Go more viral than the flu: 5 social media strategies for your startup

Luisa Brenton

Anyone trying to get a startup going and growing knows having a strong social media presence is crucial.

Yet it seems some businesses get great results from their social media efforts while others are largely ignored. Startups that flourish on social media create and follow a strong plan of action using these 5 strategies.

Get to know the social media platforms

Every social media platform is unique. Each appeals to a slightly different audience and are used for different purposes.

For example, LinkedIn is a platform for networking with current and potential business associates and customers. The best content for LinkedIn tends to be longer and focussed on business related topics.

Twitter, on the other hand, is more about trending topics, communicating thoughts and opinions in relatively short blurbs and engaging in conversations.

It is a great platform to weigh in on trending topics that are interesting to the audience. Other platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and SnapChat also have their own unique purposes and audience profile.

Select the platforms that fit the brand and customer persona

Depending on the niche, a startup may be best served to go ahead and participate on all of the major social media platforms.

However, for most startups that would require an unsustainable amount of time and resources. Instead, think about branding and target customer personas.

Where are customers spending time on social media? Which platform is the best fit for the brand? Companies in fields such as design, art, and photography may want to participate on at least one platform that is more visual in nature, such as Instagram.

Find ways to keep the audience engaged

Every company wants the audience to share content and engage in conversation. Simply posting or repost a few things each day that you believe are relevant is not enough.

Marketing managers need to get the audience excited and hopefully looking forward to posts. To achieve this goal, try a few of the following ideas:

  • Post quizzes and polls
  • Ask audience members to submit stories and pictures related to products or services
  • Post content appealing to all types of customer personas such as students, retirees, or thirtysomethings.
  • Hold contests and giveaways to involve followers sharing content or posting a particular hashtag
  • Align the company with a charitable cause
  • Use images and videos
  • Touch the audience’s emotions by sharing content that is funny, surprising or inspirational

For ideas and inspiration, look at brands such as Chipotle, Taco Bell, Mod Cloth, Jack Daniels, and Coca-Cola. Each does an excellent job with social media engagement.

Proactively deal with any negative social media publicity

Negative social media publicity is going to happen and the best way to handle it is by being as proactive as possible.

In fact, some companies might want to actively look for negative publicity. Make a habit of Googling the company name along with keywords such as ‘complaints’ or ‘bad reviews’. Then, look into it any important issues and find ways to resolve the problem to make the complaining parties feel better about their experience.

In some cases, people will use the latest social media posts a launching pad. The team should have a plan for dealing with this in a professional and proactive manner that shows the startup is focused on customer satisfaction.

But, be careful not to allow a troll goad the brand into engaging or matching wits.

Be consistent, relevant and responsive

By posting relevant content on a regular basis, an audience will continue to visit the social media pages, and engage.

However, being unresponsive and not participating in these conversations is a recipe to lose people. Make sure followers can count on the company for new, interesting posts on a regular basis.

Some brands go so far as to create an editorial schedule with certain types of posts being released on certain days. Here is a simple example:

Monday: Facebook – Share humorous or uplifting video, Twitter – Tweet about sales or special events for the week, YouTube – Upload latest video in how-to series

Tuesday: LinkedIn – Post link to podcast about industry predictions for the quarter, Facebook – Post weekly quiz, Twitter – Tweet about a local business of interest to local followers

By using a schedule, even if it is just followed loosely, people will be sure to visit the social pages.

So there you have it, 5 tips to improve from zero to hero in social media marketing.


The story “Go more viral than the flu: 5 social media strategies for your startup” first appeared on e27.

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