Although the competition is fierce, start-ups have now more tools and more social channels than ever that they can use to establish a strong online presence and connect with their audience. Regardless of the size, location, industry, or aims of your startup, there are a few cost-effective strategies that can help you make your brand well-known online. Discover them below.
Join the right social networks for your business
For many start-ups today, social media has become the cornerstone of their online marketing strategy, enabling them not only to connect with followers and establish lasting relationships with customers, but also to gather feedback, provide speedy customer service, and even recruit new staff. Using social media as a fast-track marketing tool, however, entails more than joining Facebook and Twitter and being active on them. Preferences for social channels can vary across industries, e.g. a B2B startup may benefit more from LinkedIn than Facebook, and to make the most of the social platform, it’s important to invest time and resources into the networks that appeal to your audience.
So, instead of creating one social profile after another, consider the age, location, and habits of your target audience, as well as the nature of your products and services, and find the network or networks that offer you the most opportunities. There’s no simple formula for this – you just have to analyze your market and do your research.
Replace traditional customer support with a more personal social media approach
A social approach to customer service enables you to solve your customer problems faster since it’s easier for most of them to leave a message on your Facebook or Twitter page than to email or call you. At the same time, it helps generate more social media activity in the form of comments – which in turn can boost your search engine results ranking. What’s more, responding to customer questions on social media and incorporating their social feedback into your products and services is a more cost-effective way to provide customer support, since your social media staff can at the same time perform the role of customer support representatives.
And the best part is that if you’re doing a good job assisting customers on social channels everyone who visits your social pages will see it – the result will be a popularity boost for your brand. Using a social media management tool like Hootsuite makes the tracking of mentions and quick responses faster and easier than ever, and also enables you to prioritize responses based on the urgency of the question/comment received.
Forget about ads – focus on organic search engine optimization
The fact of the matter is that most people trust Google when they are looking for products or services and, if your website isn’t optimized for all types of searches – desktop searches, mobile searches, local searches – you cannot have a strong online presence. Social media can complement search engine optimization but it does not replace it.
Search engine optimization has evolved into a huge set of techniques and best practices ranging from keyword optimization to code optimization and involves all types of content, not just text. For this reason, it can be difficult to do it all by yourself, especially if your website is loaded with content. Your startup may not have a big marketing budget, but investing in professional organic search engine optimization, through the creation of valuable, keyword-targeted content and natural, high-quality back-linking, can be one of the best investments you make.
Harness the power of video marketing
YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the Web, and today all social networks, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, support video content. Your startup doesn’t have to be in the entertainment or sports industry to have an excuse to create video content. Whether you’re selling nuts and bolts or ideas, you can engage your audience with interesting, entertaining, or informative videos – product presentations, case studies, tutorials, interviews, slideshows, and anything else creative will do.
Creating video content is easier than ever, and in many cases low-budget, no-bullshit approach productions are more effective for connecting with people than big budget productions. As a start-up, you will have a stronger impact on your audience and make a better impression if you present yourself through videos rather than just through text and images. After all, website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product online after watching a relevant video.
Organize contests and give away stuff
Incorporate customer images or videos into your contests, or at least questions and answers. By asking your followers to participate with content such as selfies or home-recorded videos, you can generate many links and mentions and ultimately social buzz. At the same time, regale your followers with limited offers, vouchers, coupons, or other giveaways that you make available only through the social channels you want to draw attention to. Contests and giveaways can engage people who haven’t heard about your brand before & win new customers.
Finally, keep in mind that for your fast-track marketing efforts to succeed, it’s important to tirelessly engage with your audience and give them something worthwhile in return for their clicks, likes, shares, and attention, whether it’s good content, promotions, or free stuff.