Tweets, Likes, Followers, Stories… the Gram… If you are a social media newbie, or even if you have tried dabbling in it for a while, it can undoubtedly be an overwhelming project to undertake. But, you have probably already realized how it is an important, nearly crucial, piece to inbound marketing strategy.
Let’s put it in perspective for a second here with some good numbers. According to getambassador.com, 71% of consumers who have had a positive social media experience with a brand, are likely to recommend it to others. We all know someone is more likely to buy your product or service if it comes recommended. Sprout Social says that 70% of US businesses are currently using Instagram and that we should expect that number to increase. Dreamgrow.com states that Facebook has 2.2 billion monthly active users and then, the grand finale, (drum roll please) wearesocial.com says there are a total 3.196 billion global social media users! Wow! Convinced yet? We are.
Let’s talk specifically social media for startups. Being that this is a free way to drive marketing efforts, social media for startups is a huge opportunity. However, if you want to get the most use out of your time a resources, you need to approach the social media utilization process in the right, effective way. So how do you jump into the scene with purpose and intention, so that you are actually building brand awareness and driving leads? Below are 6 important steps for social media for startups. Lets go!
1. First and foremost, SET GOALS.
And make them SMART goals. Are you familiar with SMART Goals? Coined by Hubspot, SMART goals keep you on track and make sure you are heading the direction you need to be. They are S-pecific, M-easureable, A-ttainable, R-elevant, & T-imely goals. Sounds… smart… right?!
Specific – The who’s, the what’s, the where’s. Why is this goal important? Who will be involved? Lay it all out with specific detail here. Please – nothing vague, like “we need more followers.”
Measurable – Make your goal some concrete material for measuring progress.
Attainable – It is a goal that is actually possible to reach.
Relevant – This means that having this goal makes sense for your company and applies specifically to your strategy.
Timely – Pick a specific deadline that you will reach this goal by.
2. Identify your target audience.
This is an important one. Without knowing your audience you may miss the shot on marketing to them.
Look at your current customers. What similarities do they have? What industries are they in? What are their ages? What are they looking for and interested in? Also, which social channels do they hang out on? Knowing who you are speaking to will greatly influence how, what, when, and where, you share on social media. Similar to the advice we were all given in school about giving a speech. Your engineering talk on building a bridge given to recent engineering graduates will be very different than a talk on the same topic given to high schoolers. For effective content, always think of your audience.
To take this more in depth, you will want to consider drawing out your buyer personas. What is a buyer persona? Click here to read through a blog from Hubspot for a beginners guide.
3. Keep your brand voice and tone consistent.
Consistency. It can be challenging, but not if you lay out the guidelines ahead of time. Something as simple as creating repetitive colors and design. You probably went through this thought process as you were branding your company. Keeping the same theme in your social media promotes a professional and intentional look. Keep your tone of voice the same throughout your posts. It will convey a lot about your company. Are you informative? Are you purely professional? Will you be conversational? Will you throw in some humor? (We suggest, yes. Humor por favor!)
4. Stay Active.
You will get as much out of it as you put into it. A good way to stay organized and make sure you are staying active is to utilize content calendars such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Spredfast. In addition to providing analytics and monitoring, these tools allow you to plan and schedule out your posts for all your social media platforms in advance. That way you can still send off a post automatically when you are in that 9am meeting tomorrow.
Speaking of scheduling, have you considered what time you will post that content you’ve worked so hard to create? There are metrics that show when the most active times are on each platform. Click here to check out a study from Sprout Social. It is super insightful! Some platforms will also give you insight into your specific followers once you hit a certain number. On Instagram, for example, once you hit 100 followers it will give you breakdowns into activity times, locations, ages, and genders of your followers. This ties back into our second point on identifying your target audience and will be a helpful tool.
A good and acceptable practice as well, is to repurpose content that your users want to see. So, a repost or sharing material from a company in the industry or industry of interest to your target audience is very valuable. This saves you time on creating all original content and also shows that you are have good variety of info and care about what your followers care about. Just make sure to ALWAYS give credit where credit is due. Tag the original creator with their handle, mention them, or add a link back to the page you got your info from.
5. Be Human.
No robots please. Allow your humanity to shine through on your social media platforms. Despite the growing world of technology, inbound marketing strives to keep the human element and make a connection. Connect, person to person, in any way that would be humanly natural. Respond to comments. Address a complaint in a professional way. Keep your ears open for concerns from your audience within your industry. And keep that light humor.
6. Keep Learning.
Always. There are constantly new platforms and revisions of platforms and new ways to reach your audience. Social media is still so new and we are going to continue to see more developments, so stay up to date. Stay curious. We all have something more to learn.
Social media for startups can be daunting. But it is an exciting and fantastic way to grow. It should a big piece to your inbound marketing strategy. So make those goals and dive in. You can always experiment and try new things with it and find out the best way to share your business story. We can’t wait to hear it!