What Startups Can Learn From Established Brands on Social Media

By: Sofie De Beule

May 19, 2014

Established brands have the opportunity to set some great examples for the startup community, especially when it comes to successfully navigating the social media waters. By monitoring how the larger companies are effectively marketing on social, young businesses can learn how to successfully take on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., and reach the type of audience best suited for their own brand. Identifying with an established company in your startup’s industry is a perfect way to absorb their expertise and social know-how, creating value for newer companies that may not know where to start.

Here are a few ways startups can emulate the success larger brands are having on social:

1. Steadily Scale Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

New businesses are eager to find the right tools for developing a successful marketing strategy. Fortunately, social media provides the opportunity to market broadly with minimal cost – but there are many different networks to choose from.

Take a look at how the established brands within your startup’s industry are growing on social and try to set that pace for your business. Too much, too soon can spam the social scene with unimportant posts, or result in sudden lack of content. Quality is more important than quantity, so identify which platform is best to start with and grow from there at a pace that is comfortable for your own business.

2. Recognize (and Use!) Social Media as a Powerful Customer Service Tool

Providing customer service is an impactful way for startups to utilize social media. Customers expect instant replies, and monitoring and responding through your social accounts is a great way to meet that demand and help turn customers into brand advocates.

Larger brands do well with this, as they usually form teams responsible for responding to social inquiries. Just because your startup is smaller, it doesn’t mean you can’t have this type of dedicated team or team member ready and waiting to reply. However, since two-way conversations on social networks are critical customer service gateways, whoever is charged with responding must remain committed to the task.

3. Select the Right Social Media Platform(s) for Your Business

Every industry has specific social platforms that work best to reach desired customers. For example, visual social networks like Instagram and Pinterest are particularly effective for the fashion industry, whereas the technology community often gravitates toward Twitter for brand-building.

Established brands already have a clear overview of which platforms are most effective in getting their content and message across. Look to others (even fellow startups) in your industry and identify which platforms are most relevant for promoting what your business has to offer. This will help to define your startup’s social media presence more strategically and achieve your overall goal of brand awareness.

4. Maximize Social Media as a Recruitment Tool

The entrepreneurial startup spirit is increasingly more attractive these days to both recent graduates and established professionals. Social media is the perfect way to tap into the pool of available talent, but it can be a challenge to promote job vacancies on Twitter or Facebook, successfully. It’s important to identify the qualities you would like in a new hire, and to know which social platforms will offer access to prospective employees that will ultimately foster business growth.

Take a look at larger brands’ recruitment posts to see how they are reaching out for job openings. Find out if they are using Facebook or Instagram and evaluate how people are responding to their posts. Is one platform more successful than another? Big companies have mastered the art of identifying top talent and knowing who to bring into the company.

Learning from larger companies that are actively engaging on social media is a great way to lay the foundation for your startup’s social presence. How much is too much engagement? Should you space out company updates on Facebook or tie multiple announcements together? Identifying what these established brands are doing on social will allow for a smaller learning curve, and help keep you one step ahead of your competitors.