Boost Your Startup's Social Media Marketing with 10 Expert Tips
Many startups are finding success with integrated social media campaigns. What is an "integrated social media campaign," you ask? A fancy way of saying they're using the online world to attract and engage real-world people with their real-world products. While this sounds rather obvious at first glance, it's a somewhat nuanced approach to social media marketing that has only recently gained steam.
Sure, you're posting interesting and relevant content to your blog, videos to YouTube, and job openings to LinkedIn—but is it working?
Today we're looking at five suggestions for how to make your startup's social media marketing pay off in a big way by tweaking it to attract and engage your audience and encourage offline contact. Where specifics are appropriate, we'll mention them, but in general, this is a list of high-level brand-related tips for you to integrate into an existing social media strategy.
1. Know your target audience
To create effective social media marketing campaigns, it is crucial to understand your target audience and your buyer personas. This involves researching and identifying your ideal customer's demographics, interests, and behaviors. For example, if your startup sells vegan cosmetics, your target audience will likely be environmentally conscious individuals interested in animal welfare. You can create social media content that resonates with them and use targeted advertising to reach them.
2. Choose the right social media platforms
Not all social media platforms suit every business. Your startup should choose the platforms that align with its objectives and target audience. You need to be where your prospects and customers are. For example, LinkedIn is ideal for B2B businesses, while Instagram is perfect for businesses with visually appealing products or services.
3. Create engaging content
Creating engaging content is essential for your startup's social media success. This involves creating posts, videos, or images that are visually appealing, informative, and relevant to your target audience. For example, if you run a fitness startup, you can create videos of your customers working out or before-and-after photos of their transformations.
This tip crosses platforms and has multiple meanings. First and foremost, be yourself. People want to connect with a person, not a corporation. So even if your startup is already well known and has an existing brand image, you'll make those one-on-one connections that create lasting customer relationships by tweeting as you do. Of course, you'll want to stay in brand voice, but being a startup, that's not as difficult as you might think; after all, your brand voice most likely is your voice, right?
Part two of personalizing social media means you want to address each audience member individually. We're not talking about calling people out by name here; instead, we're saying to craft your posts and updates with a single individual in mind. That way, your phrasing will be personal rather than generic, creating that close bond we keep discussing.
5. Use hashtags
#Hashtags# are an effective way to increase the visibility of your social media posts. They help users find relevant content and can also help your startup reach a wider audience. For example, if your startup hosts an event, you can use event-specific hashtags to attract attendees.
People are creatures of habit. They have comfortable routines and get cranky when those routines are disrupted. What happened the last time someone interrupted you before you finished your coffee and checking email when you got to your desk? See what we mean?
So for your blog posts, for example, if you want to increase readership and grow devoted followers who devour each new post, not to mention share them with coworkers, you need to post at the same time, on the same day, every week. That way, your post can become part of their ritual.
First, create a social media content calendar to ensure you know what topics you're generating and when you want to post them. Then, employ automation software. Many of these automation suites include ways to schedule posts ahead of time across platforms. So your new blog post will go up at the same time every Monday and Wednesday morning, then the social media posts will go out with links to direct those audiences over to read them, too. You can often create crossposts, so your LinkedIn and Facebook followers will get an abbreviated version of each post. All while you're getting your coffee and catching up on emails.
This follows from tip #1 about automation; depending on your solution, it may be redundant since many social media automation tools are already integrated. So this tip is for anyone not using automation or a collection of tools rather than an all-in-one solution.
Be sure your tools integrate. What use is automated blog posting if you must remember to tweet a link every time a new post goes up? Or if you have to set a reminder to email your contact list when you have a new tutorial video uploaded?
Most social media and automation software has API access, that's Application Programming Interface, that allows it to be connected to similar software or platforms. So even if you're not using a Twitter automation tool, your blog posting software can use the Twitter API to send notifications. And for the cases where there is no API or when you're stuck using legacy software, look into robotic process automation (RPA) options. This is a software-based robot, or bot, that automates steps taken through the same user interface human users interact with, thus allowing even manual processes to be done automatically and on a schedule.
Once you've put some of these processes and solutions in place, you'll want to be sure you can measure success, right? Invest in a good analytics engine and lay out your KPIs. That way, you'll have the correct data and the ability to learn as much as possible from that data.
There are inexpensive options here; the first among them is Google Analytics. Many of the automation tools referenced above include analytics modules, so you may not have to go far to glean the necessary information. HubSpot, Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, and Sendible all come to mind as comprehensive suites.
And in case you're cobbling together a solution until you have a proof-of-concept, most of the leading social media platforms have built-in analytics that you can point your API at for basic data on performance metrics.
9. Engage with your followers
Engaging with your followers is key to building a loyal customer base. This involves responding to comments, messages, and reviews promptly. For example, if a customer leaves a positive comment on your post, you can thank them and offer a discount on their next purchase.
10. Try, iterate, try, iterate
When you have data to analyze and you've gotten a handle on which aspects of your campaign are returning the results you want, it's time to iterate. Don't be shy about dumping platforms from a campaign if they're underperforming. Focusing your resources on those with higher ROI can have exponential results.
All told, social media is here to stay, and when it comes to marketing your startup, there truly is no better way to reach the target audience you want to reach with the information you want them to have. Use these tips and suggestions to fine-tune your efforts, and we promise you'll see improvements in click-through, open rates, or whatever metrics you're tracking.