Seven social media guidelines for startups to follow in 2019
- 12 February 2019
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As startups grow in the Middle East, so does their need to establish a solid social media presence to build and expand their business. Like any marketing tool, however, social media is always evolving; what works now will not work forever.
To stay ahead of the curve, startups should keep these seven tips in mind when using social media.
1. KNOW YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS
Not all social media networks are created equal, and it’s important for startups to determine the best social media channels for their business.
“The first step is to identify which social networks are popular in your country, then see if the audience of the social networks intersects with your target audience,” says Tarek Nasr, Managing Director of The Planet, a digital agency in Cairo and Dubai.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are some of the most popular social networks in MENA, according toDigital Marketing Community, but that doesn’t mean that startups should be restricted to these channels. For example, LinkedIn is an important platform for tech startups.
“If the tech company is in [the] B2B space, then using LinkedIn for content marketing can achieve great results with minimal investment,” Tarek explains.
2. CREATE A HUMAN CONNECTION
Putting a human face on the brand helps establish trust and familiarity, which is particularly important for new and small businesses. A popular trend in “humanizing” a brand is featuring not only business owners and high-level leaders but also employees. Now, more employees are sharing their insights and connecting directly with the brand’s audience.
Sarah Mohamed, Public Relations Director at Dubai-based communications agency Quill, observes: “Perhaps this shift is because businesses are starting to recognize how they can grow their audience network through their people, and use social media to engage their employees and attract the right talent.”
3. USE MICRO-INFLUENCERS TO GROW YOUR BRAND
“Oftentimes, niche and micro-influencers are useful and cost-effective for new startups,” Tarek notes. Micro-influencers can help startups grow organically: with a significant number of followers, micro-influencers can raise awareness and promote a brand, particularly if it targets a specific niche like lifestyle, fashion and food.
4. CREATE GOOD VISUALS
Today, visual marketing is essential for the success of any startup. “Being a food brand, the visual aspect is really important for us,” says Kalina Halatcheva, founder of Corte Diletto, a vegan ice-cream brand in the UK. “People choose and eat with their eyes first. We regularly post content showing the products, recipes, and ingredients, all prominently displayed, so that customers can almost feel and taste the product.”
Emphasising the importance of using good images, Kalina says that she always goes the extra mile to make her photos visually appealing. “All pictures have to align aesthetically and create an overall impression of a unified colour scheme.”
5. DEVELOP RELEVANT AND ENGAGING CONTENT
To help grow their business, startups must create relevant and engaging content for their audience. Instead of flooding social media platforms with generic content, entrepreneurs should take the time to develop creative messages. Less content, if created well, is more effective than an abundance of content that is unengaging.
Sarah advises entrepreneurs to go offline and speak with real people to create inspiring content. “I always find that the best content I create happens after intelligent conversations with subject matter experts. So my advice for those who want to be original: spend time having meaningful conversations with people. Not only will it help you create original and captivating content, but it will also help keep you inspired, alert and full of ideas that can help keep your business growing.”
6. STRATEGIC USE OF HASHTAGS
Hashtags, if used properly, can create targeted exposure for businesses, particularly on Instagram and Twitter.
“In my business accounts, I use the popular hashtags #ModestFashion #JMFW and #DMFW simply because the targets of my business are following these hashtags,” says Franka Soeria, a Muslim brand consultant and cofounder of Markamarie.com and Think Fashion, which runs Modest Fashion Weeks, ModestCatwalk.com and Council of Modest Fashion.
But she also says that businesses should think out of the box and come up with their own unique hashtags for certain projects. “I created a new hashtag for @councilofmodestfashion [called] #wearebettertogether, simply to show that the council is meant to create big collaborations together.”
Speaking of own brand, she says that #randomthoughts is a favourite. “I found that people like it and respond very well. They said they learn a lot from my journey.”
7. PLAN YOUR CONTENT AND REMAIN CONSISTENT
And finally, planning is key.
“Decide in advance how many times a week you would like to post and plan your content for a couple of months ahead at least,” says Kalina.
Posting regularly is also important, according to Tarek. “Startups should post one to four times a week and respond to their audience right away if necessary.”
(Editing by Seban Scaria email@example.com)
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