How Startups Can Use Social Media to Launch Themselves
If you are a startup, there might be a good chance that you don’t have enough funds to launch your product on a larger scale. If your product is from a well known brand in the market, it becomes easier to sell the product USP to the consumer. Add to it the TVCs, print ads, Google ads and heavy PR, and the job is well done.
However, if you are deprived of these privileges, you bank heavily on one thing alone, creativity.
The challenge is how to create awareness and sell your USP without real financial backing. You depend mostly on your content to do the trick and pick up at a later stage. Your team continues with the brainstorming sessions to find that one idea to click with the audience. You hope to create the buzz and set those wheels of virality in motion. However, unlike big brands, you need lot of time in hand to build your brand image brick by brick. Of course, the truth of the matter is that your brand may not do as well as the one with finances. What do you do in that case?
Start months before the product launch.
Most brands would want to coincide their Social Media launch with the product launch. The reason being:
- What will I promote if the product is not out there in the market?
- I could lose on potential leads.
- I don’t want to answer any consumer questions until my product hits the market.
In simple words, watch the movie, no trailer for you.
The idea of launching SM and the product on the same day may not always work well. If you have something unique to sell, it always helps to show the audience a preview of it.
Some successful practices include:
- Identifying influencers in your field of interest
- Conversing with influencers and sharing related content
- Creating a blog to share your thoughts and ideas with like minded people. Target bloggers and get them to guest blog for you
- Create a Facebook page to build a community
- Share the latest news on your product development and features on all platforms
- Share the inside story of your brands by sharing photos of the happening events and the team behind the product.
- Target active and relevant forums and groups. Converse with the audience on these forums and share your thoughts
Remember, all of this requires no financial backing. You simply need a smart content writer to come up with engaging content and generate conversations. Doing this before launch can help build an online community.
The best example of an ongoing pre-launch marketing I can think of is; tablewalla.
What is tablewalla?
We have all had that one moment of frustration of being on the waiting list of a restaurant. You spend hours outside the restaurant eagerly looking for the waiter to call you inside. And that thought comes to your mind, if only I had booked the table.
The USP of tablewalla is very simple and unique in its own way. Whether you plan a dinner with your family or a luncheon with your colleagues, tablewalla enables confirmed, real-time, online bookings. The pain of calling individual restaurants to check the availability is gone. You want to book a table; then tablewalla becomes your single effective destination.
What are they doing?
The website is up for the preview. Since the service is yet to be launched, the website is integrated with the blog. Users can register themselves with tablewalla by filling up a quick form.
Notice the “table bookings coming soon.” Loud and clear.
The website gives a clear indication about what its motives. The blogs are about new restaurants, chefs in town, events, recipes and everything related to food. The blog serves as a perfect hub for food enthusiasts to talk and share their thoughts on food.
The page currently has 1901 fans…
…and looks delicious.
The page is loaded with mouth watering content. The content is wisely chosen and sticks to their expertise in the industry. They are not just promoting food, but restaurants too, a huge plus point given the fact that most of these restaurant are already active on Social Media.
Working towards Sign Ups
An interesting element of Facebook is the Join Now tab; a very simple form that registers the user with tablewalla in just two clicks.
Building a consumer base
Looking at the conversations, users have already started asking about the brand. This is a good sign and indicates that they will be looking forward to using the service.
All in all, tablewalla’s Facebook is building not just a community of food lovers but also potential customers.
Twitter is probably the best platform to have one on one conversation with food enthusiasts. A healthy mix of content and following the right people is all you need to make twitter work. Talking to enthusiasts and gaining their loyalty helps build the positive image of the brand.
Currently tablewalla has 155 followers and counting.
With their expertise of restaurants and food, they have managed to get the attention of restaurants and food bloggers on twitter.
When asked why did they pick social media as a marketing medium, Nisha Khanna, Founder of tablewalla said:
No business can afford to ignore the power and reach of social media. As tablewalla is an online service, it made sense to initially focus on online marketing in order to reach our target audience.
Facebook and Twitter have been great platforms for us to set the voice and tone of our brand and we’ve been really encouraged by the response from our users. We’ve generated lots of word-of-mouth buzz and have had many sign-ups as a result of our social media efforts.
Naturally, our strategy will evolve after we launch tablewalla and we’re excited about all the engaging online activities we’ve planned for the near future.
What clicks for tablewalla is that they have a unique business model and they are not afraid of shouting it out loud.
The team at tablewalla manages to effectively integrate and execute social media as a part of their pre-launching strategy. Having created enough buzz, it will only help the brand leverage existing fans when the product is actually launched.