Social media has evolved in its scope and utility and hence, no longer remains an option for startups, aiming to claim their share in the big and competitive corporate world today. In addition to being a cost-effective alternative to the traditional marketing channels, social media is essential for grabbing the eyeballs and putting your brand out there where the target audience is.
With thousands of brands vying to grab user attention on social media, it is essential that you start with a social media footprint for your own venture. If you are an ambitious startup, yet to get started with the social media outreach for your brand, here is a good way forward.
Define Your Brand Strategy
The most common reason why brand’s social media outreach fails is due to lack of a vision and a planned strategy. While many just perceive social media as “something to do” as an addition to the brand’s overall outreach, others fail to streamline their goals and vision for social media in their over all brand strategy. With a well-planned strategy in place, brands can significantly accelerate their growth, give a rock-solid foundation to their social media branding, and channelize the efforts of the team for achieving a particular goal.
Define the brands needs from digital media
While formulating the brand strategy, it is also important to know what your startup aims to achieve from social media. Increased site traffic, brand engagement, generating more leads, sign-ups or sales, goals from social media may include one or more objectives.
Chart out short term and long term goals
Breaking long term goals into short term objectives is the classic way of achieving any result. The same can be applied to social media goals as well. While in the long run, a brand may endeavor to achieve increased brand recognition, increased intent to purchase, advocacy, and co-creation with its consumers.
However, it is impractical to expect the same within a month or a few weeks of initiating your social media presence. Break the long terms goals into actionable and measurable short-term objectives. Theses short term goals should be external for example gaining 1000 followers in the first month, or getting 5000 mentions, click through and views, re-shares or engagements can be one of the short-term objective.
Goals will also be internal, for instance, the team could take on the goal to create differentiated content formats from within the content pillars of the brand and get insights on which content format and subject gets more engagement and which pieces get more traffic to the website. Creating a series of short term goals into a calendar makes the long term goal more achievable.
Define what platforms your audience is present on
Different social media platforms call for unique effort. For instance, while Twitter is for short crisp content and needs instant response management, Facebook provides more liberty for content creators and needs video content. Instagram and Pinterest are dedicated platforms for visual content, which needs strong creative content management.
Focus on the platforms, which will create the maximum value for you in the long run, you can always add platforms later. Concentrate on the ones most frequented by your target audience. Profiling your users based on their unique interests, connecting the same with what your brand has to offer, will help you in smartly selecting the platforms most suitable for your startup.
Evaluate the content marketing needs for those platforms
Study your platforms; management of a platform is easy, producing good content is a tough nut to crack. Plan your content creation and carefully distribute your content. Plan your Boost and media for each content piece. Get expertise in content creation, it's a specialist domain.
Plan your roll out at a micro level
Plan your launch carefully; this will make the difference between being one of the many or being the brand that people love on social media. Micro plan your time to post, tools, and your content at least 15 days in advance. This will allow you time to study the response and fine-tune your response as well as your plans for the future.
Evaluating the progress and performance on social media is crucial. Different social media platforms give you a way of tracking the progress made on the same via insights. Furthermore, given the specific goal, you can deploy different tools for tracking the performance, including Google Analytics, for traffic to your website Moz, and Hootsuite Analytics. It is also important to manually track and study customer sentiment.
Evaluate, fine tune, retarget, refocus and repeat. Continue to focus on the elements that have worked and revamp the ones that failed to deliver the expected results. Fine tune your efforts continuously and continue trying different methods. Keep the pace and keep track of the new opportunities. Eg: Instagram launched stories, the brands that were among the first to use stories had the advantage of standing out and building perception as being a thought leader.