Do you feel like being active on social media will cost you too much time? Do you find the prospect of managing your social network daunting or tedious? Or do you remain unsure that social media could contribute to the development of your business? Rest assured, you are not alone.
Entrepreneurs are not automatically convinced that social networks can be of use to them. Some even get lost in this maze of massive proportions.
As a person born in the digital age, I encounter social networking every day, yet I still cannot consider myself an expert in its use. Indeed, there is a veritable difference between using social media platforms as a private person and as a start-up. That’s why I grabbed the opportunity to attend the workshop on social networking held by Lucile, communications manager at nyuko, as part of one of our support programmes.
From the outset of the workshop, Lucile introduces convincing arguments that illustrate the necessity for every entrepreneur of the 21st century to establish his presence in the digital environment: 51% of the world population uses the internet, and 39% is active on social networks. If a start-up is not present on social networks, it is missing out on the opportunity to spread its name to all these people.
So, we’ve managed to convince that you need to use social networks, but you don’t know where to start? Worry not, we’ve got you covered!
First things first, Lucile explains:
Which platforms to use?
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, SnapChat… the list goes on. Your priority should be the platform that is essential to your customers! Spend a moment or two to focus on each platform and determine if they could help you reach your target customers.
For example: if you are launching a customer service business, you need to be on Twitter. In a BtoB context, your presence on LinkedIn is essential. You want to garner interest in your creative activity? Head over to Pinterest.
It follows, then, that your next question should be:
How do your customers use social networks? And when?
Research each platform’s target audience and their behaviours: what’s their profile? How much time do they spend on the network? When do they connect to it? What keywords are used the most frequently?
An interesting fact: did you know that the average Facebook user is almost 40 years old? If your target audience is younger, it might be more relevant for you to turn to other platforms such as Twitter and Instagram (average user: 15-34 years old), or Snapchat (15-24).
Knowing your selected platform’s audience can also help you time your posts. Twitter, for example, should be used for immediate reactions to an event. If you post on LinkedIn on a weekday, your post will serve you better than at the weekend. And stories on Instagram will only stay relevant for a single day.
How to tailor your online presence to your objectives?
If you can, define at least 1 of 3 things before you launch yourself into social networking: the image that you want to convey, the added value you can bring to your target audience and the amount of time that you are able to allocate to your presence on social media (and don’t overestimate this time!).
The graphic below summarizes the code and tone of several platforms (note that this list is not exhaustive). How do you want to be perceived? What are you trying to obtain from your online presence?
Which content strategy should you adopt?
The more you engage your audience, the more impact your online presence will have. The goal is not to attract the most followers, likes or subscribers, but to build a committed and responsive online community. Keep an eye out for the things that your audience reacts to and what it is particularly sensitive to.
Are you providing additional context through your blog? Are you planning to create infographics to educate your audience in a manner that is playful and visually appealing? Or are you posting original or re-worked photographs to inspire your public?
Regardless of your method, keep in mind that the aim is to establish dialogue. Ideally, the social networks will be a platform on which your customers can give you feedback on your product or service and ultimately become ambassadors for your start-up and for your product. The most important ingredient for this to work is commitment, from you and your customers both!
A final note: Personal Branding
You are an entrepreneur, you are full of resources, opinions and knowledge to share. Let your entrepreneurial project benefit from it! When it comes to start-ups, users tend to appreciate information about the founder(s), because this helps them gain trust in the project. Creating your own personal image as an expert and passionate entrepreneur will not only make you stand out but also be perceived as a person of note in your field.
Nowadays, social networks are indeed an essential distribution channel. Familiarize yourself with them: define your strategy, your positioning and the image that you want to convey. These will be your guidelines for the place, time and tone of your online presence.
Stay connected! 😉