It is rare these days to find a startup without a Twitter account or a Facebook page. However, Benjamin Blachère, our expert mentor on all that is web, doesn’t hesitate to challenge this: a social media presence is often “nice to have” without being “must have”.
Honestly, seeing so many young adults (or older ones…) glued to their smartphones, I’m somewhat surprised. Benjamin explains: there’s no point running before you can walk.
Your branding (in other words, your brand strategy) is yet to be defined? Your business model is still in the works? You are struggling to deal with various technical, sales or financial priorities? If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions (or even just one), it may pay to shelve social media for a later date.
“I sometimes meet startups that have jumped into social media too fast. If your startup knows where it's going, then why not? However, if your business model needs fine tuning, if your name is under discussion or not yet protected legally, or if you have nothing to say (or only information of a sensitive nature), don’t jump straight to seeking high visibility for your startup. Producing and distributing relevant content on line takes a lot of time and needs a coherent strategy, at the risk of being counter-productive.”
So don’t feel guilty for being (for the present) absent from social media: you certainly have a good reason for waiting, which is the right thing to do for your business.
“You need to know how to manage your time and resources spent on social media, especially for B2B companies”, explains Benjamin. “Some channels are great for reaching the general public, but not really relevant for a professional audience: Instagram and Pinterest, for example. Facebook can be useful if used carefully to avoid the risk of being too intrusive into the private space of the professionals you are trying to reach."
As a true Millennial, social media is in your blood. However, here is a little reminder of general usages:
- Visual content works best in Instagram
- Content aimed to the general public, turn to Facebook
- To target influencers or journalists, try Twitter
- For B2B content, use LinkedIn
- If you use video, YouTube is worth your time as it is the second most used search engine behind Google and offers very precise targeting for paid promotion.
- A blog could be useful to educate your consumers about disruptive technologies, and very helpful for your organic search results
“Website, market place, social media… Keeping in mind the relevance of your channels as regards your target market and your products, it is advisable to cover as many social media bases as possible. That said, the more channels you cover, the more time you will have to spend and the more money.” Once your accounts created, you need to keep them active, and to adapt content to each channel.
Tip #3: get a deeper understanding of the basics
Acquisition, retention, activation, analytics… “The Foodtech entrepreneurs that we work with are often from Generation Y and grew up with social media. That does not mean they are always comfortable with the vocabulary of web marketing.” That means it’s time to hit the books to learn more about what seems natural and familiar, but in fact requires applying a well thought-out strategy.
Unlike organic reach, paid promotion costs can add up but can be very cost effective for social media. Like Google AdWords, they offer a huge potential for very fine targeting and a revenue model based on cost-per-click that offers a great deal of control and testing options.
A landing page is a web page built to specifically provide the information or promise offered in your campaigns (unlike a general website homepage, for example) and exists to maximise conversions.
A call to action is a button or text telling your web visitors what they need (or you want them) to do. A well-crafted call-to-action can make or break or conversions.
Feeling a bit lost? Feel free to make us of a professionnal to translate and implement these concepts for your business and your team. Don’t forget, even if you have used social media all your life, it may take some effort to adapt these tools to a business context.
By Christophe Breuillet
Managing director of Vitagora and AcceleRise, Christophe is the big boss! His various areas of expertise cover innovation and food business development, internationalisation and influence strategies… basically Food “Business” with a capital B! You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org