As the owner of a startup, many things can probably seem overwhelming at times. From managing inventory; interacting with clients, overseeing accounting, managing your staff, meeting payroll, and a myriad of other things that can only be managed by you—the owner or other top managers of the business.
However, one of the easiest things to manage when it comes to your startup—is your social media accounts.
I say that it’s easy because one of the most fun and exciting aspects of marketing is shaping a brand’s core base is by managing of its social media presence. This is where you, as the owner or manager of the company can talk directly to your audience.
More importantly, it’s where your audience also has the opportunity to talk directly to you and give feedback on their experience with your brand. Here's a few social media branding strategies to help build your startup, create a community, and engage with your audience.
1. Tell your story…daily
A mistake often made by many brands (not just startups), is neglecting to keep their audience updated on not just what’s going on with the brand—but also what the brand stands for.
How many times have you gone to a company’s social media page, scrolled down a few posts, and still had no idea of what that brand stood for and what the brand represented?
As the manager of a startup, it’s imperative that you’re constantly amplifying your brand’s story to your audience via social media. Not saying that you have to give your brand’s bio every day (that wouldn’t be fun at all). However, you should be iterating your brand’s identity on social media on a daily basis.
In other words, your audience should always be able to look at the last five posts on all of your social media pages and know exactly what your brand stands for.
2. Engage your audience
One key marketing principle to remember is this, 'people appreciate brands that appreciate them.' And what better way is there to show your appreciation for your audience than by interacting with them on social media?
Your audience will appreciate the fact that you—a representative of the company, took time out of your busy schedule to help them with their inquiry. Or that you just took the time to show your appreciation for them supporting your brand.
3. Create your community
One of the most important aspects of social media marketing for any brand is simply creating a social environment. Consumers like to interact with their like-minded counterparts. So, allow them to do just that.
The formula to creating a social environment for your brand goes as follows:
Create the product or service.
Identify what makes it different from everything else currently available.
Amplify that difference to a target audience.
Provide a place for those that'll embrace your brand’s differences to gather with others.
Allow that community to thrive with little direction from your brand and try to avoid micromanaging it.
4. Be a creator of tension
As humans, we’re drawn to tension like a moth to a flame. It’s why we love thriller movies that are loaded with suspense. It’s why fans of sports teams get so excited on draft day. It’s also why viewers of certain reality shows get so antsy in anticipation of seeing if their favorite contestant will win or get eliminated.
In his book, This Is Marketing, author and marketing hall of famer Seth Godin, states, “We create tension when we ask someone to contribute to the bake sale or join our book club. We’re using one force to overcome another force (the status quo). "
One way you can create tension within your audience on social media is by doing things like coordinating giveaways or sweepstakes for your brand's social media followers. This will give your audience an incentive to engage with your brand because it’s free and inclusive. Tension will be created due to the fact that people don't like missing out on free prizes (loss aversion is a great tension creator).
Here’s a sweepstakes idea I created that your customers will certainly appreciate:
Conduct a sweepstakes on social media where the first 50 or 100 people that take a picture with one of your brand’s products; posts it on their social media page, tags your brand’s social media account as well as one of their friends’ accounts—will receive a valuable prize or exclusive access to your brand’s next product release before it's available to the public.
This works because it not only involves your brand's followers, it also has a word-of-mouth element to it because those followers will also include one of their friends in the sweepstakes. One of the few things people love more than sharing cool things with their friends is receiving free things. So, why not help them do both via social media?
Remember, the key to creating tension is that it must be random. Your audience shouldn’t be able to predict when you’re going to do it or exactly what you're going to do. But it does need to be frequent enough that your audience stays dialed in so that they won't miss out on your next event.
5. Be helpful
Last, but certainly not least—is the simple act of helpfulness. Helpfulness is the gift that keeps on giving. Which is why your brand should exemplify helpfulness in every facet. One of which is through social media.
Your audience has dreams, goals, and questions that your brand could help them with. And if there’s something that consumers need that your company doesn’t provide, you could still be helpful by pointing them in the direction of a person or entity that does provide what they’re looking for.
In his book, Crushing It, author, entrepreneur, and social media legend, Gary Vaynerchuk, made this pertinent statement regarding social media branding and helping your audience, “If you’re just starting out, this is the number one thing to do to build your brand.”
A great way to build your brand is by helping your audience daily. And social media is the perfect platform to do that.