A conversation I overheard the other day got me thinking about social media strategies and business. It went something like this:

Person 1: Do you use social media to grow your business?

Person 2: Yes, of course. Everybody does.

Person 1: Which sites do you use?

Person 2: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, our own website…

Person 1: Whoa, that’s a long list!

Person 2: Yes, but that’s the way to improve your social presence—be everywhere.

Person 1: Do you know your audience? Are your customers a part of your community? Do you communicate and manage them well?

Person 2: I wouldn’t have started my business if I didn’t know who my customers were! But in terms of community, we sell our products and my customers buy them. My community is mostly investors and other business professionals!

Person 1: Do you measure the ROI of your social media strategy?

Person 2: Can we? I don’t think so. Just so you know, we have our company’s page listed on hundreds of social media sites and we do thousands of posts per day. We spend a LOT on social media marketing…

Okay, I made this conversation up. But most of it is true!

We keep stressing how important it is to know our audience well, but do we really do anything about it? Do we know beforehand who will be part of our community? Do we plan how to manage them through social media? Do we realize that mentorship, potential customers and incredible new ideas come from the very community we create?

In our best practices session, Melanie Baker, Social Advocate, Google, highlighted how startups can optimize their social media strategy to develop their community and grow their business. The following are five key points that all startups need to know to enhance their social presence:

  • Know your audience.
  • Remember that your customers are people, like you!
  • Social media is a business channel. Measure it.
  • The younger your business, the faster it (and your role) will evolve.
  • Your community is key. Foster it.

Here’s Melanie’s Hot Tips video:

In the best practices lecture, Melanie took a deep dive into this topic and shared from her experiences the key elements of an effective social media strategy, including which sites a startup should use, whose job the work should be and how to measure the ROI.

Here’s the lecture video from the session:

 

 

To see Melanie’s slides, click here.

 

Vijender Trivedi

Vijender is the Manager of Online Content at MaRS. He helps entrepreneurs get the online resources they need to grow their companies by project managing and marketing the Entrepreneur’s Toolkit. See more…