Social Media Strategies for Startups: 5 Viable Paths To Consider

Social media and marketing are here to stay — but do you know how to make the most of social equity for your startup? It seems like every week there is a new platform or strategy that everyone is buzzing about.

However, not every strategy will work for your startup and that’s why we’ve got 5 viable paths to consider.

Read on— by the end you’ll know which direction to point your social media strategy in.

Check it out: 5 Keys to Branding For Small Business Success

Put People First

Customers have never favored a saccharine or corporate approach to advertising but the growth of social media has made impersonal marketing even less appealing. Use this reality to inspire your social media ethos and develop a strategy that puts people first.

There are many different ways that you can do this. For instance, you could get the members of your startup to carry out ‘social takeovers.’ This is where you hand over the keys of your social media account to someone who doesn’t normally look after it.

It could be anyone, a rep from the admin team, a part-time recruitment official, or one of the company directors. If you’re feeling really daring then you get another company to get involved, such as a local school.

The important thing to remember when you unleash a social takeover is that you don’t get too carried away in your brand message; social media is about building a community and if you want to put people first, it means you’re going to have to let your startup take a backseat.

Partner With Bigger Players

Going viral is a tactic that can reap huge success for a new business; just take the example of Dollar Shave Club, whose excellent video, Our Blades Are F***ing Great, is now part of social media strategy legend…

Unfortunately, not every startup can run a social media campaign that gets over 25 million YouTube views. However, what you can do to give yourself a chance of getting those figures is to partner up with a bigger player.

This could be a social media influencer, or a partnership with a bigger organization. If you’re really smart then you can create one big player from a number of smaller players. How? By using micro-influencers. These are influencer marketers who don’t have the enormous figures of people like Shakira, but do have a devoted following who will be influenced by their recommendations.

Whichever strategy you take, the important thing is that getting an endorsement from a big player can make a huge difference in driving up your social media network and that’s a huge deal – your network is your net worth.

Experiential Marketing: Offline/Online Social

Customers don’t want your startup to sell them your goods, services, or dry corporate messages. What they want instead is for you to engage with them on a level that makes you products part of their life by selling them an experience.

Snapchat have been using AR for sometime and it’s become a potent weapon for a number of businesses. In April 2018 Snapchat released a Shoppable AR Lens feature, an extension of the social media platform’s shoppable ads that let brands connect directly with Snapchat users.

Snapchat’s Shoppable AR Lens was launched by Adidas, Clairol, STX Entertainment, and King. You can see how Adidas made this exponential form of social media work for their Deerupt running shoe by checking out this article. Experiential marketing has enabled these brands (and many more) to use to social media to create awesome offline/online social experiences.

But for your startup to really get the most of this social media tactic, you need as many composite parts of your business working together in harmony as possible. By making sure your website is geared for AR and VR, you can create a strategy that uses experiential marketing to drive customers from your social media accounts to your website.

Host Social Communities

Posting a million different things on social media is great. But what do you think the value to your startup would be if instead of just being a publisher of information for your followers, you used your social media accounts to become a curator and a community manager?

Building up a community by using Twitter chats and Facebook groups is an excellent strategy to get deep engagement from your social media followers. And, remember, engagement is the most valuable currency that social media has.

If you don’t believe me then just listen to what Ryan Stewart, founder of the group Digital Marketing Questions, has to say on the value of creating a social community:

Facebook pages and personal posts rely completely on the Newsfeed algorithm for organic exposure. Facebook groups send users a notification whenever someone posts to the Group, thus driving traffic to each post… Facebook gives users the option to silence these notifications. However, if your group consistently adds value, they won’t.

If you want to find out more on how you can use the social communities to create a winning social media strategy, read this strategy using private Facebook group.

Budget-Friendly Bootstrapping

You don’t have pots of money to throw at every corner of your startup; you need to get a team of people that you can trust, build a website, find an office space that works for you, and have a working accounting system…. And that’s just the beginning!

Thankfully, social media is easy to bootstrap — especially in the early days.

You can automate your processes and scale up your social strategy with a range of free tools and inexpensive VAs. There is so much AI-driven automation out there that can help you take the heavy lifting out of social media management.

Of course, you need a good strategy to get you started — but remember to keep things agile and reactive. Make the most of social advertising to seed and launch content and products, but don’t put your entire business in the hands of one channel either.

So many startup businesses don’t last the test of time and for so many different reasons. Getting your social media strategy wrong might not be thing that sends your startup under, but getting it right could be what takes it into the stratosphere. So, pick your strategy, implement it now, and take your company as far as you can.

