Startups: a guide to working with social media for improved brand awareness

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Social media as a marketing tool is just as relevant to start ups as it is to established businesses.  However, entrepreneurs often shy away from social tools because they appear a lot of work for potentially very little gain.  The truth is that this form of marketing strategy is unlikely to be super effective if undertaken on its own.  However, if it is used creatively as part of a well-designed customer experience, it can yield viral results that propel your brand into the limelight.

More than just communication tools

The golden rule to establishing a successful social media strategy is to understand that these tools are more than just communication channels.  Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or any other medium, they can potentially help businesses to understand their customers better and identify what impacts on their experience.

If you only use social media to broadcast new posts on your company’s blog or news relevant to your business, you will most probably find little engagement from your potential customers.  You need to see social networks as a way to find out what your customers are interested in, so that you can offer products or services that appeal to them.



More than just Twitter and Facebook

While Twitter and Facebook boast billions of users, startups will not necessarily find them the best places to engage potential customers.  For example, if your business is in the IT field, you are more likely to find social communities like Spiceworks or IT Toolbox more useful, because that’s where people who are interested in the subject talk to one another.

Forums

Taking the previous idea one step further, you should also investigate whether there are any forums relevant to your field.  Forums are an important place to get to know your customers, so make sure you show interest to others rather than harp on about your own offerings.

Build genuine excitement

It may seem an obvious point, but social media marketing services can only be effective if your products or services are genuinely worth being excited about. Word of mouth marketing will happen if, and only if, customers are happy with their experience.  So, don’t expect people to tell others about your brand unless you have something they can rave about.

Use virtual gifts

Virtual gifts allow people to look good in front of their friends.  A perfect example of a fantastic social tool comes from Burberry Kisses, which allows users to send digital kisses to anyone they like.  The sender can send a message and a digital kiss which comes in a shade from Burberry’s latest beauty collection.

To Burberry’s target customers, the idea of sending friends a kiss in the latest lip colours is great because it is a way to show how fun, chic and fashionable they are.

Another success story comes from Cold Stone Creamery, who utilised Facebook to promote their digital gift certificates.  Facebook users could buy their friends an ice-cream by sending them a virtual certificate, and the friend could redeem it at a local ice-cream store.

Useful blogs

Another way to grow a loyal customer base is through the use of blogs.  As long as you know what your potential customers are interested in, and you provide useful information on these topics, they will come back for more because your business has demonstrated its expertise in the field.

Get personal

Social networking sites will often allow you to post videos, which is an effective way to cultivate a following and spread your brand.  When people can see you and hear what you are about, they are more likely to be able to identify with you.  They are also more likely to repost your video to others who might be interested, hence getting the word of mouth marketing going.

Give something for free

Whatever business you are in, you are sure to be able to come up with a giveaway that will attract attention.  We all love the idea of a getting a freebie, and any news about these will always spread like wildfire.

What if you can’t afford it or you operate a services business and can’t work for free?  The answer is to think creatively.  You can even package up an interview with an expert or offer a short consultation as a freebie.  This won’t cost you anything but will be worth a lot to your customers.

If you need assistance or simply more advice then contact Neotericuk today.

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