The world has gone social and there are multiple means of reaching out to customers for startups; be it twitter, facebook or any other medium. The customers have means and they're making themselves heard. The question we'd like to put forward here is about social media strategies. There are a few
questions first that one needs to think about:
- Is a social media strategy necessary for a startup?
- How much energy can one devote for this?
- Can or should you outsource it?
If you believe the answer to the first question to be "No", then perhaps this isn't the post for you but if you've been in the internet sphere and been even vaguely associated to the online world, you're sure to know that a social media strategy is definitely on the planning board. In India, if you're targeting the masses, Facebook is still the place to be but Twitter can be leveraged very effectively when one has a niche audience. Twitter is more likely to give a higher return on investment of your time.
If it is a B2B tech product, having a social media presence is just an item on the check list, not that important. If you are talking about B2C, you need all the social connectivity you can get. Also, there is very little work involved and the responses need to be very relevant and trustworthy. I think for a startup, one needs to handle one's Social Media presence. Maybe later, when you have become a monstrous company with thousands of Page likes and hundreds of Twitter followers, one can delegate it to an internal staff or outsource it.
- Arjun Subburaj, Head of Operations, Mowares
There are a few things which are very important while managing the handles:
- Be a giver. People will follow and like, if you provide them something useful. As always, the joy of giving will reap sweet fruits.
- Have Patience. Gaining traction is not an overnight process, it grows like by like; follower after follower but only if you believe in what you're building. And if you really do, it'll show in what you do.
Once a startup is just off the block, it is almost inevitable to handle it yourself as the money coffers would still be empty. If you absolutely can't do it, it's important for people who manage the social media presence of a product to know and understand the product. It's best that someone from the team do it as it can also be used for feedback and beta testing. Taking an example, Chirag Yadav, the founder at Chaipatty, a Teafe chain in Bangalore takes care of the handle and does a brilliant job with building engagement.
One might argue that it is relatively easy for a concept like Chaipatty to have a burgeoning Twitter following but it is even possible for a a hard core tech product. Based out of Pune, BootStrapToday does a fine job with it:
So, be your startup in any sector, social media can be leveraged. At the end of the day, it comes down to being genuine and give rather than having a single minded focus on getting 'followers' and 'likes'. Be it you, the founder or someone else managing the accounts but the handle should represent the heart be of the company. What are your views on social media? Are you an entrepreneur and do it yourself? If you've outsourced, how has your experience been?