It is of no surprise that word spreads faster in this age of social media than it ever did. In seconds the entire world is aware of what someone ate for breakfast or of their most recent wardrobe malfunction. With this lightning-fast news delivery system fitting in the mere size of our palms, we are quite the target audience waiting to be tapped. The emergence of the social media era has start-ups on their toes, as they are researching to curate the best digital marketing techniques to achieve their business goals. But social start-ups are driven with an added motive of raising awareness and solving issues that plague our society. Social media has been a blessing for such companies as it serves as both- a marketing tool and as a means of making their voices heard.
‘Build it and they will come’, is no longer the words to live by, especially when you are trying to build your start-up. The need to go to your audience and engage with them is rising. Indore-based Raghav Baldwa did exactly that when he created a Facebook Page reaching out to donors to donate blood for those in need. Thanks to repeated sharing and tagging, his start-up ‘Blood Sure’ received an impressive response almost immediately, along with Whatsapp’s chain forwarding playing a positive role, a rare occurrence indeed. With the help of social media platforms, Blood Sure has gathered over 80,000 volunteers who donate blood every six months and has been successful in reaching 15,000 patients so far. Organising crowd-funding campaigns and helping raise funds to design a location based-application that connects and locates blood donors in the vicinity, has been Raghav’s recent step towards Blood Sure’s aim of getting rid of India’s issue of blood shortage by 2027. This is an excellent example of how a start-up could start its branding and how its focused goals can direct social success.
Another such start-up that recently took the Indian digital market by a storm with their bold, witty and quirky videos is Vitamin Stree- ‘a video-first media brand that is reshaping the narrative of young women in India’. A product of Supari Studios, Vitamin Stree started two years ago as a channel for urban, Indian women, to talk about issues that are ‘taboo’. With a motto of starting a safe space online, for women to find information and have conversations, on everything regarding women that was usually talked in hushed whispers or ignored, they have steadily grown on all platforms with a loyal following. Their content includes and is not limited to female anatomy, sexual pleasure, beauty standards, birth control and laws for women in India. Even with most of their content being concentrated on YouTube, their social media presence is rising even as we speak thanks to their active content creation in major blogging platforms like Medium and Feminism India. Social media craves content. To succeed on such platforms, it is vital to feed it with valued and insightful information, consistently. Vitamin Stree’s sponsored posts and engaging content that addresses some of the most delicate social issues in a light-hearted but firm manner, has been one of the pinnacle pillars of its success.
Social start-ups by themselves are progressive to a society. In the initial stages, planning a basic strategy with social media can make or break you. The key aspects to be considered by all start-ups social or otherwise are as follows-
1. Growing your circle
Before crafting a marketing strategy, the step to be taken is to know your target audience and customers. This includes having what I personally like to call the ‘David Attenborough approach’- learn their habits, their lifestyle, their preferences, their location and everything about them. Using social media platforms to its full extent to look for and understand your audience should be your priority. Get the word going and find them; engage them with polls, charts, and every such tool to get to know them better and to get their attention
2. Understanding your social media metrics
A common mistake made by some start-ups is that they expect results without setting a proper target and are solely dependent on posting regularly. Paying no heed to the metrics can be of disastrous consequence as you are unaware of whom you are curating your posts for. Metrics give you a goal to work towards. Tools like Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights show you where you stand on the platform. Using this information to create analytics and improving your strategies accordingly is the right way to proceed. Social media hence helps you tailor a custom approach towards reaching your audience. Just like how no two people are exactly alike, no two start-ups are the same either. Social media is where you properly establish your brand and find the quality that sets you apart from your competitors; as the service provider, it is your job to inform your audience about it.
3. Addressing feedbacks and engaging the audience
With the help of social media, customers now have the chance to directly approach a company with their grievances. As much as a downside as this is, it also gives you a chance to prove how customer-friendly you are. Not to mention, this is also a very effective troubleshooting mechanism. Never ignore your customers as it will hamper your progress and discourage your audience. Engaging with your customers will hone your chances of creating a loyal following. Sharing their content, commenting on their posts, responding to their direct messages are some ways you can ensure them that you appreciate their trust in your products or services and that you are putting an actual effort.
Statistics show that daily there are over 500 million tweets on Twitter, 4.5 billion likes and reactions on Facebook and around 95 million videos and photos uploaded on Instagram. For one’s number-crunching brain, this should be a good enough reason to make use of social media for your start-up. With a pool that is of around two billion people (and counting) who are all potential customers, you should be off in the races in no time.