So you are a budding entrepreneur with an amazing idea, but limited cash? Well, most entrepreneurs are. Do you know there are 472 million entrepreneurs worldwide and every year 100 million startups are created?
Encouraging statistics, right? But just to give you a reality check; 90% of these newly born companies fail. When CB insights collected data on startups, it found that 29% of the start-ups got busted because they ran out of cash. These figures are not meant to discourage you. They have been mentioned to give you a quick heads up.
It is easier to get excited about an idea. But to succeed, you need to keep a close eye on your expenses. As a startup, your goal is to spread awareness about the products and services you are offering.
You cannot compete with the large conglomerates that spend millions on marketing, but thanks to social media, you now have the power to market yourself at minimal cost.
Social media is doing wonders for start-ups. With 2.8 billion active users worldwide, it only makes sense to include social media in the marketing plan. Here is how you can harness the power of social media to stand out from the crowd:
1. Draft a strategy
The first and foremost thing you need to do is draft a social media strategy. Just having social media presence does not suffice; you need to be clear on what you want and how you plan on to achieve it.
Lack of a social media strategy gives a competitive edge to your competitors. A robust strategy should include measurable goals and methods to measure them.
Your goals should be ambitious, but not unrealistic. Your strategy should also clearly define who your target audience is and what platforms you will use to target them. Spending mindlessly on every platform will just drain your resources.
For example, Twitter is now losing ground as compared to Facebook and WhatsApp. Particularly if your target audience consists of millennials, Facebook rules all other platforms. Stats show that 76% of users log on to Facebook every day while 51% log on to Instagram. Hence, it is important to know which platform you should dedicate your resources to.
2. Increase Engagement
The ultimate goal of spending on social media is to increase sales, and it will only happen when you can divert traffic to your website. The best way to lure customers to your business via social media is to engage them.
You can increase engagement through images and videos. Facebook users alone watch 100 million hours of video every single day. You can also create a YouTube channel and optimize your videos for more traffic.
Being responsive on social media also drives engagement and satisfaction. People usually prefer to connect with a company on social media rather than via phone or email because they expect swift responses.
Customer service interactions on Twitter have increased by 250% in the last two years. Research shows that answering a social media complaint increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%, which is a good figure.
Speedy responses can directly increase customers’ spending. According to a poll conducted by Twitter, airline customers were willing to pay $2.33 more if the social response was provided within 67 minutes. Also, they would pay $19.83 more if the complaint is handled within six minutes.
3. Build a community
A community of advocates can do wonders for your brand. Advocates give rise to user-generated content that can boost your brand awareness in no time.
A community around your brand helps build your credibility since people today trust earned media; .i.e. recommendations from friends and family more than paid advertising. Building a community takes a lot more effort and involves more than just sharing content on your social media channels.
To create a community, you need to listen to your fans and carry out personalized conversations. You need to answer all queries and thank people when they share your content.
A great way to build a strong community is via influencers. Influencers are people with a lot of clout and followers. They can sway the purchase decisions of people. Influencer marketing has a great return on investment. According to a poll conducted by Tomoson, businesses make $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
4. Use social media tools for scheduling purposes
A plethora of tools in the market can make your life easy. If you don’t have enough money to hire a social media specialist or time to dedicate yourself to it, you can always use these tools. HootSuite is one tool that makes it easier to post across all channels.
With this tool, you can easily schedule your posts on each platform. Also, it allows you to track and measure conversion. Citeninja is another tool that helps engage influencers and reach out to bloggers. Meetedgar is also quite a useful tool. Unlike other tools that allow you to schedule posts, Meetedgar re-shares evergreen posts that automatically drive traffic to your site.
5. Measure results
You can spend endlessly on your social media plan, but it is of no use if it does not bring results. To make sure that your strategy is working, you need to measure results. While creating your strategy, set metrics.
Your metrics can include conversion, traffic, sales, and awareness. Almost all platforms allow you to get insights regarding your campaigns. As for the sales and traffic to your website, you can use Google Analytics.
Social media is an easy and cost-effective way for startups and small business to establish themselves. However, it will only bring results if used strategically. To harness the power of social media in the true sense, you need to step into the shoes of your audience and think from their perspective.
Social media is not always about promoting your products; it is about building relationships with your customers. Always remember, your audience will only be your advocate once it feels valued and heard.
Erica Silva is a blogger who loves to discover and explore the world around her. She writes on everything from marketing to technology, science and brain health. She enjoys sharing her discoveries and experiences with readers and believes her blogs can make the world a better place. Find her on Twitter: @ericadsilva1