By Noor Abdel-Raziq, RIC Centre Communications Intern
Back in the day, when social media was first introduced, businesses didn’t think it was an important tool to use, but that’s no longer the case. Social media is almost a sign of credibility—a business with no social media presence may seem sketchy and vice versa.
As a startup wanting to reach consumers and large audiences with little to no budget allocated to marketing, social media is crucial. You can build brand awareness, keep your customers up-to-date, increase leads and/or sales, and build your social media presence using organic (not paid) marketing techniques.
Here are some tips to help you start:
1. Pick the right platform(s) for your brand
Each social media platform serves a purpose and user behaviours tend to be different. For example, Facebook, is more of a personal connection, users use it to connect with their friends and family on a personal level and will want to connect with your brand on a personal level as well. On the other hand, LinkedIn users will want to connect with your brand on a more professional level. Know what your message is, who your target market is, and from there you can choose your communication channel.
2. Create a social media plan
Set goals, objectives, plans, strategies, and tactics. Figure out what you want, where you want it, when you want it, how you want it, and how are you going to do it! Think big, act small, and move quick (BSQ). You could aim for that $3 million likes, give yourself a time period to get there, develop a realistic plan to get there, and begin executing and adjusting accordingly.
3. Don’t forget the details
Small details on your social media page(s) matter. For example, don’t disregard the page descriptions and make sure that they are well written, enticing, and contain links to your other account(s) or website. Also, ensure you proof read your posts to ensure that they’re error free.
4. Optimize and analyze
Try your best to make your content relevant and engaging to your customers. Add images, links, videos —preferably branded—, and hashtags relevant to the message in your post(s) to increase engagement. You should also analyze previous posts (yours or your competitors) to see what type(s) of posts work best for your audience and when your audience is mostly online. This will give you a better idea of what your audience enjoys, what time of day they enjoy it, and what you should be posting more of to grab their attention. Lastly, you should have a call to action on your posts to encourage users to engage with your content; this could be as simple as writing the words “Share”, “Like”, or “Comment.”
5. Hear what the expert has to say
When I asked Róisín Bonner, Social Media Lead at Microsoft, what she suggests a startup do differently to capture the attention of audiences and to engage with their customers on social media, she said, “Listen to what your customers or target audience is saying about your product, solution, or industry – and engage! When you provide true value through 1:1 knowledge sharing or support, your customers will remember you!”
It’s hard to include everything there is to know in one post, however, if you’re interested in knowing more about social media and small businesses, check out the other posts on the RIC Centre blog on why you should be on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.