5 social media lessons that I learnt with the launch of my start-up

Two years ago I was sitting in an apartment in San Francisco counting down to launch Canva. For the past year, we’d worked so hard to build something that we believed could change the world of design, and we’d finally got to the point where it was ready to release into the world.

Together with my co-founders, Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams, we knew that our path would change forever. For the first time, we’d be opening up Canva to the world, to public feedback. Social media was one of the quickest ways to see what people were thinking.

One of the best ways for us to keep in touch with our users has been social media. Since day one, we’ve focussed on building a community for our users. Here are some of the most important lessons we’ve learned.

#1 Provide unique value. The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing at all. Social media encourages you to provide content that is valuable to your users. This is the content that people want to read and share. Blogging is one of the best ways to do this. Write and share advice that your followers can take onboard. For us at Canva, that means sharing tips about graphic design, social media and marketing.

#2 Be human. Customer service is everything. The best products are designed from the ground up to be simple-to-use. They make users lives easier. Of course, the way your users experience your product or service will determine how they perceive your brand. Part of this is helping to solve any issues that come up. On social media, people want to know they’re being heard. Respond quickly and do what you can to resolve the issue. A minor issue can end up destroying a customer’s view of a brand if it’s not resolved swiftly.

#3 Post for the platform. Each social media platform – whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or Google+ – has its own distinct protocols. It’s appropriate to post more on Twitter. With shorter spurts of content, people are more likely to skim. On Instagram, posting too often may turn people off your content. Many brands develop a ‘conversation calendar’ that is a birds eye view of the topics they’ll be posting about that month across their social media channels.

#4 Invest in your brand. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said, “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Every little thing you do or say contributes the way people perceive your brand. Focus on details. Build your brand one post at a time by using consistent colors and fonts. Brands like Corona also use photo filters to great effect, providing a consistent look for all its imagery. Creating templates that you can use multiple times will help achieve this.

#5 Embrace the conversation. Social media provides amazing opportunities for companies and brands. It’s a place to engage your community, find new audiences, and connect with and better understand your users. If you’re not already posting regularly and responding to users on social media, then there’s no better time to get started.

Social media has become a daily tool for many marketers, bloggers and small business owners, who together create thousands of new designs each week. Social media has been one of the most effective ways for us to maintain a conversation with users. It’s helped us reach new partners, get in front of press and provide helpful content to existing users.

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