Most startups begin with some eager founders, a great idea, and not much else. Resources and budget are not aplenty, which makes social media a perfect avenue to start building your brand’s reputation. Add that to the fact that social users love what’s new and a good story, and startups have a tool they can use to thrive. After all, there’s never a dull moment in #startuplife.
Here are some important steps to start building your brand on social:
Create a strategy
What is your product pitch, who are you talking to, what is your brand’s voice, what message do you want to put out there, what is your brand’s visual identity and what kind of lifestyle do you support? Write it down.
Use the 80/20 rule
According to Sprout Social, almost 50 percent of social media users say they will unfollow a brand that posts too much promotional content. So a nice rule of thumb is to post non-promotional content 80 percent of the time and promotional content 20 percent. Promotional content does not mean these posts can’t highlight your team, your brand and your projects— just steer clear from being overtly sales-focused.
Keep it entertaining
There’s a huge disconnect in how we consume and how we create social media. We consume it for entertainment, yet as brands we create it to showcase our product and promote ourselves. We need to close this gap. Ideally, all your content should be visually appealing and, for lack of a better word, fun. A great trick is to include gifs, boomerangs and videos. Experiment with the use of time lapse and slow-motion functions on your phone. Make your social accounts stand out!
Make sure your content includes something your followers can benefit from,not just something they can get on your website or another account. Use the space for a link in your bio to share a good article, post something new about your city, or teach something related to your product.
Don’t ignore Instagram
You may think Instagram may not be the best platform for your company because you’re in the tech space or because you’re B2B. This is not the case. Instagram is where most social media consumers under 35 spend their time. Unlike the ad-heavy, sponsored-driven Facebook, Instagram doesn’t hide organic content from your followers. It’s also the only platform where you can have a full visual experience of your entire brand, by clicking on your profile and seeing the latest 9 or 12 posts side-by-side. This allows you to create a great brand experience before people even try out your products. Instagram also offers many customizable tools to tell your story, with options such as photo album, Instagram stories and live video.
Build your audience, but don’t be in a rush
The best way to build your social media audience is organically, which sometimes means slowly! Don’t focus only on number of followers or use the “follow and unfollow” tactic to get your numbers up. It’s much better to have 100 followers who are engaged and fall into the your target audience of customers who might actually want your product than 5000 followers who aren’t.
Instead, here are some solid strategies to grow your reach:
- Spread the word to all your friends and contacts from your personal social media accounts (don’t forget LinkedIn, especially for B2B businesses).
- Add your social media badges to your email signature, presentations and website.
- Use some user-generated content, giving proper credit to the original poster and the photographer/creator (don’t forget this!)
- Include and tag other people, places and brands in your posts when possible and relevant to generate additional engagement and reach.
- Use your hashtag in every post and add a few more relevant hashtags that can help your post be seen, but make sure to follow the accepted hashtag rules. For example, if the hashtag is #weloveatl, make sure something great about Atlanta is in the image or video — don’t “hashtag spam”.
- It’s social media — so be social! Engage by posting real comments on other brands and like-minded accounts’ posts and try to answer every comment on your posts in a timely manner.
Most importantly, have fun. After all, we use social media for entertainment, don’t we?
Manu Muraro is a social media expert. She is the founder of Your Social Team, which helps small businesses add value and entertainment through social media. Before that, she worked in marketing and creative at some of the greatest southeastern brands, such as King of Pops and Cartoon Network.