Social Media Marketing for Startups - Beginner’s Guide

The constant search for finding new ways of keeping your brand name on the radar of all your potential customers, is never-ending. Newspaper and television advertisements were the techniques, for the contemporary world. With the amount of dependency we have today on digitalisation, it has now become equally important for the businesses to seize every advantage that it brings along. It is irrefutable, that social media today has become an inseparable part of our lives, and hence like every other thing, it has also become a very necessary aspect of the concept of digital marketing. Whether you are a small startup or a huge multinational company, the need for an attractive social media presence is important. Apart from being highly cost efficient and effective, social media marketing is also one of the easiest ways of reaching your customers. So, in case, you are not already using this amazing profitable source for your startup marketing, you really are missing out on an incredible marketing opportunity.


Social Media Marketing for Startups

What is social media marketing?

When it comes to understanding the concept of social media marketing, it is as simple as marketing your business on the social media platforms like- Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. Even though it sounds pretty simple, there is a bit more to this definition. But before we get started with the tips and tricks of the trade, it’s pertinent to understand the need behind such a form of marketing.


Do startups really need social media marketing?

Like every other phenomenon, businesses too need to adapt to the change in trends. Since the market out there is fairly competitive, to survive this heat, businesses need to either have a strong unique selling point, which proofs them against any competition, or they must accept and improvise with the flow. Dejecting change or adaption has mostly proven to be terminal.
The Vice President of SEMrush, Mr. Maxim Roslyakov is of the opinion that, it is no longer possible to focus purely on physical stores. With the rise in competition, loyalty can not be expected even with discounted in-store prices. Nowadays, the competition is about bringing the convenience not just to the customer's doorstep, but also to his fingertips.
According to US retail expert and Forrester Research Retail analyst Sucharita Kodali, "the web is cannibalising the stores, and that has been going on for 20 years. But some traditional retailers push back and say, 'why should I invest in the web if it will cannibalise my store?" However, she says that digital is the cost of business, and the answer cannot be to ignore digital thinking all together.
Now to be at your best game, you must first accept the new business environment. It requires a significant amount of investment, along with a well-planned marketing strategy to lead you to success. If you are now deciding to bring your business on social media, there will be a few guiding concepts that can help you in formulating the perfect marketing scheme. Even though pacing yourself into social media can be pretty much overwhelming at first, but we are here with a few tips that will only make your life easier.
So, let’s get started!


Constituents to Successful Social Media Marketing for Startups

While marketing yourself over social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, you are basically interacting with your audience. On one hand, you are engaging on multiple levels with them, and on the other, you are also building your own brand awareness and interest. This effort generally leads to increased brand awareness. To begin with, it is important to first find your focus. Lay down the core values and the moto of your business, the primary objectives with which your company was formed, and the basic strengths that make you different from the others. After doing this, formulate all your schemes and strategies revolving around these basic principles. They will help you in finding your strongest selling points. Here are some of the most critical components that make up the basis of your social media marketing.


1. Formulation of your Startup’s Social Media Marketing Strategy

While it doesn’t take a lot to create a social media page, it certainly takes the better of you in making it successful. The whole concept of startup social media marketing stands on the sturdy pillar of a good strategy. Even though improvising and being spontaneous are very much necessary, but there are a few ground level routine decisions that need to be figured out. To chalk out a plan for yourself, start by answering these questions:

● What is your motive for being on social media?
● Which forum do you want to engage in?
● Who are your target audiences?
● What kind of content do you wish to put out there?
● What will be the frequency of your content posting?
● To what extent would you want to engage with the social media audience?
● How much of your time are you willing to spend on social media?
● To what capacity will you invest in digital marketing via social media?
● How will you synchronise your work across platforms?

Finding the answers to these questions will automatically bring out the key points of your strategy. Further, just sketch out the technicalities and you will have a strong strategy for yourself.

2. Planning, Creating and Posting of your Content

Content is the fuel of your vehicle. To keep your viewers engaged and attract more people to your work, you need to be active at all times. Whether it is about the kinds of posts that you are putting out there or the posts that you are sharing, everything needs to be in sync. A better way to understand the need behind the same can be, to visualise your social media page as a story narration. The more confusion you showcase, the further it pushes the viewers away. Hence, you must create content that not only engages the audience but also encourages them to interact with your startup on social media.

Now, there are a lot of possible social media platforms, with even a few more of them now coming up. In such a situation neither will we suggest, nor will it be wise enough to step into social media with an ambition of establishing your startup on all of these platforms at once.
It is important to channelise your effort towards those potential viewers, whom you wish to target the most. The reasoning behind the same shall be that it only makes sense to deliver the content to those viewers, who might actually be interested in it, then the ones to whom it does not appeal at all.

