Published 21 November 2017 Category: Marketing, Startups, Entrepreneurs, Business, Social Media

Tips For Creating A Social Buzz About Your Business

Marketing your startup in social media is something any business should consider from the onset - but there’s a right and wrong way to go about it.

Here’s a checklist of steps to lay the foundation for growing your social audience. Everyone from Coca-Cola to Nutella to Amazon to new startups use social media to better their marketing efforts - it’s just essential to lay a good foundation.

The risk of delaying a social media strategy: A marginal online presence can directly impact business leads, salaries, career advancement, speaking engagements, book sales, etc. But how do you know if you are doing it right? Set goals for what you want to achieve in social media. Before you write the first post or tweet, you need to ask yourself a really important question:

Why is my business on social media?
If you don’t know the answer to that question, that’s the first red flag. This goes for whether you are managing your own brand or someone else’s. You must set goals for what you want to get out of your social media activity.

Goals generally fall into one of two categories:
Hard goals: Sell products, collect email addresses, drive ticket sales, event turnout
Soft goals: Generate brand awareness, promote thought leadership and bolster employee morale

Hard goals are measurable, and soft goals often aren’t. That’s why social media gets a bad rap because many grumpy business leaders question the “ROI” (return on investment) because those softer goals are what marketers are hoping to achieve.

Those soft goals are worthy, but you need to pick at least one hard goal to quantify the success of your efforts. Growing your number of Facebook Page Likes is NOT a goal. It’s a means to an end. What matters is how the social media activity drives your business. These goals should inform everything you do. And they will change from time-to-time.

1. Know your audience - As a startup, it’s really tempting to want “everyone” to love you. For sure, you are finding your way and often changing who your ideal customer might be.Because all of the social media platforms are so different, identifying the characteristics of your customer group or groups is needed in order to focus your efforts.

Some audience characteristics to consider: Gender, Ethnicity, Age, Education, Location, Lifestyle, Interests. This exercise is called developing “customer personas”. The more time you spend getting into the lives of your potential buyer, the better you will be able to bond with them in the social space.

2. Pick two social media channels best for your objectives
Once you identify your goals and know the audience you want to reach, then it becomes a matter of deciding where you place your content. That should depend on the strengths of the platform. Do NOT try to be everywhere. Pick two or three platforms, maximum. Better to have a loyal audience on one platform than a less engaged group on three. Sadly, some companies hesitate to commit to social media because they think they need to be everywhere, and they can’t see being able to sustain the social activity while working non-stop on the business itself.

Here’s where you need to be devoting your energy:
Facebook - Slightly more female, Wide appeal to all ages / the only place to reach 40+, Better educated / 77% of college grads are on it, Conversation-centric.
Instagram / Snapchat - Female dominant, Next to Facebook, best place to reach under 30, More urban, Visual-centric / Food, fashion, beauty reign.
Pinterest - Heavily female, Strong driver of website traffic with minimal effort, Visual-centric / Topics of content organised into ‘boards’, ‘How to’ content is popular.
LinkedIn - Male dominant, Under age 30 is largest demo, Almost half earn $75K+, Career-centric / Can be good place to recruit talent, show thought leadership.
YouTube - Male dominant, Huge with young / 98% of Internet users 18-24 are on YouTube, Males into sports and gaming / Females into beauty, Typical user watches 4-10 hours a month
Twitter - Gender balanced, young people are on it today, News-centric / 90% of people on platform want latest information, Better educated, Smaller audience than Facebook, but the audience is more influential.
Once you pick your channels, you should think seriously about creating a blog for your startup. You’ll want an online home for your authored content — and while LinkedIn can be an option for authored posts in the short-term, it’s always better to steer traffic to the site you own. Once there, people will discover more things about your brand — a win-win.

3. Measure, Adjust, Measure
The next step in the creative process involves numbers. You need to set up a method to manage and measure what happens. Remember the goals you set in step #1? Create a spreadsheet to track your results over time. Google Analytics is indispensable for measuring the amount of referral traffic coming to your website directly from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the rest. Look at these numbers everyday.

There are many social media publishing tools out there that will also give you quite a bit of information about which of your posts are performing best. The tools or software you use are your choice. The main thing is to monitor your KPIs (“Key Performance Indicators”) monthly. This will become a powerful way to tell a story of momentum to motivate your team or pitch to investors. Above all, you want to learn from what your one-of-a-kind audience is most interested in seeing, then pattern your behaviour.

4. Find your voice
Simon Sinek, the British-born marketing guru and motivational speaker, says it best, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”

Hands down, the biggest mistake you can make in social media is thinking you can use it like a megaphone to persuade people to give you money in return for whatever you’re selling. No more than 5 percent of your posts should be promotional. The rest of the time you should act like the gracious host of a dinner party: Praising the work of others, asking for advice, showing humility, expressing wonder, recommending a good movie, etc. In other words, take time to establish yourself as a likeable citizen before turning on the sales machine.

So there you have it. Going through this exercise shouldn’t take more than a few hours, which is well worth the investment and will lay a solid foundation for growing a social audience for weeks and months to come.