There’s no doubt about it – social media is one of many components that can lead a startup to success. But, contrary to what you might currently believe, that doesn’t just mean writing the odd tweet or posting a picture or two on Instagram to advertise your business.
In fact, social media can be a lot more complicated than that.
We’re going to be taking a more in-depth look at these 5 guidelines which will help you lift your business off the ground:
- Understand your target audience
- Track your competitors
- Create a consistent brand
- Be clever with your content creation
- Maximise reach
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at these in a bit more detail…
Getting to know your audience
This isn’t the first time we’ve spoken about the importance of finding your target audience, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
Before you can even think about your business thriving, you need to understand who your customers are.
However, recognising your target market isn’t as simple as merely identifying who could potentially be interested in your brand, but recognising their social media habits.
- What social media platforms do they spend most of their time on?
- Where are they based?
- How often are they logging in to their social media accounts?
Now, I know what you’re thinking… how long is this all going to take? But, remember, all this market research will actually save you time and money in the long run.
After all, what’s the point of advertising on Snapchat if your target market prefers LinkedIn?
Once you’ve found your target market, it’ll be so much easier to create content which will appeal directly to that group.
You’ll be able to tailor what you create around what your customers are eager to see, and introduce a posting schedule which will directly target the maximum number of consumers.
Before you know it, you’ll have a following you can hardly keep up with, and your loyal followers will be recommending you to their friends… and their friends… you get the idea.
Take note of the competition
It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room… your competition.
Of course, any good business idea is bound to have a little bit of competition, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
In fact, it’s healthy to have opposition, and if you can use it to your advantage, that’s even better.
To do this, you need to get to know your biggest competitors. And I mean really get to know them. Unfortunately, a quick Google search about what they have to offer won’t suffice this time, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.
A fantastic way to monitor, not only how well your social media strategy is getting on, but also your competitors’ success is through the use of social listening tools.
These nifty tools will tell you everything you need to know about how your brand is performing across social media; has an influencer mentioned your new product, and what did they think?
These are the sorts of questions that will be answered instantly with the help of a social monitoring tool. But… what’s that got to do with the competition?
The great thing is, social listening tools don’t just track your brand, they also take note of competitors, letting you know when they’ve been mentioned across different social channels.
By taking note of what people are saying in real-time about your rivals, you can successfully adapt and improve your own social media marketing strategy.
It’ll also help you to build up a better profile of your target market – by seeing who is interacting with your competitors and what they’re saying, you can gain a greater understanding of what you need to provide for your followers, and detect any gaps in the current market.
Check out these recommended social media listening tools:
Consistency is key
Let’s be honest, brand image is really important.
How can you expect consumers to invest in your startup if you don’t have a clear and transparent brand?
Now, we know how vital it is for small businesses to have a strong social media presence, but this is only relevant if your brand stays consistent across every social media platform you use.
According to statistics, it can take anywhere from 5 to 7 impressions before a customer is able to remember your brand.
When you think about it, this is actually quite a lot. That’s why it’s so important to maintain an easily identifiable brand image – that way, every time your brand pops up on social media, potential customers are becoming more familiarised with who you are, which will in turn make them more intrigued about what exactly you can offer them.
In order to stay loyal to your brand, consumers need to know what you stand for and what they can expect from you.
Of course, this goes for visual branding such as your logo, name, and handle, but also for the less in-your-face aspects of your brand, like voice.
Creating a brand voice and message which is congruous with your product is essential for ensuring your startup is trusted by consumers, and increasing brand awareness.
You can do this by contributing to the conversations in your industry – get your voice heard, and the rest will follow.
Create quality content
It’s easy to get lost in a world of digital marketing and social media campaigns, but all of that amounts to nothing without quality content that people want to invest in.
Like we mentioned earlier, image is everything, and having content that people actually want to look at will make all the difference to the way people view your brand.
