If you are a startup, your Social Media presence can’t be determined by a fatalistic approach. You can’t say “Oh well, everybody’s on Facebook so should be my startup”. Choosing channels, building a Social Media Reputation and turning social spaces into opportunities to find prospects and engage your customers must guide your startup’s Social Media Strategy. Being present on these channels means having the opportunity to generate awareness around your business, with a relatively low cost but a potentially huge target. There are three main reasons to be on Social Media if you are a startup: 1. Brand building 2. Team and product building 3. Customer base building   BRAND BUILDING Exactly like any other company, a startup must have a coherent brand image and a storytelling built on that. The first question you have to answer in this phase is: which channels are the best for my business? When opening AIDA Monitoring’s Social spaces, for example, we decided to use:  

1) Facebook to keep people updated about our last activities and analyses, plus news about data analysis – Consider it a sort of “showcase mode”

2) Twitter to interact with a wider network of researchers, potential customers and partners, to spread our analyses and live tweet the events we take part to – In this case the target is wider than simple showcase and it’s more oriented to a peer-to-peer interaction

3) Slideshare to collect and show our analyses – An even more specific showcase

4) The corporate blog to collect all of our experiences and to stop-and-think about themes which are the core of our products and services: Social CRM, Social Media Strategies and data Analysis – In one sentence: our corporate blog is a place to show that we are part of the market and we know what we are talking about.

  All these channels are esthetically coherent (this help users’ memory and make AIDA Monitoring brand easier to remember) and use a language which respects the “grammar” of each of them, aiming to give contents a wider reach. Frequency and time distribution of contents respect both the trend of the channels and the habits of our users. We constantly observe the way they interact with us and remodulate our activities to meet their needs. What about LinkedIN? I would suggest you to wait until you have a team to show and something to say. Opening a company page just to say you are alone and to leave it there with no updates is not a good choice. Remember: reputation is a process. You must be constant on social to build it. If you can’t, go back to the beginning of this paragraph and think again to which channels you need. Don’t forget: people are part of your startup’s reputation and they can “drag” it. Sharing blog posts, tweets and Facebook activities is a good way to endorse your company. Remember: on Social Media people trust their friends’ opinion more than brands’ one. Moreover, collaborate with other startups and be part of the ecosystem: some days ago for example we collaborated to an eBook about Social Media crisis management with Pennamontata .   This should be the process to follow: TEAM AND PRODUCT BUILDING Your startup is doing well and you are on the right track to succeed: how can you find the right people for your team? LinkedIN is a good place to start. Maybe you won’t have enough money to run a recruiting campaign, but you can search for people. Better: give value to your properties first. Post your recruiting request on your blog and spread it through Social Media. If you are building a product involve your community: ask them to be your beta testers, create secret Facebook groups or ask them for feedback on Twitter using #yourproducthashtag. You’ll be surprised to discover how loyal your users could become in this way.   CUSTOMER BASE BUILDING Social Media are more than just channels to tell your story: they are the place where you can show what you are capable of. Long story short: you can attract customers through Social Media. About 70% of AIDA Monitoring’s customers found us on Social Media: they read our blog, saw our slides or read our tweets and Facebook posts. Why? Because they had the opportunity to see our products in action not just to meet us and listen how good we are in analyzing data. Moreover, Social Media can help you build CRM activities: you can help your customers to fetch information, solve issues or simply know more about your offer while collecting useful cases and histories. One of our product is the Social CRM platform: we saw how AIDA Monitoring’s customers completely changed their Social Media strategies and editorial plans according to feedback stemming from Social Media.   AND NOW WHAT? Your move. Plan a strategy, find channels and start acting. Above all, collect feedback, monitor how your community grows and don’t forget to keep an eye on your competitors: Social are an ecosystem, not a broadcast channels. Interact, engage, grow. Start up.  
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