It’s guest post week here on New Venture Mentor and today we’ll hear from Dan Taylor of Squadhelp about how a new business can grow its social media following. Here’s Dan:
In the first few stages of building a startup, choosing a marketing strategy is critical. Even after the first few stages, spreading the word about your business and product is still an essential part in maintaining and growing your business income. In today’s dynamic and modern world, one of the most effective tools in marketing is social media.
Every startup entrepreneur knows well that upon introducing his business to the market, he needs to build up its online presence. But how do you do it? Everybody is doing it already. How do you use social media to build up your brand and identity, and, at the same time, grow your audience? The following questions need to be addressed in order to grow your online audience.
Who is in your specific target market?
You must be able to identify your target market. Even before you built your business, this knowledge is a requirement. Be very specific and know your niche. Is your target market the thriving millennial entrepreneurs? Are you going for professionals in the academe? Who does your product cater to? Knowing your specific group of potential customers will help you focus on their needs and wants, and will help you evaluate how they react to your strategy and your business.
On what platforms does your niche usually hang out?
After being specific about who your potential customers are, you should study and observe where they usually hang out. Which platform does the majority of your niche use? You need to know these things because your strategies for growing your social media audience will most likely fail if you are using them on the wrong platform.
Identify the platforms and choose 2-3 which you will likely use. How about the other platforms? Remember, as a startup, you need more focus in order to properly get to know your target consumers – their behavior and reactions. Having too many social media accounts on different platforms would take away this focus.
Usually, the general market hangs out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The creatives usually hangout on Pinterest. Photo enthusiasts use Instagram more, and professionals and career personnel mostly have a Linkedin. In November 2016, Pew Research Center found that Facebook continues to be the most popular social networking platform used in America. See this infographic.
What should your social media profile contain?
Create a strong social media profile. Here are the things you need to consider:
- Fill out all the necessary details about your startup (e.g. profile photo, bio, logo, services, products, cover photo)
- Provide your contact number, email address, location, and website
- Be able to show your open hours and closing times
- For Facebook pages, be able to provide all the other social media platforms you are using, aside from Facebook.
The most common thing is that after creating the profile, you immediately share it to your friends, hoping that they will share it to others. However, you first need to post at least 10 updates in your account. Sharing accounts with no content discourages people from following the account or liking it. When an account has at least 10 updates, it creates an impression that the account is active and it is legitimate.
What kind of content will you share?
Share content that gives value to your audience. You are aiming for more followers, but it is not just about having more followers. Aim to have the most followers that belong to your target market. Share content that is relevant to their wants and needs.
If you are a branding startup, be able to share helpful tips on branding. You can share blogposts, articles, videos, infographics, etc. These kinds of content can either be created by you or can come from third-party sources. You also need to be updated with trends and news. Give your readers something worth sharing.
One way to grow your audience is to encourage your current audience to share your content and hopefully share your account. Content with visual presentations gets shared more often as compared to those with none, so make use of charts and graphs, infographics, images, and videos which are valuable and offer information.
Why is networking and collaboration important?
Facebook now has groups which you can use to your advantage. During the first stages of your startup, you will want to introduce it to your target niche.
The following things can be done to use Facebook groups to your advantage:
- Join groups where most of your potential customers hang out. For example, if you have a business consulting startup, join groups that are made up of business owners and entrepreneurs.
- Create your own group. If you are a branding agency, create a group for thriving entrepreneurs – those who are thinking of starting a business, those who are just starting their business, or those who may have a business but are not quite sure what to focus on.
- For example, you can name it, “Ambitious New Entreps” (if you are targeting new entrepreneurs) or “Successful Business Moms” (if you are targeting mothers).
- Be consistent in sharing content to these groups and pitch in your promotion once in a while. Make sure to avoid spamming.
- Create real connections. When you create sincere engagement, chances are, these connections you are creating will share about you and your startup.
- Share your other social media accounts on these groups while you participate in active discussion. For example, someone asked a question that is relevant to your business. You can answer them, give valuable information and refer them to your social media account (e.g. Branding is crucial in marketing. You need to get clarity and focus before you can do that. Here are some tips… If you want to connect, drop me a message at <email> or you can follow me on <social media link> for more information.
Aside from these things, find some people or fellow startups you can collaborate with and work together. Exchange ideas and help each other gain the proper audience. You can never underestimate the power of having business buddies online.
How will you utilize hashtags?
A hashtag makes it easier for other users to find the topic they are looking for. So make use of the appropriate hashtags. If your startup offers consulting services then use the hashtag #consulting and other relevant hashtags. To get an idea of what hashtag to use, make sure to know the keywords or the words which usually relate to your business. Hashtags were first utilized by users on Twitter and Instagram. Now, it is used by Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media platforms.
One important thing to remember is to be sincere to your social media audience. Be authentic in sharing, and make it a point that you are giving valuable information. If you have valuable information, people will surely go to your account. It is all about giving and building connections. Once connections are established, real customers conversion will follow.
Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Squadhelp.com –the only full-service, agency-like name development platform, that is also affordable. His book How to Develop the Perfect Name for Just About Anything is available to Cate Costa followers for free.