Forming a startup can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it will also be an equally stressful one. There will be a lot of moving parts and a lot of uncertainty to go around. But when it comes to your audience, social media is a certainty. Social media is where you will be sure to find your target audience, and it’s the perfect venue to engage and interact.

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, or LinkedIn, among others, can and should be used to match up people with brands. And when you add data and analytics into the mix, coming in contact and interacting with your target audience will be even quicker and precise.

Incorporating social media into your marketing strategy will bring you many more benefits than just a venue to engage with your audience. Over time, you’ll experience an increase in inbound traffic, more branding opportunities, better customer loyalty, higher lead generation, and the list can go on.

To understand why this is, we have to look at social media marketing (SMM) as just a subset of the more substantial digital marketing. In other words, SMM can be a standalone tool, but it usually works better in combination with other forms of digital marketing such as content, email, SEO, or influencer marketing, to name a few.

These numerous variables and possible combinations mean that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing, nor is it the case for SMM. Every company, big or small, needs to find its best way to tailor its strategy to fit the individual characteristics of the business itself. That said, here are some proven ways to use social media to help your startup grow.

Set Your SMART Objectives

Using social media as a means of promoting your startup doesn’t only imply an online presence on these platforms. The process is more complicated than that but by no means something that you can’t handle. After all, over 96% of all SMEs use it in one form or another. In any case, you will want to be as thorough as possible and set up a plan that will keep you on track throughout the entire process.

A good way of doing this is by using the so-called SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. These five parameters will ensure that your goals are clear and well defined, as well as realistic and achievable. So, an SMM goal like “more sales” is too vague, while something along the lines of “100k more followers in two months” is way too unrealistic.

The next step in your goal-setting process is to identify and set key performance indicators (KPIs). Now, depending on what your goals are, be it more engagement, reach, leads, or conversions, your KPIs may include things like total clicks, likes, share, profile views, active followers, etc. Do keep in mind that these KPIs will usually vary, depending on the social platforms you’re using.

Prioritizing Your Social Platforms

Once you got your objectives fleshed out, it’s time to choose the right social platform(s). It’s generally a good idea to have a presence on all the major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. But when it comes to startups, in particular, spreading yourself too thin may be a disadvantage, mainly when you don’t have a big enough budget to handle all of them effectively. And if you’re not going to give some social platforms the supervision they need, it’s probably best to skip on them for the time being.

Every social platform has its pros and cons as well as a user base that may favor certain businesses and industries over others. Facebook, for instance, is good for engagement and driving traffic to your website, working best when targeting older generations such as baby boomers and Gen Xers.

Instagram, on the other hand, is excellent for lifestyle-oriented businesses and works better on millennials and generally younger people. By knowing your audience and what you’re after, will help you decide which social platforms you should prioritize and which one you should make your primary focus.

Making a Case for LinkedIn

As one of the more professional of the social media family, LinkedIn has always been a platform excellent for B2Bs. And while this is still the case, LinkedIn can also work for other businesses. By growing their audience and engagement on this platform, startups can boost their sales and conversion rates, as well as be presented with incredible opportunities for collaboration.

The reason for this is that LinkedIn is, in a sense, an authority builder. The more time and energy you invest in this platform, the more your business will view as a go-to authority in your respective industry. In time, this will open up opportunities of all kinds.

Collect Feedback

A crucial benefit that social media has to offer but very few businesses take advantage of is the ease at which you can gather feedback. In the words of Ken Blanchard“feedback is the breakfast of champions,” and you should utilize it as often as you can. One of the most straightforward ways of doing this on social media is to monitor your audience’s discussions in the comment section.

It is an excellent way of finding out what your target audience feels about your brand. You can then use that information to improve your approach by either investing in your product or customer care. On a similar note, social media acts as an excellent platform for customer service by providing them with timely responses to any issues or grievances that they may have. Prompt answers will not only increase your reputation but can also raise loyalty and engagement.

Conclusion

Social media can seem a bit overwhelming, particularly for an entrepreneur that has to juggle multiple things at once. Nevertheless, it is a powerful tool to have at one’s disposal and is something that you cannot overlook.

With a bit of careful planning and a strategic approach, every startup can generate better conversion rates and higher revenue. And with a bit of trial and error, you can set yourself apart from the competition and nudge your business in the right direction.