As I speak with many new startup companies about social media, there are some big misconceptions about the what’s and when’s. Probably the biggest misconception I come across is the feeling that they should wait to start their social media marketing efforts until their product, website and/or business is actually completed or launched. This is a very bad idea and I will tell you why.
Imagine entering a marathon that is about to start in three months. During those three months you did not train at all. In addition to not training, you did not acquire sponsors to cover your massive entry fees, gear or travel expenses. How well do you think you will do once race day comes? That’s why implementing a strategy, building your social community and establishing relationships early is important!
I have put together a list of five Do’s and five Don’ts that should be helpful. These are by no means an exhaustive list, but a few of the tops things to keep you on track.
1) Start Early – Develop a clear strategy that includes:
- Have a clearly defined short and long term goal/objective for your social media marketing.
- Know the social networks you need to be on and why.
- Have a clear definition of your target audience.
- Have a content topic strategy based on the interests of your target audience.
- Have a community growth strategy.
2) Be Proactive - Establish a sizable, targeted community way before launch. Find your target audience and follow/connect with them. Have a large enough audience built before you need to announce your new product/service.
A good rule of thumb is to have 3-5k followers on Twitter and 500-1000 on your Facebook page as a start before you launch.
3) Be Known for your topics – Establish a content strategy early that creates a reputation for you about your industry. Be known for creating and sharing the content that is of interest to your audience.
4) Scale the hype - Plan to slowly ramp up the hype about your product/service launch over 60-90 days. Use text posts, blog posts, images and video to create interest in what you are doing, without divulging it fully.
5) Relationships – Establish relationships and conversations with your target audience now, so when you launch you have EARNED the right to discuss your new product/service with them.
1) Spam/Pitch/Sell – Don’t mention your followers in spam posts or pitch your company and what you are doing. You must earn the right, through relationships to sell in social media.
2) Hello’s with Links – Don’t mention new followers saying hello and telling them what you do and linking them to your site, blog or page. Cold relationship hello links do not work! More importantly you end up being ignored moving forward.
3) Not following back – Don’t forget to follow your target audience back with they connect with you on Twitter. Not following back basically says “We are too cool to follow you”. This is a big mistake! You can’t engage your audience/prospects if you never see anything THEY post! Don’t try to be cool, be effective.
To be clear, I am not suggesting you follow or friend everyone. I am saying follow, friend and follow back those that are your target audience, and do it immediately (within 24 hours).
4) Not Responding – The biggest don’t I could list is ignoring your audience. When someone in your community shares or comments on something you posted, mentions you, etc., you need to respond right away. Thank them and engage them in conversation, which will build a relationship.
5) Wait – Don’t wait!!
When a new startup waits to long to get their social media marketing efforts on track, they are setting their social media up for failure. Being proactive with a strategy and executing it early, gives you the traction you need to make it effective, but more importantly help your eventual launch gain steam!
Regardless of whether you are a tech startup, becoming a real estate agent, or beginning a new restaurant. Plan, then execute that plan now…