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How to use social media to promote your startup

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by Startacus Admin

Basic Human Nature - We all like to be poked: Krisi Smith, co-founder of successful startup Bluebird Tea Co. offers her top tips on how to use social media to promote your startup.

Social media is a bit of an odd one for startups because by it’s ad hoc, unstructured nature it rarely feels like ‘work’ so when faced with piles of admin and business planning you can feel guilty for taking time out to ‘play’ with Twitter!

It is easy to overlook and under prioritise social media but it is changing the way that humans interact, grow and learn. And it is changing the way we run our businesses and interact with our how to use social media for your startupcustomers. There is no doubt that it can be a very useful and successful business tool if you have the time/inclination/effort to use it.

Although sales conversion is (quite crudely put) the end goal to pretty much everything you do in a startup, especially when running an online business like ours. Social media simply doesn’t work that way. You are interacting with humans here and that isn’t how we view the world or our lives (it would be a very sad place to live in my opinion if we did).

People use social media learn new things, forge new friendships, speak to people, share their views, laugh, share, contribute. People want to share what they love or laugh at with others.. it’s human nature. And social media allows this sharing to be both instant and extremely far reaching.

The thought that your words or views or pictures can be shared instantly with millions of strangers all over the world is enchanting and addicting.

So what you want to gain is shares not sales (well not directly anyway) . Shares. Likes. Pins. Favourites Follows. Conversations.

Get people talking about you and be memorable. But how? - this can take a bit of creative thinking and commitment to the cause.

People want to hear from, talk to and share the people who they enjoy interacting with. Personally, I like brands like Innocent whose posts make me laugh. I might not go out immediately and buy a smoothie but I do spend 10 minutes procrastinating looking through the funny pictures on their Facebook page and I do share with my friends.

You could argue that if it doesn’t get a sale it is a waste of time.

Well is it? I don’t think adding happiness to people's lives even in the smallest degree can ever be a waste of my time, on a personal level. And on a business level it sets you out above the crowd as a business who is likable, honest, fun and friendly. It gets you noticed. It makes you memorable.

Lets look at 5 simple things you can do to make more of social media for your business:

Join platforms that you are genuinely interested in and that you enjoy.
It isn’t supposed to be a chore or inflexible. If you like photos and pictures join Pinterest or Instagram, if you like keeping it short and sweet with strangers join Twitter etc. Focus on what you can get passionate about and committed to regularly updating. You can then set up your chosen platform to automatically feed onto the other platforms - Facebook page, Twitter feed etc.

Get involved in a two way interaction!
The BIG one. Don’t just join, follow noone and bombard people with your pictures, comments, or even worse sales pitches and expect people to share or be interested.. because they won't. Thank people for following/like you, follow and like back. We are human, it makes us feel special and theres a big chance we will share/reply/retweet what you have said making your presence reach all their followers too.

If you are struggling to understand or use the platform either find a savvy person and offer tea/cake/hugs in exchange for help or YouTube/Google it!
So far I have not found a problem or puzzle that either You Tube or Google haven’t been able to answer/fix.

Be interesting! (And funny if you can stretch that far!)
Think about what you would like to hear about or what makes you laugh. Think about what types of things would make you take the time to share with your friends/followers. And do it.

Think about setting up a weekly plan of interactions along side your ad hoc posts.
Set yourself the goal of doing something regularly so that people expect it and look forward to it. Perhaps a competition every Friday or even as simple as sharing some things you found interesting that week.

Don’t spend another penny on newspapers/billboards/tv to spread your brand in print because you can get thousands of regular, happy, social media loving, humans to become your brand Bluebird teaambassadors and do the job for free.

It may seem simple, and it is. And it might seem a bit daft, which it is. You might also ask ‘what on earth has some of that got to do with my product/service?’ and the answer would be: not a lot.

But the next time someone talks to them about your industry they might mention you. They might just be saying ‘ I don’t even like tea or know anything about it but someone shared a funny joke by this tea company with me last week and they seem really cool, maybe check them out.’

The important thing is they will be starting a conversation about you. And conversations can sometimes go viral. And the best bit… you enjoy it and they enjoy it too. It’s happiness spreading.

We are all humans and we like to laugh and be happy and most of all we like to share these things with other humans. It’s basic human nature. It’s basic business sense.

You can read more about Krisi’s business tales on her blog, ThatBluebirdGirl. To find out more about Bluebird Tea Co. visit their website or follow their news on twitter or Facebook

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Published on: 22nd February 2013

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