social-media-startupsFor startups it can often be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to social media marketing. With so many different platforms combined with what seems to be constant rule changes, it is little wonder that many startups feel it is too challenging to launch a social media marketing campaign. Even so, it is vital that you take action to develop a presence in the social world. In fact, with approximately 40 percent of people socializing via social media rather than face-to-face, a social media strategy could make the difference between your startup’s failure or success.

The reality is that many startups are launched each and every day. It’s crucial that you stay informed about what is going on in your particular industry and niche. Take the time to find out what other entrepreneurs in your industry are doing to attract notice. Research is one of the single most important activities you can undertake to get ahead of the competition.

Be Consistent

Beyond research, it is critical that you seek out your prospective customers where they are and be consistent in your approach. The two biggest social media platforms are Facebook and Twitter. If you have not already developed a profile on those two platforms, do not delay. Although Twitter and Facebook dominate the social media scene, they are certainly not the only fish in the sea. So consider other platforms, as well, based on who you are targeting. For instance, if you primarily provide services to other businesses, you should definitely have a profile on LinkedIn. For businesses that sell directly to consumers, try Pinterest. Regardless of the number of social media platforms on which you decide to participate, make sure that you keep your brand identity consistent throughout, including your username, profile picture, etc. This creates a uniform approach. It also makes it easier for customers to locate you and engage with your brand.

Don’t Overdo It

While it is important to go to where your customers are, one of the most common mistakes that many startups make is trying to be active on too many social media platforms. If you have accounts on too many platforms, you will likely find it difficult to keep up, which defeats the purpose of your social media strategy. Proper engagement relies on regular, consistent updates. The general rule is that it is better to have fewer but more active accounts than more non-active accounts.

Play by the Rules

Regardless of how many and which social media platforms you decide to try, learn the rules and stick to them. Remember that the ultimate goal of social media is to give people a place where they can connect. Social media platforms do provide a powerful avenue for business marketing, but that is not the sole purpose. In order to be successful, especially for startups, it is vital that you play by the rules. Spend some time becoming familiar with the various rules of each platform where you choose to develop a presence. Failure to do so will not only render your efforts unsuccessful, but could even cause you to be banned.

Give Back

Consumers do not visit social media to be bombarded by spam or see advertisements. They want something fresh, interesting, valuable, and entertaining. Along with sharing valuable and interesting content, it’s also a good idea to offer something from time-to-time to encourage engagement and even sharing. This could take the form of a prize, but you could also offer discounts and other incentives to build interest and generate publicity. It is certainly understandable to be on a budget when you are just launching your brand, so remember that you do not need to spend a lot of money to attract interest and build loyalty.

Finally, keep in mind that you will likely make mistakes as you work to build a social media presence for your startup. The key to succeeding is to keep trying. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself as you are just getting started. It may take you a little while to find your stride within social media. As long as you are persistent, you should see a return on your investment.