brand’s presence on social media’. So, what should you think about when you’re starting out?

Make it part of your Marketing Plan
Social media should form part of, and align to, your overall Marketing plan. What are your overall Marketing goals? It might be creating brand awareness, improving loyalty or generating business leads. Your social media strategy needs to mirror those overarching objectives. Objectives sorted? Then think about your messages, What is it that you want your audience to think, feel or do?

Choose your networks wisely
Think about your target market when choosing which networks you want to go onto. Most start-ups are time poor so it’s worth focusing on one or two networks initially and using them well. Where do your target market hang out online? Who are they? Is it a business audience? Does your product work well visually? Use all the information you have about your customer base to select the best platforms for you and if you don’t know, then ask.

Just do it!
Don’t be scared to get started. People can be nervous of posting but if you’re sensible about what you post you’ll keep you and your business out of hot water.

And then do it again, and again, and again…regardless of the platform you choose, regular posting is key. To build up a following and traction with your community – posting content that is engaging and relevant is the only way you will keep those visitors coming back. Be true to your brand, choose your tone and stick to it, be that quirky and fun or informative subject expert. There are some great tools out there to help you schedule posts across the networks you choose including the likes of Hootsuite and Sprout Social.

And finally, don’t forget to Measure It. As with any other elements of your Marketing activity you need to measure how social media is performing for you. That might be leads generated, it could also be likes, shares and customer engagement. Work out what success looks like for you and keep experimenting until your social media is delivering for you.