How to Pin Down the Perfect Social Media Strategy for your Startup
Social media is kind of a big deal these days. You can look anywhere and people will be telling you how important it is to “establish your presence online”. There’s no doubt that this is true, but it’s not just a matter of creating a Facebook and Twitter page for your business and waiting for the followers and likes to roll in. This is obvious, but what might not be as clear to many startups is that there’s not a one size fits all strategy that can be applied to every company.
If you want a successful social media presence then you need to develop a plan that is tailored to fit your particular startup and its associated brand identity. If you have a strong sense of who you are, who your audience is, and what you need to do to reach them, then that is the launching pad from which you can base a successful campaign.
Let’s look at that step by step and listen to what some of the best in the business have to say about turning social media from a nice idea to an incredibly profitable outlet.
Identifying Yourself and your Goals
It’s fair to say that if you want other people to understand who you are, you need to understand yourself. This is especially true for businesses looking to find their perfect market and in the case of social media, where there is so much out there looking to grab people’s attention. So how’s it done?
The first step you should always be taking is to have a good understanding of what exactly you want to accomplish with social media and by extension your business as a whole. What exactly are you looking to achieve with social media? Is it as simple as raising awareness or do you want to build a network of powerful connections? In the interest of identifying yourself and reaching your audience, social media can be more than just an outlet, but an incredibly powerful tool.
The process of representing yourself on social media can help both you and your audience understand who you are. The first step is to identify the kind of networks that best suit your company and your interests. If you goal is to reach other companies and to find clients and connections, then LinkedIn is your best avenue. If you want to reach a broader audience as a whole and raise awareness, then Facebook and Twitter are worth investing in. If your business is very image-oriented then Instagram is a great option.
The choices you make and the platforms you choose to put the most effort in not only help you reach the right kinds of people, but also can help you self-identify. The next step is to take that kernel of your brand and to really nail it down with images that represent you. Plaster them on all your outline outlets and produce great content that not only gets people interested, but also gives you a real personality. If you’ve got something really remarkable then it’s worth investing a bit of money to share it with as many people as possible using the social campaign tools out there.
Knowing your Audience
BufferApp, a staple name in the social media field, wrote recently on what it takes to find your social media niche. As far as they are concerned, it all comes down to audience. We already know how valuable this can be when it comes to identifying the right platforms to focus on, but it doesn’t stop there. If you’ve found your audience then you know you’re marketing to the people that want to buy into your content or your product. That leads to more converts, more sales, and ultimately a sustainable business. So how’s it done exactly?
Google Analytics is a great tool to start out with. By simply checking the demographics that are visiting your website and other online outlets, you can pin down the kinds of people most interested in what you have to offer, according to things like age, gender, and purchasing power. Not only will this knowledge help you identify the right places to set up shop, but it will also give you a better sense of what you should be saying and how you should be saying it. Which brings me to the most important step...
Knowing who you are is great. Knowing who you should be marketing to is even better. But ultimately if you want to succeed in social media, you need to be able to engage people. You need to make them care and content is king as far as that is concerned. Hootsuite, another popular social media management tool, has a lot of great advice on what it takes to build a successful content plan for your social media platform.
First, you need to figure out the right distribution of what are called Owned, Earned, and Paid media. Each of these serves a specific function when it comes to driving your success as a company.
Owned media is content that you control entirely, produced by you, and distributed by you. This kind of media is most powerful for establishing your personality, your interests as a company, and the qualities that define your product. Leveraging this is a great way to convert people from the free version of your product to a more valuable paid version, so long as you can effectively sell them on it.
Earned media is content produced by others about your product if they choose to mention you. It’s not always easy to access this kind of media which is why it’s called earned, but it’s incredibly valuable once you have it. Earned media helps convince people not already sold on your idea that others in the industry are vouching for you and the quality of whatever you’re offering. It’s a great way to convince people that aren’t already sold or familiar with what you’re offering.
Paid media is unique content that you present as a part of your advertising and serves a similar function as earned media. It helps people outside your audience recognize that what you have is something they should want.
Now that you have all that in scope, you can start to nail down your plan, your distribution, and the tools you need to get the job done. Basically, if you’re putting out good, genuine content in the right places for the right people, you should be one step closer to success. Social media can help get you there if you treat it right.