How Startups can Leverage the Power of Social Media

Harness the power of social media. A guide for startup companies.

September is ‘the month of startups,’ and we’d like to kick it off by highlighting how new businesses can maximize the potential of social media. By now, it is evident that having a social media strategy is no longer optional for businesses. A plethora of research supports a strong social media presence to boost your brand’s awareness, engagement, lead generations, and number of closed prospects.

Social media is a great and free resource for startups working on tight budgets. With built-in analytics tools, social media platforms generate up-to-date tracking and insights that show how effectively your campaigns are reaching your target audience. Despite its importance, many startup companies do not know how to best utilize the power of social media to strengthen brand identity.

Plan and Strategize

Before you start haphazardly posting on social media, you must create a strategy that has clear, measurable goals and objectives. Just as you needed to develop a strategy for launching your business, the same goes for your social media. How do you want to portray your brand image? What is brand’s look and feel? Do you want to be known as a corporate structured company, or a laid back, relaxed, and personable company? You must answer these types of questions before you start building your social media strategy. It is important that there is a consistent theme and message across all platforms so that your company appears well-established and united.

Next, you must determine which social media platform(s) best fits for your company based on your target audience and strategy. Some businesses may have a strong presence on all platforms, while other businesses may benefit by focusing all their efforts on one or two. Figuring out the right balance may take some time, and is unique for each business.

Facebook: It is no surprise that Facebook is the largest social media platform with the most active users and widest reach. Facebook allows you to specifically target your audience with content, while also allowing you to reach a wide number of prospects. Just about every business has a Facebook page; if you don’t already have one for your business, it’s time you set one up–it’s super easy!

LinkedIn: This is the largest professional social media platform. The content that you share on this platform should be clean and professional. It is a great tool for networking.

Twitter: Don’t overlook Twitter when you are starting your business! It is a great platform to retweet industry leaders and show knowledge on your specific industry. Twitter allows you to gaining brand awareness through content distribution.

Instagram: Instagram is a great platform to showcase your company culture, new product packaging, community events, etc. Instagram is fun and super visual, so keep the content light and current.

YouTube: People enjoy watching videos and it drives a high level of interest and engagement among target audiences. It is a great place to explain specific processes, increase brand awareness, and showcase technology. Once you have invested time and resources to creating a video, you can share the content across multiple channels.

Determine Goals and Objectives

Your social media strategy must build around specific company goals and objectives. These benchmarks must be measurable and achievable. Here are some goals your startup company may focus on:

Lead Generation: The way you are going to close on leads and increase revenue is to drive traffic to your website. With a greater number of leads landing on your site, there is a greater opportunity to close on these leads. A specific call to action is required to prompt leads to visit your site.

Brand Awareness: Due to the nature of being a startup, brand awareness is inevitably one of your main goals. Increasing your reach and getting your brand image out in front of your audience is an added benefit of implementing your social media strategy.

Content Distribution: We hear all the time how difficult it is for new businesses to create their own engaging content due to limited time and resources. Repurposing and sharing existing content can be a great way to cut down on the time necessary to create original content.

Go out and start sharing!

Now that the basics of social media are mapped out, it’s time to implement your strategy. Remember that social media is SOCIAL, so communicate and respond to your audience; it should be a give and take relationship. Build a tribe and following around your brand. Loyal followers will bring more value to your company than high numbers of uncommitted followers. You want to nurture and increase this following as your business continues to grow.

 

If you have any questions about how social media can play an integral part in your business strategy, check us out at Brandiron.net or call 303-345-1901 to see how we can help!

If #nuggsforcarter can do it, so can Your Social Media Platform

It’s official: Brand Iron has hopped aboard the #nuggsforcarter bandwagon. In doing so, we’ve joined the likes of Google, Microsoft, Amazon and T-mobile, to name a few, all of whom are doing their part to help a teenager achieve his dream.

Who is the teenager? Well, his name is Carter. What’s his dream? A whole lot of free chicken nuggets.

Hey, some of us dream simpler than others.

Last week, Carter tweeted at his favorite nugget vendor:

 

 

 

 

Surely, a joke from a high school kid who just loves his chicken nuggets. However, we would call the sequence of events that followed serendipitous to say the least.

