[guest post by Emma Lewis]

Social media is here to help your start-up. Social media works so well because of the sheer number of users – hundreds of millions of potential consumers at the tip of your fingers. Here’s how to build the reputation of your start-up on social media.

Create a social media strategy before jumping on

Before you jump on social media and start creating profiles, it’s wise to plan your strategy. Think of your business. What goals and objectives do you have? What kind of company do you want to be on social media?

One example would be no-nonsense, straightforward and informative. Another: easy-going and humorous. These are two examples, but your social media profile should be in line with your company culture. Strive for consistency across social media. Companies will have a different purpose, and a tone should be set to that effect. The tone of the page should be in line with an audience or target market.

Find your target market

The target market for your service applies to social media as well. You must cater to the right audience to improve sales. Facebook provides several tools that allow you to choose who your marketing is focused on. The Facebook Target Audience feature allows you to pick attributes such as age, area, behaviour, and bio. This tool is perfect for zeroing in on a target audience. Focusing on an audience will earn your start-up an excellent reputation and ease the data collection process.

Choose the right social networks

There are plenty of social media platforms and users. However, there is a benefit in choosing specific platforms to focus on. If potential customers don’t make up a large percentage of a platform’s user base, stay away. Maybe you only have the time or financial backing for one platform, so find out which platform will benefit your start-up most.

Some industries have a preference, others don’t. Specific determinants can aid you in the process of choosing: target audience, location and what service you provide. If your company involves marketing, Facebook Ads or Promoted Tweets would be ideal.

Tracking your data

Keeping track of data is important. With the help of social media tools, it has become a lot easier. In basic terms, your start-up’s social metrics will be broken up into engagement, impressions, views and reach. You should also be cautious of when you post or schedule content to go live. Depending on your audience, there will be times when you should avoid posting due to little activity. Frequently looking at social media metrics will give you better insight into the do’s and don’ts of your social media marketing strategy. Taking note of data will help you decide what, when and for how long content should be posted on your start-up’s social media page.

Capitalize

There are multiple uses for social media. Yes, its primary use may be growing awareness and improving sales, but you can take advantage of other features. For example, communication with customers or clients can easily be done through a social media platform such as Facebook Messenger. The ability to respond and take in feedback can build a positive reputation for your start-up. An aspect of your business, like customer service, can easily be done on Facebook.

Not only is it a simple form of communication, but it’s also cost-effective. It costs nothing to set up, and a social media manager could double as a customer service representative. No additional phone numbers, customers waiting on hold or waiting for call-backs; a tool like Facebook Messenger is straightforward and easy. It also notifies the enquirer how long a company typically takes to reply!

You can even manage your online reputation with specific tools. Tools like Social Mention and Hootsuite will track all the mentions of your brand name, good or bad. Then you can manage negative mentions or highlight positive mentions of your start-up.

Experiment

Proven, traditional techniques will work, but it’s also encouraged to try new ways to build a reputation. Start-ups are innovative; they solve problems and bring efficiency, so why not market the same way? Less business-oriented platforms like Snapchat are worth a try. There are over 100 million users on Snapchat! Your start-up can benefit by creating a community or following with story-based videos. They can display the culture or service of your start-up from a different perspective. Like other social media platforms, there are Snapchat strategies to follow.

**About the Author: Emma Lewis is a loving mother, a devoted wife and part of the team supporting Spacer, a company helping you find storage space whenever you need it. Emma is also a staunch supporter of the sharing economy and often mentions its benefits.