Brands and start ups both need to build social media communities around their products and services, but start ups typically have to go from zero while brands often have an established audience to begin with. Otherwise, the tactics are largely the same, and depending on the budgets involved, they differ only in scale.
While brands can pull audiences from other product fan bases or even competing fan bases, startups must consider what kinds of audiences they want to attract in order to use social media effectively and ultimately sell more products and services. This will also help determine other factors such as social media channel and blog choices. A start up that is geared towards men ages 18-35 is not going to find much of an audience targeting sites like Pinterest, just as tweeting recipes isn’t going to necessarily attract an audience made up of people in the auto motive industry. Research, research, research is the best way to pinpoint your demographic(s). Follow their habits and trends and scope out the competition.
Social media channel selection and blogging
Practically any and every channel of social media is good for brands, provided you have the manpower to maintain them. Must haves are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; however, less travelled social media sites like Pinterest and Tumblr are great ways to reach your audiences. For startups, while social media channels should comprise a large part of your digital campaign, a blog is beyond crucial. It will give a voice and persona to your company, while giving consumers updates and handy information. You need to create excitement around your what you’re doing and the blog will allow you to not only tell stories but give people answers to questions. Variety is the key for an engaging blog and the opportunities are endless. Witty writing, topics from every angle and posts with different formats are all ways to change it up. Using guest authors is another great way to add flavor to your blog, and can offer different or unique perspectives while still remaining true to your startup’s image.
Content creation and publication
Posting updates and blogging alone aren’t enough. Content for both sharing and channel aesthetics are huge. Photos, videos, customized graphics and memes should all be utilized in different ways to spark consumer’s interest and put you ahead of the average brand. The more entertaining, informative and engaging your content is, the farther it can be distributed and the more it will be shared.
Consumers are going to react to your posts, blogs, tweet etc. and then expect you to converse back with them. If you have established a “voice” for your brand and used it consistently in social media then you’re on the right path. As David Murdico points out, consumers are put off when the voice doesn’t match the personality of the brand or the start up. The more “in character” you are, the more interest you’ll generate. Customers who talk about brands that they like are more likely to both pass on the brand’s information and convince their friends to buy from the same brands. The same goes for startups. For start ups, tracking is important, to see how your customers are reacting to your posts and updates. It also shows you what is or isn’t working when it comes to your digital campaigns and range of distribution. Tracking includes checking how many visitors come to your site (click through) or monitoring the tone of people’s comments (sentiment). Check often and be able to respond quickly to people’s opinions and presence.