Event #1: the fast food chain does the math, discovers they would have to give out around 7000 nuggs to a hungry high schooler, and replies in kind, setting the bar nearly 6 times higher than the all-time retweet record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event #2: Carter bravely accepts the challenge.

 

 

Event #3: the #nuggsforcarter campaign is born. Within the first five days, it receives 2.6 million retweets from some fairly recognizable names.

Event #4: #nuggsforcarter is still trending, and Wendy’s is getting anxious.

 

 

 

 

This all begs the question: how did chicken nuggets ignite what could tun into the biggest twitter reaction ever? What compelled some of the world’s biggest corporations (not to mention, as of April 10th, 2.27 million others) to retweet and even offer incentives to a random teenager with an insatiability for fast food? Welcome to the mystery of the internet, everybody. One thing we know for sure, though, is that phenomenons like this are uniquely possible through the power of social media. Something about this young man’s desire for Wendy’s chicken nuggets, his brazen approach, and Wendy’s surely insurmountable challenge, inspired a virtual uprising – and the retweets keep rolling in.

Whether Carter gets to 18 million retweets or not, this is just another example of how far your message can spread if you strike that perfect nerve on the Web. Don’t neglect your organization’s social media presence, and you’ll be sure to reap the rewards.

Playing Tag: Facebook’s New Rules for Native Ads

Facebook has some new rules for native ads, finally conceding to the old adage that advertisers hold dear: content is king.

Until recently, Facebook prohibited publishers from posting paid articles designed to mirror the look of editorial content. This type of purchased content can make it more difficult for consumers to tell advertising and non-paid content apart. This “branded content” is usually posted to social media platforms from powerful influencers like celebrities, spokespeople or the marketers themselves.

This “branded content” is usually posted to social media platforms from powerful influencers like celebrities, spokespeople or the marketers themselves.

Facebook’s policy update has rewritten the rules to allow these influencers and brands to post native ads as long as they simply tag the brand or company paying for the content. Facebook’s brand tagging process works exactly the same as tagging someone in a regular post, making the new rules and regulations simple for everyone to follow.

It is the intention of Facebook to make these native ads more transparent, as well as incentivize marketers to make the highest quality content. Though some major changes are being made, the social media company has said that some rules will stay the same, such as prohibiting the use of excessive watermarks, using advertisements as preroll to videos, and using branded content as cover or profile pictures.  

As far as enforcement, Facebook may have quite a job on their hands if marketers do not consistently follow the new set of rules. Only time will tell how the new native advertising process is received by both the Facebook and marketing communities.

Building Social: Optimizing Your Company’s LinkedIn Profile

According to LinkedI25661714200_bd5795d616_mn, the best known professional social media platform has over 400 million users registered in over 200 countries. Chances are, you have a profile yourself. But what about your company? How can your business stand out from the crowd and form a database of connections that actually functions as a networking tool? How do you keep people looking, following, and sharing your company’s content? Here are a few simple things you can do to transform your business’s LinkedIn page into a powerful and professional connections tool.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Empty Frames

25581340840_ccc8203a75_mFirst things first, make sure your business has a profile picture. This is the number one LinkedIn mistake that people tend to make. A profile picture brings a company’s whole profile to life, shows people that you took the time to add a professional photograph to your LinkedIn company identity, and sets you apart from the photo-less pages that give off a spam-like impression. Whether it’s a picture of your team, your CEO, or just your company’s logo, it will help your company make a good first impression.

Keep in Contact

It’s important to not get swept up in all the bells and whistles and remember that at the core, your company’s LinkedIn page should function as a means of communication. Many companies overlook even the most basic contact info, leaving users disengaged and confused. Fill out your company description, making sure to include your website information, address, phone number, and a contact email.

One Voice

25908941702_23b26766dc_mYour LinkedIn page should be in tune with all of your company’s external messaging. Take a look at some of your business’s written communication and consumer-facing content. Is there a single voice that consistently runs throughout? Use that same voice to create a company description with a unified brand experience for your page. Talk about who your company is, what they do, and any important things that help your company stand out. This applies to your entire profile page as well as update postings.

