Improving your position on social media as a startup is not something you will work on just once at launch and then stop – it is a continuous process. Just like you will be launching new features, products or updates, you will only succeed on social media as a startup if you regularly analyze and adapt your strategy. That being said, there are a few things you can be doing before, during and after a (startup, product or feature) launch to help you get more traction.
Set up accounts on all important platforms
Before launching anything on social media, make sure you own your account on all of the most important networks. It doesn’t mean you actually need to start publishing on Snapchat (yet), but your fans might still search for you on that platform. Before risking to lose those potential followers, head over to namechk.com, enter your startup or product name and see where you still need to register an account.
You should add at least the most important information on those accounts: a short description, contact information and your website address. In order to be recognizable across platforms, you should start with the same profile and header pictures if possible.
Create a landing page & collect e-mails
Before launch, create a landing page that allows your visitors to sign up for your newsletter as well as follow you on their preferred social network.
There are a few technical tricks to make is as easy as possible for visitors to follow you. The larger networks (like Facebook or Twitter) let you embed a post directly into a website, and make it possible with one click to sign up or share. There are several plugins like “Click to Tweet” that help you create optimized call-to-actions for social networks.
You can even plan ahead and create your viral campaign with tools like Thunderclap. Users can sign up and schedule a tweet or Facebook post at a specific time in the future (for example, for your launch event) and the tweets will be published automatically, creating a first wave of support.
Connect your launch event
They don’t just do physical launch events in Silicon Valley anymore…so, if you plan to organize an offline event to show off your new idea, make sure to include coverage of the event on social media. Live-streaming events has become standard and all major platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) now make it very simple to live-stream with just the use of your mobile phone. Of course, you don’t need to organize a big event to start a live stream – why not cover “a day in the life of your startup” and show your audience what a typical day in your office is like?
React to comments & reviews
Don’t forget the “social”aspect of social media. Engaging with your audience is key, especially with those who you can’t win over in person at the launch event. Build a relationship of trust early on to create those “brand ambassadors” who will promote your startup online. Investing time into replying to every question and reacting to comments on social media can heavily impact your initial traction as a startup. If you’re confident in your product or startup, encourage your fans to leave reviews on Facebook, Yelp or Amazon to boost your online presence!
Offer special deals to referrer and fans
It’s always a good idea to give extra incentive for your existing community to share your landing page and encourage signups or shares. You can give away a free t-shirt for every referral or (even better) offer special deals for your product – you can start this process even before the official launch by giving away beta access keys for your SaaS, invitations for your launch event or special editions of your device. In addition to the special deals, you should of course take any opportunity to encourage people to follow you on your profiles: add your accounts to your business cards, to your e-mail signature, mention them at press conferences and in press releases, on all your printed material, and always include a clear call to action: follow us!
Manually identify & target influencers
At the first stages of your startup, you will do a lot of things that don’t scale. Getting traction on social media is one of them. You will therefore want to research influencers in you field, reach out to them manually on the network they are most active and encourage them to tweet about your product, share your page’s last video or review your new feature.
Target bloggers and journalists, reviewers and podcasters, the “Product Hunts” and “TechCrunches”in your niche and convince them to talk about your idea. As you are just starting out, you might not have the budget to pay your favorite Instagram celebrity to post a picture with your new product, so make sure to go the extra mile encouraging your personal contacts, old colleagues, friends and even your competition to check out your landing page and review your product.
Invest in paid advertisement
It’s not always necessary (or recommended) to pay for views on social networks. However, it’s a good idea to at least allocate part of your budget to social media advertising. Investing in the first 1,000 followers will make it far easier for you to reach an increasingly larger audience afterwards. If you don’t have the luxury to have a social circle of over 1,000 people to get those first followers, invest some of your budget initially to be able to build on that audience to get the traction you need for the weeks after your launch.
You can combine several of your goals with social media advertising and creating a lead-creating campaign to encourage sign-ups for your landing page: this will also affect your page likes and post reach!
Author: Jerry Weyer, Partner at Clement & Weyer Digital Communication Consultants