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09/01/2018 by
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A Business Guide to Running an Effective Social Media Strategy

Social media

Social media is now a necessity as a tool for marketing and growing a startup. When it comes to growing an audience and converting them into measurable sales, you need a social media strategy that works. Startups need brand visibility in order to grow, and the first set of audience that a business can engage with their content, eventually become loyal customers of the brand. This is why social media is important at the startup level and also beyond, as the business grows. Businesses, startups and established ones alike, simply cannot afford to ignore the value of social media as an essential marketing and communication platform. This comprehensive guide will help you understand how you can use social media as a business too and enjoy its benefits.

Start With a Social Media Strategy

What are your business goals and objectives? How can social media help you achieve them? These are questions you first need to answer. Also who are your target audience and what kind of image are you trying to present on social media? Is your brand going for a formal, professional tone with social media messaging or a more informal one? Generally, your company culture will determine your online presence. Even if you have a practical, no-nonsense approach to social messaging, you can still inject a bit of humour now and again. Your feeds should however have a more consistent feel.

Your social media strategy should, therefore, define your company values, brand personality and the important nuances of your corporate culture. After outlining the identity of your business and brand, creating a supporting social media strategy will be easy.

Work With Platforms You Can Handle

As a startup business, it is understandable if you are unable to hire social media marketers because of limited manpower or use expensive social media tools. Your hands are probably already full with looking after your day-to-day tasks, creating and marketing content and social media interaction. This is why it can be quite challenging to target lots of different platforms at the same time and handle them with the same engagement and focus. A better route is to prioritise platforms and as your business grows and expands, you can take on professional social media marketers, quality tools, business mobile apps, and spread out your reach across other platforms.

Determine Your Goals

Sometimes startups have a lot of great expectations from the social media strategies they adopt. However, settling down to determine clear goals for your company to achieve through social media can really streamline the entire process and help you discover what’s working and what’s not. Some good goals to adopt for your company include: lead generation, content distribution, brand awareness, and a growing customer base.

These goals will provide a clear vision of what you need to achieve with social media, and help you choose the best platform that adequately supports those goals. Determining the right social media platforms for your startup will depend on your social media strategy, approach and goals. Therefore, familiarise yourself with the available information about the type of users who visit and engage with your site. You will then be able to place emphasis on the type of content that brings in the biggest number of the kind of audience you are aiming to reach.

Create Quality Social Profiles and Pages

Strong profiles and pages on your social networks make a solid starting point to reach a wider audience. What this means is, your social accounts need to provide branded cover photos, profile photos and all of the required details must be filled out as well. On Twitter for instance, all you need is to fill out a 160-character bio, location and website link. For Facebook, you’ll need to provide a short description, website link, address and phone number. Don’t stop there however, try and fill out as many fields for your social profiles and pages as possible. Follow up with a few updates and some captivating content before starting to build an audience. People who land on your social accounts will see that your accounts are active and there’s content on your pages to hold their interest.

Make Content User-centric

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Posting content with your users as the main focus is essential if you are trying to achieve quick results and continuous traction on your social media platforms. First, you must find out who your users are by creating user profiles that are most likely to find your content interesting and useful. User profiles are important because it helps you to have a content strategy for your audience since your content cannot cater to everyone. User preferences and pain points from your user profiles will help you to craft a detailed and unique content strategy. Many businesses, especially the big ones tend to generalise content or ignore prioritisation where posting across social platforms is concerned. As a startup aiming to succeed through social media however, it is essential to focus on creating a niche audience that quickly engages with your content. User-centric content is therefore the way to go.

Build a Community

Building a community of loyal customers involves engaging your users, inspiring them and getting them to commit to your brand. Therefore, instead of allowing your users to passively step in and out of your social media pages, pay more attention to building customer engagement with your brand. Find creative ways to make your social media users aware of your products and services, and create opportunities for them to experience your brand in a positive way. As a result, such users can become long-term ambassadors for your brand and help you gain more users and customers from their friends and followers. Therefore, take the time to listen to and interact with everyone on your social networks. The resulting payoff will come in the form of more customers, sales and quality followers who are sincerely interested in your business.

Social media as a tool for business growth is more than generating a large number of ‘likes’. For startups especially, social media is a big part of marketing and used correctly, you may begin to see even more growth than you anticipated.

 

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James Cummings

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