How Your Startup Can Harness The Power of Social Media

Original article posted here.

Thank goodness we don’t have to rely on mailers and word-of-mouth to market our businesses anymore. Now, thanks to social media, business owners can advertise their services and interact with customers with just the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen. Social media for startups has loads of benefits. It increases brand awareness, creates a meaningful connection with customers, and offers the opportunity to reach a wider audience. My first year in business, I received 85 percent of clients based on incoming requests generated from my LinkedIn profile.

How can you harness the power of social media to market your startup like a boss? It’s easy. Just follow these guidelines:

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  1. Know your audience. What better way to learn more about your target audience, their likes and dislikes, than by engaging with them using social media for startup? And, once you get a handle on who your customers are, you can tailor your posts to be more relevant to them. I treat every Instagram post as a science experiment: I'm constantly tweaking my posting algorithm so that I focus on posts with the most engagement.
  2. Engage, engage, engage! Think about it. Wouldn't you be more inclined to frequent a business if their social media team jumped to answer questions or post relevant comments on social media? The companies with the most successful social media presence are the ones that engage with their customers. Some businesses, such as Nike, even have social media accounts specifically for customer support.
  3. Keep it current. Post frequently. Link to interesting news stories in your field. Share memes that are relevant to your audience. Stay up on trends so you can talk about what’s going viral right now. People love when they have insight into your life. As such, the current posts always get a great deal of engagement.
  4. Direct traffic to your website. Use your social media accounts to direct traffic to your website by placing appropriate links in your posts. Advertise those products and services so you can get more customers! The best way to advertise is through your bio at the end of your posts. Targeted bios have helped my business immensely.
  5. Hashtag your heart out. Use hashtags to engage with users and widen your audience. Search your startup’s name on social media to see what people are talking about. Use those questions, comments and complaints to your advantage. I personally keep groups of thirty hashtags to use for different kinds of posts in a note file on my phone. This makes it easier to quickly add the right hashtags.
  6. Get everyone on board. Use your employees’ networks to your startup’s benefit by getting everyone on your team involved in social media marketing. This is a great time to use that elevator pitch. Maintain consistency by having your team use the same pitch or taglines, then sit back and watch your business network expand.
  7. Look into crowdspeaking. For an extra boost, try crowdspeaking -- sharing one message across multiple accounts. With crowdspeaking, you can get your message out from multiple users on multiple platforms, all at once.
  8. Focus on your best platform. It’s all about knowing yourself and using your strengths to your company’s advantage – even when it comes to social media for startups. So, if you’re a wiz at snapping artsy photos, focus your efforts on Instagram. If you have a gift for writing in 140 characters or less, Twitter is your best marketing friend. Go ahead and use all the other platforms, but focus most of your social media marketing on the platform where you most excel. My two favorite platforms are Instagram and LinkedIn. Both offer unique opportunities to connect and engage fellow entrepreneurs and/or consumers. Instagram is an ideal way to tell stories about yourself, your company or your products and services. LinkedIn gives insights into your business and lets you connect with others in the industry or complementary industries. LinkedIn is also a powerful way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Creating the right profile is an excellent way to showcase your abilities.
  9. Use social media tools. Work smarter with social media tools like Hootsuite or IFTT. Both services allow you to simultaneously post your message via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.
  10. Use your natural voice. When using social media for startups, write your posts in the same way that you would speak. Skip the stuffiness by writing conversationally. It makes all the difference when your audience knows that there’s a real person on the other side of the screen.

Above all, have fun with social media. Remember those Poo-Pourri commercials that went viral on Facebook last year? Now, there’s a company that knows how to use social media for marketing. Who knows? Maybe your startup will be the next viral hit!