How can Startups Initiate with Social Media for Better Brand Awareness and Building Loyal Customers ?
Social media is a very strong driving force in our world. Places where people connect not only with friends, but with strangers from all over the world, definitely hold potential not just for personal affects, but also for businesses. Startups especially stand to gain a lot from social media. It makes brand recognition and customer management way easier, and often less expensive. However, like with every other strategy, a startup does need to play its cards right even when engaging customers through social media.
Facebook and Twitter are of course the big two that need presence from your business. However, if you have the resources, permit yourself to go further and include other platforms like Google Plus, Pinterest, Tumblr, and social websites relevant to your region.
Lady Gaga didn’t become the success she is today based solely on her talent. She did so by engendering immense loyalty from her fans through her music, her message, and the community she has built around them. To anyone in the business community, this sounds like a classic case of loyalty marketing and customer cultivation.
Jackie Huba at Convince&Convert
Making use of social media for branding can have exceptional and excellent results. All you have to do is look at the way Lady Gaga manages her social media profiles, and the aura that comes with the intelligent use of social media. The very well known pop star has more than 35 million followers on Twitter, and 56 million likes on Facebook. Of course, a good number of these are attracted by her skill and talent, but Lady Gaga has also deftly handled social media to keep her fan base growing, and to strengthen her brand.
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There are several other examples that show the power of social media. In effect, a startup can work with intelligent strategies and use the existing infrastructure provided by social media websites to create greater brand awareness, and to work more closely with their customers.
Keep your goals in sight
Always remember that the primary function of your social media presence is to drive customers to your business. Engaging customers and running a social platform can often have the effect of your social media presence driving off the path and losing focus. It is a thin line, but always remember that the social presence exists because of, and for your business. The primary focus should always be on the business.
Conversation and engagement with customers on social media can go into every conceivable direction. You might even notice that off-topic conversations manage to bring more attention to your Facebook page, or more followers to your Twitter profile. It might be tempting to follow this plan and increase thrust on the off-topics for more attention. Well, your Facebook page might be getting all the attention now, but the business it was supposed to market has long been pushed into the background.
Marketing and Sales
As things currently stand, remember that social media is not a sales tool. It is however, an extremely important tool in any business marketing strategy. Your startup can enjoy the benefits of existing social media infrastructure to interact with users and gain eyeballs. Brand recognition is a very important part of marketing, and your social media profile should focus on it. As we said earlier, stay focused. Think marketing with your social media presence, and build a strong relationship with customers.
A startup’s social media profile should not be a monologue; your presence is expected to be “social.” It is important to engage customers in a dialog and form a community around your startup’s internet presence. Customer loyalty is greatly influenced by their ability to give feedback to the company, and receiving direct responses. Such accessibility increases the customer’s confidence in your business and product.
Startups can employ several ideas for engaging customers. Going beyond the general feedback and commenting by the users, you can engage them with special previews to the products, and perhaps even regale the audience with the prowess of your product.
Second, it is important to emphasize the “social” in “social media”. Creating a sense of community within your online presence helps to deepen the connection between your establishment and your patrons. Allowing visitors to upload content for a contest, chat and interact with other players or share their latest experiences all help to create a real “community” feel.
-Brett Bell at CGB
For example, a cake shop can create a very customized and specific cake, and share photographs on their social media profile. This allows viewers to see your prowess with custom designs, and also engages them in a conversation about how their own preferences could be incorporated into the cake. Engaging people this way allows them not only to recognize your business, but also encourages them to feel part of a greater community attached to your business.
Your startup’s social media profile is a great showcase for your products and your abilities. In essence, it also provides potential customers the opportunity to see your business in action, and be involved with the direction your business takes.
Business branding on social platforms cannot be complete without easy access to information about the business with respect to the products or services on offer. Present your audience with information that might be of use to them, and is ideally related to your business. In effect, your social media page should also function as a resource that affords some practical use.
A fledgling cake or pastry shop business could inform their social followers about recipes for some products. Probably, also give some tips and tricks about baking or have a discussion on flavours.
Similarly, a landscaping startup could inform their social media followers about the best plants for their garden, some landscaping techniques, and ideas to take care of the plants.
Remember, the page belongs to the startup, and its development for information and as a resource will help the page gain a better standing with consumers.
Build Trust and Focus on “the 1%”
Social media allows you to have engaging and fruitful conversations with your existing customers. Use such opportunities to build trust with the consumers. It is important, and often easier, for a startup to not appear as an evil corporation that gives no attention to its consumers. Pay special attention to existing customers, perhaps even go an extra mile so that customers can see the startup as a reliable entity. Once you have the trust of a customer, they will be loyal customers, and even recommend your startup to their family and friends.
It is often advised to focus on the “1%.” This is the group of consumers that are active on your social media profiles and drive conversations. These are the powerhouses of your social media campaign. Pamper these users, request feedback from them, and when possible implement their suggestions. These people are very likely to be the evangelists who take the word of your startup to family and friends, and convince them to do business with you.
Manage Applause and Criticism
Unfortunately, it is not all fun and games in the social media sphere. When you put your startup on an open platform like that, prepare to deal maturely and professionally with what comes your way next. It might be applause and recommendations, and sometimes you might have to deal with criticism. It is important that both of these situations be handled well.
Customers are very sensitive to the tone used by your startup. Even if you receive undue criticism, handle it professionally and politely. Rudely telling off a criticism will be a red flag for several other potential customers. On the other hand, politely presenting facts and keeping your side will help in encouraging other customers to support you. Moreover, a good approach could even cause a change of heart in your critic.
There is nothing to gain by flying off the handle. It will be in bad taste, and turn away customers, all because you could not handle a written jab gracefully.
Customer Service and Retention
The cost of keeping a customer around is much lower than acquiring a new customer. A startup’s social media profile should provide customers an easy outlet for the services required. It is known that bad customer experience will put off that customer from returning to the business. An overwhelming number of customers will not return to the business where they have a prior bad experience. It becomes all the more important to provide quality customer care for your startup, and your social media presence can handle that easily.
Good customer service also relates to excellent customer retention. Returning customers are good news for business. They have a lower cost of lead acquisition for the business, and often recommend the business to others through the all powerful word-of-mouth promotion.
Real time customer engagement and feedback through social media channels will help your startup provide immediate assistance to a customer, and a good resolution for the assistance can often convert one-time customers into returning customers.
Since the greater part of conversation on social media websites is public, potential customers viewing the conversation might cultivate a greater confidence in your startup and business. Quick resolution for customer service will encourage onlookers to do business with your startup.
Be True to Your Word
As the last suggestion, be true to the promises you make on social media websites. Startups and businesses often run promotions that offer people rewards or goodies against comments, tweets, or likes. Be sure to follow through with your word. Some startups ignore the goodies promised. There is no sure fire way to tell potential customers that your startup is untrustworthy. Keeping true to your word will earn you respect, and your offers, promotions, and words will not be seen as empty hocus-pocus.
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