3 top tips to successfully navigating social media platforms for your startup

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July 25th 2023

3 top tips to successfully navigating social media platforms for your startup

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As a business owner, you know how important it is to have a social media presence for your startup. However, do you know which social media channel will be the most profitable for your business needs? Or how to squeeze the most out of the tools at your disposal by doing the least?

One easy mistake to make is thinking that you have to be present on each and every platform 24/7 – whilst this might sound like common sense, it’s the perfect recipe for disaster…

85% of the people that own smartphones all across the globe are active on social media. That’s pretty much all of your targeted customers, making social media a major avenue to meet customers and be discovered by users around the world.

With this in mind, you have a crucial job of ensuring that you employ the right marketing techniques across the right social media platforms to get your message heard by the right people.

So, how do you navigate social media platforms for your startup? Keep reading as we deep dive with Parallel.

Which platforms should you use & how?

The disappearance of MySpace and Tumblr was gradual and expected – which doesn’t mean I don’t still shed a tear for my lost teenage archives. Gone are the days of gentle slow-fades – in 2023 social media sites go out with a bang!

Plus, it’s getting harder than ever to tell the difference between hot air and genuine hype – RIP Clubhouse, remember her? Ever since Elon Musk purchased Twitter, he has made multiple changes to the platform which have upset users who have been loyal to the platform since its inception.

In early July, he took it one step too far by limiting how many tweets users can see per day if they don’t pay for Blue Tick verification. As expected, users were up in arms. Apart from one glass-half-full tweeter, who thinks the death of Twitter might just be the birth of their IRL dreams…

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Hoping to capitalize on Musk’s mistakes, Meta quickly launched an exact replica of Twitter called Threads. Within a few hours, founder Mark Zuckerberg, ‘threaded’: “Just passed 5 million sign ups in the first four hours…

This celebration didn’t last too long though, because in less than 2 weeks, CNBC reported that engagement on the app has dropped drastically… as in 50% less user time spent on the app already. Viva la revolución?

A similar incident happened with Instagram, whose users have been threatening to up and leave the platform since 2021, aggravated by a stream of changes to the app’s home feed and algorithm. With every update, Instagram gets worse for creators and better for Meta’s bottom line. However, despite a ton of vocal outrage and plenty of Instagram alternatives to choose from, we are yet to see a mass exodus.

This is all to say that in a blink of an eye, consumers can drop their affiliation with a social media platform and jump ship en masse. If you have invested a ton of time and money into building up a following for your startup on that platform, it’s not just the evil billionaires that get burnt.

So, what should you do to ensure that none of your marketing efforts end up amongst the charred remains of a ‘flash in the pan’ social media site? Choose an app that won’t require you to blow your budget just for the sake of being seen.

It’s easy to be tempted to hop on each and every platform out there to combat the chances of being left behind or out-competed by companies who are dabbling in everything – but do you really want to be a Jack of all trades and a master of none?

Instead, take on Parallel’s top three tips to when curating which platforms you invest your startups time and energy in:

1 | Find your people

Different social media platforms attract different user demographics and interests. If your target audience doesn’t align with the user base of a particular platform, investing time and resources into that platform may not yield great results.

If you own a beauty brand, TikTok and Instagram would be the best place for you. With a B2B and SaaS business, LinkedIn and Twitter would be your best bet. Interior design and home decor business? Pinterest and Instagram have your back.

See? It all really depends on the structure of your business because as a B2B, there are slim chances of being discovered by your audiences on TikTok. With that said, your first step would be to get a full understanding of social media demographics so that your message lands in the peripherals of the right people.

2 | Don’t over repurpose

In an ideal world, you find customers that love you so much they follow you wherever you are on the web. So consider this: if your audiences are following you on every platform that you’re active on, they don’t want to see the same ol’ content going round like a merry go round.

Managing multiple social media platforms requires a ton of time and effort, so rationally it makes sense to simply tweak the content a bit and post everything, everywhere, all at once! The issue? Every platform has its own ‘personality’ and lots of them are in conflict with each other.

Would you re-post your Instagram holiday pics on Linked In? Didn’t think so. Instead, focus on a select few platforms, so that you can allocate your resources more efficiently and dedicate more attention to creating high-quality content and engaging with your audience.

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3 | The algorithm keeps fighting everyone

Each social media platform has its own unique practices, algorithms, and strategies for success. Trying to master every platform can be challenging and often results in a lack of expertise across all, when you could be maximizing the usefulness of one specific site. Don’t spread yourself too thin, with social media it’s always quality over quantity!

Although the algorithms of each platform just keep switching up, one thing has remained constant — being active and consistent will never forsake you.

This also emphasizes the need for you to focus and invest in fewer social media platforms so that your team can dedicate the much needed time and effort to ‘studying’ the platform to boost successful results.

To post or not to post on social media?

Here’s the gag to all of this: while there are major benefits to being present on social media for your startup – there are major negatives that come with it.

For one, social media has given customers the power to speak directly back to businesses and hold companies publically accountable for everyone to hear – including your mum. And you know what they say: the customer is always right!

Well, sometimes they’re not right. Customers can spread misinformation via social media or exaggerate their dissatisfaction with a brand and cause existing customers turn their backs on you.

Sure, you can mitigate the situation by sending out a press release and/or public apology for the misunderstanding however, that will require your full-time attention until every thing has settled – and an expensive P.R. team.

Another thing is that social media went from being a space where people share genuine thought and authentic experiences to more of a hierarchy, where those with the ability to pay for verification get more screen time than those that don’t.

Companies such as Lush Cosmetics picked up on this and decided that it is not the vibe they want to be part of. So, in November 2021 they announced that they will be completely stepping away from social media, especially the Meta-owned ones, ‘until these platforms can provide a safer environment for their users’.

Just like everything nowadays — there’s good and bad and it usually all depends on how we engage with it. With social media, it’s wise to avoid saying something wildly controversial as things can go south really fast (or you can say what you like and disable the comments).

It’s been eye-opening to see which brands immediately pulled back from their Pride campaigns in the face of backlash versus the brands which proved they weren’t simply ‘rainbow washing’ and continue to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. On social media, silence can speak even louder than words.

At the end of the day, it’s all about being intentional. Just because every business seems to be on one particular platform and succeeding from it, doesn’t mean that yours should be there too. To know and understand social media, you have to limit yourself when it comes to how many platforms you will be engaging in.

Once you have determined that, go ALL IN! Stick to your guns, be genuine and most importantly make sure that everyone (including you and your team) are having a positive experience.

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