Social marketing has changed the way businesses interact with their existing and potential clients. In the past, word of mouth and referral-based marketing was nearly impossible to track. Now, with the rise of social media, companies can gain a clear digital record of exactly where customers are interacting with their brand. This knowledge gives insight into the path that customers take and gives companies touchpoints to focus on to bring more customers their way.
Crowdfunding is an incredibly interactive experience, and a successful crowdfunding campaign requires support from an engaged community. Social media marketing is an excellent tool to direct traffic to a fundraise profile. The keys to success are planning, design, and execution. It’s important to create a strategic social marketing plan in advance, in order to effectively utilize social media’s opportunities.
Here are some steps to get you started:
Choose your channel
The first step in designing an effective social marketing strategy is to choose the platforms on which you’ll be posting and marketing. There are many social platforms on which a startup could form a presence, but it’s much better to channel your efforts into just one or two.
Research the users, trends, and interests associated with each platform to choose the one that’s the best fit for your startup’s marketing goals and target audience.
Facebook. With over 1 billion active users on Facebook, many businesses choose to utilize Facebook simply because 500 million users are active on Facebook on any given day; the extent of reach is extraordinary. Visual media (like photos) perform best on Facebook to drive engagement.
Twitter. With 500 million users, Twitter is the runner up to Facebook in terms of size and reach. Unlike Facebook users, Twitter users seek quick bits of information rather than in depth engagement. Interesting links, quotes, and clever sound bites work best on Twitter.
Linkedin. Linkedin is a professional networking platform with approximately 175 million users. Users on Linkedin crave information and articles that will better their relationships, business practices, and industry knowledge base. Additionally, targeted marketing efforts have been shown to garner more positive results on Linkedin than on other platforms.
Reddit. Reddit is a massive social aggregate of various forums (or subreddits) populated by approximately 20 million users from all over the world. There are over 67,000 subreddits available in which to engage, each with its own unique overarching theme (Useful examples include Startups, Technology, and Crowdfunding) . Reddit is an excellent community for engaging, in-depth conversations rather than hard-selling tactics; overt selling tactics will be met with extreme disdain and downvotes in this community.
Tumblr. Tumblr is a mainly-visual form of social blogging with a user base of approximately 9 million and a rapid rate of growth. 50 million tumblrs created nearly 13 billion pieces of content in 2011 alone; these pieces were reblogged, liked and shared across the Tumblr universe many times over. Businesses typically use Tumblr to share photos, quotes, and build engagement in a similar way to Facebook – but with a targeted audience of younger, creative users.
Pinterest. Pinterest is a female-dominated (80%), visually-oriented, social platform for picture sharing. In the UK, pins center around around business and tech topics; in the US, many pins center around crafts, design, and recipes. Pinterest can be utilized by businesses to share infographics, product pictures, and other interesting visuals.
Use fewer platforms more effectively
While each of the above platforms (as well as many other unlisted platforms) have distinct uses, advantages, and audiences, it’s crucial to choose just one or two platforms on which to focus most of your startup’s social media efforts.
Creating profiles on each platform and then proceeding to use the same strategy for all (or worse, posting sporadically) will lead to dismal results. There are various nuances and etiquette rules involved with each platform; there is no one size fits all strategy for social media.
Entrepreneurs can slowly integrate more platforms into their social strategy as they become experts at leveraging the initial one to two platforms. The key is to excel at fostering engagement, brand loyalty, and ultimately conversions on one platform before attempting to take on the additional workload of another social presence.
One of the main issues that entrepreneurs have with social media marketing is the difficulty in determining its effect on sales. This comes from not being able to track the paths customers take to eventual conversion.
You can combat this issue by consistently using link trackers – when posting any link, simply shorten your URL using one of the many tools available (like Hootsuite) and collect weekly reports on which links provided traffic. You can then compare these analytics to sales data to draw inferences about which social marketing methods contributed to your startup’s bottom line.
Social media provides excellent brand support and is a great way to monitor trends within your industry. Compare your levels of engagement to that of your competitors’ to gauge how effective your outreach has been at building a dialogue between startup and clients.