Once regarded as optional, social media has become a priority. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the money left on the table by the millions of people who use social networks every day. Sites that form the cornerstone of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become essential components of campaigns that promote brands, distribute content and generate leads. Moreover, social media represents a pathway to get just as much exposure as the world’s largest corporations at an affordable price. Regardless of the market served by your firm, you know that you can acquire customers and build strategies for your business on social media.
Still, some companies have yet to formulate a coherent strategy and others continue making costly mistakes. You can get your startup the spotlight it deserves by using the following five social media strategies.
1. Establish a Social Media Strategy
Thousands of brands have already heard stories that make them believe that social media can transform their business, so you can expect to see your competitors already there when you log in. However, you can expect that most of the brands you see operating on your favorite social sites have no strategy. Your decision to spend time and effort in planning will help set you apart from the others.
Rather than repeat the mistakes of others, you must first learn about the nuances of each social media website, including the paid adverting and content marketing options that they offer. Also, you will need to learn about available analytics tools so that you can adequately track your results. Additionally, you should spend time evaluating what other firms in your industry have done. See what impresses you as well as what doesn’t work.
Do all this before posting any content of your own. Making the wrong move right now can severely damage your reputation and cause setbacks that could take months or years to overcome. Even though you want to get started now, you will help your startup by carefully researching your competitors and your target audiences. Create a written strategy that governs everything you will do from creating a profile to your advertising and publishing schedules.
Decide the personality that your brand will have while interacting on social sites and decide what team members will lead the effort. Many successful firms have used social media for customer service in addition to public relations, sales, and brand awareness, so be sure to include that in your strategy. When you know what you want and how you will try to achieve it, you will have a chance to launch a coordinated social media strategy that integrates well into your overall marketing plan.
2. Use Your Employees’ Brainpower
Get your entire team aboard your social media strategy. Your employees give you an advantage in the office, so why not allow them a chance to give your firm an edge online? Of course, you might want to provide incentives such as flexible hours, financial bonuses or free lunches. Regardless, if you get help with your social media strategy, you will get the benefit of the ideas and personalities of people who can give your brand a vibrant presence.
When you leverage your staff as brand advocates, you will naturally have ways to connect with people from different backgrounds and have diverse experiences. Moreover, by involving your employees in social media, you give them a chance to become known as experts in your field, something that will add value and authority to your brand. Additionally, by sharing the load, you can operate a robust social media without taking all your time, so you have time left over to lead your business.
Always encourage open feedback with your employees, because they might have ideas and insights that you might never think about on your own. Additionally, you can get outside help should you discover that your social media campaigns take too much time from other productive work. For the purpose of augmenting your team, consider hiring remote workers. These people can quickly boost the capabilities of your team without requiring any long-term commitments from you.
3. Build a Community
Rather than operating your social media to encourage “likes” and “follows,” use social websites to build communities. Community-building strategies leverage social media users as brand ambassadors. When you encourage your loyal customers to follow you on social media, you get a supportive team that will willingly answer questions about your products and share their experiences with new prospects. Because these people are loyal to you, they can extend the reach of your brand far beyond the limitations of your available human resources.
With loyal advocates actively working on social media on your behalf, you encourage word-of-mouth endorsements and have a chance to quickly respond to customer concerns and product issues. If you also use customer service, you can create an additional competitive advantage that the entire world can see. As your brand evolves into an accessible, personable and responsive entity, it will earn a strong reputation that will support long-term growth.
4. Track and Measure
Avoid making the mistake of launching a social media campaign without monitoring its performance. Available tools such as Google Analytics, Moz, Hootsuite and others give you data that helps you adjust your social media efforts to get the best-possible results. In particular, you will have access to metrics that define your reach and engagement rates, giving you a chance to focus on the content, formats, and channels that result in the most website visitors, leads and sales. Together with information on the activities that don’t achieve any results at all, you can efficiently orchestrate a social media campaign that is as effective as it is affordable.
When you use the above five social media strategies to grow your startup, you leverage valuable tools that require minimum financial investment to reap great rewards. A successful social media presence will play an essential role in the success of your business, so make sure you harness it wisely! By building a community and integrating your team in the effort, you will build a brand that rises above the noise in your market and builds a promising and prosperous future.
About the author
Jen McKenzie is a freelance writer from New York, NY. She is fascinated by all things having to do with words, business and education. When Jennifer is not busy writing, she enjoys taking long walks and spending time with her two pets, Brando & Marlon. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie