While every brand aspires to create the best product or service for their audience, reaching the right people and convincing them to care about your business is arguably more important. For many brands, the best way to do that is through social media, which has the potential to reach around 3.5 billion people worldwide.
Indeed, research shows that customers spend 20-40% more on brands that interact with them on social media, while 71% of consumers who enjoy a positive social media experience with a brand are likely to recommend them to others. So what are you waiting for? Here are some tips to get your business started.
1. Pick the right channels for your brand
As a startup, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the funds or time to juggle all the different social media channels at once, so it’s initially best to only choose and master a few. The most important factor When picking which platform to use, the most important factor is finding which social networks your target audience use most actively—there’s no point posting content they won’t see. You should, therefore, conduct market research to ascertain their social media habits, whether through online surveys or focus groups.
You should also perform extensive competitor research. By analysing how those in your industry harness social media, you can see what platforms they are already utilising successfully. While your competitors may have a presence across several channels, there’ll likely be a standout one which nets them more followers and interactions than the others. This can give you an idea of the platforms which may help you attract a wider audience.
2. Create a clear content strategy
Creating content to share on your social media pages is essential, and 72% of marketers agree that content boosts customer engagement. However, you need a clear strategy to avoid alienating your audience, and you should make sure to only produce the type of content that your audience will engage with. As noted by MN2S, this is integral when building a social media presence: “If your content doesn’t interest, excite, or humour people, they’re going to scroll right on past.” Market and competitor research is again vital in helping you gauge what content will and won’t work. Your choice of platforms will also influence this decision. For instance, sites like Instagram and Pinterest are more suited to visual content, while platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are better for blog posts. You also don’t want to bombard your followers with content, or fail to drive interest by not posting enough. Your platform choices will massively influence the frequency with which you should be posting—for example, research suggests that businesses should post a lot more on Twitter than on Facebook, and a lot less on LinkedIn than on Instagram.
Once you’ve established the type of content you’ll produce, and how often you will post it, create a content calendar with a general outline to reflect this, as well as which platforms it will appear on. Without knowing what you’re posting in advance, there could be fallow periods which come at the detriment of user engagement. We recommend planning out at least three months’ worth of content at a time, to be on the safe side.
3. Find ways to interact with your audience
Growing your business necessitates engaging with like-minded individuals who will invest in your products or services, and connecting with them via social media is a simple and effective way to do this. This helps you forge relationships with customers and, in the long term, can enable you to build a strong online community of loyal followers. Not engaging with your audience can also have negative consequences. Businesses that fail to respond to customer comments can see a 43% drop in customer advocacy.
Aside from replying to customers, there are a few other ways you can engage with them. Post content that actively motivates your audience to take action. This could be anything from a Twitter poll, an Instagram post that encourages your followers to tag their friends, or simply asking for input on a post. Simple instructional phrases like ‘which do you prefer?’ or ‘tweet us’, will do the trick. User-generated content is equally effective—encourage your audience to post pictures with your products for a chance to be featured on your page or win a prize. It’s also important to note that audience interaction works both ways. The more you interact with others by commenting on, liking, and sharing their posts, the more likely they are to reciprocate.