The social media wave has swept unstoppably across the internet in recent years, and with over 2 billion daily users, it’s clear that exciting opportunities abound for shrewd marketers. Any business can benefit from a sprinkling of social media magic, but it’s of particular interest for marketers working with ambitious startups. What makes it such an excellent fit?
Not many startups enjoy the luxury of unlimited angel investment funds sloshing around their bank accounts, and yet getting a successful enterprise up and running involves costs coming in from all directions. If you haven’t got money to lavish on traditional blanket marketing, then social media offers an extremely cost-effective solution. Indeed, you can achieve excellent results by investing only time and creativity, but even paid advertising is far more attractively priced than many with other channels, giving your startup the early boost it needs.
Highly Targeted Exposure
Whether you’re paying for ads or employing content-based techniques, social makes it easy to home in on your ideal prospects, the people you want to reach to build a solid early customer base. Where else but on social networking sites do millions of potential customers volunteer valuable commercial information about their likes and lifestyles on a daily basis? All this data is there to be tapped into, whether you’re aiming for mass market appeal or a niche but lucrative audience.
“Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.”
Choice of Platforms
Even your choice of social media platform makes high-level targeting relatively easy. Instagram is a natural choice for highly visual consumer markets from beauty to fashion, LinkedIn is the logical choice for reaching out to career professionals, while Twitter enjoys a high proportion of tech and marketing users. Alternatively, if you want saturation coverage with as broad a reach as possible, there’s always the 800-pound gorilla of Facebook waiting in the wings.
Social Thrives on Novelty
Social media is fast-paced and exciting, and it’s the perfect environment for building buzz about something new – such as, for example, your startup. If you genuinely offer a fresh proposition with real appeal, then social media should be your primary marketing channel for quickly generating interest.
The quick pace of social media is also a perfect fit for startups regarding providing updated, current information about your business. Successful startups will snowball, often undergoing rapid changes, but with social, you can inform customers about new developments almost in real time. Compare this to the lead times and delays involved in more traditional types of marketing, and it’s clear that social media offers possibilities for extremely agile promotion.
If your competitors are active in social media (and they almost certainly are), then there are excellent opportunities for gaining insights into their strategy and business model by merely following their public feeds and timelines. Unlike with traditional customer services operations, everything that happens on social media is out in the open, in real time, and easily followed by anyone — competitors included. As a startup, you need all the commercial intelligence you can get, and you can learn a fantastic amount by following the feeds of more prominent brands in your sector. Even better, it’s simple to apply these lessons to your game plan.
There’s no doubt that in some circles that the power of social media is overly hyped, but it’s a stable platform that’s been around for longer than most people think. It’s not going away anytime soon, and its combination of vitality, immediacy, customer targeting, and low cost makes it a perfect marketing channel for nimble startups striving for success.