November 3, 2014 10 social media tips for startups

By Stevie Nicks Maru Kim

Social Media icons

Social Media has become one of the most effective ways to reach out to people from all walks of life, anywhere in the world. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (among others) can help you gain popularity and boost sales.

Here are 10 social media tips we recommend you apply to your online business. Good luck!

1. Decide which social media sites to sign up with.

Not all social media sites will suit your business or brand personality. Know which ones are for you. For example, LinkedIn is for professional networking and Pinterest is for sharing imagery. Review the how they work and who reads them – then choose the channel you think will work for you.

2. Be aware of each social media site’s guidelines.

Always check for updates and learn how to manage your account well. Also, be wary that each site has a unique way of reaching out to audiences – content is sometimes consumed via mobile at night while other channels may be consumed via desktop at work. For this reason, you should educate yourself on the most effective techniques to attract users across the different platforms.

3. Use appropriate photos and videos.

If you’re promoting your business through social media, upload or attach photos that complement your post or brand. Be aware that your profile picture will have a great effect on the overall impression of your page. Think about how you want to be seen by others. Do not upload photos or videos that affect your reputation in a negative way.

4. Check for grammar and spelling errors. 

Even if you are pretty sure you’re good at spelling and grammar, it often pays to get someone else check your copy for you. Misspelled words or incorrectly placed punctuation can give a different meaning than what you intended to say.

5. Make your posts worth sharing.

Your popularity and reach grows exponentially when readers hit the ‘share’ button. So it is important that you choose topics that relates to both your business and potential customers. Keep yourself up-to-date on the latest trends and topics, then create posts that are interesting and easy to understand so you gain loyal followers.

6. Make it a habit to update your site regularly.

Whether it’s a blog or an online shop, your audience will hear from you on a regular basis. Having a dormant account looks unprofessional, and often makes readers wonder whether your business is still in operation.

7. “Listen” to what your audience has to say.

Welcome comments and make them count. Analysing and taking part in the conversation will also give you an idea on what topics readers value. Bashers or haters will exist no matter what, but you always have an option on whether to reply or let it go. If you decide to respond, deal with them in a friendly, but professional manner. As Bill Gates once said, “The most unhappy customers are the greatest source of learning.”

8. Give rewards to your followers once in a while.

You can organise a contest in which you reward fans for sharing your page, or responding to a special questionnaire. Such activities help build relationships with followers and foster interaction at the same time.

9. Identify people with influence who can give your business a push.

Try reaching out to advocates by giving them freebies or discounts. They may consequently endorse you, which will help you generate more fans. Alternatively, if you have advocates that are already using your products/services, ask them for a testimonial you can advertise on your site.

10. Learn how to protect yourself.

Make sure to equip yourself with knowledge on how to protect yourself online. Research is the key. Keep your username and password strong and unique. One thing that is very important yet often overlooked is the terms and conditions, especially privacy rules. Make sure you read and understand how your information will be used upon signing up.