Social Media for Startups

There is very little that can match the power of social media for promoting a start-up. Social media not only gives you the capability of reaching out to millions of people around the world, to educate them about your services or products, it is also for the most part free.

Before the advent of social media, businesses had to rely on traditional print, radio and television advertising. This was expensive and only really accessible to large companies with substantial marketing budgets. A start up today has the benefit of social media at their fingertips. Let’s examine how to get the most from this free and growing marketing resource.

Know Your Audience

Social media can work for any type of company, regardless as to whether they sell products or services, sell direct to consumers or business to business, are online only or located in a brick and mortar store. The key to success is that the business should understand their target market and reach out to a very specific audience whether that is location or niche based.

In addition, social media can actually help you to get a better understanding of your audience. The analytics provided by the social media profiles, gives valuable information on the demographics of those who respond best to what you offer.

Reassure Your Potential Clients

Much of today’s commerce is carried out online and therefore social media can work for you even if you are building your business from your dining room table. However, if you want to give your business some extra credibility and provide contact details on your profiles, such as a physical address or telephone number, it is worth considering using the services of a virtual office. The Workstation offers a comprehensive guide to the benefits a virtual workspace can bring to businesses, particularly when they are in the start-up stage.

Branding Is Important

Your business should be instantly recognisable to your audience, whichever social media profile they see you on. That means being consistent in the logo, colours, profile and header images you use across all sites. The Pink Group can help with this as they offer a free cheat sheet which provides information on all the different images sizes you will need.

If you are not a whizz at designing yourself and you don’t have a large budget to spend on creating a logo and header images, the best option is to look for a freelancer to create the artwork for you. There are many freelance websites, such as Elance and Odesk, where you can hire a graphic designer on a project by project basis. This will not be expensive, but it will give your profiles a professional look.

Content is King

The final piece of the puzzle is creating content which will appeal to your target audience and which they will be motivated to comment on and share.

There are three key ways to gain traction on social media, attract new followers and thus get your business in front of a much wider audience.

1. All about the Visual

Images and video work well on social media for generating likes, shares and comments. Recent research highlighted that if you post an image to Facebook it can garner an 87% interaction rate from your followers, the next best, which was link based updates, could only manage 4%. The same was found to be true on Twitter, here photos received 35% more retweets than other kinds of updates.

This is to be expected, because as people are scrolling through their timelines, it is more likely that an image will attract their attention.

2. Help People to Interact

Social media is a place where people gather to communicate and to be entertained. Therefore any fun elements you can add to encourage people to interact with you are going to have a positive impact on your profile’s popularity. Giveaways and competitions work particularly well for this as do polls, games and quizzes.

3. Ask & Listen

Consumers want to be heard, particularly by the businesses they have invested in. Therefore don’t be afraid to ask your followers questions. These questions can be about their lives and interests but they can also be about what they think of your products and services.

The important factor is listening and responding to your audience’s comments. Even if you aren’t able to meet their requests, at least acknowledge that they have been heard. Furthermore, all of this information will be valuable in gaining a better understanding of whether you are meeting your target market’s needs.