Ideal or not, we live in a digital world. If it wasn’t true before with the rise of smartphones and social media, our virtual lives in the time of Work from Home, Zoom calls, online shopping, and streaming all forms of entertainment are undeniable.
In this virtual world, presence on social media is crucial to building your company and increasing user interest. Social media is in essence your business’s chief marketing strategy. It’s how users will become aware of your company and incentivize them to use or buy your product. Building social media, however, can seem like a daunting task. Creating an account for your company that has just one follower (yourself) and desperately hoping you’ll magically rise to viral fame and garner millions of followers simply will not grant you the brand success you’re dreaming of.
Social media success necessitates a carefully planned content strategy and active follower engagement. In order to help your brilliant ideas, become known and celebrated by your users, we’ve compiled a list of key strategies to implement when building your business’ presence on social media.
- Establish a Brand Identity
In a world where business is conducted almost 100% online, first impressions from design can make or break your company. Before you launch a social media campaign to line up customers begging for your product, create a logo and design theme consistent with your product’s field and target audience. Create a clean, aesthetically pleasing website that effectively tells your message and entices readers to buy your product. Still not sure of the importance of branding? It takes .05 seconds for individuals to gather a first impression and online – 94% of first impressions are formed from web design and 75% of consumers decide a company’s credibility based on their design.
- Know Your Audience
Garnering likes, views, comments, and followers interested in your product is the reason to even use social media; but knowing how to do this without begging your friends and family to follow you can be harder. The first step is to know your audience and who you’re appealing to. This can help with choosing which social media platforms to be on and what kind of content to curate. Facebook interest groups can be helpful for advertising your product and page, and one of the first steps to getting more followers is to follow other pages within your vertical, your product’s field, to get other profiles to follow you back and stay updated on trends.
- Use Algorithms
This step involves a bit of personal research, as social media algorithms for what posts garner popularity vary from platform to platform. However, a simple Google search should help you determine things like what kind of hashtags to use, and what times of day you’ll get the greatest number of views. Tracking which of your posts are most successful and what your views are is also imperative to generating content that appeals to your audience.
- Create a Content Strategy
Effective social media use is built upon consistent posting and careful schedule of releases, not casually posting whenever you have news to share with your users. When it comes to creating a plan for your content, consistency is key. Having stressed the importance of design, creating a consistent theme and voice for your posts solidifies your brand identity. Posting frequently and habitually (ex. every three days) keeps users interested and engaged. The best way to create this consistency in your social media use is to carefully plan a social media content posting. Softwares like Hootsuite can help you plan out all your posts in advance and automate their publication.
- Advertise your Product
While one of the golden attributes of social media use is the cheap marketing cost (utterly free), paying for advertisements or sponsored posts on platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn can do wonders for increasing your presence. On Facebook, paid advertisements can start as low as $5 per advertisement and ensure that your content will be seen.
- Encourage Engagement
While it might be easiest to implement a strategy of “post your pics and go,” social media use that encourages your followers to feel connected with your brand and compelled to buy your product creates engagement between your account and followers. This can take many different forms – perhaps someone on your team takes over your Instagram story for a day, showcasing their day-to-day work and answering questions, or perhaps you create fun polls on people’s preferences. Whatever route you choose to take, any use that makes your users feel like they’re personally engaging with your company and having their needs listened to creates brand favorability.
The average user opens social media applications 17 times a day. Capitalizing on society’s current favorite pastime can propel your budding startup towards thousands of users and help scale into a large company. While the algorithms and sudden virality of social media can appear a mystery, these key strategies can help you build your brand.
Our recommended first step? Follow @launchpadsyr and we’ll be your company’s devoted follower.
Column by Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellow Claire Howard ‘23