Social Media · Social Media Marketing

How does social media fit into your startup?

Tom Maiaroto Full Stack Consultant

October 23rd, 2014

I'm curious what social media data points people look for with their startups and how they use social media. Is anyone thinking about and trying to leverage social media early on?

When do you start setting up accounts and growing your audience, getting followers, etc.?

Do you post links out to your blog or site?

Do you run ads? Or do any kind of marketing (giveaways, lead generation, etc.)?

What data points do you look for to gauge growth, interest, and success? Can you even factor it into your growth as a startup?

Michael Warner Cofounder of Lumino Web Solutions

October 23rd, 2014

I have been speaking with an adviser recently about this same type of topic. He has been telling me that a blog is absolutely key in order to gain attention; somewhere that your users can go to to find out what is going on. Being able to tell someone to go to a link and they can find out more is very powerful, because it creates a sense of curiosity in them that makes them want to go to that link, especially when your pitch is welcoming yet abstract enough to spark the curiosity. It's like telling someone not to push the big red button that says "Don't push."

On the flip side, I think that, as a startup team, we will be pushing an early social media presence. It's sort of the same thing as having that blog page, but it's even more real time and interactive with the user/fan base. It gives people even more content to grasp on to and show their friends. It can create a lot of hype when, again, you have a welcoming yet abstract way to get people to click and even inspire them to show their best friends. After all, word of mouth is definitely the most powerful way to spread something, and there is no better place that word is spread than social media (especially Twitter!!).

I don't believe that my team and I will be running ads. Although you are making more revenue, it creates clutter and a nasty presence when people see it. "Oh man, these people are really just trying to make a few extra bucks. They don't care about their website enough to keep ads off of it, so what makes their product seem any better?" Those are the exact things that I (personally, of course) think when I see an ad on someone's website.

Data points... well installing Google Analytics is a start, and when you get some cash flow coming in you can upgrade to something like Crazy Egg or any other paid web analytics software to get more in depth data. For example, Crazy Egg gives a heat map of where users click most on your page, which that itself shows a lot. Of course there are many more benefits to Crazy Egg, but this is just one of them. I do think that you should factor it in to growth because as you gain more traffic, these analytics tools really show demographics. You can lay out your site to target your target audience better, add more language support, and even find out where to market your product more. These are three key things when working on a startup, for obvious reason.

Of course, this is my input based off of some of the advice that I've received as well as my own experiences/opinions. You have to understand that everyone looks at things differently, and this is what makes things a lot more interested when playing with startups. If it was easy, wouldn't we all be rich?

Hope this helped a little bit, and I appreciate any feedback on what I have wrote (typed?) here, whether it's positive or negative.

Maarten Albarda CEO Americas at Flock Associates Limited

October 23rd, 2014

I'd hate to toot my own horn, but I'm going to anyway! Together with Joseph Jaffe, I'm the author of "ZERO, zero paid media as the new marketing model" and it talks exactly about your question. Have a look at the many video's of presentations on the topic of our book which are easily found (a simple Google search on either Joseph's or my name should suffice).

Gitai Zakh Byte - Blockchain related invesments / D.G.IT - Online Presence & Growth (PM)

October 24th, 2014

The way i see, you can do magic for startup with Social media, focus and the 'How to manage' and the 'Which networks is the best for you' (always more than one.

As a shot in the dark ill tell you some of the networks fit for 'Go to market' stage, some for engagement and AB testing with your future end users, some are for info and some for product.

Do your research, ill be happy to help and take part in a brainstorm about it if you wish, but make no mistake, you should use social networks in order to develop your business.   

Sandy Fischler Experiential Marketing Director | Event Producer | Event Management | Entrepreneur

October 23rd, 2014

I can't tell you what you should do, but I'll tell you how I approach social for our start-up.

My philosophy of social media is that it's for relationship building, not selling. So, in my book you want to get out there ASAP and start building relationships. I was a year out ahead of our launch building a network.

People are very good at ignoring stuff that doesn't come from a trusted source, so your job #1 is to turn yourself into a trusted source. To me, that means building a huge online presence so there is no doubt who you are, that you're rational person that people want to do business with, that you are a person of integrity, and that you can deliver value.

My goal with social has always been that anyone who wanted to know who they were dealing with could find that out in 15 minutes with a Google search. I publish on LinkedIn, my Facebook page is totally public, I spend a lot of time on Google+. Twitter doesn't really appeal to me, but I toss out a tweet or two when I remember. That's what works for ME. What works for you is what you are comfortable with. I don't believe there to be any right or wrong social platform. The important part is to be who YOU are, don't just put out a bunch of "safe" blog posts and other content that sounds like anyone could have written it. Let yourself write in your own voice, that's the thing that has value.

