Story Time! Long ago, (circa. 2004) before the dawn of social networks, mankind faced some of the harshest business dilemmas. How do I market my startup? How will I gauge and increase customer interaction? How can I update the world on what my startup is doing? These were among the darkest times for business-kind. A few brave souls stood bright in the dark, connecting people around the world via Bebo and MySpace, but ultimately these bodies would lose their support in aid of something new and different, the new social networkswould rise and give light to the dark and frightening world of global social networking.
The internet wasn’t a particularly easy to navigate place in the early 00’s, there wasn’t as much user interaction and selling and advertising was left to the tech savvy elite who knew about the whole process or the businesses wealthy enough to pay someone to do it for them.
Fast forward 10 years, and the internet isn’t only the most accessible resource for businesses and in fact consumers, but one of the most necessary resources to function; But is it necessary for a startup to have a Facebook page or a Twitter account?
Well, what do you think?
Does YOUR Startup need one? Will it benefit enough to dedicate the time to these pages, or is that much less than a secondary means for you to get the word out or interact with your customers?
The answer to this ultimately comes from you, the startup.
Weighing up the pros and cons of these options is often a good idea in helping you decide if it’s right for your business or not.
Networking with things like Twitter, is a great means of communication with customers and clients. It acts as a direct link to each body, meaning that directly addressing the appropriate people is simple, however utilising it as a means of advertising is tricky, as navigating hashtags, trending pages and sponsored posts can be complicated. That being said, if you can manage it and navigate it with relative ease, it is a free service and can prove to be remarkably beneficial in the long run. The only major issues are the character count, and the time it takes to learn how to use it all efficiently.
Facebook is arguably one of the most useful marketing tools for any startup, it allows imagery, videos and links with previews to be posted, with very little constraints on the posts made. Sounds wonderful! Well, hold on, because there are other issues involved. Facebook used to give a remarkable amount of visibility to pages, allowing basically all of a page’s posts to be seen by their followers. Recently, it’s been reduced significantly, with some users claiming only a 7% visibility rate, this is due in part to the over saturation of advertisements that users could see. The solution to this however, thanks to Facebook, is a paid promotional practice. Meaning you pay for certain posts to be made more visible than others, meaning that new and existing users could be informed over only just your followers, however this comes at a cost. The question then becomes, if you can afford it, should you? Don’t forget, the page and 7% are still free, and tactfully it’s possible to make use of that. As a marketing tool, it has its uses.
The question becomes “Are any social networks viable for my Startup?”
The answers don’t change in light of these points, regardless of which social network you choose.
For communications directly to customers, they can be very beneficial, as for marketing however; they should probably be a little lower on your priority outlets, unless you have the funding, time and staff power to run the pages effectively.
There’s nothing wrong with some paid advertising, but as with all startups, every penny counts, and we know that, so a social network, even just as a customer engagement tool is probably not a bad idea especially once the ruckus of getting set up subsides. You’ll have time to develop and grow your user base, and social networking is a pretty good way at first to help you get there. Also, it happens to be free.
Hopefully this breakdown of advice will help you in making any decisions about social networking in the future of your startup!
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Mi-IDEA Manchester Networking Event
27th Sep 2016
The teams from CISCO and Manchester Science Partnerships have teamed up to create Mi-IDEA, a post-accelerator designed to foster and nurture digital innovation in the North West of England.