Whether you have an early stage startup or an established business that is humming along, social media can be critical to helping you build your brand and generate growth. Depending on the stage you are in, you may not have a huge budget to spend on social media, so I have compiled a few low-cost approaches you can take to hone your outreach and maximize loyalty from the outset.
- Use social media listening to discover who your influencers are. Norton Point was getting ready to launch a campaign on Kickstarter and had a pretty aggressive goal: to raise more than $30,000 in just a few weeks. They asked Ideas Collide to help them get traction on social media in order to generate momentum for their campaign. The team activated social listening topics related to Norton Point’s product, which is at the intersection of eco-friendly fashion, sustainability and humanitarianism. Together, were able to identify a dozen or so key influencers and proactively reach out to them in order to enlist them in supporting the Kickstarter campaign. We didn’t have the budget to pay these influencers, but because we had targeted them well, we struck a chord around a topic that was meaningful enough to share with their followers. Using this approach, Norton point blew way past the Kickstarter goal with more than $53,000 raised.
- Use real-time, visual storytelling as much as possible. Create an emotional connection with your customers by bringing your brand to life. How is your product built? Who is the team that works on it? Tell your founder, employee and customer stories. If quality photography is expensive, consider using third party photographers that would be willing to license their photos for free as long as you give them photocredits. Rama Poola, founder of SkyHi, uses this strategy very successfully for the @SkyHi feed on Instagram and tells a beautiful story about the brand, a membership program for affordable on-demand air travel.
- Use LinkedIn for “social selling”. If you are in B2B, LinkedIn is going to be your key channel during the early days of your startup. You and your founding team need to be publishing regularly on blogs or on LinkedIn itself and sharing your content regularly in your feed. Create a community and let your supporters know where you are in the various stages of your company. Enlist them to help you test your product concepts or to help you find leads for new customers. Speaking from experience relating to my own startup ai, I have found that between me and my co-founders, by reaching out to our LinkedIn community we have been able to generate interest to drive the early progress of our platform.
- Use social listening to create “micro-moments”. I’m back on the listening front again…but this is because to have a good conversation with anyone, including your customers, you must first listen. Locate prospective customers that have articulated a need that your product or service can solve. Learn what their needs are by listening first and you will be better prepared to time your outreach and hone your message in a relevant fashion. Oracle Social Cloud now has a “build your own” listening capability that allows you to create a feed specifically created around pre-determined intents (such as intention to buy, intention to switch, intention to travel, etc.). One startup beverage brand used social listening to target giveaways: when comments were made on social media about being tired or overworked, they reached out with an empathetic message and included an offer for a free beverage to energize them. These micro-moments created a huge boost in reach and shares for their brand – all done without advertising budget being used and purely organically.
- Scale your ability to hold personalized conversations with your customers using messaging. Social messaging platforms (Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Whatsapp) have exceeded more than 5 billion users worldwide. Have you created a strategy for messaging? You can build a chatbot to address the most commonly asked questions about your products or to engage your customers with a service that provides a helpful utility. I find GrowthBot on Facebook Messenger helpful for researching companies’ marketing technology usage before I reach out to prospects. One of our customers is using ai to build a chatbot to makes it easier for their rewards members to access point balances and earn or redeem points. They are also providing access to personalized travel experiences that can be created right from their interaction with the chatbot. The key is to remove friction while improving engagement. What is a similar utility you could offer your customers to create a stronger bond with your brand?