Author: Kayleigh Alexandra is passionate about helping startups succeed. She blogs at Microstartups.org and donates all website profits to charities that help people reach their full potential.

 

7 Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Facebook Advertising This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest events in the commercial calendar. Last year’s Valentine’s Day sales totaled $18 billion dollars, and this year is expected to be similar. But what’s the best way to ensure you get your share of the pie? Well, the first step is to reach the largest possible audience, and advertising with Facebook is an easy way to that. Facebook sees over 1 billion unique users every day; that’s about 13% of the population of the planet. With that kind of potential reach, all that’s left for you to worry about, is how you’re going to craft an effective campaign to convert them. So without further ado, here are 7 Do’s and Don’ts to get your Valentine’s Day strategy started on the right foot.

Don’t Delay!

You don’t have to wait until the week before Valentine’s Day to begin your campaign. If you start early, you can beat the competition, and reach the customer before they buy from anyone else.

If you’re running your ads well in advance of the big day, you will want to encourage your customers to take action now by offering timed deals.  It doesn’t have to be much, just a little push to encourage them to act now instead of putting it off. You could offer a coupon, free shipping, or a bonus gift, just to make sure the expiration date of your special offer is crystal clear.

Target Your Ads

Facebook provides you with a multitude of ways to make sure your ads are seen by the right people. There are some essential ways you should be targeting your ads during the lead up to the big day.

The specifics will vary depending on your ad, but for this example, let’s say we’re talking about an ad about a special chocolate hamper aimed at the ‘lady in your life’. First, you want to target men who are currently in a relationship (information helpfully provided to Facebook by the user). Then, depending on your product, you might choose to narrow it further by going for a specific age group, interest area, or geographic location.

Try to build a picture of an ideal customer avatar, and build your ad audience around that.

Don’t Ignore Singles

While everyone else is spending their time going after people in relationships, it’s the perfect time for you to turn your attention to the singles. It can be hard to be single on Valentine’s day, so a campaign of self-love that celebrates unashamedly treating yourself, will win you conversions without the fierce competition that comes with marketing to couples.

Don’t Use a Cheesy Corporate Hashtag

Hashtags can be a great way to promote interaction, and drive social proof, but if you’re going to try a hashtag campaign on Valentine’s Day, you have to be careful. It’s a very personal day, and let’s face it, marketing hashtags aren’t romantic.

However, if you’re targeting singles using the “self-love” approach, then I would encourage you to use all the hashtags you want. Your goal is to create the feeling that it’s okay to treat yourself, and make it a fun event — a hashtag can help.

Don’t feel the need to reach for a cheesy cliche or hashtag if it doesn’t make sense for your brand. Here is how to improve your copy with compelling passion points instead.

Use a Variety of Ad Types

Facebook offers several different ad templates: they’re all designed to achieve different things, and appeal to different people.

If you’re running a large campaign it will be more effective to display your ad to the user in multiple formats, rather than the same one every time. Not all of Facebook’s ad types are appropriate to every campaign. For example, lead ads aren’t going to do much for your Valentine’s day sales. But with a little creative tweaking, you can incorporate videos, carousels, and other interesting visual formats into your strategy.

Appeal to Last-Minute Shoppers

Everyone forgets important dates sometimes — we live in a busy world, and it’s easy to forget to pick up a gift.

As the day gets closer, the customer is left with fewer and fewer options; so if you offer next day, or same day delivery, you could pick up some of the stragglers with your ads. You should also consider adding vouchers or digital products to the mix that people can immediately download, send on, and use. It’s the ideal gift format for the busy person who wants to give something meaningful.

Find a Niche For Your Niche!

Some things are easier to market on Valentine’s Day than others, but even if you’re not selling roses, that doesn’t mean you can’t appeal to the Valentine’s spirit to boost your sales.

For example — we love our pets, so Valentine’s day is a great time to sell dog treats too with some #doggylove spirit. This approach can be applied to all sorts of things —  just keep the tone lighthearted so people don’t think you’re crazy.

If you successfully target an untapped niche you get to reap all the benefits of selling to an audience that your competition might be overlooking. You’re not fighting to be heard, and your audience will appreciate a fresh take after being flooded with generic ads for weeks.

Image credit: Aganyga via Pixabay

Top photo credit: Libreshot

If you’re not really on board with this holiday, you could also find success by standing out from the crowd with some “counter-Valentine’s” marketing too. Whatever your approach is, you’re sure to fall in love with Facebook advertising this Valentine’s day!

entrepreneur hacks Victoria GreenAuthor: Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer.  On her blog, Victoria Ecommerce, she shares tips on building great websites (among other things). Big fan of email marketing and targeted social media.

