What’s the next thing you do after you’ve secured funding for marketing and built your landing page? Do you immediately start a Facebook Page? Do you jump on Twitter and start tweeting about your company’s latest achievements?
Now that social media marketing is no longer optional, for a lot of startups, creating a Facebook page is a necessary to-do list in their social media marketing strategies. But it doesn’t have to be.
Over the years, there are some social media marketing strategies for startups that have become ingrained in our minds that we do end up implementing them out of habit without really asking “why?”
While these strategies have worked wonders for some companies in the past (and therefore not completely bullshit), the approach for startups with a small team and a limited budget has to be different. The truth is, social media marketing is not a one size fits all solution. To see tangible results, you need to focus on your audience, find the most important channels, and include experiments.
#1. Spending Time on Social Media (When Your Audience Isn’t Even There)
Before you open any social media channel, ask yourself:
Where does my audience spend their time online?
If you find it difficult to answer that question, you need to take a step back and ask:
Who is my ideal target audience?
Once you’ve answered those two key questions, you can now decide on where you want to spend your time.
Does your target audience spend most of their time on Facebook? If so, where exactly do they spend their time? Are they the type to interact with a brand’s page? Do they love to engage in communities on Facebook Groups?
As a startup, you need to make the most out of your time and budget. You need to focus on a channel that will bring you the best results. Here’s the kicker: it doesn’t always have to be social media.
#2. You Have to Be Everywhere
This was a mistake I experienced in my own social media marketing strategies when I started out my freelance writing business. I felt like if I wasn’t everywhere, I was nowhere. I felt like I was missing opportunities.
Here’s what I did:
- I posted my articles on Google Plus.
- I joined LinkedIn Groups.
- I monitored all the hashtags relevant to freelance writing on Twitter.
- I posted photos of my life as a writer on Instagram.
- I answered questions on Quora.
- I helped startup founders on Facebook Groups with their questions about content marketing.
It was exhausting to say the least; plus I realized I wasn’t going anywhere. I used Twitter to secure a few writing gigs from a fancy magazine in the UK and a huge women’s website. But they were all unpaid gigs.
Although I was making a decent living as a freelance writer, I wanted to do more. I wanted to pursue my passion towards technology and tech startups, both of which are close to my heart.
You know the strategy that worked best out of all the things I listed above?
Helping startup founders on Facebook Groups.
Why It Worked:
- The group was my target audience.
- I was providing value by sharing my expertise.
When I started getting results (getting inquiries about my writing services), I decided to focus on writing blog posts and engage my target audience on Facebook Groups.
The bottom line is, you don’t have to be everywhere.
You are not missing any opportunities if you’re not everywhere. In fact, if you spread yourself too thin, you’re missing out a lot. Focus all your energies toward your target audience and figure out how you can provide value to them.
#3. Only Implementing Best Practices and Ignoring Experiments
Look, there’s nothing wrong in following best practices, especially when you are starting out.
Following best practices, such as the best time to posts, and which types of content to publish, is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Yet, as you learn more about your target audience and you get more data, you have to leave the safety shores of Best Practices and sail into the unknown waters of Experiments.
I caught my first big break as a freelance writer when an Israeli startup hired me. Their team discovered that they are getting a lot of downloads and engagement from the Philippines. They hired me to manage their Facebook Page as a freelancer.
The page started out with 60K fans. But they were spending a lot of money on boosting. Now, the page grows organically and is close to reaching 500K fans.
I followed best practices in the first few months. I posted nice-looking quotes. I posted memes. I promoted the app on the page to get more downloads.
While the content has significantly improved since the team hired me, the results did not have the same improvement. The engagement slightly increased but that was it.
While posting content based on best practices I’ve read online, I did my own experiments:
- I spent time on Facebook Page Insights and understood which audience segment was the most engaged and was more likely to download the app.
- I discovered that the best group to target was female from ages 13 to 19.
- I decided to talk to this age group in person. I interviewed them and asked them about the types of content they like on Facebook and other social media channels.
- I tested some of the types of content that they mentioned. One of them worked really well! It was getting 20 times more share and has also improved our download daily.
By focusing on a specific target audience and serving content they actually like, it not only increased the engagement of the page but it actually brought results for the startup: consistently increase their downloads.
I also managed to save them money by spending less on boosting and ads.
What was your experience in running social media marketing campaigns for your startup? I’d love to learn from your experience and help you out in the comment section.