I do most of my networking on Google+ because I can jump into conversations with anyone there. I can jump into posts from Guy Kawasaki and contribute. I can build relationships with writers and bloggers all across the platform - and when I need a little push from them I'm not asking as somebody they've never heard of, I'm asking as a person they know and trust.

Like I said, this is what works for me. What works for you is different based on who you need to reach and which platforms appeal to you. If Twitter rocks your boat, go build an empire there. Facebook is a walled garden and hard to make work unless you're really good at driving traffic and creating content that cuts through the noise. LinkedIn has a lot of potential for BtoB, especially building relationships in industry groups.

Lastly, the TLDR bottom line: build relationships, don't just use social to push out a bunch of garbage content. Doing social well is a two-way conversation, it can't be just all you-you-you all the time. Nobody wants to tune in to that channel except your Mom. 

Michael Boezi Writer, Strategist, Educator.

October 28th, 2014

It's absolutely essential - that is, *IF* your product or service needs an audience. An audience is different than "customers" or "users." But also, social media is just one part of an overall content strategy.

There are many definitions of content strategy, but I think of it as "using content to connect." As Sandy Fischler says in this thread, it's about "relationship building." Creating a business relies on making connections. As an entrepreneur, that connection will happen around content.

I've written a lot on the topic, here's a good starting point:
What is Content Strategy for Entrepreneurs? http://bit.ly/CSE-01
Why Do Entrepreneurs Need a Content Strategy? http://bit.ly/CSE-02

These are the first two segments in my series called Content Strategy for Entrepreneurs http://bit.ly/MB-CSE.

I hope that you find this to be useful, and please share if you like it!

Michael Warner Cofounder of Lumino Web Solutions

October 27th, 2014

For social media analytics, http://bufferapp.com/ really shines. You write posts and put them in a queue, and you can customize what times they will be sent to the twittosphere. It does work with Facebook and some other social media services along with Twitter. It also gives analytics on how much people visit/favorite/retweet your links. If you pay $10/month, you can add unlimited posts to your queue and you get some extra data points to work with. I really recommend that you check it out.

Lev Kerzhner COO at JamRoom

October 24th, 2014

I've had the pleasure of running a few Facebook campaigns for a company I was working with, here's the core of what I learned from the experience.

When it comes to facebook, I often find the amount of likes you have on a page to be a vanity metric because it does not automatically translate into increased sales or KPI that have genuine value to a company. 
 
In a B2C situation, what I recommend doing is using the fantastic segmentation tools that facebook offer to reach out to very responsive audiences. Then, using focused marketing to drive that audience to actions that have direct effect on the companies KPI like sales, sign ups etc.

Here's a dive into the process:
1. Paint a detailed picture of your perfect customer using the parameters available on facebook, if you have more then one, pick one.
2. Decide upon a call to action that has direct effect on your companies KPI. Again if there is more than one, pick one.
3. Build a landing page that sells the call to action to your perfect user.
4. Build a Facebook add redirects to your landing page.
5. Next up is fine tuning the marketing messages using A/B testing to increase user response to your call to action.

Rule of thumb is: one add, one specific customer, one call to action.
If you have multiple audience segments, multiple call to actions, use multiple adds.

And in the end you monitor the entire thing by looking at every 50-100 people that clicked on your add and crossing it with sales in that time duration. If your add is good, you should see a direct positive correlation. 

I hope this was helpful!
Lev.

Hayk Hakobyan Business Consultant and Entrepreneur

October 27th, 2014

I have been in few startups and as a rule you want to start as soon as possible. The moment you have an idea, in theory, you can already start your accounts. This will serve for validation and refinement of your idea, while its beign developed, and also to build buzz around it before its launch.

From the beginning, we opted not to do paid ads, and a year past and only now we are seriously considering ads. But this choice is pretty subjective. If you have investment or spare change, do start building your brand ASAP.

Anonymous

October 23rd, 2014

Hi Tom,

very good questions, really. We buid Hugamy, a mobile app and social network allowing individuals to re-enchant their communications, they build comic strips on the go.

For Hugamy, our strategy is to build an audience and understand users interest through social media. The strategy is to share content on social media, including PInterest and Instagram, stories content use our hugamy images and avatars.
We set up our Twitter, FB and LIn accounts at the early stage.
Yes, we plan to post linls out to our blog.
And yes, we absolutely need to assess who shows some interest,

Sophie 

Tom Maiaroto Full Stack Consultant

October 24th, 2014

@Robert Hoskins Thanks! I'd love to hear what you use though. What are the KPIs you look for personally?