Launching a startup is always hard, so you’ll need all the help you can get, both offline and online. In this increasingly digital era, if your company’s not on social media then you pretty much don’t exist, so building up your online presence should be one of the main goals in your growth strategy.
Social media marketing can attract thousands of new customers to your business and increase popularity and brand awareness. But, the tools that help you grow can also lead to your downfall, so learn how to use social media wisely to rack up positive social proof and make sure you avoid the pitfalls that many newcomers fall into.
You need to encourage internet users to talk about your business and engage with your online campaigns, so that more and more people find out who you are and what you do. Increasing likes, shares, clicks and eventually conversion are all fundamental.
But before you begin, make sure you check out the 5 most important things all startups should know about social media:
1. It’s Not All About Facebook
If you’re new to this business, then you might be tempted to think about Facebook when it comes to social media. But, there are in fact over 50 different major social media platforms available online. And, the good news is that many of them are underexploited, so there’s plenty of space for you to start building a strong community around your brand.
According to Kissmetrics, the most popular social media portals are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, but don’t underestimate the power of other relevant platforms, like Periscope, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, or any other channel that matches your activity and your target audience. Figure out where your audience are online and select the right channels to communicate with your public.
2. You Must Offer Valuable Content
Facebook alone hosts over 40 million active small business pages, each one with something different to sell. So, unless you provide your followers with entertaining or useful information, you’re going to get lost in the sea of competition, with only a handful of followers and almost no engagement.
Valuable content can change your position and search ranking, as most users are craving helpful information. Use social media to share well-researched or original articles, with good sources and high quality images to support your ideas. Don’t just share publicity and promos. Over real value to your audience and publish articles longer than 300 words, avoiding adding keywords just for the sake of it.
An article that is stuffed with keywords will not only read like a kick in the head, but you could end up inviting a Google penalty for manipulating search engines. You’ll also have a high bounce rate, as potential readers click on the title and lose interest after the first paragraph.
3. Social Media Works Better if You Have a Blog
Statistics show that business blogs gain readers’ trust faster than websites alone and they’re generally what that determines whether users will come back to your site.
A blog is a perfect place to start conversations, face bad reviews and build a solid reputation online. For a startup, reputation is money and having a friendly and useful blog where people can easily learn about your business means more chances of being successful.
4. Conversion is the Main Goal of Social Media Marketing
No matter how many followers you get on social media, they’re pretty much worthless if you’re not getting engagement. Unless you can make them click to learn more about you and your business, your virtual followers won’t bring you any money.
To encourage fans follow you to your website, you’ll need to design efficient Calls to Action (CTAs), and powerful landing pages, where you can command users to take action in the direction you desire (request a quote, get a free download, sign up for more information, etc.).
Many social media channels allow you to introduce CTAs, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so link your social media accounts to your website right from the beginning.
Do your homework before you start posting online: learn about your potential customers’ behavior and try to build a long-term strategy. If you’re not a marketing expert, hire someone who knows how to influence audiences to your benefit.
However, traditional marketing alone won’t cut it on social media. You must keep it real and get to know your public, with patience and consistency. Optimization and keywords can’t substitute authenticity and a strong voice. Keep an open mind, listen to your followers and use their feedback to get better online and offline.
5. Good Results Don’t Come for Free
A good social media campaign costs money. Buying advertising helps increase your number of followers, especially at the beginning of your activity, when you need to build a strong image online.
Almost all successful stories in social media marketing start when businesses decide to invest in growing their visibility. Don’t get scared about costs though. Small budgets can bring good results too, thanks to analytical tools all channels have developed.
You can use social media to raise your traffic efficiently using advanced targeting features and build a large community around your product quickly and with low costs. The best thing is that not even one cent is wasted and you’ll get real, measurable results in real time, so you can adjust your strategy constantly.
Social media is not as easy as it sounds and you must have a realistic plan to be able to balance your online and offline activities.
Experiment and test all types of strategies to get the great results. [Startupgrind]