For new businesses, it can be a struggle to get one’s name out there. To position itself as an authority in its field can take even longer. Knowing that, many new businesses pour money into expensive ad campaigns. It’s a challenge for a new business to maintain a healthy cash flow when it has to funnel so much of its cash into advertising.
There’s a better way, says Steve Fusco, PayPal’s vice president of North American Distribution, in an article he wrote for Entrepreneur. A low-cost social media campaign can promote new brands effectively—and for a lot less money. But a startup can’t just start posting randomly and expect customers to magically pour in. Like anything in one’s business, an effective social media campaign takes an effective strategy. Here’s how:
Choose the Right Medium for the Message
Each social media type has its advantages. This leads different types of businesses to post more on those kinds of social media that attract their target customers. For example, a photographer will probably post more on the photo sharing site Instagram than she will on Twitter, for example. Political organizations, high-tech businesses, and news outlets, though, will probably post more on Twitter, since it can get short bursts of news out quickly—which is exactly what these organizations’ target audience wants. Traditional businesses may prefer LinkedIn, while those who want more social interaction, such as restaurants and travel businesses, may post more on Facebook, since Facebook gears itself more toward conversations. All of these types of social media are useful, but a business may find itself posting more on one type than another. That’s normal.
Post Relevant, Informative Content on the Right Channels
Again, a business should consider the needs of its target customers. Do they need tutorials on a particular type of software? Perhaps a link from a Facebook post or a LinkedIn post to a longer blog article that can provide them in-depth instructions would be most appropriate. Do they want coupons? Offer time-sensitive deals on Twitter to get the news out quickly. Do they want to suggest ideas or comment on one of the business’s developments? Facebook is a great platform to start conversations. Is the content best conveyed through a photograph? Instagram is the place to get a company’s customers sharing its latest photos.
Repost Informative Content
If a business’s customers would benefit from information on a third-party site, by all means, that business should repost it (giving credit where credit is due, of course). That not only builds confidence in the business in its customers, but it also positions the business better in the eyes of the original poster—usually a thought leader in its field.
Post at the Right Frequency
Too many posts, and people will unfriend or unfollow a business. There are plenty of online resources a business can consult as to what frequency is right for each kind of social media. Post just often enough to keep the business at the forefront of customers’ minds, but not enough to irritate them.
Instead of Blatant Self-Promotion, Build Relationships
There’s a rule about the frequency of posts that promote a business, say most social media experts. No more than 10 percent of a business’s posts should promote itself. The rest of the posts should provide value to others, whether providing new information or forging new connections. Calls-to-action should invite people to take the next action, whether subscribing to a newsletter, inquiring for more information about a product or service that may solve a problem for them, requesting promotional gear or a coupon, or connecting with a group of like-minded people.