Written by Nick Braund • Published 05th September 2014
Launching any new tech business is difficult but with the number of recent startups, actually getting noticed in your field is that much more difficult. It’s for this reason that social media carries even greater importance to help provide leverage for new entrants into the market. Some companies launch with the cardinal sin of not creating a social media footprint first. Nowadays, when anyone is interested in any topic, they will head to social media for the very latest news and views. Below are ten tips on how to maximize your social media and get your potential customers ‘liking’ and ‘following’ your business:
Tip #1: Identify the right channels
The most basic of the tips, make sure to set up all the right channels. Some people and businesses merely dip their toe in the social media water whereas they really need to dive in headfirst. All social media links together so it is important to create an account on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ (especially useful for SEO). Other platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and FourSquare are all ‘nice to haves’ but are really dependent on the type of business you’re running. The main four are plenty to get you going and can support each other to maximize impact and reach.
Tip #2: Write great content
In social media, content is king. People will engage with you, follow, retweet, like, etc, if your content is interesting, fun, different, novel and/or exciting. The most shared content is by far and away anything that has a visual element, with a post 80% more likely to be seen or shared if it incorporates a photo or video. With every next-gen phone now being able to snap and upload at the click of a button, entrepreneurs need to be using this simplest of tools in order to show off their work, offering the potential to reach your intended recipients.
Tip #3: Find key influencers in your sector
In one of the more time-consuming processes, but very worth the endeavour, is finding the key influencers in your sector. There will already be a very wide variety of commentators in your sector and some of these will have great influence both on and offline. By following these people and engaging with them, not only can you find out what is going on with your competition but you can also jump on potential comment opportunities. There is also the hope that this will lead them to follow you back and grow your own network in order to reach more people with any output.
Tip #4: Post frequently
The frequency of posts is vital. One post every couple of days or whenever suits yourself is not enough. Your followers will get bored with intermittent messaging and you’ll quickly lose any following that has been grown. On average, three mentions a day is sufficient. Not enough to annoy people but plenty to keep on top of any relevant news stories, share new information and post anything that you think will be of interest to your community.
Tip #5: Timing
The timing of your posts is very important. Whilst there are hundreds of millions of people on Twitter, there are peak times when more of those are online than others. One of the problems with Twitter is that generally, you only see the very latest news. If you post before or after someone is active the chances are that they will not see it. As a result, hit key surfing times to ensure that as many people as possible can see what you’re up to. Peak times (time zone specific) are between 12.00 – 14.00 when the majority of workers take lunch and then from 19.00 when they are home and are catching up on the day.
Tip #6: Be social
When a company is first launched on social media, it will have no followers. No one will know that it exists and immediate action is required. The intelligent entrepreneurs, as well as the ones that read this blog, will work out that they need to utilise their collective social power and use friends, family and colleagues to share news and updates, as well as tapping into their wider networks. The beauty of social media is that it’s social … when one person posts, their entire online world can see what they are saying and news can spread.
Tip #7: Paid for ads
The dream is that as soon as a company launches and begins posting that immediately they’ll have millions of followers and it’s job done. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like that. Whilst it, of course, will have an impact, especially if you follow the rules in this article, but your plan and activity needs to incorporate paid-for posts too.
These “adverts” are often the only way a small startup can expand beyond their networks. They are relatively inexpensive but can have a significant impact on your reach.
Tip #8: Monitoring tools
People will follow you for interesting quotes, others will engage with you on a certain photo or retweet. There are numerous different angles that people respond to. Over time your audience will develop and it is important you listen to them. If they like videos then give them more, if they engage more at night than during the day then that’s when to post. It’s much easier to grow your network through the people who already engage with you so don’t lose them by ignoring them. There are a variety of tools to help you monitor what people are saying about you, such as Pulsar, TweetDeck, Social Mention and Seesmic.
Tip #9: Ask questions
One of the best ways to interact with your followers and fans is simply to ask questions. A lot of people like offering their insight on a topic they’re interested or passionate about so by speaking to them, getting their insights, you can learn a lot about what people want. This might be finding out what colour the masses want a product to be or which functionality works best or worst and needs work. Don’t be afraid to accept criticism. It’s all useful information but do be careful about your responses as everyone can see what you’ve said – you don’t want to create any negative attention.
Tip #10: Don’t delete
Never delete interactions. A lot of startups think that it’s OK to delete a post they don’t like. It’s not. The person who wrote the comment has the right to provide insight and every post, positive or negative, has some value. Deleting a negative interaction is only likely to make the commentator more annoyed and start a tirade of undesirable remarks, whereas if these are responded to efficiently and with a calm, objective head then you could develop a brand advocate. The only caveat to this if a comment is illegal or malicious then deleting and reporting the post is the correct course of action.