It’s tough to get motivated after the holidays. Today is the day after Christmas, and I’m blaming the pound of sugar in my stomach for my complete lack of creativity and focus right now. If you’re feeling similarly sluggish — and also in desperate need of a social media strategy for your startup — this article might be just for you…
As discussed in my last post, “Be a Human, Not a Handle”, social media marketing can be a daunting task, especially to a small startup team where everyone is already spread thin. Throwing social media into the mix can feel like a time suck, but in today’s marketing landscape, it’s absolutely necessary.
So, where do you start?
Let’s take a look at some super easy steps for getting your social media strategy off the ground. No one else is in the office today, so now is the perfect time to address this neglected task!
1. Create your accounts
OK — this one’s almost too easy. But you’ll be surprised by how accomplished you’ll feel just by making your company’s Facebook page and setting up a Twitter account. Go ahead and hop on Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn while you’re at it. You might not end up utilizing them all, but it can’t hurt to get a taste for what you like and what works for your startup.
Be sure to include keywords for your industry in any profiles you set up. Use hashtags to mark these on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
And don’t worry that you have to start off at zero — everyone does, and there’s only one direction to go from there!
2. Identify Communities
There are plenty of groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that allow you to connect with similar startups or people in similar industries. Find them and peruse the conversation to get a feel for what sort of interaction is going on. Are people sharing their own content? Asking questions? Discussing current news? Jump in where appropriate — but make sure you have something useful to say first!
As for Twitter, do a Google search for Twitter chats that relate to your startup and create notices in your Google calendar to participate in these. Twitter chats are a great way to avoid tweeting at people and actually have a conversation. They often result in quality followers and contacts, and can even provide some useful information. I’ve found a pretty comprehensive list of Twitter Chats here.
3. Get Your Team on Board
It’s not easy to get those first likes, fans, and followers — so implement the numbers you already have in your office. Make sure everyone on your team is following your startups pages with their own.
If members of your team don’t use certain social media, encourage them to do so and to include their position with your startup in their description. Linking multiple accounts to your company’s pages on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn improves the Google ranking, and also creates a built in community of people to interact with when you’re just getting started.
Ask everyone to like, retweet, and share the social media posts of your startup through their personal pages. This is especially helpful on Faceboo
k, where the rules have recently changed, making it nearly impossible to reach anyone organically — even if they’ve liked your page. Posts from personal accounts receive a much higher percentage of views, so if you post through your company’s page, it can be extremely helpful to share that post through your own page as well.
Regardless of whether you have a designated Social Media Manager or it’s deemed a group effort — you’ll need EVERYONE’s cooperation to get the ball rolling so make sure they have the tools to do so.
4. Find Images
Social media content that contains images is proven to attract a much larger audience than that without. You might not have many relevant images at your disposal when you’re just getting started, so start considering images in advance. Take pictures whenever you attend a networking event or lecture. Take pictures of your team sharing lunch. Take pictures of your cute office dog. Whatever you can think of that relates to the culture and brand of your company — capture it and work it into your social media posts.
5. Schedule Your Social Media Tasks
You don’t need a detailed spreadsheet to track your social media tasks, but it is important to designate a specific time of day, and a specific amount of time to devote to social media. Despite its importance, social media CAN be a huge time suck if you let yourself linger in the various networks for longer than needed. Decide how many times you want to post on each network and how much time that should take you. I think 30 minutes on Facebook (producing one post and liking/commenting on others) and 30 minutes on Twitter (tweeting, retweeting, and engaging with other Twitter users) is sufficient.
Return to your networks throughout the day, but only for a few minutes at a time. You want your presence to be consistent, but you don’t want to stare at scrolling tweets all day in a passive attempt to avoid other tasks.