How Entrepreneurs Can Get Social Media Right

Learning the ins and outs of social media can fast track a startup’s brand

When you start a company, one of your first branding strategies is often to lay claim to your social username–grabbing a handle that fits your company name. The next step? That’s where things can get a bit shaky for entrepreneurs. Many startups know the importance of building a visible social presence, but the process of going from simply answering questions to sharing relevant information and building a reputation can be daunting. Here are a few tips that all startup founders can use when mastering social media.

Make Social Mean Business

When starting their business, entrepreneurs have to have a game plan — a living document that maps out operations, finances, logistics — the works. The same is true for social media. Instead of approaching social accounts haphazardly, founders should develop a content plan that’s achievable and is more than just a megaphone for press releases. Social accounts that succeed are those driven to share industry news, personal insights and accomplishments. In fact, social media is a great platform to build credentials and demonstrate thought leadership. Take a look at Airbnb: this once-startup has a healthy mix of industry news, mentions, new incentives and more. Having a social media plan that centers around diverse content will help a startup begin to establish all-important roots as it builds brand identity.

Know Your Platform

When entrepreneurs go to pitch events or meet with potential investors, they are constantly tasked with telling their “story.” Of course, once a mission is ingrained into company culture, it’s easy to remember the who and why of a business. However, this doesn’t mean unloading your message on every platform in the exact same way. Consumers are fine-tuned to sniff out companies who lay on the jargon, especially those who use identical messaging across platforms. When implementing a social media initiative, it’s important that entrepreneurs don’t fall prey to the temptation of copy and pasting their story whenever they get the chance. Twitter is not the same as Facebook, and vice versa. Even through obvious word-count differences, the spaces feel different too, and an entrepreneur needs to be attuned to the audiences and tones that are offered up on each. Simply put, founders need to do their research and make sure their social plans reflect a distinct, but unified voice across platforms.

Get the Right Tools

Sure, an entrepreneur might be quick grab the right user handle, but social media isn’t all about the platforms themselves–it’s also about the tools used to optimize performance. Learning which tools are best for measurement: Simply Measured or Sprout Social and which are best for engaging in social conversation: Hootsuite or Spredfast will help a startup begin to track and measure their mentions. Like any actionable business goal, a social media presence needs a system in place to assess its growth and offer flexibility when responding to trending topics or users. Implementing the right tools will ensure that a startup has a solid foundation in place when it comes to operating their social media campaigns.

Relationships Matter

Entrepreneurs know how important networking is–in fact, it can make or break a business. The same can be said for social media. Instead of working in a vacuum, follow industry leaders on Twitter, join relevant Facebook groups, and connect with nearby founders on LinkedIn. Just as an entrepreneur would use these profiles to build personal relationships, they should adopt the same mentality when dealing with their startup’s social network. The more robust the connections, the better. Don’t be afraid to engage directly with people doing interesting, admirable work. Sometimes a shout-out goes a long way. By forging these bonds, your brand is better poised to engage with people outside of the social realm in real, community-wide spheres.

Whether just starting out or reevaluating a social plan, startups that prioritize their social media presence will be better adapted to building a brand identity and loyal supporters. So don’t wait, start connecting now!

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