It's been a month since you started social media marketing for your startup. The climb is slow but the numbers are going up every day. But you'd like to get your first 2,000 followers today. Numbers matter. Right?
Just then an email arrives in your inbox. The offer to 10x your current follower counts sounds too good to pass up.
And as your hand hovers over the "Buy Instagram followers" button you rationalize buying ideas from a shady site by thinking of the respect your page will get.
Here's the truth. The most successful brands on social media are those who grew their numbers the hard way, choosing long term profits over short term fixes.
When you get into social media marketing for your startup, it’s tempting to focus on all the wrong things. Some common mistakes startups make are:
- Focusing on vanity metrics
- Joining every platform
- Buying followers
- Aggressive self-promotion
- Avoiding experimenting
- Not being strategic with content
- Doing what everyone is doing
Keep Your Eyes on Leads, Not Likes.
Your social media marketing has to be strategic so that you can avoid pitfalls like buying followers or buying followers and likes. It always feels like the higher the numbers, the more credible and successful you’ll seem. And that is true. If you got on social media to become an influencer, not to sell a product.
Businesses are established to make money from solving a problem. To make money, they’ve to sell. Marketing makes the prospects aware of their problems, where the business comes in to help, and why they should choose their products.
Even content marketing as altruistic as it seems is directed at making people choose your business every time.
‘Looking’ successful by social media metrics becomes an irresistible temptation when you forget why you got on these apps in the first place.
But if you want to learn how to turn likes into more leads by doing social media marketing the right, follow these simple steps.
1. Pay attention to the numbers
But not in the way that you think. Pages that have 19,000 followers don’t always get 19k likes or comments. Neither do they automatically have 19,000 leads. Likes and followers counts are vanity metrics. They both can throw you off balance because they do not always translate into sales. Someone may just be scrolling past and decide to double-tap.
So should you give up and not try to gain more followers organically? No. All followers may not be buyers. But followers can become brand ambassadors who bring customers you need.
Having a small follower count makes it easy to turn each one into a loyal fan. You should be connecting with the people that follow you right now. Starting conversations with them, answering their questions, and taking suggestions. If you do find someone using your product already, a simple chat can give you insights into how to make your products better. And there's also the fact that Social media is an untapped customer acquisition channel for many brands.
Focus on value and enriching customer experience. Cherishing every single number you’ve right now will build you a community that will grow with your business.
2. Don’t spread yourself thin
Facebook. Pinterest. Instagram. Youtube. TikTok. LinkedIn.
There are many platforms to go social on but just because Garyvee says TikTok works doesn’t mean you should get on it.
If you think you should be everywhere then your social strategy will crash fast. Instead, be strategic and intentional about where you go social.
Find out where your customers hang and go and spend time with them. If they are professionals or businesses, check out LinkedIn. For Gen Z and millennials, listen to GaryVee get on TikTok.
Running a lean startup might not let you build a large social media team, two core channels are enough. As your business, your team, and your customer base grows you can spread out to other relevant networks. For now, stay where you need to be and focus on talking to your smallest viable audience.
3. Don’t be a self-promotional ass
No one likes the guy who keeps talking about himself. Except he is really funny and gives them a good laugh. But even the best comedians share relatable things and that is why people love them. People are will follow you on social media because of how cool the features of your product are but because of how it makes them feel. They’ll listen to and trust your brand when they can see benefits in those features.
Instead of telling them how your "cutting-edge" and "world-class" solutions are, tell them how they can save money and time using your app because it does what they usually need three apps to do.
An axiom in marketing is that humans are selfish. No one really cares about your business expect it inspires, educates or motivates them, or entertains them.
4. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t
Social media is dynamic. Trends come and go. That is why you can’t get comfortable. You need to be ready to abandon your beloved methods and try scary new experiments. And you must be ready to learn from failure.
Keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Most platforms have inbuilt analytic tools that give insights on how posts are doing. But third-party tools go in-depth and give a better perspective.
5. Don’t buy followers
My friend once worked for a company that sold likes on Instagram. With her fake account, she’d like posts and got paid. But she was never really interested in buying anything from these pages. Buying followers and likes doesn’t bring sales or leads. Especially not when the person liking your post has no interest in what you are selling. It looks good on your profiles but is it a wise business decision in the long term?
Most accounts that buy followers get flagged and stop having any reasonable organic reach because no one engages with their content.
And yes, this includes most engagement pods too.
6. Stop taking advice from non-professionals
The numbers we’ve on TikTok are crazy. You should try… I love Garyvee but I do not think every business needs to be on TikTok. Especially if they’ve spread themselves thin. Refer to no 3.
You might join TikTok, spend hours making videos, and see no results. Or maybe the first video will go viral and you’ll have a ton of followers and no one will buy anything.
The reason is simple. Not every platform works for everyone. If your target audience is not on TikTok or just a negligible amount, you don’t need to be there. You are not missing out on much if you save your energy and time for places you can actually get leads from.
If you want to know what platforms to join. Talk to your content marketer or book a session with one instead of taking advice from someone who knows someone who happens to be a second cousin to the CEO of some startup that blew up on TikTok.
You need cold hard facts to make marketing decisions. Without it, you’ll be throwing time and money into the shredder with your own hands.
9. Be strategic with content
What do you want them to do? Visit a website? Buy a product. Sign up for your email list?
It would only make sense to buy followers or use engagement pods when you don't have a plan for your followers.
Successful social marketing is laser-focused on getting people to take action. The conversion rate might not be 100% but the 20% that visit your website could sign up for your newsletter allowing you to nudge them into purchasing your product with an effective email sequence.
This is why every piece of content should have a Call To Action (CTA) attached to it.
Unfortunately, you can get ghost followers that care more about the cents they get per click then your products to take action.
Here’s the truth., Social media marketing is hard work. It takes time and persistence to build pages that pay and impatience will lead you to take shortcuts, that will lead you to walls. Avoid agencies that promise fast numbers and clicks. Instead of doing anything and everything, do what matters and what gives results, It is that simple.
Just before you buy 1,000 followers for $200, ask yourself. Are these people going to buy your products or at least tell Dave from next door that your company sells just what he needs?