6 Business Growth Tactics For Entrepreneurs [Infographic]

If you’re an entrepreneur wondering how to ensure your business grows, you must get your marketing down. Start with these tactics discussed in the full article on how to Amplify Business Growth with These 6 Entrepreneur Hacks.

Quick Business Growth Guide

Use this infographic as a handy reference and business growth guide.

If you’re one of the many businesses that has left marketing as an afterthought or simply thought how hard could this be, we just go on Facebook and we’ll figure it out, take a step back. Garner sales from social media is an art and a scient and takes a well thought out strategy and often will take months or years to perfect.

Share this Image On Your Site

Shoutout to Visme for the easy infographic creation tool.

 

3 Easy Tools To Make Infographics And Quote Graphics

The social web is filled with helpful information and often you will find infographics that allow you to easily and quickly consume everything from statistics to recipes.  Other times a piece of inspiration will cross your feed and evoke a powerful emotion because of the imagery and message. Making these images on your own is easier than ever with online tools. Best part is we’re highlighting three that are free to use.

Note: This blog post has been updated to include a fourth infographic tool as of Dec 2017.

Types of Infographics

Wondering what kind of infographic you could make? Think about the useful, entertaining, or educational information you know or can collect. Maybe you have a step by step blog already that you could repurpose into an infographic. Here is a list of types of infographics you might choose from. In fact, this list might make a great infographic itself someday.

  • How To’s
  • Before and After
  • Lists of Resources or Tools
  • Statistics and Awareness Raising info
  • Checklists
  • Tips
  • Recipes
  • Top ___ Lists

You could get a lot of ideas for more types of infographics on Pinterest.

Before starting on the graphic design, be sure to prepare your content. Start with the text that you will relay on the image. Are there any statistics you want to research? Infographics often contain a variety of images within them. Gather the icons, images and design elements that you want to include and then get ready to create.

How To Make Infographics and Quote Images

I had a lot of fun using three tools (there are many more available) to create quote images and infographics. What I most like about these tools is that I used the free version of them and they were relatively easy to use.

  1. Piktochart is what I used to make the infographic you see below. They have templates that you can populate. It will take a little time, but if you like online software, go for it. You can create a professional looking design without paying for one.
  2. Stencil was super fast because it even supplies you quotes to use.
  3. Canva is my go to tool for images for social media.
  4. Visme.co is a BONUS tool that I newly found and has infographic, social media, presentation templates and more. It’s great for creating infographics like the one we did for 6 entrepreneur growth tactics.

 

how to create infographics

Amplify Business Growth with These 6 Entrepreneur Hacks

As entrepreneurs, business owners and marketers, we are obsessed with growth. You probably spend a considerable amount of time wondering how you can grow your business more quickly and effectively, and to your credit, since lack of growth focus inevitably leads to business decline. Unfortunately, when you’re in charge of running a small business, you can’t simply hurl money at problems to make them disappear. Instead you must be agile and capable of coming up with intelligent, reasonable solutions that will put you ahead of your competitors – without leaving you out of pocket. To that effect, here are six entrepreneur hacks that you can use to grow your small business.

Use Social Media To Amplify Your Marketing Efforts

A successful marketing plan must be varied and well thought-out, and of course, you will have a lot to work on outside of your social media campaigns. But social media is a great tool to amplify the impact of your efforts and increase the chances of success. For the most part it’s also very affordable, and yet still under-utilized as a means of marketing. If you’re not using it already, now is the time to start.

Most of us have certain social networks that we prefer to use over others, however, when you’re approaching social media as a business, it’s important to at least be present on all major networks. Give your prospective customers a chance to hear from you. You can then refine your efforts as it becomes clear which channels are proving most effective. Here is a useful guide on choosing the right social networks for your business – it has much to do with your audience and the kind of products or services that you offer.

On that note, you should also consider:

How To Format Content For Different Social Platforms

Often times new business owners make the mistake of routinely posting the same thing on each of their social accounts, without making allowances for the differences between them. But observing and making the most of these differences is crucial, as every social network is used slightly differently, and for varying purposes. To really get the best out of your social marketing efforts, content should be specifically repurposed for each platform.

Twitter users, for example, favor short and snappy statements accompanied by an image or GIF. Facebook users love memes: the humorous and engaging images (accompanied by text and often rooted in popular culture) that often appear on our newsfeeds. Instagram is all about beautiful and appealing photography, and using hashtags strategically. And LinkedIn users are looking for something longer and meatier that offers some good insight. Even if you plan on sharing the same message or piece of content across all four, the content and format will require mixing up for best results.