To give you an example, if your startup is more oriented towards the working class, then social media platforms like LinkedIn would be great for your social media presence. However, if you are more popular among youngsters, then perhaps Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube or Facebook would be ideal. For startups predominantly focused on art and craft supplies, Pinterest would be a definite yes. While this step involves a lot of thinking, don’t skip it. It’s essential to your strategy’s success.
Think small at the beginning, look for what is suitable for your brand, and then target it. Hence, concentrate your energy and resources towards one direction. Achieve it, conquer it, and then look for expansion. Analyse your target group, and see on which platform is their presence, the maximum. Begin with a focus on these points:

● Which type of content does your target audience find interesting?
● How does the audience react to different types of content? For example, videos, stories, Q&A, etc.?
● What content can you create?
● Frequency of your posting
● Your dedicated time for the creation of content
● When is the best time of posting?
● Your dedicated team for tracking all progress
● Plan out your content in advance

Along with this, it is very important to monitor the current trends and reactions to your content. If a few posts of yours do not do well, then understand the reason behind it and maybe avoid investing your time and energy in such posts. Coming up with a cool series of posts can also be a great idea to make your viewers come back to your profile. A fun giveaway will automatically hype-up your posts. Those things really are loved by everyone.

To speak of the hypothetical calendar, it is always beneficial to have a rough idea about how much of work is required. Once you have a basic framework ready, you can always work around the edges and make them more creative and appealing. This further will make you understand the need of having a social media posts scheduling tool or some application that you can use along with your team, to keep a tab on the activity. When it comes to scheduling and posting social media content, ask these questions:

● What has to go up?
● When it has to go up?
● Who is creating it?
● Who is publishing it?

In addition to this brainstorming, you might also want to work on the optimisation of your content. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important steps when it comes to social media marketing. SEO basically enhances the probability of your content reaching the viewers before the others, when searched for, with a few keywords. It makes your content discoverable. While SEO works for Blogs, Hashtags work for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

3. Engaging with your Audience on Social Media

Social media is not only about posting content and counting on to your likes. It is rather a gateway towards a more personalised channel of communication between you (the business), and the client (your customer). Social media allows you to connect with your audience on a personal level, which is yet another key to attaining success in the field of social media marketing.
A simple 'thank you' for every kind word of appreciation, or a reply to every question are a few basic ways of communicating with your audience. The idea behind social media marketing as a concept was to allow interactions with your targeted audience. Also understanding that handling thousands of comments and direct messages will not be a child’s play, here are a few of the things that you must essentially consider.

● Who will be responsible for tracking every social media comment, message, and brand mention?
● Who will be responding to the comments, messages, and questions from users?
● What will be your standard operating procedure while replying to users?
● Will you be investing in some tools for the same?
● To what extent would you want to engage?

Apart from the replying back, there are a lot of ideas where in you yourself can initiate this engagement or welcome new communication. For example, a lot of influencers and content makers choose to, ‘go live’. There, they ask their viewers to send them requests and randomly welcomed them to share a video call session with them, while thousands of people watch them. This keeps the excitement levels high in your audience, and also encourages them to be involved.
A great way of interacting with your audience can be by asking them for online feedback. If your business is about the sale of apparel, then for example, you can ask them to share their final look with you, which you further can share with your audience. This motivates the viewers to participate so that they also get a chance of being featured on your startup's social media profiles.

Another exciting option is of conducting giveaways! It might be a bit time consuming but it surely keeps the adrenaline high.
Invest a significant amount of thought and effort into this process. As a team, you can also come up with some creative ways of handling such interactions. For example, a guidebook for answering and responding to users. Further, even though it is not necessary, but there is no harm in investing in some good social media tools. With the help of these, you will never miss out on any of the important updates. They make your life easier and your strategy stronger. Here are a few options of some go-to tools for social media listening and engagement:

Buffer
HootSuite
Sprout Social

Some of them also offer a free trial period, so do check them out before deciding!

4. Handling Social Media Ad Campaigns

For this, one needs to first understand the functioning of social media platforms. To make a social media platform more user friendly and engaging enough for its users, the algorithms of that social media network analyse the activities of its users. Now, whatever the user spends his or her most time on, will be given top priority. So, even if you have a perfect social media marketing strategy for your startup, social media algorithms may prioritise content from other sources as against yours. It is because of this reason that instead of showing your social media posts to your audience, social media networks may prioritise other user-friendly content. Hence, at this point, it gets important to understand the concept of social media advertising or social media ad campaigns.
Even though such campaigns are absolutely your personal choice, and the same are not a pre-requisite for a successful outcome, they are definitely a game changer. Running social media advertisements can help you in:

● Attracting new audience to your handle
● Reaching varied sets of your target audience
● Increasing engagements on your content
● Generating brand awareness
● Remarketing your business to interested users

Before deciding upon your game for advertising on social media, there are a few things that you need to answer first:

● What's the purpose of your social media ads?
● What audience are you targeting with your advertisements?
● What is your budget for social ads each month?
● What creatives (like ad copy or video) would you require?
● How many of such campaigns do you want to run?
● Who would be responsible for managing the ad campaigns?
● What platforms to advertise on?