Button Up

22916482510_6797ac8e2f_mIt’s important to promote your company’s LinkedIn page on the outside. Adding a Follow button to your company website will generate more clicks to your page and more followers for your company updates. LinkedIn provides a quick generator tool to create a code that can be quickly integrated into your company’s site. This will create a reminder signal on your website for viewers to click through to your company’s social media and follow on LinkedIn. Make sure to add a LinkedIn icon alongside your other social media links on your website, emails and other online collateral.

Actively Engage16995938308_bd1faf380c_m

If you’re not already posting updates to your company’s LinkedIn page, I highly suggest getting started. It’s important to understand that quality of content is key to creating your company posts. Content should ideally hit a balance between human interest and industry-relevant topics in order to reach a wide variety of audiences. Aim for clickable, shareable, and interesting content that stays true to your company’s tone of voice. In addition, interact within the LinkedIn ecosystem by sharing links, following other companies, and replying to comments left by consumers. Remember, this isn’t the same social platform as Facebook, so keep it professional.  

A company LinkedIn profile not only lets people explore your company but the people who work for your company as well.

Go SEO

Se25661174470_d093b602f1_march Engine Optimization, or SEO, is not just for websites anymore. It’s important for your LinkedIn page to act as an extension of your current online presence, and the best way to add search potential is to integrate SEO keywords throughout your profile. You should already know what your best keywords are if you are using SEO for your business’s website. If you are unsure what are some good keywords are, google has a keyword planner to help you find the most effective choices for your business. These words will help users and search engines find your business, effectively floating your company’s page to the top of the results lists.

Everyone Gets A Participation Ribbon

A company LinkedIn profile not only lets people explore your company but the people who work for your company as well. LinkedIn users pick up on the number of employees associated with your company and how active those employees are. It’s well worth taking the time and effort to get your team set up on LinkedIn. When your company employees are actively participating in your company’s LinkedIn environment, it creates a sense of community founded in professional interaction. This put-together sense of community can create a feeling of inclusion that boosts user interaction.

With these tips, you can boost your business’s LinkedIn reach and form a concrete presence within this highly intelligent and influential population of social media users. Connect, follow, share, and speak to the LinkedIn community with the optimized potential of a professional-grade company profile.

Damn, Daniel, Back at It with Branding

Today, branding lives in a place where conversation and culture collide. Take for instance the newest tagline of the Internet, “Damn, Daniel!”, sourced from the viral video below that features several shots of a particular young man rocking his signature style and kickin’ choice of footwear. With each exclamation of the instantly quotable catchphrase, Daniel not only becomes increasingly Internet famous, but beckons the Vans brand back into popular culture with each video replay.

 

Sensing a new piece of culture to consume, brands have started getting in on the conversation surrounding viral videos, relishing a platform where client interaction really picks up. Surprisingly, Vans was not the first company to see the potential opportunity in the Damn, Daniel video. Both Clorox and Axe swooped in with ads featuring references to the video, each tailoring Internet culture around their own company’s’ story and messaging. Vans, though slow on the draw, did attempt to capitalize on this perfectly packaged user-created content with several branded tweets.

clorox

As Damn, Daniel loses relevance and passes on to viral video heaven, companies can take note of a few things. First, timing is everything. Companies that respond first give consumers the impression of being genuine and creative, while brands that arrive late in the game look like copy-cats and bandwagoners. Second, opportunity can come from anywhere. With companies constantly battling to stay ahead of the international date line of culture relevancy, traditional outlets and marketing strategy are failing to capture the attention of new audiences. If one reference goes over your head, your brand could end up looking out of date, out of fashion, and out of business. Brands today are looking at social media, pop culture, and society in general with a fine-tooth comb, hoping to swoop in on the next big thing and transform it into the next big branding effort.  

 

Oprah and the Power of Social Media

I don’t know if you saw it, but Oprah tweeted a confession about how she is able to eat bread every day and still lose weight thanks to Weight Watchers.

Claiming to be down 26 pounds, Oprah called out to those struggling to balance weight loss with lifestyle choices. Bringing her brand power to Weight Watchers, Oprah purchased 6.4 million shares of the company back in October of 2015. As the largest single stockholder of Weight Watchers, Oprah essentially generated 12 million dollars in wealth for herself in just one hour. When you’ve got power and clout like Oprah, a single tweet is enough to move mountains, or in this case, bump Weight Watchers stock up 20%, according to MarketWatch. 

