Before the advent of digital opportunity and mass communication, the business plan was king. You provided the best product/service you could, looked into funding options, maybe got a loan, and toiled away at making ends meet and building your dream brick and mortar style.
Fast forward to today, and your key advantage? The internet.
In particular, that thing called “social media,” that we often make the case for with advertising, because it’s essentially the giant spider web we all live in. Our interface with the internet is not independent of prying eyes, and watchful markets. Your mere existence on the internet isn’t an act of solidarity, but rather an overwhelming call to amass via means of self expression. Something as simple as checking your email means somewhere, somebody knows you’re doing it. And that somebody is trying to sell you something!
Or, in the case of business owners, perhaps you’re the one trying to make the sale.
So we come to the top 5 reasons why startups (in general) need social media in their organization to come out on top in the long game:
1. You can do it yourself.
It might require time, effort, and consistency, but the easiest way to start is simply to start. And the best part is, all you need is to create accounts, and start generating content. The key phrase being here “consistency.” Social media is fickle, attention-grabbing and always hungry. Don’t be discouraged by slow numbers to start – just keep putting solid content out there! Check out this Entrepreneur article for specifics on developing solid profiles, using hashtags, and other concepts like cross-promotion across channels.
2. Content is king.
Respectively, if your content is good, you’ll gain more attention and followers. If it’s not, you’ll stagnate. Even if your content is the best in the world, if you’re not producing it routinely then it won’t matter because social media is about what’s relevant. It’s about the now, the latest happenings and the new. This interview of Liam Fisher at BuiltVisible has lots of gold nuggets on why content matters, and how to map out your future content campaigns. This is where many startups move the meat of their content development out of house, because it requires much more effort than you think to continuously produce relevant, meaningful content. However, buyer beware! Content will always require scrutiny and review.
3. Get your product/service in front of the right people
This is where you may need help. Naturally, using hashtags to develop a sub-following is always a best practice. But it doesn’t account for the back end of social media, where the platforms turn into pay-to-play to access the segments of the population using it (which is everyone in the world) to ideally place and promote your product/service. You probably have no idea how to do this. Can you learn it? Yes. Absolutely. But just as with content, consistency is key and often times the cost of a professional gets you bigger bang for your buck because you don’t have the time or effort to put out routine quality content ON TOP of adjusting your advertising targeting methodology. And, just based on this infographic, sometimes it pays to have professional social media advertisers navigate the ever increasing complexities of this web and all its interacting components.
4. Share your story
Brands that tell stories have the greatest success with advertising. Because the consumer is no longer purchasing the product/service itself – they get to experience being a part of the brand and what it means to do so. If you’re just selling your product based on specs and parts, unless it’s a necessary utility that everyone needs chances are you’ll have a difficult time selling it. For startups, that means honing in on your story and really selling the sensationalism of where you’ve been and what you’re trying to accomplish, and how it’ll change the world.
5. Connect with influencers
Influencers serve as launch pads to increase your following, draw attention, and expand the reach of your brand. Oftentimes they can be expensive, but some are more flexible than others. Don’t overlook the power of influencers when it comes to advertising. Reach out and find like-minded individuals that are worth your while and represent your brand effectively – because hiring an influencer contrary to your brand image could potentially backfire.
So there you have it! Just a few reasons startups should utilize social media. It can get overwhelming very quickly, but the good news is there’s unlimited possibilities, and unlimited potential when it comes to creating a niche space for your brand via social media.