The average person on the internet takes just 15 seconds to make up their mind about whether they want to remain on a webpage, or direct their search elsewhere. 15 seconds. Doesn’t give you long does it?
That’s why it’s crucial that you grab the attention of your consumers the moment they click on your page.
We’ve spoken a bit before about what quality content actually is, and now it’s your turn to implement this.
Whether that’s with a funny gif, a well-written introduction, or a captivating infographic – it doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it (within reason)!
Make yourself known
Producing quality content and a consistent brand is great and all, but only if there’s actually people checking out what you’re posting.
There’s nothing more demoralising than putting loads of work into a social media post, or a new product launch, just to be met with the sound of crickets.
Not to worry, though! Here are three ways you can maximise your reach:
- 1 – Track your reach using analytics
Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to get people to view what we post on social media – in fact, data suggests that as little as 2% of people are actually taking notice of your posts.
Luckily for you, most social media platforms these days have their very own built-in analytic tools, which will help you get a better understanding of your audience, and how to increase it.
Here are what some of the most popular platforms have to offer:
- Twitter Analytics not only gives you the option to track your engagement rate, but it also provides you with monthly stats, so you can identify your most successful posts, and begin to recognise trends.
- Facebook Insights works in a similar way, giving you weekly updates which use the data from your posts to determine the best times to post, and the content your followers are most likely to engage with.
- Instagram Insights is another handy tool, which shares with you a range of information about your profile, from how each of your posts has performed in terms of likes, to how many profile visits you’ve had.
The point is, there are plenty of tools that will help you get to grips with how much attention your posts are getting, and once you manage to digest all the data (it’ll be a lot!) you can really start tailoring your posts for optimal engagement!
- 2 – Capitalise on influencer marketing
As I’m sure you’re aware, influencers are everywhere on social media at the moment.
However, whilst some can be wary of influencers, they are not to be dismissed in your marketing strategy!
Not only can influencer marketing create a huge influx of new customers, but it also generates a lot of profit, with 22% of marketers regarding it as the most cost-effective way of increasing reach.
Studies have shown that Instagram is the most effective social media platform for influencer marketing which I’m sure will come as no surprise to most of you.
It’s hard to scroll through Instagram these days without seeing a celebrity or influencer involved in a ‘paid partnership’. But, that’s not to be scoffed at… they clearly work!
Choose wisely, though!
You need to make sure you’re aligning your brand with someone who shares your values, ethos, and ultimately, supports your company.
If someone is sincere, they can really help you maximise reach, particularly within your target market. If someone is insincere, however, customers will see straight through it, and this is likely to damage the trustworthiness of your brand and the loyalty of your existing customers.
- 3 – Use strategic hashtags
The moment you’ve all been waiting for… hashtags!
Okay, I think we can all admit we’ve fallen victim to some embarrassing hashtagging at some point in our lives, but the past is in the past, and we’re all about the future now.
Hashtags are actually a great marketing tool to help increase engagement across posts.
Data suggests that including a hashtag in a post can increase engagement by 12.6%, as it opens it up to a wider audience.
This can be really influential and help to generate a lot more support for your brand, particularly if it’s discovered by people who have searched for a specific hashtag, and are clearly looking for something related to your company.
‘But how do I know what to hashtag?’
I hear you ask… Well, that’s where useful websites like RiteTag come in handy.
Not only does it instantly tell you how popular certain hashtags are, but it also provides you with related suggestions to give you an idea of what else to include.
For example, typing ‘startup’ brings up a load of other possible hashtags:
It’s also important to make sure you’re adapting what you hashtag and how you hashtag across different social media platforms.
What works on Twitter might not work on Instagram, so be responsive and take into account the different audiences on each platform.
Well… that concludes our advice to help you get your social media for your startup up and running.
It’s finally time for you to venture off into the depths of social media and put these ideas to good use!
We know it can be really daunting to start from scratch with a new business, but hopefully following these tips will make it that little bit easier for you!
Don’t forget us when you’re famous!