My top tip to promote your start up business with social media is to focus on one area of conversation topic and to be very selective about spending any money on advertising at all. I am very strict with my own time management to read new articles and stories from reliable and professional sources. You can comment on reputable online trade journals with links back to your website or blog but make sure you add value to the article and not just an aggressive sales pitch. Be prepared to give before your receive.
I started my business in 2008 with just £1 and a smartphone and a very niche service. I had to plan my blogs and tweets with precision.
The quality of my business connections was more important than quantity of connections. I am focused on how large retailers are using social media locally and I need to hangout online and offline in places where my clients would be. I choose a blend of Retail trade press and individual blogs and tweets from a small group of practitioners, rather than over hyped general thought leadership with no substance or just a ‘rant’. I am a loyal viewer of Bloomberg West too, broadcast in the UK at 23:00 on Bloomberg TV. This programme gives a good insight with interviews from the people running the future technology businesses in Retail.
I also am a great believer in tracking down original data to back up my thoughts for my own social media feeds, for example, we published an article for our Social Retail Blog recently which took my team 3 weeks to prepare behind the scenes. It was audit of over 20 large retailers and how they were developing their local social media strategy, or not as our results showed.
So when you’re starting a business and you have very little cash resource for paid advertising, I would recommend social media is the only option to help you connect with future clients and empower them to talk about you in their own words. This means you must focus your business on adding value to your clients’ whilst constantly keeping an eye on your competitors and changing with your environment. There are no short cuts so invest your time wisely and be focused.
In a B2B context, try and get as many opportunities to speak at industry events and possible and tweet live from conferences so people can see that you’re contributing towards communities.
Most importantly, don’t give up! Treat every client with a personal service and ensure that they are 100% satisfied with you. As the UK is coming out of ‘The Great Recession” there has never been a better time to start up a business and use social media to grow your connections at the speed of a tweet.