Updated: Oct 22, 2019
Credit by: Olivia Plotnick
Every startup knows they need some sort of social media strategy. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube now boast audience sizes in the billions. They’ve also become the most common way brands communicate with, engage and serve customers. However, creating content for social media that actually converts — without spending thousands to boost posts — is a task that baffles even the most senior executives.
There are hundreds of blogs about ‘social media strategies for startups,’ or ‘biggest mistakes startups make with social media.’ Many contain similar tips about how to craft your social media strategy, what you need to know about your audience, when to post, how to hack algorithms etc.
Most articles boil down to these ten tips or similar;
Know who your audience is — what they like, what problem they have, what channel they useDefine & clarify your message — what problem are you solving?Use the right channels — not every channel Have a plan — make a content calendar Know when to post — the times and days your audience is most active Be consistent, but not annoying — post just enough content to stay top of mind without overloading followers Differentiate your content across channels — adjust copy, medium, and call-to-action depending on the platform Have good visuals — the majority of social media platforms are highly visual Track & measure content — you won’t be able to optimize without knowing what works and what doesn’t workInteract & engage followers — social media was built for interaction, answer, comment, question, follow
I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of each of these, because as I said, there are hundreds of articles out there on the top tips for startup social media success — but the one thing I fail to see in almost every article is exactly how, as a startup with limited resources, to create content for social media that is good enough to convert.
Popular social media channels that you’ll likely be using are crowded, noisy and can be expensive to advertise on. Posting relevant content at the right time and engaging with followers will not be enough to convert — even if you do pay to boost your posts!
Building up a social media presence with a limited budget requires creating great, no, excellent content. And, contrary to what you may think, creating excellent content doesn’t need to be expensive — it just needs to do one thing: provide value.
Valuable content isn’t production-house quality video, it’s not Instagram-influencer-like photos — it’s real, honest, transparent, and detailed content for your customer persona. And here’s why it works;
Fluff is not enough
People are inundated with content via social media feeds, newsletters, podcasts. Content is flowing at people like water over Niagara Falls. In order for your content to not only stand out but to actually create content that will continue to work for you long after you publish it, you must be giving people useful information.
Let’s clarify what useful information is and is not:
IS a step-by-step guide on how to do something IS NOT a top 10 list IS a detailed case studyIS NOT a picture of your new product, saying ‘new XYZ, on sale now!’IS a post about what problem your new product solves for your customers
The Right Customers on Social Media
Providing extremely high-value content, giving away your secret sauce — on any social media platform — will grow your presence and get you the right customers.
You may be hesitant to give away your knowledge and expertise for free, I get it. You’ve worked hard on your product or service, and giving away your know-how for no immediate return seems counterintuitive. Hear me out… Providing content that solves a problem, instead of hinting at a solution, or posting photos of cats is going to quickly attract customers who are qualified leads.
Remember, as a startup, you need to be attracting paying customers, as quickly, and as cheaply as possible. Those who will take your content for free and either go the DIY route or decide it’s not for them are not going to be your ideal customer, and you won’t have to waste any time figuring it out. The people who are going to be your best customers will be able to recognize your expertise and purchase your product or service without much convincing.
LTR (Long Term Relationships)
When you consistently provide useful information via your social media channels, you build a high level of trust with your followers, creating advocates. These advocates may be previous customers or future customers. They’re people you’ve established your trust and expertise with, and become a known, reputable source — a brand they’ll come back to, or recommend.
As a startup, remember, social media is more than just a way for you to market your brand. It is a FREE channel for direct, real-time communication between your brand and your target audiences. It is a place for you to test ideas, get feedback, build relationships with and wow your potential customers. Social media channels are becoming a brand’s landing page — make sure your content is impactful enough to convert.
If you have these topics in mind when creating a content strategy, you’ll be ready to get your first real customers on social media!