With a Twitter following of nearly 40 million, Oprah’s social media presence is monumental. Although Oprah may be in a league of her own when it comes to influence and recognition, she has a valuable lesson to share with future and current Brand Champions. By utilizing social media to the fullest extent, online platforms become valuable revenue-driving tools. Harnessing the power of social media not only helps connect you with consumers on a personal level but can help you achieve your company’s specific goals and objectives. Not bad for a single tweet.

oprah

Teen Girls are Running YouTube

selfie  food

Female millennials are infatuated with capturing and sharing everything they do, from their meals to what they look like at multiple points throughout the day. So much so that “selfie” was not only added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013, but was the Dictionary’s 2013 Word of the Year. It’s no surprise that the same sharing phenomenon exists with video. On YouTube, the sharing trend began with makeup tutorials from your average unknown females (and some males!) who happened to be really good at applying makeup. Celebrity makeup artists, celebs, and teens alike continue to share their makeup tutorials, often taking requests from blog followers. Probably the most popular beauty YouTuber is Michelle Phan, who boasts over 7 million vlog followers and can manipulate her face to look like a number of different celebrities. YouTube hosts a relatively small number (1.66 million) of videos containing “makeup tutorial” in the subject.

haul

The next big sharing phenomenon was haul videos. A haul video is a video featuring a plethora of items that were recently purchased, often accompanied by positive comments about the products. The videos aren’t limited to clothing and can feature anything from cosmetics to Yankee Candles. Currently there are 3.72 million videos on YouTube containing “haul video” in the title. Typically these videos are produced by teens, whereas the makeup tutorials are produced by women in their early 20s.

tutorial

The newest video trend that has started to gain traction is morning routine videos. These are made by girls in the middle school to high school age group, and they detail the video-makers morning routing, from  waking up and rolling out of bed until minutes before they leave for school. The videos cover everything from face-washing to quick and easy hairstyles. Considering that this is a newt rend, 2.14 million videos with “morning routine” in the title is A LOT.

So why are teen girls running YouTube? It could be something as simple as the millennial generation being almost hypnotized by social media and the need to fit in. The videos may seem bizarre to most of us, but imagine that you are a 13-year-old girl who aspires to have the “perfect life.” These videos have the same appeal as celebrity gossip magazines to those of us in the older half of the millennial generation; for the most part, all we can do is live vicariously through these models with perfect skin and a wardrobe featuring a couple million dollars in designer clothes.


Parody Law Gives Way to "Dumb Starbucks"

We are used to parody songs but parody stores may be a new thing. A coffee shop opened its doors in Los Angeles.” The store admits it is not affiliated with the Starbucks Corporation in any way, yet Dumb Starbucks is nearly identical – logo, menu items, etc.

How is this legal? Dumb Starbucks has the answer in their FAQ: “By adding the word ‘dumb,’ we are technically making fun of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as ‘fair use.’ Fair use is a doctrine that allows the use of copyrighted material in a parodical work without permission from the rights holder.

If anything, Dumb Starbucks made headlines. Will this be a hit or a bust?

 

Parody Law Gives Way to “Dumb Starbucks”

We are used to parody songs but parody stores may be a new thing. A coffee shop opened its doors in Los Angeles.” The store admits it is not affiliated with the Starbucks Corporation in any way, yet Dumb Starbucks is nearly identical – logo, menu items, etc.

How is this legal? Dumb Starbucks has the answer in their FAQ: “By adding the word ‘dumb,’ we are technically making fun of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as ‘fair use.’ Fair use is a doctrine that allows the use of copyrighted material in a parodical work without permission from the rights holder.

If anything, Dumb Starbucks made headlines. Will this be a hit or a bust?

 

Cheers to MTech Mechanical's New Merge

We are pleased to share in the announcement that our client, MTech Mechanical is merging with Denver’s Total Plumbing. MTech is a design-build mechanical contractor both in Colorado’s commercial and high-tech sectors.  Thomas Dean, MTech’s co-founder and president says the merge with Denver’s Total Plumbing commercial side will be beneficial for all our clients as they can get their needs met in one place.

For more information on the merge, check out the feature in the Denver Business Journal.