Launching your startup is a multi-faceted endeavour and involves keeping a number of balls in the air in order to get your business off the ground. While there are a number of factors going into this juggling act, today, we’re going to be focusing on two pivotal points – social media and your business story.
We’ve known for some time that purchasing a product or service is based on emotional touch points and that understanding the customer journey goes a long way to converting visitors into consumers. An integral part of the customer decision making process is the brand story as this speaks directly to how a potential customer views your brand. In order to gain a happy ever ever for your business, your brand story needs to tick the following boxes:
- Where the idea for the business came from
- Which pain points the idea was designed to solve
- How you got started
- The obstacles that you encountered along the way and, how you overcame them
- The sweet spot – how you overcame adversity to emerge victorious
By putting together your brand story, you encourage potential customers to form an emotional bond with your brand – when they know who you are and what you’re about, a customer is much more likely to want to become part of your story.
Connecting the dots
Social media is incredibly important for startups for a number of reasons including that all important budget. Traditional methods of marketing and advertising can be extremely expensive and can quickly deplete the modest startup budget whereas, with social media advertising, you get a lot more bang for your buck. As well as reasonably priced PPC advertising which puts you in control of your spending, social media allows you to quickly build on your brand’s profile and grow your customer base. In 2020, there are lots of different social media platforms out there so, which one is right for your business?
Ask the audience
When deciding which platform will help your business to gather steam, you need to figure out the profile of the user that you’re trying to reach. For example, Pinterest’s user base is 80% female and, so, if you’re selling male grooming products, you’re likely to find yourself whistling into the wind with this image-based platform. While there are no hard or fast rules for social media marketing, we can break down the major players as follows:
Facebook – With 1.65 billion active users every month, Facebook allows a huge amount of scope for engagement. For this reason, Facebook tends to be the go-to platform for new businesses who are looking to get the conversation started regarding their brand story and to gain followers. Facebook is ideal for startups as it is a major component of social listening and, therefore, the perfect place to start cultivating brand ambassadors.
Twitter – With its slightly stingy 280 character limit, Twitter nonetheless enjoys a whopping 310 million active users. Due to its slightly restrictive nature, Twitter is not suited to the sharing of long, complex storytelling but is ideal for connecting with influencers and the sharing of short and sweet news items.
LinkedIn – Known as the social media platform for business, this one may provide the missing link for your brand if you’re looking to make B2B connections, forge business collaborations or to find professional freelancers or contractors.
Instagram & Pinterest – As these two social media powerhouses are about putting your brand in the picture – quite literally – they’re best suited to businesses which are selling products which may benefit from slick and professional photography.
I couldn’t, of course, put together a guide to social media marketing without mentioning the buzz brand for 2020, TikTok. With 800 million installs worldwide, TikTok isn’t just for kids showing off their dance moves and hilarious pet videos. Brands are also taking advantage of this craze by creating their own channels, uploading regular videos, working with influencers and taking advantage of the platform’s 3.7 million active users with TikTok’s paid advertising options.
In the brave new world of 2020, a successful startup needs to do so much more than just selling. These days, marketing is all about forming relationships and bonding with potential customers. As such, right from the beginning, you should be using your social media presence to encourage engagement through posting authoritative content, being proactive with responding to users and, taking advantage of interactive engagement activities such as surveys, competitions and giveaways. Not only will this help you to build your following but, importantly, will also enable you to start collecting that all-important customer data.
As you move forward with your business, your social media presence and brand story will work hand in hand to turn your brand into a trusted, three-dimensional force to be reckoned with.