Don't overthink your startup's social media strategy

by Darine Sabbagh, September 18, 2013



If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “I want our social media to be exactly like Just Falafel. I know we are not in the same industry, but we can make it work, right?” I would be a very rich social media consultant in Lebanon.

The truth is, as hilarious as this phrase is, those who ask are on to something: Just Falafel’s simple and straightforward strategy does sell falafel and franchising contracts. But when it comes to managing the social media at your own startup, we all get lost, no matter how experienced or intuitive we are with social media. The thing is, more often than not, startups do not have the financial or human resources that Just Falafel has, yet I believe they can still manage to pull it off and steer their social media to achieve their objectives by keeping in mind the following advice: Don’t overthink it! Here’s why:

If you overthink it, it will never get done!

When it comes to our personal social media pages, we are ready to post terrible selfies and other low-quality images and videos twenty times a day. Yet, once it’s time to post on a corporate page, everyone gets shy, taken aback and at a loss for what to post. The simple truth is that it’s better that you post something rather than nothing, as every time you do not post, you are losing the opportunity to make your brand more visible and top of the mind for a future consumer.

You don’t need to be picture perfect.

Here’s a little secret: unless you are a startup in the luxury field, you do not need perfectly polished designer images that would set you back a pretty penny. People trust simple content, which is what they are used to seeing in their newsfeed. In fact, you may be losing that extra advantage of being a personal brand by seeming over-polished. You can get great visuals that people can relate to, just using a photo app like Instagram.

People want to know YOU

Yes YOU, the person behind the startup, what are you doing to build your product that “is still not exactly where you want it to be”? Even though you may want to talk more about your company than yourself, it’s people that drive us to interact on social media, not products. And most people are not on social media to buy or use a product; they are there to share human stories. Your human stories and challenges are what will attract people to “Like” your startup and then find out more about your product later on.

You don’t need to be on all social networks.

Believe me, you don’t. It might be tempting to join Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram all at once, but as a startup on social media, your biggest assets in terms of social influence are the social accounts of your founders and staff that have more loyal and true friends and followers than any of your brand pages. So start with that, and start by telling your story in the format you have become comfortable with. Then, as you create your company’s social media accounts, focus on two things and two things only: where your target audience is and which networks you are personally comfortable with and accustomed to using. Concentrate on these channels and experiment with how you can embody the voice of your startup on them. Eventually, as you get more resources, you can experiment with other channels. But for now you don’t need the worry and guilt pangs over not being everpresent on all channels.

Now, every time you fret over what to post on your social media channels, just think about what you would “Like” as opposed to only focusing on what your brand wants to “say,” and it will all fall into place. 
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Darine Sabbagh is an independent social media consultant, who advises startups, and the founder of Ya Mammy, a peer-to-peer marketplace for parents. You can connect with her on @sdarine. 

 
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