7 Social Media Strategies for Startups

Social media.

A phrase that causes shivers to run down the spine of many a startup marketer. Especially if you’re in bootstrap mode and don’t have an actual marketer on staff yet. Honestly, we don’t think that fear is well-founded or justified. Today, we’re going to give you the kick in the pants you need to overcome your hesitations and get your social media marketing strategy in gear.

And we’re going to leave out the hassle, headaches, and heartburn often associated with this phase of startup marketing. There are 7 steps to be covered, and they’re presented in roughly the order in which they should be tackled, so get ready to dive in!

social media marketing can be scary for startups, but it doesn't have to be.

1) Define Your Goals: Make them SMART

SMART is an acronym, a mnemonic to help you remember the important aspects of every business goal you set. This helps ensure each and every one of them will be actionable and simplifies the process of holding yourself accountable. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

So a goal that starts out like this:

“We’re going to increase conversions.”

Is transformed into this:

“We’re going to increase Facebook conversions by 4% by the end of the quarter.”

Doesn’t the latter example sound more useful?

It includes a timeframe, a concrete goal for both the metric to be grown and how it will be measured, and it’s realistic and relevant to an ongoing marketing campaign.

2) Save Some of your Best Content for Social Media

Your audience is smart. They’ll know if that update post was thrown online last minute just to show activity for today. So rather than using your presence solely for presenting links to your OTHER content, why not give your channel audiences something exclusive? Everybody loves getting invited to the party, right?

Videos, special event details, product sneak-peeks, Q&A sessions with the founder, the sky’s the limit really. As long as there’s an air of exclusivity, your audience will relish being part of it. And readers who relish are readers who tell their friends!

Maybe hold back a long-form piece that dives into your R&D set up. Or one that doesn’t quite fit in with the company blog’s style, but that you think will resonate well with your Instagram followers. Or tailor an infographic specifically for potential candidates you’re wooing on StackExchange.

Whoever the audience, they’ll eat up the content and appreciate the time you put into creating it just for them.

3) The Next Big Thing: User-Generated Content

Think of this as your social media secret weapon. By taking some of the onus for creation off of your shoulders, including UGC in your social media strategy gives you some breathing room. 

Have you already released your product into the world? Cool, run a contest on Instagram for early adopters. Have them post pictures of your widget in the wild with a custom hashtag for a chance to be featured in your feed. Throw in a discount code or early access to a new beta as added incentive and you’ll get even more submissions.

Or maybe ask your Facebook tribe for input on an upcoming release, offering a chance to beta test as the prize for best infographic that summarizes why your product rocks their world. Whatever the specifics, you get the idea.

Feature your audiences content in your stream and you get breathing room to create more content, you turn the spotlight around to shine it on your tribe, and you gain their respect for showing that you respect them in turn.


4) Is it Time for a Support-Specific Account?

Once your profile has been up and running for a while, you may start to notice a trend in incoming messages. Your customers will find your presence, and start directing questions, comments, and complaints to you via their favorite channel. They may DM you, or they may air their grievances in public by mentioning your account in their posts. 

This may be a signal that your presence has grown mature enough that you need to split off these support requests into a separate, support-specific account. That way, you can keep your main company feed free of clutter, while still providing the service and support your customers have come to expect right there in-channel.

Bonus points if you feature some of these interactions back in the main account as proof of said excellent service and support.

5) Be Consistent

We all like a little consistency in our lives, right? Why would your social media following be any different? Now, we can’t offer a one-size-fits-all definition of “consistency” here. You’ll need to do some experimentation to find out what it means for YOU. What we can say is this—automation is your friend.

Use a content marketing solution that includes the ability to schedule posts for regular days and times, and not only will you blog be updated regularly, keeping the SEO bots happy, but your social media followers will get the updates they expect right when they expect them.

This kind of regularity is what breeds devoted readers, turning them into advocates, and from advocates they convert to customers. That counts double for your overseas followers who can get their updates just in time for morning coffee, while your social media team is still fast asleep.

6) Be Engaged. And While You’re At It, Be Engaging.

Remember those brand voice guidelines you developed back in the early days of your startup marketing? It’s time to break them out to ensure that each and every post that makes its way into your social media stream is consistently engaging. See what we did there? We tied #6 back to #5. Told you these were in rough order.

Social media is called “social” for a reason. Your audience will want to interact with your presence. They’ll want to retweet your updates, comment on your Facebook posts, and in return they’ll expect some amount of the same from you. This is where the cross-over between engaging and engaged come into play.

By using your brand voice in ALL of the ensuing interactions, your audience will be reassured that what they see in your feed is what they’ll get in all of their dealings with your company. And the better they feel about your Tweets, the better they’ll feel about your widget and the more trust they’ll put in you.

7) Tell Your Story.

Each of the above items come together in this one. Social media is about telling stories. For a startup like yours, that story is the brand story you’re developing and nurturing. Social media is truly one of the greatest tools ever invented for this purpose. The ability to combine your unique voice, with images, videos, and commentary directly from your users gives you an unparalleled ability to enthrall your audience.

And an enthralled audience is an engaged audience. And we all know what an engaged audience is. No? OK, an engaged audience is one that trusts the company they’re interacting with, whose content they’ve come to rely on for information about an industry, not just a product, and one who will be excited to share their love with their networks. Which is what social media marketing is all about—spreading the word.

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Jesse hails from Seattle, Wa. When he’s not creating great content, or staring at his laptop screen waiting for inspiration, he’s probably walking in the trees somewhere in the foothills of the nearby Cascade Mountains.

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