Every Startup is a fantastic opportunity. We all start with the thought that we will create a change and something of value. How to create social media magic for your startup and be seen as wildly successful is a full fledged art that also has scientific patterns embedded. What story must I be remembered for? How big can the canvas be? Where should I begin? These are questions everyone struggles with. In part 1 of this series, I go through the rationale & strategy for social media & content marketing for your start-up even before the product goes live!
I am also starting with an assumption that if you are a big company, you do already have something to work with. Ex-SAP Content VP, Michael Brenner, had claimed that during a content audit they found that, 60% of the content in the company lay unused. If you are a start-up or a small company, this may definitely not be the case. So you do in fact, start from the start.
When should you start thinking of content & social media presence as a startup?
My nephew is going to be 1 year old in less than a week from now. After the name was confirmed, the first thing his father did was to reserve a Facebook ID and then a Gmail address. I began “reserving” his Twitter ID . We are technology optimists in the family. We believe these networks will be present even when our baby grows up. Of course, new ones may come up in the next decade, but we prefer being planned about this. The reason being, that even though we think we chose a great and unique name- more so, in the case of a business- there is nothing to guarantee that someone else will not think of a similar one soon. So, when must one begin?
1) Depending on the nature of your start-up you need to start 6 months before (at least) you go live. If you are a social media company, then perhaps even earlier.
a) We started testing on ALL Brandanew Channels in October- November last year. We officially launched in March, 2015. Testing was critical to get the initial sense on how things worked.
2) Social media & content are both long term investments, this means, you will need an initial period to build your presence as a start-up (e.g. get the fans and followers)
a) Inherent dislike for paid-only mechanisms, those usually create a huge cost per lead and even if you do build reach by initial paid leads, they will not create much value unless you keep them engaged on a regular basis.
3) If you need a partner or a sounding board, start from the time the idea just hit you!
a) A lot of Brandanew mentors are online and we have constantly shared ideas with them to keep the energy going and connect on important feedback. This has been a huge help.
Why do you need a content and social strategy as a start up before going live?
Surely, in today’s time content marketing & social media are gone past the buzzwords that they were and evolved into consumer engagement engines. Consumers expect you to be present online and provide them with entertaining and useful content on the channels they’re present on. Even students looking for jobs tend to look up the companies on LinkedIn and even Facebook and read comments. We express our likes/ preferences openly and expect a response. The element of trust that we can establish by being present is not lost on anyone. And while it is untrue to say that, it is free- there is a massive time and resource involvement- but it is equally true to say that it is perhaps not as expensive as some of the other more traditional channels to make a brand presence on. To summarize why it is needed even before you go live:
Content & Social both take time to mature. A year or 6 months before going live, you can play your test field and get extra lead up time to create organic content/strong presence
1) Develop influencer relationships– whether in your field, or with VCs or anyone like a blogger in your field with a strong online presence who can push your brand awareness.
2) Starting a content marketing platform e.g. a blog or even a newsletter subscription list even before you begin, is a great resource for you to create potential customer leads
3) Social media can be a test bed for new ideas and techniques that you may be wanting to test later. What an awesome way to improvise, you will already know what gets a decent response! Listen to the data!
4) Find your target audience even before a product launch. Not everyone will be the money generating lead, but interactions and engagement on platforms will allow you to differentiate and identify the most important leads and consumer behavior.
5) Train your audience and create a community. Presence on different online channels through a strong content strategy will allow you to have presence in the relevant community – > later present products to them -> they could be your first “focus groups”. Besides a community has a potential to become loyal endorsers of your thought & ideology allowing and attracting other potential customers. Example: You can train them to believe that real time responses come via Twitter
6) Ensure you do not need to invest extra money in “buying out” social handles because someone else thought of it in the meantime.
And, till the next time for part 2 on the how part of creating social media magic for your startup, I leave you will a few words you may recognize,
We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” (Steve Jobs)
The post initially appeared on LinkedIn in a slightly modified format.
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