In the current social media dominant world, starting a business conventional way seems a little absurd. People connect and communicate with each other online and through social media.
Setting up business on social media with proper planning and strategy is important since billions of people are present on different channels. The recent statistics show that more than 1.6 billion people use Facebook in their free time to gather information and connect with friends. Twitter has an average of 300 million users, out of whom 80% are active and tweeting on weekly if not daily basis.
LinkedIn has 347 million users, most of which are professionals and experts while Pinterest user base consists of more than 70 million users. Based on these statistics, anyone can figure out that these platforms are most effective and fastest way to reach people.
Before starting anything, do a thorough market research to get an idea about the needs and wants of people. If you create a product without finding out its market demand, you are wasting your time and money. Start working on the product after you are sure it will sell once introduced in market. The same tip goes for starting a business or service.
For a startup, it might be difficult to gain exposure in initial phases of launch, but then again success does not happen overnight. You need to be patient and consistent in following your business strategy to garner expected objectives and projected results.
Lack of finances, resources, work force and connections prove to be the biggest hurdles in setting up any type of business. Bigger companies and multinationals do not have to face same problems while expanding their businesses on social media.
To help startups with the problem, we have compiled a list of tactics and strategies that can prove extremely useful in setting up business on social media. Follow these tips and you will be off to a right start.
1. Devise social media strategy: Make a list of your business goals and aims you hope to accomplish using social media. Figure out how social media will help you achieve that. Having an outstanding strategy can help guide your social media promotions to the maximum height likely to happen. Also, research about of your target audience, their demographics, interests, behaviors and psychographics. You would also want to figure out the kind of company you want to be on social media.
Startups need to keep a close look out on their competitors and industry you are operating in. Companies take-off one day but end up becoming a failure the very next day, so it is important to read the news related to startups (Successful and unsuccessful, both) and tech advancements.
Your brand or business is unique from others so come up with unique objectives that shed light on you and help you stand out from the crowd. Instead of imitating your competitor’s strategy, curate your own that ensures success.
You also need to know the kind of company you aspire to be. Are you going to adapt classic approach, being direct and to the point or do you plan to take the easy going approach with no strict rules and laws. The preferred approach should be incorporated in social media strategy and then you need to stick with it. Audience and consumers like you better when you are consistent and have everything figured out with a clear understanding of what you want to do.
2. Prepare content: Defining your content strategy is the second most important step in setting up a business. Your content need to be useful and able to drive traffic and profits. Lay out a plan for the type of content (audio, video, pictures, visuals, infographics, slides, GIFs, notes etc) you want to deliver.
Your target audience plays a huge role in deciding your content strategy. Their personas, wants and needs drive your strategy behind the creation of content. Whatever content they prefer will then allow you o choose the preferred medium for your campaign.
3. Choose the preferred medium: Once you have the social media strategy all planned out, and you know what type of content you would like to post to grow your business, it is time to choose that one primary channel that will make magic happen for you.
As I explained in the introduction, millions and billions of people use social media across the world to connect and interact. Based on your content and audience predispositions towards a certain medium, you can post your content on that medium, keeping it a primary channel of communication.
There are top five social media channels that are used by professionals and brands to grow their businesses.
Facebook: It is the largest social media platform on the face of digital world and claims more than 700 million active monthly users. It works best when you are trying to reach a wider and mass audience across the country or world. Being one of the most credible platforms, every business has a Facebook profile and page that is open to public. You must do the same, as it is also the biggest platform to bring potential customers and increase connections.
Twitter: Research shows people make most of their buying decisions when they are using social media and see recommendations from their personal contacts. Out of these, 68 percent of twitter users are prone to purchase a product from the business they follow.
Twitter works best when you want to have a more personal connection with your followers. You can thank and appreciate them via direct messages or mentioning their user names in tweets. The one-on-one customer engagement is also high on Twitter; hence, it is absolutely necessary to keep it as a key part of your social media strategy.
LinkedIn: When you want to connect with professionals and clients, LinkedIn is the place to go. It is easy to find business partners on LinkedIn since the profiles have all the information about a person’s academic background, work experience and interest / passions.
LinkedIn is more of professional network rather than social media but it is still a great way to facilitate global and regional networking.
YouTube: To build brand awareness via interactive stories, YouTube serves as your best friend. You can engage people through comments section and distribute videos easily. People can either subscribe your channel or find you when they enter keywords used in your title post.
Make sure that your videos are high definition and are able to load easily. Slow loading content usually gets overlooked since people become impatient. Cross-market your business effectively by distributing content on other platforms and social media channels.
Instagram: If you are a business that focuses on image marketing, you need to sign up on Instagram right away. Share your story through pictures and infographics. To ensure the reach of Instagram posts, use hashtags that are specifically related to your product as well as the general ones. This helps you get found in multiple search results increasing engagements on your posts.
4. Use personal connections to grow: In the start, your business can only grow if you share it with your personal connections and ask them to share it further. Word travels fast through word of mouth marketing. In social media scenario, people are likely to consider a source credible if it is recommended by their friends or a person they trust.
For this reason, you can also use employee advocacy and leverage their social media accounts to promote the business as well. Ask your client and business partners to do the same since it is everybody’s interest and credible way to fast start your business compared to Facebook advertising.
5. Pay attention to customer demands: People can be smarter than you think they are. Sometimes their ideas are creative and might help you improve your business strategy. Therefore, never miss out on any suggestions they make in comment sections.
The customers are the one consuming your product or services so they understand it better and can give you insightful ideas on how to modify or improve your brand’s spirit.
6. Social media customer service: With everything happening on internet and specifically social media, traditional ways are dying. People no longer need to call customer help services and wait for hours to get their complaints through.
Social media customer service allows you to listen to people in real time and solve their problem immediately. This is not only feasible for customers but also for the businesses, since they do not need to invest separately in traditional help lines that cost way more than a customer service page set up on a social media platform that is free of cost.
7. Monitor and evaluate: Having a successful social media strategy does not mean your work is finished. You need to constantly keep track of your social media profiles, comments and feedback from audience, interactions and overall performance.
One of the easy way to monitor social media profiles is by buying monitoring tools that give you complete analytics about your brand mentions, people who are talking about it and trending topics relevant to your business.
With these handy softwares, you can also schedule posts throughout the day to keep your online brand presence integral.