April 8, 2016
When it comes to business success, social media have become indispensable. In order for a new company to be properly promoted, creating a strong online presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or YouTube is no longer just a possibility – it is now a matter of priority. When used right, social sites can build brand awareness through online word-of-mouth and create a steady flow of referrals to business websites.
However, what many new entrepreneurs don’t realize is that creating accounts and expecting miracles to happen will guarantee nothing but failure – being successful on social media requires time and effort. The following tips will help you learn how to leverage the power of social media to accelerate your startup success.
Before engaging in any social media activity, what you should definitely do is produce an overall strategic plan. First off, you need to know which goals you want to achieve so you can start planning and thus avoid chaos.
During the planning stages, try to select social networks that best fit your goals. Each site has strengths that can support different types of businesses and marketing campaigns. Consider the following:
- Facebook. With over 1.6 billion users, this site offers opportunities to reach a wide audience.
- Twitter. About two-thirds of its users buy from the brands they follow. The site works well for content distribution.
- LinkedIn. A great social network for startups that are looking to find business partners, team members, and service providers.
- YouTube. Video content has become a powerful and productive marketing tool.
- Pinterest. An image sharing site that is especially suitable for startups with physical products.
These are just several examples – there are other social networks you might find useful for your startup. In any case, after you´ve selected appropriate venues, you can start building your social media presence.
First impressions matter. Your social media profile serves to introduce your business to your audience, so it must provide an accurate, informative, and entertaining view of your brand. Whichever site you are using, make sure to create a complete profile that includes your company´s name, location, website address, and contact data. Don’t forget to use a nice profile picture – maybe your brand´s logo – and an interesting yet professional general description. Your company´s profile should communicate professionalism and friendliness while attracting the attention of users. With such a profile, you will make every first encounter with your company count.
Some startups get off on the wrong foot by viewing social media exclusively as avenues for promotion, so they bombard their audience with boring and aggressive sales pitches, eventually putting them off. Never do that. What you can do instead is find creative ways to nudge people toward your brand without becoming overbearing. In other words, while it is sometimes necessary to advertise your products and services directly, try to do it creatively and in moderate amounts. Otherwise, you will not see you audience grow.
Discreet Brand Promotion
People will not talk about a brand that does not engage them. The need to engage social media users forces companies to find creative ways to captivate user attention while promoting their brand at the same time. Enter storytelling.
Storytelling promotes a brand in a discreet yet entertaining way. How to do it? For example, you can create a story in which the lead character is your buyer persona who solves a certain problem or fulfils a certain need. You can also use customer testimonials and pack them into captivating storytelling. If you tell interesting stories, people will become aware of your brand without feeling forced to make purchases. You can post those stories on your website and then, of course, promote them via your social channels. Such social media posts will drive traffic to your website and eventually convert prospects into buyers.
In addition to providing engaging brand-related stories, you should remember to offer value to the community by posting content that helps people improve their lives. Rather than filling the company´s social media page with dry content, try posting how-to articles, lists, tips & tricks, customer success stories, videos, jokes, and other types of informative and entertaining content without asking for anything in return. A company with an exciting, unpredictable social media presence will enjoy a large number of returning visitors who will eventually become customers.
Excellent customer service
If you show your customers that you are here for them, you will endear yourself to the community more than some other brands that only want to close a sale. That´s why you need to provide outstanding customer service, and social media platforms are perfect for that purpose. Why? Because people love to use them to share their opinions, ask questions, and seek help.
When clients leave comments, inquiries or complaints, they should promptly get a thorough and respectful response. When responding, show empathy and appreciation, and then proceed to resolve their issues. If they say something nice about your company, make sure to thank them. With such an excellent and respectful treatment, you will satisfy your customers and make them spread the word of their good experience, which is precisely what you want to achieve.
Connecting with People
Great customer service is a must, but you should also use social media to connect and communicate with people in different ways as much as you can. Talk to your fans and followers – seek their opinions, solicit feedback, make them participate in your decision-making processes. Do some more – like their statuses, re-tweet their tweets, re-pin their images, share their videos, and so on. Go a step further – orchestrate contests and giveaways, people love those. Try different ways, and always make sure to keep the communication alive. The more your startup interacts with people, the further the word of its existence will spread.
Friendly and Professional Communication
Social media gives you a chance to project the image of your startup as pleasant, friendly, and professional. This needs to be enhanced through the way you communicate. When conversing on social media, try to convey the right tone by reflecting the style of your visitors. If they are causal and use emoticons, reply in the same manner. Use humor, but do it carefully because sometimes users can misunderstand it and take offense. Most of all, make sure to use proper spelling and grammar. People will lose confidence in a company staffed by individuals who cannot write properly.
Successful startups use social media to generate leads, drive website traffic, and boost sales. When used to build a community around a brand and engage users, social media can indeed accelerate success. By following these tips, you can contribute to the growth of your startup. However, don’t forget to evaluate your strategy and check your channels regularly. Available online tools can help you monitor your social media success, allowing you to plan new tactics, change your approach, and develop new and innovative ways to make social media strengthen your company.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community