Aug 17 How To Market A StartUp With Social Media
Looking to start a company? Awesome. It’s a really good time to do so. The average individual is more connected than ever before. This makes leveraging social channels increasingly complex but all the more vital and beneficial for companies.
If you are looking to promote your company and get free media attention then running a well-timed ‘launch’ can be a great thing.
It is a double-edged sword, however. The same brands that already dominate TV ads can be ‘in your face’ on most social channels. Competition is fierce.
With that said, small, tightly budgeted start-ups now have a chance to compete against 800lb gorillas because of those same channels that facilitate the spreading of information.
Things spread fast nowadays. Really fast.
I’ve laid out a plan below with an approach to launching a start-up and the steps one should consider with regards to social media. With that said, understand this: there is no cookie cutter approach to starting a business in today’s environment. You need to be creative, edgy and worthy of talking about. Whether that is in your product offering or your marketing campaign message, it has to be there for it to pop.
Pre-Launch: Marketing a Startup Through Social Media
The pre-launch is just as important as your post-launch phase. The nice thing about a start-up is you have the ability to develop a product offering that has certain tactics and mechanisms baked into it that will help deliver success, whereas a large pre-established brand can’t succumb to those same sort of modifications.
- First thing is first – Have you crafted a reason why people should care about your company? I think this a great place to start as it helps every aspect of your business. Watch this TED videofor more inspiration on this premise.
- Make it easy to share. Bake in the technical capabilities for users to promote your company. You don’t have to rely on paid media – people will advertise for free for you if you do things right. See additional examples of baked in viral mechanisms here.
- Collect sign-ups and give beta access to influential users. There is even a tool to help facilitate this.
- Setup goals and a marketing timeline for things to get done. Don’t just expect things to happen. Set metrics and goals and crush them each month.
- Rank your name. If a user hears about you from a friend or through a social network, they might not be able to remember your name when they have the ability to look you up. It is extremely important to rank for your name and common variations. A poorly chosen name can really be difficult to rank with, so choose your name wisely as well.
- Develop a killer pitch list. Blogger outreach can be extremely helpful. Its one of the single most important tactics almost any business should leverage.
Post-Launch: Marketing a Startup Through Social Media
- Monitor and respond to what people are saying. This goes without saying, right? You are a start-up so more than likely you don’t have an overwhelming number of mentions to read through. Utilize a free dashboard to keep up-to-date with feedback, comments and other issues people might be exhibiting in the social sphere. Here is an example of where to start with regards to social media dashboards.
- Keep the buzz flowing with content marketing efforts. Remember that marketing timeline and content schedule you formulated in the pre-launch stage? This is going to keep you on top of your game. If you don’t nail yourself down to it you will find it very easy to get lazy with your efforts. Being diligent and sticking to a schedule can really help.
- Homebase first – social assets second. I see people spending huge amounts of time and money to grow their Facebook (and other social network accounts) presence when they really should be growing their website’s user base first. At the end of the day no one can tell you to take down your website, but Facebook could destroy your fan page.
There are a ton of other things to consider and frankly, as I stated above, you can’t set forth a cookie cutter approach to marketing a new business.
In no particular order here are eight other tips and tricks to marketing your start-up.
Individual Tactics For Start-ups:
- WordPress is free. Run an awesome blog. Homebase first, right?
- Optimize search efforts and make sure people can find you on the many different places they might look.
- Google Search, Android and Apple App stores, Facebook Search, YouTube Search etc.
- Diversify your tactics as much as possible while focusing on your schedule and accomplishing milestones. Don’t just promote to promote, have a method to your madness.
- Video is really important. It allows you to convey your message in a literal sense that can strike a cord with your audience. Use Screencast (free) and a Webcam
- PRO TIP: Why not record your staff “24/7 and live stream it to the Internet?” This could give your product a unique feel. A feature like this lets your fans see who’s behind the business.
- Utilize Facebook but don’t setup a Facebook page for just any reason. Leverage the virility of the service. A good example is: http://www.facebook.com/flowtown
- Give away things. T-Shirts rock – this gets people talking. An easy tool to facilitate this is flowtown.com
- Another good example of this is http://blekko.com/ws/+/blekkogear
- Locate and sponsor meetups. Give away exclusive offerings to those who show up. Did you know you can sponsor meetups in specific areas targetting specific interests?
- Re-target your social followers. Many times your social connections are not ready to buy. Advertise to your past visitors via display advertising and Ad re-targeting. The cost per customer can typically be very small. Here is a way to even re-target Facebook users – they don’t even have to come to your website to ‘tag’ them.
Any other tips you would like to add? Leave them in the comments. If they are good enough I will link to them in the article and linkback to you.