So you've overcome the fear of failure and any other obstacles, and now you're doing a startup. Hooray! Now it's time to tell the world. But when is too soon? What should you say? When do you say it? Do you wait until it's ready or do you build hype so you have someone to launch to? It's all in here! This a special request due to popular in our Facebook forum which you can join to have your say as well. Here we go!
Now, for the purpose of this article I'm going to give you tips and examples of when and how to use social media for different stages of your startup. I'm not going to go into which platforms you should be using and how they all work, as all companies are different and that is a very in-depth topic however I do have some personal recommendations.
If you are planning on using the basics, use Facebook, Instagram and a blog. You can create a kick-ass online presence with just those three. If you are going to put in some extra time, also check out YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter. Any more than those 5-6 and you'll likely be too busy to do a good job on all of them, so stick to a few and do them well!
Time: >3 months until launch.
Frequency: One post every 1 - 2 days.
This is one of the biggest questions entrepreneurs have. Is it too soon to start telling people? The answer is no, it's just all about balance. When I say balance, I mean there's nothing worse than when someone is trying to excite people and saying 'coming soon' but it goes on for months on end... People end up annoyed at you. So don't overdo it.
Now that's out of the way, it's time to get to work! This valuable time can be used to further validate your concept, gauge interest in your product and get pre-registrations, the latter of which I highly recommend. Gathering pre-registrations can be pre-ordering a product or simply collecting emails from people interested in hearing more about what you're doing (recommended). This is incredibly useful leading up to and during launch day, because you can send out direct emails to those people. To do this all you have to do is have a very basic landing page with a form, and then you can send people there with social media. Here's an example:
Things you can do
- All platforms
- Tell people about what you're doing and the problem you're solving.
- Ask for feedback and tell your audience how they can get involved.
- Start building a following by sharing pictures of things your audience likes.
- Repost pictures from influencers and similar pages in your space.
- Introduce yourself as the founder, make yourself known and familiar.
- Tell your story about why you're doing this.
- Start a page and invite your friends for initial awareness.
- Design some cover photos about your product.
- Write and share valuable content based on your audience's wants and needs. This is not about hardcore product promotion. For every right hook (product promotion post) there should be three jabs (valuable pieces of content). You can promote more in the next phase.
Time: 1 month until launch.
Frequency: 2+ posts every day.
You're nearly there! Here's where you can start ramping it up a little bit. As I mentioned above, you should put out three jabs for every right hook. This is the only phase where you can throw in a few more right hooks, because right now you're focusing on gaining as much interest and pre-registrations as possible.
If you've successfully built a bit of a following from phase one by putting out content and gaining initial awareness, this is where you start hyping them up. You can put a countdown timer on your website (below), plan a launch party, reach out to influencers in the space that would like what you're doing and see if they want to get involved. This is also a perfect time to do giveaways. If you have some money these are usually quite successful and it's worth giving away some sort of prize, but if you're strapped for cash you can approach local businesses and tell them they can get a lot of awareness for giving you a complimentary prize to give away.
Last but definitely not least I recommend trying to get in the press. Read The Beginner's Guide to Getting in the Press here.
Things you can do
- A nice countdown timer (POWr has a free version available).
- Prize giveaways (e.g. share to win a prize valued at $100)
- Sharing quotes or testimonials from people hyped about your product.
- Event invites to your launch party.
- Design cover photos to promote launch date / party.
- Sharing press features and articles.
- Talk about how excited you are to launch and where they can get your product or service.
Launch and beyond!
Frequency: At least once a day.
You made it! Time to LAUNCH this baby! On launch day use absolutely everything you have and contact absolutely everyone you've ever met in your life about what you're doing. Tell as many people as you possibly can and hit it hard. This is where the fun starts and you can start taking orders, getting customers and growing your business.
After launch day, it's time to keep those people interested. As we saw in phase two that had more promotional content, now it's about adding massive value and growing your audience and customer base. Marketing and business is all about gaining and holding attention. That is what we have been doing here, with tweaks in each section. So to summarise, the goal is to initially let people know what you're doing (gain attention), build hype and get customers (gain more attention), and now sustain that (hold attention).
Things you can do
- Engaging, exciting funny, informative, inspiring posts once a day.
- Use Wordswag to make cool posts that will build your audience.
- Sharing videos, blog articles, pictures and other relevant content every 1 - 2 days.
- Create videos on Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat.
- Send out a weekly, fortnightly or monthly newsletter offering valuable content (like The Exceptions one you can get for free by joining here!).
- Blogging is very important. Post frequent articles about topics your audience likes. For example on The Exceptions blog I put out content about marketing, entrepreneurship and productivity. On the AroundAbout blog I put out content on food, drinks and travel. Do what's relevant to your fans. Just remember...
ADD VALUE ANYWAY YOU KNOW HOW :)
- - -
So now you know the types of content you can put out, it's time to make it happen! For more marketing reading, check out my article 'A Guide to Marketing Your Startup Online (well) on a Budget'. If you have any questions hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @ mitchills!