Social media can be the most inexpensive and the most effective tool in your startup arsenal. It is an obvious way for Start-ups to engage with their prospects, investors and partners from day one.
Today, there are countless options for start-ups to connect with customers via digital media. But, a lot of start-ups still face numerous problems while handling these two-way social media conversations. With limited time and financial resources, it can be very difficult for them to handle these activities as they attempt to build their businesses.
To find out significant problems that business owners face, we reached out to some Start up Entrepreneurs. Here’s what they identified as the biggest Social Media challenges for start-ups:
Creating Engaging Content
A lot of start-ups are challenged by content creation. Content has always been the king in the digital world. And most of these start ups seem to grapple with content creation in this content focused social sphere.
They have been constantly trying to balance between content quality, relevance, creativity and budget.
Perzen Patel, Founder of Bawi Bride a Parsi food blog and a catering service also says that
Running on low budget and at the same time not being able to see immediate returns is definitely a major challenge that social media brings.
One of the key challenges that I face as a startup myself is engaging deeply with followers on multiple platforms.
For a food entrepreneur like myself I often feel that Facebook is good as a storefront while Twitter helps start new conversations and Instagram acts as my portfolio. However, with the ability to post the same thing on different networks often the message is at the risk of getting diluted. On the flip side creating separate communications for all the channels is time consuming and an activity whose ROI can only be seen in the long term.
For example currently at my startup there is only myself handling all aspects of the business including operations and lead generation. At such times managing social media can seem like an activity that can be done later. However the moment you lose traction on social media it becomes hard to restart those conversations later and managing your tribe so to speak gets harder.
Mohit who Leads, Marketing & Biz Dev at promptcloud.com notes that
One of the key challenges is to keep creating a buzz around our brand and keep the followers interested and disincentivize them from leaving. Creating content that goes viral in a B2B market is also a challenge in itself and requires deep research and extensive promotion. Still, some posts go viral even with less effort if the content is unique.
Also, building a community seems difficult as the interactions that we have with our audience is limited and intermittent. Being a startup, it is not feasible for us to have a dedicated social media manager at this stage, so our frequency of posting and sharing quality content suffers.
Madani Maddy also gives a voice to some of the problems faced by start ups,
Problem faced in Social Media are many for a start-up . Considering that I ran an eco-product start-up named “Blue Tongue” in 2011, the problems I faced was in increasing the user base. The maximum I could reach was about 500+ most of whom were my friends. I couldn’t reach out to unknown people. Only about 10% of the people on that page were strangers. That is the first issues trying to promote a page for free.
Second problem is the content on the page and the frequency of content on the page. It becomes a problem to maintain good content on the page which engages users.
Third is conversions into sales. After spending so much effort on social media, ultimately it has to lead to sales which actually didn’t happen!
Nirajchandan from sunrisecandles shares with us that since start-ups are small, at the end of the day they find it really difficult to build trust to stand out on Social Media.
Start-ups begin their journey as a bootstrapped company and quickly develop their business plans and funding requirements. The biggest hurdle to implementing a successful social media strategy is lack of funds. Not having adequate start up funding and a meagre operating capital makes them ignore social media.
Prachi Mishra who works for Green India – an initiative working towards the betterment of environment, spreading environmental education has a similar concern.
There has been limited visibility on Facebook due to recent changes. Unless and until your fans are active on your page they won’t be able to see your posts. And you can’t promote it due to tight budget.
On Twitter – Half of the promotions for big companies is solved because they have some brand value and celebs (who massively promote) with them. We don’t have Sharukh and Salman to promote our business. We have to create that brandvalue ourselves.
High Cost of marketing has been one of the major concerns for tinyMOUSE as well, says Kapil Agrawal
tinyMOUSE is a fast growing and only startup which conducts paid Indie Film screenings and is hence creating a market for quality Indie Films. Kapil adds that
Ours is a business where it is very important to keep audiences engaged. We have to be in constant touch with our audiences and in a constant lookout for potential audiences. But as social media is so very easily accessible, it is cluttered with advertisements, contests and various other marketing content.
Hence the messages and posts are often ignored and hence the cost of marketing increases drastically. Also, the problem has been targeting very specific people interested in alternate cinema. These people are sometimes not very active online and hence miss out our events. Also some film makers are on a constant run and hence do not check their social media network updates. This creates a delay in our operations and hence losses at times!
Measuring social media efforts
Gauging the effectiveness of social media campaigns is very important for startups. It is vital that every business owner should focus on the term “return on investment.”
To get started with thinking about company’s ROI from its social media initiatives, you must align your social media initiatives with your business goals.
Don’t make decisions based solely on hard data. You must learn to translate your social media efforts into your company’s growth during your early stage, especially when you are running on tight budgets.
Effectively tracking ROI, especially with rationed budgets has been Ankita Tandon dilemma (Co-founder @ DeliveryChef.in)
Rohhan A Divanji Founder & CEO– FSY | funsexyyou.com has a similar headache. Rohan said
As an e commerce company, our biggest concern with any spend/investment is the ROI. If we spend money on Social media, it is extremely important for us to be able to monetise on the same. Till date, that has been our biggest challenge.
Fan interactions, follows, likes and engagement is great for brand awareness and recall, but converting a fan to a customer is a tough nut to crack. More so when you consider the fact that any agency which promises to build a fan base, is essentially paying for likes. A paid for like could be a bot or even a person who isn’t our target customer. Its great to have such people, but its worth a lot more to have people genuinely interested in brand/product updates, looking to buy their next product from us.
Besides conversions, maintaining a social profile, and simply generating interaction in itself a challenge
An agency becomes unaffordable, as all costs are attached to content, and not conversions.
Lastly, social media marketing/advertising is something that we as a startup have yet to exploit to its fullest. When doing a google/search ad, we are targeting people looking specifically to buy a product. For example, we can target keywords like “lingerie shopping india”, or “buy lingerie online”. We are able to target potential customers based on the knowledge that they are searching for a solution that we provide.
But running facebook ads and promoted tweets are simply putting us in front of people who may like our product, but are not actually looking to buy them. Half the men on the internet are interested in lingerie, but how many of them would actually buy it? Simply targeting a person based on his or her social profile is as good as throwing arrows in the dark, hoping one eventually hits the target. Unless one is simply interested in increasing likes/followers without an intent to convert.
In my opinion, a good social media team will be smart enough to tackle these situations. If you want to keep your Start up away from these worries, it is important to know what are the prevalent challenges your Start up is likely to face as it grows. As a business owner, you must be prepared to face those them head-on.
The manner in which these situations are handled can have long lasting consequences on your start up.
How Social Samosa would like to help?
We know that start-ups face a lot of challenges, and to help such start-ups ensure that they glean real business results out of their social media activities, Social Samosa is organizing a private one-to-one mentoring session for start ups.
How will it work?
You can select any of the available speakers and slots [Total 15 mentors and 45 slots are available over a period of 5 days]. On the selected time and date, log on to the Google hangout that we will set up for you.
What will you get?
A 30 minute one to one session with the expert where you can ask him/her any question related to using social media for your start up’s business goals. He/she will guide you and help you build a broad social media strategy, which the expert will understand better because we will be briefing him/her about your start up before your session.
You will be the ONLY start-up in the session/slot you have chosen, hence you will get the mentors’ complete attention and time. Do make the most of this opportunity!
You can look up the speakers, slots and sign up from here. www.school.socialsamosa.com