Sunday, June 10, 2018

Using Social Media as a Fertilizer for Your Startup

Small businesses have come to rely on social media marketing because it offers a level field even in competition with big corporations. It comes down to how well you connect with your audience.

Social Strategy

While there is inevitably research involved in finding the right audience, your social strategy should consist of something similar to the following steps:

1. Determine Your Goals: Before you do anything else, establish exactly what you hope to accomplish, whether it's promoting a new product or service or simply growing your most loyal followers.

2. Develop a Concept: This starts with a thorough understanding of both your own brand and how your target audience behaves on social media. Then you can come up with a catchy idea that relates intimately to both.

3. Provide Great Content: How will you express that idea? Video? Funny images? Slogans? Or a combination of approaches? Just be sure every post is original, interesting, and relevant to the campaign.

4. Generate Leads: The power of social media lies in generating new leads for your business. Be sure to make it easy for followers to connect with your websites, phones, chat, or other points of contact.

5. Build Relationships: Posting is only part of the solution. To grow brand recognition in a positive way, you must also interact with and listen to your followers.

6. Acquire Customers: Social leads are only the gateway to the customer journey. Craft a pleasant and efficient sales experience, as well, to make these prospects customers.

7. Experiment and Track Measures: Have the right digital tools to monitor progress on every concept you employ.

In an environment with a lot of competition and occasionally some brilliant ideas, this last step is very important. You need to make an effort to keep up with both your target audience and your competitors. 

One of the keys to success is having the right tools to monitor social activity. You want to know for certain which audiences are engaging with which posts. The tools you choose must make success measurable in plain numbers. These become your guide for optimizing your social skills.

A lot of experimentation and brainstorming may be involved before you hit on the right campaign, but don't get discouraged. There's always room for more great content on social media. 
The trick is to make it so engaging that that your own followers will spread the message for you. Often that's done by connecting them with the big trends that are happening now.

Here are a few examples of social campaigns that got it right at the right time.

Use the News

In the summer of 2017 when everyone was talking about a major solar eclipse that would be visible all across the U.S., Chiquita Banana took advantage. Their marketing campaign featured an eclipse's familiar crescent shape as the Banana Sun.

While they plastered the Banana Sun over other advertising mediums, they had fun with it. A brightly glowing yellow banana was a big hit on social media. The image was shared and retweeted by thousands in the form of .gif files, video clips, screen savers, and more. 
As a result, Chiquita's social media audience blew up with many thousands of new users in the space of three weeks.

Be Trendy

The Netflix show Stranger Things became a big hit with audiences. If you're a fan of the show, you might have noticed something delightfully odd that kept popping up: Kellogg's Eggo waffles, a favorite of the character Eleven. 

Although Kellogg's role was initially inspiration and not product placement, they exploited the popularity of the show in their own advertising, and by the second season had, indeed, negotiated a deal with Netflix.

The show was easy to connect with across social media content through plot updates, video clips, funny images, and virtually anything related to #StrangerThings and Eggos. 

Audiences couldn't get enough of the show or the breakfast treats. Kellogg's social media following grew dramatically over that second season.

Benefits of Social Marketing

How you market is more important than how much. It's a fertile environment because users aren't necessarily interested in the endless corporate advertising of brands they're already too familiar with. Perhaps best of all for entrepreneurs, social media marketing can also be done very affordably, for an ROI that can't be ignored.

Social users are always looking for something fresh and intriguing to connect with. Social networks are about communication, which means prompt responses and an authentic feel. 
These are things that you, as the guiding spirit of your startup, can manage better than a corporate bureaucracy.

All you need is a good idea to sow, and an effective social strategy will help your concept grow your market influence. 

Be consistent, interesting, and post regularly, and audiences will keep coming back to be entertained.

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today's business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88

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