The evolution of social media has been rapid and there is no indication that it’s going to slow down. There are currently more than 2.3 billion active social media users worldwide, with 23 million of those users right here in Canada. Social media is influencing consumer purchase now more than ever, and opting out of this impactful marketing channel is no longer an option – it’s a must.
Last week, nationally renowned social media guru Karen Schulman Dupuis returned to the Startup101 stage to give her expert insights into designing an effective social media presence to help your startup create meaningful, lasting relationships with your clients, and using social media to put your business ahead of the game. Some key takeaways:
1. Answer the Question “To What End?”: Every single thing you do has to answer this question. You have to understand why you are even going to bother putting in the time and effort it takes to establish an online presence. Social media has to be purposeful and goal oriented. The most important aspect of any social media marketing strategy is to set S.M.A.R.T -Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely – goals. Posting blindly and expecting to achieve massive amounts of new sales would be like cooking without the right ingredients and expecting perfection. By setting goals before you begin, it’s easier to measure success or failure.
2. Get Rid of the Spray and Pray : As the saying goes, “the odds of hitting your target go up dramatically when you aim at it”– and this could not be any more true in terms of social media marketing. You have to know your targets in order to know who to aim at, and how best to do so. In other words, before you can deliver a marketing message effectively, you need to know who you’re delivering it to and why. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, your audience is comprised of real people who have busy lives, a lot on their plate and certain pain points they’re trying to overcome. Think deeply about their situations and how you can address them with your content. Then, and only then, are you ready to begin.
3. Avoid the Temptation to Be Everywhere: Rather than having a mediocre presence on all platforms, you want to have an active, engaged profile on the networks that best suit your brand. The age of your target audience, the location of your business and the nature of your services are all important determinants that can help decide which social networks are right for you. If your startup mainly serves the B2B industry, it helps to seek out an audience of business leaders on LinkedIn, and to make accounts on the same social media channels used by the brands you want to sell to. If your potential customers don’t make up a large part of a platform’s user base, it’s not the right network for your company to be on.
Using social media for business purposes is not easy. Do your homework and research the channels where your customers and prospects are, and if and when you decide to commit, jump in full force. Be willing to accept change, take risks, try new things and always put your best foot forward.
For more valuable takeaways relating to the start up journey, register for Startup 101, a free 25 week program that provides practical, relevant and hands-on knowledge for those interested in starting their own business. The course feature 25 lectures and runs on Wednesday evenings from 6:00pm- 7:00pm at the NORCAT Centre.