Using Social Media For Growth: What Our Startup Has Learned
Social Media Success — think about how many companies have had success advertising on social media platforms and how many have failed miserably. Now think about the success of social media for startups! It’s a scary obstacle that can either lead you to great success or unfortunate failure.
Let’s face it, most startups do not have a ton of capital set aside in their budget for social media marketing. As a startup firm, our team also had a limited budget for marketing activities. We wanted to test out different ideas on few platforms to see what works before structuring our marketing budget. In the beginning, we focused on a few popular social media platforms that our customers were active on and decided to use organic forms of advertising as much as possible. When we started using these various platforms we realized that each platform was very different from the other one. We developed different strategies and content for each of them. As we started seeing positive results from the first few platforms, we gradually expanded to other platforms like Reddit, Quora, Mix and others. In this blog we will focus on our content strategies and what we learned from our experiences on main social media channels; namely Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
When we first began using Instagram, our engagement was extremely low. We hardly got any likes on our posts and our follower count was under 100 followers…as we said, EXTREMELY low. We were posting frequently, but nothing seemed to matter. After spending a few months without any results we took a step back and reflected on our strategy. We decided to change the way we were using Instagram altogether. Instead of posting just to create content, we began posting only when we had meaningful content to share. We researched hashtags related to our industry and started engaging with our target audience, whether it be following them, commenting on their posts, or liking their content. After awhile, we figured out the classic saying “you have to give to get” holds true even for social media.
Since refreshing our perspective on Instagram, we have seen the largest growth in engagement from this platform! That’s right — listing this social platform first was no accident. Currently, we have almost 1,000 followers and get plenty of likes on every post we share. Our engagement rate keeps growing with every post.
Although we have a large following on Instagram and a growing engagement rate, our web traffic from this social media platform is still very low. Instagram seems to be a platform where businesses can connect with their customers and community, and less of a platform that is easy to sell on. This could also be due to the nature of our industry. Being in the tech world, there is less of a visual aspect to our sales than the fashion industry for example. One platform that we see a great conversation rate for web traffic is Twitter.
Our social journey with Twitter also began slowly, but has increased rapidly. During our initial days on Twitter, we were posting very frequently- a little bit too frequently, and we weren’t using hashtags correctly. We were just plugging in hashtags without researching their exposure or thinking about the target audiences the hashtags were catering to. We even created our own hashtags, but as a startup brand this generally does not create a trend.
After almost deciding to quit this platform for good, we considered the question, “What do other companies doing on Twitter that we aren’t?” We researched into our question and started doing a few things differently here.
The first thing we did was decrease the frequency of our posts and increase the relevancy of the hashtags we used. We became more mindful of how to use hashtags to generate buzz, and which hashtags worked for us and our target audience. We cut down on the amount of promotional content we were tweeting, and replaced the promo fluff with tweets such as articles, and videos that our audience would take interest in. Don’t get us wrong, we still tweet out some targeted landing pages and our blogs, but the majority of our content now is non promotional, useful content for our target audience.
Next, we began to engage with other accounts in the same industry as us and tried to attract similar brands followers. In order to get noticed, one must join in the conversation. We learned this first hand. Our following is now over 700 and growing daily.
In addition to high engagement and an increased awareness of our brand on Twitter, we have also seen great conversion rate for clicks. We continue to see many website visitors as well as signups from Twitter.
Facebook has always served as an awesome platform for our brand. We originally just used it as a company business page, but later on created groups and we have begun posting in targeted Facebook groups such as blog sharing groups, startup groups, new technology groups, and more. We have seen a lot of traffic after publishing in specific groups. Having a general company page allows potential users to find us more easily. We created a group page for Facebook friends who are looking for ways to increase their productivity and learn about new business technology.
We use our group for fun topics such as personality quizzes, trivia, riddles, quotes, and blogs. Our Facebook page is used for company information, new product features, promotional content, and blogs. Lastly, we use Facebook groups to promote our targeted landing pages. For example, we have engineering as an industry vertical that we promote to, so we often post in various engineering groups across Facebook.
Also worth mentioning, one tool we love to use is ‘Sniply’. Never heard of it? Sniply allows us to put a pop-up on various articles, so when we create a Sniply link the users see a pop up about our product when they visit an article that is related to our brand. We use this tool frequently when publishing articles in various blogs so that we don’t come off like we are trying to promote ourselves.
Although we see a nice correlation with Facebook visits and website traffic, we do not see much engagement on Facebook as a whole. We have grown significantly since we first began using this platform and we would like to thank the specific Facebook groups for that. If you are starting out like us and looking to raise brand awareness, we would definitely recommend checking out groups that are related to the industry your business is in!
LinkedIn has been a challenge for us. We always knew we wanted to have a professional presence on this platform, but we were unsure of what would be the best platform for our brand. After researching the benefits and disadvantages of a business page versus a showcase page, we settled on creating a product showcase page. This allows for an increased focus on our app and less of a focus on us as a company.
LinkedIn is used very similarly to Facebook at our organization; we post in many groups on LinkedIn that are related to our product. Our content varies from posts about features of Clariti, insightful and promotional blogs, Slideshares, and the occasional motivational quote.
We are working on expanding both our following and engagement to try and boost web traffic just as we have been doing on other social media platforms. Although we find it important to have a presence on LinkedIn, we are finding it less useful than others as a way to engage our audience.
Overall, we attribute much of our success with organic traffic to Twitter and Facebook, we have seen the most rapid growth in followers on Twitter and Instagram, and we have struggled the most on LinkedIn. Stay on the lookout for an upcoming blog about the best underground resources we have used and how they have helped our startup grow. Also, make sure you check out our blog about our paid advertising efforts.
As startups, we have to stick together, encourage and support other startups on their growth journeys. We hope our tips on how we have grown will lead you to successes in your industry. To learn more about how to grow your social media following visit our social media tips blog.
Feel free to leave any insights of your own in the comments below!