A New Entrepreneur’s Guide to Marketing Your Startup with Social Media

Ways to market a business come in many forms, but with the number of times a day potential customers check their social media platforms, it’s a good idea for small business owners to explore at less use of social media to publicize their Start. Platforms such as Facebook FB,
+5.42%,
Instagram, YouTube, Twitter TWTR,
+1.55%,
LinkedIn and others offer Professional Pages as an option for sharing content, beyond the realm of Personal Pages.

As with any marketing tool, there are do’s and don’ts associated with social media; be unsure as to why Patricia Wynn, owner of lifestyle assistant company Patricia Services LLC in Hillsborough, NC, has yet to jump on the social media marketing bandwagon.

Wynn, 53, currently has an online presence for her business with a website through Vistaprint and a listing on Care.com. “I haven’t taken the time to look in depth at creating business pages on social media yet,” Wynn said, “but when I have some free time, I’ll start with the business page option on Facebook. There’s also an app called Nextdoor.com for local networking that I want to learn more about.”

Wynn has a personal Facebook page and a LinkedIn profile, and a friend posted links on Facebook to this series of Next Avenue articles about Wynn and his new business.

“If you Google GOOGL,
+3.28%
me, my website for Patricia Services LLC appears and I updated my LinkedIn profile information when I opened my business in 2021,” Wynn said.

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Kimberly A. Eddleston, Schulze Professor Emeritus of Entrepreneurship at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University in Boston, said social media is a good tool for small businesses to stay “ahead” with customers.

“Social media is a great way to stay relevant,” she said. “It should be used as a strategic marketing tool…to establish a cohesive image, which also helps you build legitimacy and credibility,” she said.

Eddleston, editor of the Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange, which is one of Next Avenue’s backers, said a big mistake entrepreneurs shouldn’t make on social media is “mixing up information personal and professional.

She added: “If you have a business, don’t put photos of your kids and pets on a business Facebook page, for example. This is a place to include special promotions your startup can run or where you can show off how you’re contributing to the community.

Wynn, who provides clients with housekeeping, cooking, errands and care through her lifestyle assistant company, would like a social media account for her startup to “bring me more customers, business and contacts with other local businesses that I could network with.”

She knows she has to be careful when deciding what to post on a business page. “With social media, you have to be careful how you use it,” she said. “Make sure you don’t post anything that could harm your business.”

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Post about your business, not your politics

Eddleston agrees that a social media business page should be a source of constant communication with potential customers and offer inspiration rather than market bombardment.

“Every industry is different, but you have to stay relevant,” she said. “A small restaurant, for example, might put recipes on their page because it relates to their business.”

“It’s important not to get involved in posts on sensitive topics, like politics, because you’ll alienate some of your clientele. Any negative attitude will hurt you. It’s always better to support someone thing,” Eddleston said. “I would suggest that if you enjoy debating political topics, maybe use an anonymous personal social media account.”

According to a 2021 article published by the Forbes Business Council, social media platforms can help startups in three main ways. First, it can help small businesses build brand awareness and spread information about the services they offer, potentially reaching millions of people quickly and efficiently. Second, it can drive traffic to a startup’s website. Third, it can be used to directly market products and services and help entrepreneurs target their target audience.

Social media platforms, the Forbes article notes, provide opportunities for small businesses to grow and engage with a cohesive group of current and future customers.

Focus on local efforts

As startups develop a social media presence, Eddleston said they need to remember that they are “trying to establish themselves as a credible, consistent and trustworthy company.” This includes having colors and fonts on their social media profile similar to those they use on their website and highlighting any programs they have participated in that support the community.

“People these days feel good when they support a company that demonstrates social responsibility,” Eddleston added. “If your company has supported anything from a local school sports team to minorities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to women in engineering, put it on your social media page. If your business has been featured in the press for participating in community outreach programs, post that on your social media page as well.

While considering the best way to develop her own small business social media page, Wynn had the benefit of seeing one of her clients design a page.

“I do housework for Katherine and Mark Bland, and Mark has a tennis club,” she said. “He showed me his Facebook business page for the club, and I shared some tips with him on keeping the club clean in line with health board requirements.”

For entrepreneurs like Wynn, once decisions have been made on which social media platforms they want to use and what content they want to post on their page, the next big decision is how often they want to post on their page. must publish.

The answer to this question depends on the platform being used and the message a business wants to share with their audience. There will be trial and error, but remember that startups can use the free analytics tools built into most social media platforms, which will help them measure the engagement they get on posts. .

Need help posting regularly? There is an application for that

According to MeetEdgar.com, a social media scheduling app that costs businesses about $50 a month to use, small businesses may want to schedule daily Facebook and Instagram updates on stories or posts, while doing updates on LinkedIn once or twice a week, for example. .

Entrepreneurs can schedule live posts themselves or pay a fee to have a social media management app like Buffer, Hootsuite, Sendible, and SocialPilot, among others, to simplify the process of creating and scheduling posts. These tools cost between $15 and $100 or more per month for small businesses, but some have free versions and several offer free trials.

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With social media, consistency is key, Eddleston noted. “You don’t want to start something and then put it to sleep,” she said. “If there’s no commitment, you have to wonder what you’re doing. Whatever you decide to do should be strategic.

Leslie Hunter-Gadsden is a journalist and educator with over 25 years of experience writing for print and online publications. She has covered business and a variety of topics for several consumer and trade and media publications, including Next Avenue, Black Enterprise magazine, and the Sisters from AARP newsletter.

This article is part of America’s Entrepreneurs, a Next Avenue initiative made possible by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and EIX, the Entrepreneur Innovation Exchange. This article is reproduced with permission from NextAvenue.org© 2022 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

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