Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Social media tools your startup should be using

Social media tools are everywhere, but how do you know which ones your startup should focus on? In our work at Socialmedia.biz and Blonde 2.0, we’ve had access to dozens of tools and platforms, but not all social technologies are worth your time and effort.

Here, then, is a list of the top tools your startup should have in place to carry on daily social media activity and maintain a buzz around your product.

Set up a Facebook page
Every startup should have a Facebook page. Whether you’re a B2C or B2B, a Facebook presence is necessary. In the first few years of this social network, many B2B startups didn’t see the value in using Facebook as a professional platform because they considered it to be a social arena rather than a business platform. This perception is long gone. With almost a billion people, this is a social network whose ubiquitousness cannot be ignored.
Get a Twitter profile
Twitter is an amazing tool that lets you engage in a personalized manner with your users and potential users. There are many tools that enable you to find your exact target audience on Twitter — e.g., WeFollow and Twtrland — and engage directly with them. Twitter can also allow for real-time customer service between company and customer.
Create a LinkedIn page
If you’re a B2B startup, you should have an active LinkedIn page. In addition, you’ll also need a dedicated personal profile that can take part in discussions and join interest groups. This person, if social media savvy, will also be able to target specific executives or decision makers in organizations to begin a conversation. Please note: While B2B startups will benefit from a LinkedIn page, not all B2C startups need a profile. For many B2C startups, LinkedIn isn’t as powerful a tool as other social networking platforms.
Create some Pinterest boards
If you have a very visual product, Pinterest is a must. For example, startups marketing photo sharing apps or organizations focused on travel, cooking or design related services can benefit from Pinterest’s visual component. Visually stimulating content that is pinned on Pinterest (and in turn, repinned) can lead to high traffic back to your website.
Quora: Become a knowledge leader
Quora is one of the social networks that startups most underestimate. There are many thought leaders engaged on Quora and a great deal of knowledge that is available. The discussions that take place on this platform are beyond the level that I have encountered on many other social networking sites.
WordPress: Climb aboard the blog bandwagon
Not necessary for all startups, but for many new organizations it makes sense to have a blog that defines who you are as a company and as a brand. A blog takes commitment and dedication. You’ll need to post at least once at week. You’ll see that if you post consistently on your blog and promote your posts effectively, it can become a top source of information in your field. This expertise and knowledge sharing can create a much deeper    connection with your site’s visitors.
Don’t forget social bookmarking sites
Social bookmarking sites are still an important component of promoting your content online. The power of sites like StumbleUpon and Reddit should not be underestimated in bringing in traffic.
Attract coverage by the tech press
Getting coverage in top tier industry publications like TechCrunchMashable or the Huffington Post are hugely important in building credibility for your startup among fellow entrepreneurs, investors and influencers.
All these social media tools will help you in creating the positive brand awareness and buzz that your startup needs to keep your brand in users’ top of mind. Remember that it takes time to build your social media influence. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a social network community. Take your time, engage, work wisely and you’ll reap the rewards.

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