Question: Start ups & Social Media

This week, we have a wonderful post from our featured guest blogger Tom Wishart who goes through the dos, don'ts and whos of social media and what you need to get the most out of your Instagram habit!

The early stages of a start-up are always nerve wracking. You have invested a vast amount of your own time, sweat and tears into your business idea. Hours of project planning and management, numerous cups of coffee and the last of your savings account have combined to give your new start-up wings, and now you have to figure out the best social media channels for the continued growth of your business. Brian Lonsdale, of company logo design company Repeat Logo of Glasgow, says “In today’s digital world, social media provides access to new audiences that you simply couldn’t reach ten years ago. For cash-strapped start-ups without a colossal marketing budget, social media isn’t an optional extra anymore; it’s an absolute necessity.”


Today, there are numerous channels available for utilisation. When talking about social media, many people talk about “the big three” – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – while overlooking the countless other options available. The big three are without a doubt useful channels for any company, large or small, but to pass by others solely in their favour is a waste of incredibly valuable resources. This, however, is not the biggest hiccup that many make.

The Start of a Start-up

The mistake that many aspiring entrepreneurs make is assuming everyone will be as excited about their idea as they will be. This leads to start-ups overlooking the need to market their product or service before it’s availability. If the marketing campaign hasn’t reached an appropriate level (depending on targeted conversion rates) of people on launch, it could collapse before it’s even started. Businesses require solid cash flow to run, the lifeline of which is a constant stream of customers.

Channels to be looking at for start-up are crowd funding sites linked to some or all of the Big Three. Sites such as IndieGoGo or GoFundMe have a dual impact: they allow your project to reach a wider market, and can accrue funds for the development stage. As well as these, crowd funding can begin to build a database of potential users by gathering personal information. Depending on how you structure the different levels of donations, you can also pre-sell your product or service, allowing you to draw on some of your future potential to fund the early stages.

Combining a crowd funding campaign with social media venture should not be overlooked. Glasgow-based eyewear company Tens is the prime example. Raking in an astounding 3904% of their target goal, they highlight just how successful a properly managed campaign can be. Iain Robertson, Social Media & Marketing Manager for Tens, says “Gone are the days when businesses were just about their products and services. A modern brand’s voice and engagement with its customer is now equally important. With social media this is now easier than ever, and in real-time. Launching a start-up has its challenged, but with meaningful engagement being of such high important to a brand’s voice and trust, social media channels and their tools [have] become invaluable.”


Make it Marketable 

Anyone utilising social media today knows the power of a happening hashtag. Tens settled on the hashtag #FilterYourWorld, appropriate to their business and product. A hashtag allows all related posts to be gathered and visible together, as well as making the social media user feel connected to a larger community. Such connectivity cannot be overlooked, as it is free and powerful marketing. Make sure your profiles on social media are as complete as can be: Twitter needs constant interaction, Facebook needs to be completely filled with information, and Instagram needs a beautiful grid (the Instagram page layout is a grid of thumbnails versions of photos). A poorly maintained profile will garner no interest.

So what else is out there?

Snapchat: What started as a fun temporary image and video sharing platform has evolved into a massive marketing tool. With Snapchat reaching 41% of 18-34 year olds in the US on a daily basis, this channel is perfect for products or services aimed at younger demographics. Many sponsored profiles post images/videos with discount codes that will generate leads for companies.
LinkedIn: While not a social media channel aimed at targeting consumers, LinkedIn allows you to reach your professional peers. Good lines of communication to relevant players in your industry can open up potential collaborations or provide external input to a project. It is also useful as a self-publication site for use in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Fiverr: While not so much a social media channel as a marketplace app, Fiverr should be an essential to any start-up. An easy to set up marketplace app marketed as the place to sell anything, Fiverr gives a flexible and robust platform to sell services from. Packages, or “Gigs” as they are known on the site, are fully customisation through a series of options given by Fiverr. Good work results in good reviews which in turn draw in more work, a beautiful feedback loop.