This question popped up when me and my founder were discussing about how to go about our social media as we are nearing to launch. For few days i was little off the track working on database and other manual stuff and side by side trying to learn as much as possible about SEO, SEM, Online marketing, google analytics, adwords, webmaster tools etc. I was throwing a lot of ideas on the table during the discussion that we can put a mix of content on our social media profile and we should connect to our users at every level and maintain a personal bond with them because that’s how startups grow their goodwill and of course for the word of mouth. Maybe because I’m a new guy in this field or for whatever reason he blatantly asked me this question “Should I hire a Social Media Consultant?”
My first emotion was as if someone has insulted me or doubted my capabilities but i politely told him that we don’t need one. When you are new in the field even if you are confident about your capabilities and knowledge you would be doubted upon, not once but often #LessonLearnt. Though it’s true for every field, in startups founders or senior management people will most certainly doubt your capabilities often because they are in a risky business of changing the world with their unique vision. They have an obsession or paranoia of doing things with perfection so either they try to do most of the important work themselves or they try delegating it to people who are pro in that, anyone in between would be doubted upon, regularly.
Thinking about it from the POV of all the startups I don’t feel startups require social media consultants. Moreover it’s a waste of money and instead of wasting it can be used in other important areas to make the MVP product better. Reasons why startups don’t require social media consultants:
1. Everyone uses Facebook to connect with their friends and family and it has given them enough exposure about the platform so they know how to get more likes and comments and engagement from their friends and family. Same principle needs to be applied for the company’s Facebook page just the content would change according to the industry your company is working in. Example- Most of the people follow trends. When they see in their news feed that many of their friend’s have posted about a particular topic or an area of interest which is gaining popularity they tend to post something similar to that in order to gain engagement. This is nothing but analyzing. You need to analyze what your target market is doing and then try creating or finding interesting content for them and posting it on your brand’s Facebook page. This will ultimately increase the engagement level with your user and will also increase your goodwill.
2. Social Media marketing may seem to be pretty heavy however it follows some basic principles which are standard throughout all the social media websites. Find them, write them down and start following them. Example- same content should be put up on all the social medias at the same time. If you put up one type of content on facebook and the other type on twitter then your facebook fans might miss your twitter content and vice-versa (if the two accounts are not linked). This brings up another important point that you should link your social media profiles to each other and mainly to your website where you actually want to send your users.
3. Every social media platform is also different from the other in one unique way and understanding that concept and leveraging it in the proper manner can help you in the long run. Example- Facebook lets you post long status, videos, photos and basically every type of content or links so you don’t have much of a restriction and you can use it in a very creative manner. However twitter restricts you to 140 words and to leverage its power you should craft a strong precise heading followed by a link to the content you want to show your followers. You can also tag people using their twitter handles and mention the subject or location using # tags. # tags helps your tweets come up in the search when a person tries to look up for the same query as your # tag. So find out that one interesting element of every social media platform and exploit it ruthlessly.
4. The main aim of social media is to get people interested in your brand whether it’s your personal brand(you yourself) or your company. In order to do that you need to show people stuff they want while simultaneously telling them about your brand as well. To cater to this point you should look into the type of content that needs to be posted on your Facebook wall or on your twitter profile. Different types of content like photos, text, videos, links to external articles etc can be shown to users to gain engagement however the point that will differentiate you from others is ‘How you mix up these different type of content to increase engagement?’ One of the best ways is to follow a set pattern. Example- Your product is an online music streaming website. You can set a pattern to post a link of a song every morning which is not very popular but is really worth listening to. You can post the link of the song with an enticing textual message which will act as a catalyst for the people to click on the link and listen to the song on your website. Repeating this process continuously can help you make a dedicated following of users who would actually come back to your page every morning to listen to one special song that you post.
5. To make your company a real brand and to actually make it popular among your target customer segment you need to get engaged and get your hands dirty. As tough it may sound social media platforms make it much more simpler for you. Your Facebook brand page is one place where people can come and talk to you so it should always be open for people to comment, post and message on your page. As the number of fans on your brand page will increases and as you start engaging people with your content there would be a lot of different types of individual posts that you may get. Most of them would make you delightfully happy but some of them would compel you to hit the delete button. However I would say the people who would give you a negative feedback would give you something interesting to think about your brand so take it in a positive way and reply back to them in a empathetic manner. Engage and reply to all the necessary comments that people leave on your brand page. If anyone needs help promptly ask your team to look into that and keep a track of all the different types of comments you are getting. This will help you understand your brand’s emotion and it can also be measured through various tools available online.
These are few basic things that anyone can do by investing just a little time in these activities. Making your brand name visible and popular online is just like talking to real people in events, conferences, meetings, parties etc. You just need to engage with them, listen to them and listen to them really nicely even if you don’t feel like. As soon as they start realizing that you are actually listening to them they will start listening to you and that’s where the whole game starts.