Like it or not, marketing is an important part of entrepreneurship. Your life changing product won’t matter if people don’t know it exists. As an entrepreneur, it’s only responsible to use social media sites as marketing tools. To do otherwise would be to concede defeat to the competition.
It’s not just the marketing either. Social networking sites allow for constant communication, allowing for efficient customer service and keeping your brand in the consumer thought process. However, it’s a bit more complicated than signing up and posting randomly. Here are a few things you should remember if you want social networks to work for you.
1. Be Present on All Networks, But Focus on the Best
A lot of people will tell you that you should only focus on the most relevant social network. They’re not quite correct.
“Some businesses are better on Pinterest than on Facebook, for example, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have presence on Facebook anyway,” notes business mentor Fergus Cleaver. “When others tell you that you should stick to one site because it’s where your customers are, they’re almost always wrong.” People have multiple accounts across multiple networks. Sticking to only one weakens your presence.
That said, it doesn’t mean you should give equal effort to each network. If you’re targeting business owners or professionals, you may be best suited putting your best foot forward on LinkedIn. It may eat up a lot of time, but the potential returns are worth it.
2. Post Consistently
You’ve got a lot of competition on social media, and it’s not just other companies. Personalities, news, and more, are there, competing for time and mental space. The only way you can fight is by posting consistency. It’s not just about how often you post, it’s about posting consistently. Plan out when you’ll put up content and make sure it’s ready ahead of time. Every time you miss a post, customer engagement suffers.
3. Balance Business and Marketing
Your social networking efforts have two goals — to increase the startups popularity and to generate leads. The problem is those two don’t always overlap. Some posts aren’t designed to sell your product, they’re designed to get people to notice and follow your account. There’s a delicate balance between the two. Too much selling and people will start ignoring your posts. Chase popularity too much and you won’t generate leads.
What you focus on depends on your current needs and status. If you’re about to launch a new product, you should focus on getting more exposure to set things up. If nothing new is coming down the pipeline, you can do both equally. If you’re trying to get more investors, going after sales might be better, as it’ll give you better numbers.
4. Use It as a Megaphone
While social networking sites are powerful, they’re not the only marketing campaigns you’ll have. Print advertising, for example, still has a place in your campaigns. In these cases, you’ll want to use your social networking profiles to help amplify the message and help increase its effectiveness and exposure.
5. Make the Content Fit the Platform
One of the most important lessons you’ll learn as an entrepreneur is to use the right tool for the right job. Sometimes that means sending the right person to deal with a problem customer. In social media marketing, it’s about making sure your content fits the platform.
There are two ways you can do this. One is to modify the content itself to fit the platform’s audience. The second method involves formatting things to fit the platform. For example, a Facebook post may have a picture attached to text. When you post it on Pinterest, you may want to add the text to the image itself as a caption.
6. The Content Must Fit Your Message
Getting engagement from consumers in the form of shares and likes is all well and good, but it’s pointless if that engagement isn’t linked to your message. Everything up on your various profiles must fit the startup’s branding. If it doesn’t, it can drastically affect how your product is perceived and color expectations of your page.
Your success as an entrepreneur comes down to how well you can sell your product, and social media marketing is an irreplaceable part of that. It offers incredible reach for little cost. These tips are far from the only things you’ll need to learn, but they should get you off on the right foot.