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Start ups and social: Where do I start?

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Social media is a bit of a beast. A good analogy to consider when you’re trying to learn about social media is that it’s like being a passenger on a superfast train and you can’t get off. You see a lot of train stations pass but you can’t seem to spend any time at them before the train leaves again. This isn’t something that should put you off, but it’s important to know that you may never understand the whole picture, you just need to know where your business fits.

If you’re a new business and you believe that you should have a presence on social media, the temptation is to plan, research and plan a bit more. After all, you want it to be perfect. So then you plan a bit more and the first beautifully crafted tweet / post goes out and you get three likes – your mum, your own personal profile and maybe your accountant. The disappointment is real. It’s a hard blow when you think you’re going to light up the social sphere and then, as the soft sigh of the tumbleweed passing by rings in your ears, it feels like another slap in the face.

At FD Comms, we speak to start ups and small businesses all the time who want to perfect their social media presence and now more than ever, businesses need to show they can stand out from the crowd online as the IRL option just isn’t there. So what do you do? Here are our tips to get you started:

Research the competition: This is really important. Have a look at your competitors and what they’re up to. Look at who’s engaging with them and also, look at what channels they’re on. Are they on Tik Tok but not on Facebook? You can learn from the competition and as much as you don’t to plagiarise, you can almost certainly get ideas about what to do or not to do.

Try not to worry about content too much: This might sound counter intuitive as you don’t want to post anything that could cause offence or give your brand any issues but equally, sometimes it’s good to get say something and just get a bit of activity going. You may go viral on your first tweet but it’s more likely you’ll try a few things and something will feel right.

Don’t go to an agency until you know more: Again, this may sound bonkers given that we are an agency but seriously, save your cash until you know more about how your social media will work. If you have a friend or relative who can help you out in the early days, get them posting for you and then once you have a feel for which channel works or doesn’t work, then go to an agency to help you refine your presence. If you hire an agency in the early days, chances are that money will be precious to you and your business so if you don’t see results from the social activity, this will leave you and the agency feeling poop.

Think about what you want from social: Is it an important sales channel for you? Or is it a way to increase brand warmth? Who do you want to target and is it the right platform for you? Will your customers actually be on the platform. For example, according to Statista, Facebook users in the UK look a bit like this:

Graph of Facebook users in the UK

So if you’re looking to target the 18-24 yr old market, is this the best platform to reach them on?

Tracking: It’s important to understand how social impacts your business. So get some analytics and tracking in place on your website and once you understand how your customers like to engage with you, then could be the time to get an agency in who will help build on what you’ve already achieved using your learnings so far.

Social media analytics displayed on mobile phone

Do you find that the majority of the traffic to your website comes from one social platform? That might indicate it’s time to double down on that channel. Or, you might find that once people have arrived at your website from social, they drop off - this could be an opportunity not only to look at the customer journey on your site, but also to assess the content you’re putting out on social, and whether it sends the right message about your business and what it offers.

Most social platforms have their own analytics pages (such as analytics.twitter.com), but for all around tracking and a look at the bigger picture, start with Google Analytics.

So there are our top five tips to get you started on your social media journey. As a business, the most important thing to decide is what you need social media to do for you. Once you know that bit, the rest will fall into place.

If you do want to speak to an agency about your hopes and dreams for social, we may know someone who can help….

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