A Start-Up’s Guide To Social Media Marketing

Candace Berner-Rubie    November 13, 2013

As an entrepreneur, guiding your start-up company to success is not an easy task.  Social media is becoming an essential tool in the small business marketer’s toolbox, but like any tool it has its advantages and disadvantages.

Having a knowledge of social media marketing basics can help new start-ups use these channels to improve the customer experience, employee experience, and the bottom line.

Susan Gunelius, CEO of marketing communications company KeySplash Creative Inc., lays out her top 10 social media marketing laws for the new entrepreneur:

  1. Listening – once you determine your target audience, read their online content and join conversations to find out what’s important to them.  This will help you create your own content that will inspire conversations.
  2. Focus – don’t be a jack-of-all trades.  Instead, develop a focused  social media marketing strategy and content that builds up your organization’s brand.
  3. Quality – it’s more important to have quality conversations in a smaller social network than to have a larger social network that isn’t engaged.
  4. Patience – be patient with your social media marketing strategy…it won’t produce results overnight.
  5. Compounding – if you create quality content and work on building a quality social network, those network contacts will share it among their own networks and increase your audience reach.
  6. Influence – find and develop relationships with online influencers who are interested in your products, services, and business.  In turn, they may share your valuable content with their own social networks, increasing your audience reach.
  7. Value – focus on creating quality content, developing relationships with online influencers, and adding value to conversations.
  8. Acknowledgement – just as you’d acknowledge someone on a phone call, it’s equally essential to respond to every social media contact who reaches out to you.
  9. Accessibility – be available to engage in conversation with your social media contacts.  If you disappear after publishing content, your followers will disappear too.
  10. Reciprocity – remember to share content published by others…you are an influencer too.  You can’t expect your  networks to share your content if you don’t share theirs.

Now that the fundamentals have been observed, the next step is to create your social media marketing strategy.  So where to start?  Infographic creator Column Five created the infographic below as a guide for new entrepreneurs figuring out their social media strategy:

Intuit_2013_SocialRoadMap-590x2269

Just remember that every organization has a unique social media marketing plan, so find what works and enjoy the results.

A case study

Blendtec, manufacturer of blenders, mixers, and mills, has a very unique social media marketing success story based entirely around it’s use of YouTube videos and their CEO’s love of tinkering.

It was common practice for CEO Tom Dickson to test the blenders they manufactured by blending random items, like marbles and wood.  When George Wright, Blendtec’s first marketing director, witnessed Tom during one of these sessions, he knew they’d just hit gold for their first social marketing campaign.

In 2006, Blendtec made its grand entrance on the social media stage when they started recording Tom’s blending tests using increasingly obscure items.  They were posted on YouTube and the viral “Will it blend?” video series and YouTube page was born.

Blendtec’s original goal for the “Will it blend?” video series was increased awareness for their blender products.

And what results did Blendtec see from the “Will it blend?” series?

  • 6 million views in the first five days
  • Over 181 million views from 2006 to 2011
  • Over 679,000 YouTube page subscribers
  • sales of the particular blender used in the videos increased by 1000%
  • sales of their line of blenders increased by over 700%

Blendtec has continued to evolve with the social media world by adopting several other social channels into their marketing strategy, including Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Lessons learned:

  1. A social media marketing strategy isn’t one-size-fits-all.  Create a customized strategy that works for your organization and the goals you’ve set.
  2. It’s important for organizations to have a face.  Creating a social media marketing strategy that is genuine and creative will help achieve that.
  3. Don’t try to pull out all the stops right from the get-go.  Start basic and build up you social media marketing strategy one step at a time.
  4. Executing a social media marketing strategy doesn’t have to be expensive.  Blendtec demonstrated this, creating a viral video series by purchasing a white lab coat and an item to destroy for each video.

 

Sources

10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

Manage Social Media the Easy Way in 2013

Social Media Success Stories: Blendtec

Corporate Social Media Case Study: Blendtec

Social Media Marketing Primer: How Blendtec Got Its Face On

 

Submitted by: Candace Berner-Rubie – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.