One of the plus points of advertisements over social media platforms is the fact that you are in complete control over your campaign. There is no rulebook on what the ideal expenditure for the same is. On top of all, you only have to pay when your audience takes a specified action, like clicking on your ad. Hence, you should really consider putting it down in your startup's overall digital marketing strategy.

5. Keep a Track of Social Media Analytics

It is exceptionally important to review and reflect back upon your effort, to evaluate the results. While in the beginning, we asked you to determine your objective behind stepping into social media, now it is time for you to analyse if your hard work was able to reap you any results. If the results are good, you will know that your strategy worked, and if not, it tells you that you perhaps need to take a different approach.
The internet, like for many things, is the solution for finding the right social media analytics tool. All you have to do is dive in, and find the correct one. Your presence over social media will hand you a considerable amount of action data, which can be really helpful. With this data (analytics), you can understand the perception of your audience. With this analysis, you can make some informed changes to your approach and strategy which further will help you in achieving your desired target.

Some Remarkable Examples of Social Media Marketing

GoPro
If you visit their social media accounts, you will notice that their content screams of action, adventure, and adrenaline rushes. Now, even though such thrill-seeking pictures are not new to social media, yet it works for them. Almost every post of theirs is well received by the audience. They are known to have generated an unprecedented amount of engagement with all that they produce. The reason for this success was their understanding. They are aware of who their buyer is and hence they only put the content that the audience can resonate with.
GoPro, via their marketing strategy, encourage people to share their adventures with GoPro, and then feature the most interesting ones. This way they attract more and more people to become a member of this closed community of theirs. A simple social media strategy that involves the least amount of effort and yet gets such promising results.


Lay's
Using the mode of communication that social media offers, Lay’s chalked out a great social media marketing strategy for itself. By way of the ‘Do Us a Flavor’ campaign, it invited all its loyal customers to share their new tasty ideas for a new potato chip flavor, in exchange for a chance to win $1 Million from Frito-Lay.
Customers were asked to submit their entries on Facebook and Twitter. This campaign gave them a 12 percent increase in reach in a short period of time. Looking at the popularity that the contest generated, in 2014, Lay’s again ran this contest and garnered 14 million submissions. The second campaign brought 6 million new likes to their social media handles.


Tips to Ace at The Game of Social Media Marketing

1. Humanise with your Story
All this technology and digitalisation might have brought the world closer, but it still is missing the emotions, feelings, and the human touch. It is important to understand that audience connects more with the people and the stories behind the brand than with the products themselves. Share your office stories, share the story behind your products, what goes into making them with love. A brand's story is way better than a sales pitch. It is always exciting to read about the journey of the struggles of their beloved brands. It only brings them closer to you.

2. Golden Rule - Link & Tag
Once you figure out your social media strategy and your way around the working of the platform, you need to focus a lot on linking all of them together. Hashtags, tags, and links are the unique selling points (USPs) of platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. The purpose of the same is to keep your audience engaged and bring them back to your content regardless of what platform they are using.
Link your new products with a small description on Facebook and Instagram. This will save your audience the effort of going through it all to find that one product of interest. Tag your owners, your force working behind the scenes. Tag your favorite DMs!

3. Don't be Afraid to be Creative
Even though the above-stated guidelines will convince you to be extremely analytical and strategical while creating your social media presence, a little bit of fun and creativity has never harmed anyone. As a brand, you must always be open to a bit of madness and a few crazy ideas. Simply branch out, and find all the new exciting things that your audience might be interested in. The day you get scared of being creative is the very day you will lose the energy in your brand.

4. Have a Common Dashboard to Synchronise
Handling multiple social accounts at the same time is never easy. It needs a lot of focus and effort to make sure that all platforms are running in a balanced manner. To make complete utilisation of each social media platform, you will need to distribute equal energy into them. No important notification or comment should be missed. Every potential trend should be used. Hence, there will be a need to have some kind of mechanism to handle all your social media efforts. To make things easier there are a lot of experts and teams who specialise in these services. It will save you that extra effort and all the stress. Socinova is one such agency at your service.

Now that you understand the basics of social media marketing for your startup, use this guide to get the action started! And remember- by no means this guide is an exhaustive list of things you need to learn. There's a lot more to startup social media marketing and we encourage you to keep learning and improving as you go. And as always, if you need any help, just contact us!



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