We explore the social media best practice that startups of all types can use as a guide to drive customer engagement and brand recognition.
In today’s digital world, one of the biggest goals for startups is being recognised and trusted by their core audience through the art of brand awareness. Whether engaging with influencers, partnerships or simply posting content, social media is a powerful tool for building trust.
Businesses can use social media to maintain and strengthen existing customer relationships, while also having the opportunity to generate new leads. 49% of our global population uses some form of social media, and that means a big portion of their prospective buying audience is on social media.
In fact, 54 per cent of consumers say they use social media to find new products or brands. With social media acting as a powerful channel to connect with customers, it’s crucial that business leaders understand how to unlock their full potential to drive success.
However, knowing where to begin can be a daunting task, particularly if you’re a startup with a small marketing team or a sole trader wearing several operational hats. Building public awareness and trust in an oversaturated social media marketplace is no easy feat.
However, there are some simple social media best practices that startups can adhere to, allowing them to maximise their efforts, campaigns and budgets. Here, we explore the social media best practice that startups of all types can use as a guide to drive customer engagement and brand recognition.
Analyse the audience
The first social media best practice tip? Learn everything you can about your audience. If you don’t know who your audience is, you can’t give them what they want. Whether you’re targeting baby boomers, millennials, sports fans, new parents and every intersection in between, it’s best to drill down on audience demographics to increase engagement.
You may have already built out your buyer personas, so you can use that as a foundation for your social media strategy. Otherwise, you can use native social media analytics to understand your audience demographic. Social media analytics can help you to gain a deeper insight into your audience demographic, including who they are, where they’re located and how engaged they are.
Demographics can tell you a lot more about your customers. You can gain an even deeper understanding of who they are through social listening. This social practice will help you to find out what your customers are talking about, how they’re talking about your brand and products — and what kind of topics they care about.
The average person spends two hours and 25 minutes on social media per day, so social listening allows you to harvest key insights to fuel different aspects of your social media strategy, from the way you approach customer service to publishing.
Build a customer-first social media strategy
Creating meaningful connections with consumers on social media can be a difficult task. We’re often told of the importance of seeking out your audience on a diverse range of channels and creating unique content that speaks to consumers in the cluttered landscape. One of the best ways to do this is by building a customer-first social media strategy. This means designing a strategy that’s centred around your customers and is chiefly focused on fulfilling their needs and meeting — if not surpassing — their expectations.
For example, rather than posting content whenever you feel like it, post content that appeals to your customers at an optimised time to ensure maximum reach. This is bound to attract and engage consumers more effectively, in turn boosting your social media performance and customer relationships.
Drawing on one of Metigy’s customers as an example, Share with Oscar is an on-demand platform for booking a private parking space. Instead of predictable posts relating to parking pain, Share with Oscar ties its content to cultural moments, such as a visit from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle; the platform posted a tongue-in-cheek article about the Royals not being able to find parking at Bondi Beach.
The Share with Oscar team then used Metigy’s AI tool to help identify the best time of day to post the content in order to deliver optimal results — and the post generated more than 13,000 views with a spend of just AU$10. Showcasing the true power of well-timed content.
The majority of marketers believe that their efforts through social media marketing have been ‘somewhat effective’ or ‘very effective’ for their businesses, so it’s clear that startups building a customer-first social media strategy will ride the wave of successful social media marketing.
Personalise the experience
It’s not enough to know what your customers are saying, but you also have to respond appropriately at the right time to strengthen the relationship. In most cases, this means responding as quickly as possible to let the customer know you’ve heard them and that you’re working to find a suitable solution or response.
Social media has become a new interface for customer service. Nearly six in 10 consumers would unfollow brands on social media because of poor customer service, while 29 per cent would unfollow them if they ignore posts or mentions from people.
Regardless of the channel, social media connects people with their family and friends. So, even when consumers interact with brands over social media, they want to feel comfortable as if they were talking to a friend. This is exactly why you should always try to keep your responses and conversations as personalised as possible.
In addition to using their first name, you should apply a friendly tone that would make consumers feel comfortable and welcome. If you have multiple teams or employees monitoring your social media accounts, it’s best practice to create a style and tone guide, to ensure consistency across communications. The overarching goal is to make the interaction as humanised as possible, mirroring a face-to-face interaction.
Tap into trust and transparency
Trust is at the heart of every strong relationship, especially the relationship between brand and customer. Transparency is critical to this. After engagement, transparency is the second most important factor that makes a brand best in class on social media.
So, the lesson to startups is that if you make any mistakes, own up to them. If you’re making changes or updates to your business, let your customers know. If there are any problems with your product or service, keep your customers notified and let them know that you’re working on resolving them.
People trust other people, so a customer-first social media strategy can also mean putting a human face to your brand to win people’s trust. Make sure you regularly publish content that showcases your employees or C-suite executives to remind your customers about the humans behind the business.
This could mean showing what’s going behind the scenes of your brand, how your employees work or showcasing snapshots of company events.
Today, social media has become an absolute must for startups of all shapes and sizes. However, without following social media best practice it can be difficult to drive strong results. It’s possible to build an engaging and successful social strategy if you put social engagement at the centre.
The main focus should be applying a customer-first approach and working towards better understanding your target audience and discovering what makes them tick.