Setting up a new business poses many challenges and anxieties. How will customers react? Will it be successful? Nowadays, social media can support start-ups to ensure they hit the ground running.
Most businesses now include social media as part of their overall marketing budget and strategy and, according to FastCompany.com, 93% of marketers use social media as a standard marketing tool for their clients.
So it’s safe to say there is a lot of competition out there. Surely the customers are out there too otherwise social media wouldn’t be working for businesses.
But how can social media support start-ups?
So you have agreed to go it alone and open up your first business. Social can work with the majority of industries but let’s say for example it’s a women’s clothing store. You’ve worked with the creative team to come up with a logo and you’ve narrowed it down to two. The first one is bold and eye-catching whereas the other one is visually softer and encourages engagement. Why should you decide? Your customers are going to be the ones who decide whether to engage with your brand so they should be the ones who
Testing the theory
It’s all fair enough marketers saying “you should do this, you should do that” but we wanted to test the theory to see how effective social can be before a business is setup.We started by creating a logo and set up business accounts on Facebook and Twitter. We uploaded two logo ideas and starting sending out regular updates across both platforms. Soon enough, within the first ten days the company had 42 followers on Twitter and 18 likes on Facebook and the majority voted for the softer logo. They made the decision for us!The test also gave me an insight into my audience and showed me that, if I wanted to open a cake shop, Facebook was probably going to be more effective. Although I didn’t have as many followers on Facebook, they were more engaged and wanted to know more about the brand whereas Twitter followers were disengaged. I found that although there was little loyalty with Twitter, it’s great for increasing brand awareness. Six weeks of daily updates down the line and I now have 175 Twitter followers and 34 likes on Facebook. There is no website set up, no business contact details, and no supporting collateral but we managed to build a customer base and a brand ‘buzz’ through social media conversation alone. Therefore if I wanted to start my own business, I have people out there who I can engage with straight away.
Use your knowledge to succeed
As with any strategy, analysis is key to a successful campaign. Remember to implement SOSTAC when planning a campaign and keep a record of your notes to refer back to for future projects. Social media platforms are a great way of communicating with your customers on a regular basis and is a great tool to offer promotions through the common “Retweet and Follow” or “Like and Share” methods. Nevertheless, not all platforms will be as beneficial – here is a short breakdown of the top four:
• Twitter – the ‘buzz’ generator
• Facebook – the social sharer
• LinkedIn – the professional network
• Google+ – communities for content, great for SEO