Avoid the mistakes which startups make while building their audience
In the 90s, television, radio, and print were all we had to get our news and entertainment. In the 2000s, we saw a movement towards social networks to bring the world together.
How many of you remember Hot or Not or Myspace? They were the ones who started the social media fire. The OGs.
Within a couple of years, we witnessed what can be called a social media disruption, where we saw the rise of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and LinkedIn.
In the 2010s, while the baby boomers were still catching up with the trend, millennials jumped ships and saw a niche within the social era. The era of Snapchat and Instagram.
Fast forward to this day. These social platforms still exist and deliver the satisfaction we all seek. However, their user base is exclusive now more than ever.
If you’re on any social platform, then you have experienced the three values it offers:
- A medium to connects you with your friends, colleagues, and family
- A way to get your daily news, events, and happenings around the world
- An exchange for learning and share opinions with people in and outside your network.
Facebook and its acquired social networks are slowly transforming its business to support small and medium businesses with a marketplace. Others might pick this trend soon.
However, one thing to notice here is that these social media transformations are still centered at a community level.
Whether these communities are broken by demographics, interests, or a common enemy, conversation and interactions are still their bread and butter.
Interaction is the only metric that turns your business into a socially viral brand.
In this article, we’ll discuss where you should be building your communities and how.
By the end of this article, you’ll:
- Know which social platforms are right for you and why
- Learn how to get noticed by your audience
- Understand how your competitors are engaging their communities
- Start rationalizing your social media efforts.
How To Pick a Social Platform That’s Right For Your Business?
When it comes to marketing, all businesses try to build a multi-channel distribution system. More channels mean more hands, more awareness, more leads, and whatnot.
While you might be tempted to aim for more, in the world of social media, less is more.
It means that you need to be super picky about your social preference as every social platform operates in a niche.
These niches could be based on the demographic of the audience it caters to or the satisfaction it immediately offers to them.
So, don’t solely go by the size of the users when picking a social media. Instead, spend time understanding its niche.
Ask yourself the following questions when deciding on a social platform:
- Will more users mean more competition for attention?
- Are your ideal customers on this network?
- Does the network fit your customer demographics?
- Does your industry have a presence on this platform?
Answers to these questions will help you harness growth.
These answers will provide you with a measuring scale to understand social media effectiveness for your business.
So, before shortlisting a platform, you must know about the networks you’re going to reject or delay in your starting days.
Also, building an audience on any social media is becoming harder and harder. The last thing you should be doing is wasting your time, effort, and resources at the wrong places.
How To Evaluate The Reach of a Social Platform?
To evaluate a social network for your business, you first need to have a solid read on your buyer personas and then break them down into:
- Age group
- Challenges, interests, or social cause they support
Once you know all these things, you can spend time studying social media and the dynamics of their user base. Find the number of communities these platforms have on interests and challenges matching your buyer persona.
Should you be on Facebook or Instagram?
A: The chances of finding your buyer on Facebook are way higher than on any other platform. However, it’s a super noisy place to get your buyer’s attention.
So, unless you’re not creative with video or photography content, you shouldn’t spend your time there.
Conversely, if you’re super creative and have a knack for taking creating a high-quality DIY video on food, fashion, and lifestyle, Pinterest would be the perfect platform for you.
Also, this goes without saying that you should pay close attention to the country or region of your social network.
Why Understanding Regional Trend and Behavior is Essential?
When I was at Mettl, we wanted to expand our customer base in European countries. Unfortunately, while we were getting HR leads from our international SEO efforts, we weren’t very successful in engaging these leads on social networks.
A significant insight from our regional partners was that countries like Germany and France don’t use Linkedin much professionally.
A decent HR audience in these countries uses platforms like Xing and Viadeo for building local business networks. So, some research on social media can come in super handy if you’re looking to penetrate a regional market.
How To Acquire and Engage Followers The Right Way?
Once you shortlisted a social platform that is right for you. The next thing to do is engage the right set of audiences.
Now, it’s easy to start running ads and put your product or service in front of your audience.
However, nobody shops online without doing their research. So, before starting with a sales ad campaign. Spend enough time collecting social proof—reviews, ratings, and customer testimonials.
Suppose you don’t have customers or social proof. Then, another way to engage the right audience could be to start your ad campaigns to distribute value at your expense.
Spend the first 5–6 weeks to build awareness around the problem you or your business solves. Touch upon the pain points of your audience to create a hook. Host a webinar and invite people to it. Don’t jump the gun with sales.
Spend this time establishing yourself as the subject matter expert in the field and relieve your audience’s pain points.
You don’t need to restrict yourself to only talk about your industry, your product, or challenges related to your segment.
You can even start by addressing any problem which your audience faces in their day-to-day life. However, if you take that approach, make sure to rope in subject matter experts from these fields.
For curating your post for social media, you need to deliver 70% value and 30% sales.
Delivering 70% value shows that you’re looking to help more than the sale. It gives your audience the time to build a perspective about you and your business.
Apart from packing your posts with value, consistency is another crucial factor in engaging your audience on social platforms.
As you or your business shouldn’t be just thinking to add value at your own sweet time. You need to be there for your audience throughout the year. So, schedule your posts well in advance to maintain discipline.
Plus, the algorithm of social platforms offers a long tail distribution to authors or content creators who post consistently at the same time.
How To Decipher Your Competitors’ Social Media Strategy?
Now, the next important thing to know about marketing on social platforms is to peek into your competitors’ social media strategy.
I am not asking to spy but to understand the market. Researching about your competitor is part of it. Start with competitors with sizable followers. Dissect their social posts published in the last 14 days based on engagement, time of post, consistency, and comments.
Identify which are their most and least popular posts. Our goal here is to analyze their content strategy. Spend time to notice the tonality in their social positions and responses.
To make your life easier in consolidating these competitor insights, you can use tools like SproutSocial, Sociality, or Socialbaker.
Collect all these data and try specific experiments based on these insights. Remember that the majority of your posts must be to meet specific business objectives.
How To Unlock Your Social Media Success With Habit Building?
Break these objectives into micro-tasks or targets and try to meet them everything with consistency.
For example, if you’re looking to get 1000 followers in 30 days. It means you need about 250 followers/week.
Now, say if one high-quality helps you gain five new followers — hypothetical calculation.
That means you need to post 50 times over a week to meet this goal. While this seems a bit high, know that every comment or reply also offers visibility too.
Let’s assume high-value comments on other content authors post gets you, two followers. So, now you need 20 posts a week and about 70–75 comments or replies to meet this weekly goal of 250 followers.
So, to win on social media, you win by consolidating these micro-wins. Your social media success will come sooner rather than later.
Winning at social media is hard work. So, make sure you’re working hard on the right things.
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