I know about the wild ride of creating companies. I’ve created four of them (lol). I know and have interviewed (for ScentTrial on Technorati) hundreds of startup entrepreneurs. I’ve noticed one big difference between successful startups and those whose entrepreneurs end up working for someone else again:
Successful startups are more OPEN!
Successful startups share, collaborate and engage. They harvest the wisdom of crowds and use their social nets to tweak, modify and improve their business model, tactics, strategy and people. Being open on social media can help your startup reach for success.
5 Social Media Marketing Tips For Startups
Tip 1: Facebook Is Your Exclusive Club
Tempted to NOT have a Facebook page? “Too early,” someone might say, and they would be wrong. The faster you create a viable Facebook community, the more traction every other digital asset you create and your company gets. Here are 3 good Facebook Usage Guidelines:
1. Listen more than you talk.
2. Contribute meaningful content TO Facebook.
3. Drive links OUT to your owned properties (websites, blogs, other social).
Ask questions. Treat your Facebook page like an exclusive clubhouse. People in your club love you and want to help, so let them. BTW, play for LIKES and SHARES since they help SEO (Search Engine Optimization). LIKES and SHARES are the table stakes of social media marketing, the report card on your efforts, and you need to get all A’s.
There is no replacement for learning as you go. You will learn how best to phrase and share so your stuff gets picked up, commented on, LIKED, SHARED and Retweeted. I wish I could give you a magic bullet, but experience is the best teacher because YOUR voice is (and should be) different from MINE (lol).
One last FB tip: Pictures and video RULE. The more visual and social you can be, and this rule applies to every marketing activity you create, the more you are likely to win.
Tip 2: Twitter Is the Radio of the Web
Use Twitter to announce stuff. Keep your “self-promotion” links to about 50%, and curate and follow others with the rest of your space. For example if you are creating mobile apps, you might want to follow Luke Wroblewski, author of Mobile First.
Be generous, and people will be generous back. Be an ass, and you won’t last long! If you are young and arrogant (you know who you are!) in real life, try to appear less so on social media. Social media amplifies your positive and negative traits, so a little arrogance becomes an ego that won’t fit in the room. Humble, kind and honest all work. When in doubt, get someone you trust to read your stuff (or even if you’re not in doubt). I do this kind of “how does it sound?” review for lots of friends all the time, so don’t hesitate to ask your Internet marketing friends for help.
Tip 3: Blogs Are Traffic Catchers
Blog early and blog often. The more you blog, the more SEO traffic you catch, the more feedback you get, and the stronger all of your digital properties become. Short 200 to 500 word posts are better than long posts (says the man famous for 1,000 word blog posts, LOL).
Long posts are great for search engine spiders, but you sacrifice engagement, so I wouldn’t suggest ANY startup write long blog posts. Being long-winded feels incongruous with “startup,” so keep it short and post DAILY. Break up longer, complicated topics into multiple parts if necessary.
If blogging gets good to you and you want to post more than daily, CREATE a second blog, since you don’t want to step on your own blog posts. Remember the Facebook visual rule and ALWAYS have at least one picture or graphic in every post. Consider creating a Vblog or Video Blog too, since the video tsunami is almost here.
Tip 4: Video on YouTube and Video Because Marketing Is TV Now
The BIG THREE social media tools for startups are Facebook for community, Twitter for announcements and YouTube/Vimeo for telling your emotional short stories on video.
If you are in the advanced social media class, Scoop.it should be in your bag of tricks, but only if you are a master of at least one other social media tool (because social media tools amplify each other). Scoop.it is a great HUB for all of your social media– when you are ready.
Think of your startup as a reality TV channel. There is always something on TV. You should be generating fresh content constantly and at an ever faster pace (see More and More, Faster and Faster, Better and Better on ScentTrail Marketing).
Create content that creates and then successfully resolves (in your favor) cliff hangers. Humanize your creations, your products. Make people CARE. Steve Sabol, the creator of NFL Films, famously said, “Tell me a fact and I remember, tell me a truth and I believe, tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” Grab your customers’ hearts and never let go.
Tip 5: People, Not Things, Sell
People want to buy YOU. Don’t frustrate that desire; don’t make your communication and website all about your widget. I got so frustrated with the typical startup “all about the widget” approach to selling that I wrote People, Not Things, Sell.
Here is another important idea for startups: Social media and the web NEVER FIX ANYTHING, at least not by themselves. The web and social media is just a huge megaphone. If you don’t know your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), your elevator pitch, your core values, the web will not help you find them. The web will point out inconsistency and sloppiness fast, very fast, so have your marketing act together. I just wrote about the need for courage and self examination yesterday.
What about other social networks such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, Hunch, or Scoop.it? Using social networks is like weaving a content tapestry. You can weave a bigger and better tapestry with more, but you can also be overwhelmed and confused. If you are ready to teach a social media masterclass, then weave in as many social nets as time allows. If you are time-limited, as most startups are, get good at the big three:
- Facebook for community.
- Twitter for its radio-like qualities.
- Video on YouTube and Vimeo to tell your emotional story.
Social media should be a startup’s BFF. Have your core marketing act together and share, share and share more. Keep calm and Retweet.
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