The barriers to founding a company today are lower than ever, and thus it’s more than important than ever to reach your potential and existing customers in new ways. Social media has become a valuable asset in doing so; here are some tips to help out:
Some of the more popular social media platforms to consider using are:
– WordPress (Blog)
– Tumblr (Blog)
1. Research & Decide: Social media does not mean that you need to use each tool to be successful. Do some research and decide which tools are best for you – and which you can keep active with. There is more potential of hurting your brand if you sign up for a service, and then never utilize it.
a. Some tips: If you are a good writer, try blogging or Facebook. If you would rather record audio or video, invest in the applicable tools and pursue that avenue instead.
b. Try out one tool until you begin to get good with it, and then start to use another.
2. Registration & Profiles: Ensure that you have registered for all the relevant social media tools you plan to use. It is also just as important as participating in social media as having a thorough profile. I will use Twitter for this example:
a. Twitter profiles are limited to 160 characters, so you have to use the space wisely. Ideally you should use this space to tell a little about the company, and remember to include a link to your company homepage.
3. Participate as a brand: Engage your twitter following by promoting useful, and relevant information that relates to your brand. However, I see too many companies simply talking “at” their following and not “with.” This is an important distinction and will be covered more as we go on in this list.
4. Participate as a person: More than ever people want to do business with other people. Register a personal account on whichever resource you have chosen, and use it to engage your community and help establish real relationships with others.
5. Follow your top 3 competitors: Be sure to follow and track what your top competitors are doing, and how their social media strategy is effective–and how it is not. You can use this to your advantage by addressing a weakness, or engaging in conversations on another platform that they are not using.
6. Establish a blog: There is almost nothing better (aside from your website) than a blog to help drive awareness and traffic to your website when you initially start. However, post on your blog! Once started do not let it idle. Your first post could even be about your current startup initiatives. One important note, install blogging software on your own site to help with these points. Here is some actionable advice:
a. Write a blog post on where your business currently stands, or how it got there. Be open and honest, the more you are transparent the more your readers will appreciate it.
b. Write about your market, where your company or products fits in that space and how it will improve or streamline the process.
c. Establish thought leadership by writing about practices in your industry and how you address them.
Whichever medium you decide to use, actively engage your audience. You can market to them as you have done traditionally (ex. offering coupons, promotions) but understand that people will look to your presence as a place to engage your brand with customer service, sales, etc. Be transparent with your audience by addressing problems quickly, and honestly and your following will appreciate it more so due to that.
In addition, what I meant by talking “at” your audience is that I see too many brands just utilizing their social media outlets to promote themselves and constantly talk about what they are doing. While it’s important to promote yourself, talk with others to make them feel comfortable with you, and make it easy to contact you.