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Written by Laura Hiscox, Marketing and PR Manager– Radical Moves PR

As a new business owner you’re likely to be giving everything you’ve got to getting your startup off the ground, developing your products ready for market and cementing your market offering. As if that wasn’t enough, now you’ve got to get savvy with a raft of marketing and PR techniques to cut through your competition and get yourself in front of the audience that needs to know about your products and services.

A strong social media presence is a must to have any chance at all of being seen by your prospects within the sea of Facebook’s two billion active users, Instagram’s one billion, twitter’s 275 million or LinkedIn’s 250 million.

Here are some of the key things to consider around social media for your start-up.

Start at the very beginning

It’s important that you define your strategy before you sign up for social accounts. Consider where your start-up’s related audience spend their time. Shortlist at most four or five channels to get started with. How will social media help your business meets its goals and objectives. Ensure that your presence is speaking with the same voice and tone of your other customer interactions.  This ties into the next of the social media must dos…

Have a clear opinion and stay true to it

Social media is an ever-crowded space. Cutting through the noise can be difficult. Have a clear opinion on the subjects in your field and make sure this perspective comes through in the content that you share. Be clear and confident and above all be consistent. Sense check your messaging and makes sure it’s sharing your company values authentically. Of course, the occasional light-hearted post is likely quite acceptable but don’t go completely off-piste!

Use analytics tools

It’s difficult to know how effective your social media efforts are if you don’t measure and analyse. You need to know follower engagement, growth and click through rate and the good news is that platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have in-built tools to measure and report these figures at the click of a button. There are, of course, multiple paid for or ‘lite’ versions of tools such as those within Hootsuite, Meltwater, Sprout Social, Mention and BrandMentions. These tools have a much more broad reach and often deeper level of insight so it’s ideal to take a demo or trial before you buy.

Develop an influencer marketing strategy

You know who’s hot in your industry, whose opinion you value and who speaks the truth. Cultivate relationships with them; follow them, share their posts, and engage with them in online conversation. Perhaps they will guest post on your blog and in time you can do the same on theirs. These people already have a voice that can shape the way your potential customers act and can increase your reach.

Keep up with new trends by attending workshops or webinars

The tools and platforms in social media are constantly evolving and changing. It seems that once solid social media platforms are having their validity challenged as new ones move in and take hold of audience share. Keep abreast of new trends by attending social media events like Social Media Week, follow key leaders in the industry, or get yourself signed up to a webinar.  

Make an editorial calendar

Keeping your social media plan organised means you can schedule your posting more effectively and avoid repeated use of the same content.  It puts you firmly in control of your online presence meaning you won’t have to be reactive and you can choose when and where to post. Key industry tradeshows can inform your plan. If you are attending events think about how you can build them into your calendar for posting. Post in the lead up to the event, post when you arrive and throughout the day(s) that you are there, post in the days afterwards.

Evaluate your strategy regularly

The fast pace and rapid growth often experienced by startups can be overwhelming. Once you have set up your accounts and found a routine for managing your social media, schedule regular sense checks to evaluate your efforts. There are tools available that will help with monitor engagement with just one click, like Social Bakers or Audiense. If you are struggling with engagement on a particular channel check you’ve given it the attention it needs or that you are posting at the times when your audience is there.  

Use visually attractive content

Millions upon millions of photos are uploaded to Facebook daily so it’s down to you as the business owner to make sure you include eye-catching and engaging pictures and video to captivate your audience.

Don’t focus on followers, focus on relationships

Relationship marketing moves the focus from traditional marketing methods and puts the customer at the core, where you listen to them and respond to them. Keep an eye out for what your customers are saying, their queries and concerns and resolve their issues in the quickest time possible, as visibly as you can. If you need to respond privately make sure your audience can see you’re doing so.  Finding the customers who are most loyal and your biggest supporters will help you generate genuine excitement about your brand.

In summary, applying some of the tips discussed will help your new business grow and with the right tools and techniques your social media efforts shouldn’t go unnoticed. Social media for startups should be kept strategic and simple to serve the best results.

This blog post originaly appeared on the TechHub Swansea