A 5-Step Guide to Creating the Perfect Social Media Marketing Strategy for Startups
We live in a millennial age where Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and WhatsApp have seamlessly conjoined to become a parallel world. And this influx of social media and technology has changed the way businesses and brands carry out their marketing activities. In this post, we talk about how you can craft a winning social media marketing strategy for your startup.
Social media stats suggest, Facebook has over 2 billion active users while Instagram has an audience of over 800 million and Twitter and LinkedIn have approximately 330 million and 500 million users respectively. These statistics make a convincing case for why your startup should invest in a smart social media marketing strategy and leverage from it to blossom into a brand.
Most startups don’t pay attention to social media marketing and fail to capitalize on the possibilities it offers. Simply having a social media handle on leading social networks won’t do the trick. You need an effective social media marketing strategy in place to help your startup capitalize on the potential of social media.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram have become integral platforms for businesses to use as part of their marketing endeavors for spreading brand awareness, distributing content, generating leads, and acquiring customers.
As a startup, you may have constraints when it comes to marketing budgets and access to digital marketing professionals. Which is why, as an entrepreneur, you need to master the ins and outs of social media marketing. To master social media marketing, you need a full proof social media marketing strategy. Here’s what you ought to do:
1. Create Goals
The first step towards creating a solid social media marketing strategy for your startup is to identify and gauge what you want to achieve out of your efforts. Without clear goals, you won’t have any way to track and measure your progress and ROI. Ideally speaking, you should set SMART with your goals.
Your social media goals should be specific as they must contribute towards your business goals and must be in sync with the overall growth plans of the organization. It is advisable to set goals that are easy to measure and track. This is the main reason why your startup should only focus on marketing on one or two social media platforms.
Keep realistic expectations when it comes to setting your goals. Don’t expect to have a million Instagram followers or a hundred thousand likes on Facebook in the first quarter of your social media marketing campaign. Your goals must be attainable and time-bound.
Broadly speaking, the following 3 goals should be on your bucket list:
- Increase Brand Awareness
- Create a loyal customer base
- Drive sales
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2. Use Social Media Analytics
While vanity metrics such as likes, number of followers and retweets are easy to track, it’s hard to prove their true value for your startup. Instead, focus on measuring parameters such as leads generated, web referrals, and conversions.
For example, if your startup is in the business of selling online and the only social media marketing strategy you focus on is Instagram, then you should invest in a tool like Owlmetrics. This tool helps to get insights into follower engagements, overall growth, and click-through rates.
Analytics and data of this sort can help you get insights into how well your strategy is performing and if it is producing meaningful results. You can use Google Analytics to monitor and measure your startup’s overall digital marketing and social media marketing progress.
3. Learn about your audience
Identifying who your target audience is, what they want, and which platform they spend the most time on, is key to creating a strong social media marketing strategy for your startup. Start by creating target audience personas by taking into consideration factors like demographics, lifestyle, and pain points of the people most likely to be your customers.
A thorough research into studying who your audience is, will help you to create a relevant social media strategy and to maximize your efforts.
Learning about your customers requires real-world data as opposed to making assumptions. For instance, you may think that Facebook is a better networking platform for men than it is for women. However, there may be a chance that that isn’t true. For instance, did you know that Facebook use remains higher among women (74%) than men (62%)?
A statistical study in understanding what demographic group uses what device platforms (Android or iOS) will help you retarget your ads and better optimize your social media marketing strategy.
4. Study the competition
Since you’re just starting up, chances are that your competitors are already using social media to promote their business. There’s always a lot you can learn from your competitors. An analysis into who your competition is and what they are doing will help you get a feel for the market and give you a strong sense of context of what your social media marketing strategy should be like.
An in-depth analysis will also help you spot opportunities. For example, if one of your competitors is active and dominant on Twitter but has put little effort into Instagram. You can focus on the platforms where your target audience is underserved and fill a void rather than trying to get into a digital duel with your competitor.
Similarly, keep an eye out on how your competitors’ marketing campaigns are performing and what people think about it. Social listening will help you to understand which strategies work well and which one’s tank. This is useful intel to use when creating and evaluating your own social media marketing strategy.
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5. Evaluate your strategy
Once you begin implementing your social media marketing strategy, it’s wise to step back for a bit and evaluate what you’ve accomplished. Obviously, this includes critical evaluation of what worked and didn’t work in order to tweak your strategy for maximum results in the future.
Here’s what you should be asking yourself when you plan to revisit your strategy:
- What campaigns/posts are working, and what’s not?
- Who is connecting with you on social? Are they verified profiles so spam users?
- Which social media platforms is your target audience most active on?
- How does your social media presence compare to that of your competitors?
The sole purpose of your strategy evaluation should be to give you a clear understanding of what purpose each of your social accounts serves. Consider removing an account if it isn’t performing. This audit will also help you make strategic amends to a valuable account that probably needs readjusting a few parameters.
To help you decide if an account is worth pursuing and revamping, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my audience here?
- If so, are they active on this platform?
- How can this account help me achieve meaningful business goals?
Answering these questions will help keep your social media strategy on track.
In addition to these 5 essential steps, you can also channel your efforts towards creating a social media content calendar to distribute and promote your blog posts and to support your content marketing strategy. Furthermore, you can constantly re-evaluate your social media marketing strategy on a regular basis to ensure you’re at the top of your game.
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