As a startup, getting the word out there about your business is important. While the offline world still presents several effective channels; more companies are turning to the online world to generate exposure.
In a world driven by social media, it goes without saying that Facebook is easily at the top of the social media craze. In fact, at the end of 2016, Facebook statistics showed that Facebook had captured 1.86 billion active users; proving that Facebook is not going anywhere anytime soon.
One of the ways that startups are generating prelaunch excitement is through online community organising on social media. This is less of a short-term solution to immediate results, and more a long-term opportunity to create a loyal fan following of customers.
Perfect for Bootstrapped Startups
Where a lack of funding is concerned, startup founders can take solace in the fact that Facebook remains a mostly free channel. There are opportunities for paid advertising and post boosting, but creating a Facebook page or group is 100% free.
A Facebook page presents an ideal channel for sharing information, videos, or pictures of your product. From concept to launch, you can present your product to your target audience. In the early stages this can be valuable for early feedback or guidance from your ideal customers.
Even if you aren’t bootstrapping your business, Facebook and other social media channels are an attractive option for marketing and growing your business. It’s no secret or shock that nearly every company around has at least one social media account. Simply put, that’s where your customers are.
Grow Your Following
Facebook employs advanced targeting for their paid advertising. If your ideal customer is a 25-year old man who drinks coffee and lives in Iceland; you can target that customer. Ad options include the ability to drive people to your Facebook page to connect, or directly to your website. There, you can capture email addresses and populate a mailing list when it comes time to launch your product.
While Facebook itself is free, advertising in this way is not. This is where the importance of A/B testing will come into play. Test multiple inceptions of the same ad copy, image, or target demographic. Test the results and make changes as you go.
It can be easy for spending to get out of control, so test quickly and deliberately. Once you find the right ad that works you can open your wallet and move forward with a higher budget.
Provide Incentives for Early Adopters
It isn’t enough to simply “be” on Facebook. Like any tool, social media must be used effectively to see the full benefits the channel offers. Consider offering early followers a deep discount to try your product or service. This will help get your business moving, and ultimately will lead to feedback and hopefully word of mouth recommendations.
If you’re a software-based startup, this can also present an opportunity to crowdsource beta testers for your pre-launch product testing. While professional beta testers can cost thousands of dollars, you may find willing and eager participants among the general population.
What’s more, these early adopters may turn into fans who in turn become de facto brand ambassadors for your company. With the power of social media, a loyal fan base can make all the difference when it comes time to spreading the word.
Stay Active and Guide the Community
A community can thrive on its own, however it will need your guidance early on. The monetary cost of creating a community around your business may be low; however, it does require a commitment of time.
Customer service is always an important part of growing any business. As an early stage startup, you’ll have fewer customers to contend with. The way you interact with these early customers will set the tone for your startup’s future.