Naturally you will then find that some networks work better for you than others, and when you do, you can really start to push your efforts in that direction. Most social platforms offer some sort of advertising scheme that will make your posts more visible – Facebook advertising is a good place to start. As you get to know your customer niche, you can also start perusing specialist groups and forums to find out what people are saying and what matters to them.

Tap Into The Power Of Influencers

Influencers are a little like the celebrities of the online world. They could be a huge star, who with just one endorsement will send thousands of people flocking to your website, or they could be a small fry, but with enough credibility built up over time to provide you with a valuable recommendation.

First off, you will want to do some research. There are many different types of influencer, and a number of ways to go about finding them, whether that’s through an agency or using one of several online tools, such as Buzzstream or LinkedIn Groups. You then need to get to know them a little and follow them on social media to see what matters to them, before making your pitch. Find out how to do influencer marketing right in 2017.

Leverage Your Existing Client Relationships

In addition to the online celebs, never underestimate the power of online reviews from average customers. These matter a great deal too. Customers can be encouraged to leave reviews by making sure that it’s easy to do so, putting existing reviews in a visible place, soliciting reviews via email, and through incentives such as a monthly prize draw or gamification.

amplify business growth with influencers

Be Open To Feedback

If you’re a business owner, then knowing how to handle others’ assessment is crucial. Especially in the early days, seek feedback from as many people as possible, and make sure they’re being honest. Don’t be content with praise: ask for constructive comments about your product, your branding, your customer service. And don’t become defensive if what you hear isn’t what you expected.

Remember, you don’t have to follow all suggestions, but it is important that you hear them. If you are only surrounded with ‘yes people’ then you could miss out on potential ways to make your product offering much better. Here are some top tips for gathering feedback.

Nail Your 90-Second Elevator Pitch

The seasoned investor and entrepreneur Robert Herjavec says “You have 90 seconds to make an impact in your pitch”. That’s if you’re lucky. “If you can’t make your point persuasively in that time, you’ve lost the chance for impact. Facts and figures are important, but it’s not the only criteria – you must present in a manner that generates expertise and confidence. If you’re not prepared to make your pitch, you may just miss your next big opportunity.”

As a fresh-faced entrepreneur, being able to concisely and creatively describe what is unique about what you do is one of the most important skills to master. And it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Likewise, many also make the mistake of thinking their pitch is a one-way conversation – it isn’t. The best elevator pitches use questions to create a two-way conversation and ensure that your points remain relevant. The best advice is to aim for simplicity and get straight to the heart of what you do: no rambling off-point. If you can develop a 90-second elevator pitch that gets people inspired, you’re onto a very good thing.

Here is one of the top guides to assembling a winning elevator pitch.

Spread Your Overhead Costs

When you’re in charge of a startup or running a new business, it’s wise to keep your initial costs to a minimum, otherwise you will be under a lot of pressure to generate income faster. The more debt you become saddled with in the beginning, the higher your chances of failing, so you should ensure there is a legitimate reason to invest in everything that you buy, whether that’s office space, kit, or a new employee. At least in the beginning, you must be willing to get stuck into creative problem-solving and make some compromises.

An office premises is obviously one of the biggest expenses for any new business, and one of the reasons that many new companies now choose to set themselves up online. Another expense is kitting the place out with desks, chairs, computers, and so forth. In this instance, you might want to consider leasing or buying second-hand. Software can also add up if you need a lot of it, so you may wish to seek out options that allow you to break the cost down and pay monthly, rather than forking out for an annual subscription in one go.

For example, if you’re starting an eCommerce business, then you might choose to go with a reliable hosted online store platform like Shopify, which starts with a free two-week trial, then allows you to pay monthly for a basic, standard or advanced plan, which can be as little as $29 per month. BigCommerce also offers similar pricing.

A new business needs time to start generating a profit, and can often take longer than 12 months to do so. This is worth bearing in mind as you make financial estimates for the first year of trading.

The lifestyle of an entrepreneur has potential to be incredibly rewarding, but it has its ups and downs and its own fair share of stressors. Always remember as you work towards your goals that every one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs once stood exactly where you are. Absorb their lessons, practice patience, and be willing to take risks every now and again.

 Tell us what you think! Are there are more startup business hacks you would add? Let us know by sharing them in the comments.

entrepreneur hacks Victoria GreenAuthor:  Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer.  Victoria works with new ecommerce businesses and entrepreneurs to create valuable content and targeted marketing strategies that yield strong results. She is always happy to share some of her knowledge with others to help them get their startups off the ground.