Recently I found an online group of a startup accelerator where the short profiles of attendees were listed. When I clicked them through I found some interesting people and business ideas. The profile form had a place where Twitter handles could be mentioned. During visiting the Twitter profiles of these interesting people, I had to find out that they were not active on Twitter. They only had a few tweets, some of them zero, were following between 10 and 100 people and had about the same amount of followers. So, no reason for me to follow anyone of them. In the group I even found one e-startup with a new web-solution mentionining “Due to security reasons I don’t have a Twitter account”.
This made me curious and I started to google all of the founders and co-founders and I only found very few personal Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles and not any company profiles for their respective startups. Do startups underestimate the power of social media?
With the following points I would like to reach those founders who don’t or only rarely use social media for their startup so far, because my experience tells me they are missing out on really important opportunities. Maybe I reach them at least through the SERP.
Challenges Of Startups
We all know the challenges startups are facing, but let’s sum them up here in a few lines, before we come to the solutions social media can offer here. At least in the seed phase startups are lacking money. Only very few can afford expensive advertising campaigns. So, where will the customers come from? Some are looking for co-founders and don’t know where to find them. In search of specialist knowledge they are again facing the issue of too less money – great consultants and coaches aren’t cheap. All of these points lead to a very slow growth and some of the startups will never make it. We haven’t talked about products or services with missing value for the market, a weak management team or a wrong business model, but these have to be solved anyway before going onto the market or at least step by step during the launch time. Considering that 93% of startups fail, it is necessary to get out on the market as fast and as strong as possible.
Changes in the Society
With billions of people in the social web and being connected 24/7 lead to a change in the influence model we all knew, and the customer buying behaviour has changed as well. People are getting out their messages worldwide and within seconds and this is true for everyone, whether business person or not. Customers search for products on services and recommendations on the internet independent of they will buy online or offline. More about this you can find here: Transformation Of Business Society
Early Adopters and Brand Advocates
By providing interesting content on ones personal profile as well as on the business presence, more and more people get connected to their business. I would say it’s more important in the first place to do it on personal profiles, as people connect to people on the social web long before they do it to a brand. Founders should get into conversations with followers and friends online. I have also written on this in more detail: The Art Of Social Networking If only a few share information and links about a startup, more and more people will try the new product or service, and maybe share their satisfaction afterwards. The founder’s networking strategy will lead him to his regional market, internationally or at least worldwide – the targeting can be controlled by the mangement team.
If a founder is lucky enough to get in touch with people I call power-networkers, his startup will get a massive dissemination and amplification worldwide. The power-networkers I know are connected to thousands of people on the web and of course they are connected to each other as well. If they decide “Hey, that’s a cool product / company, …”, then the real party starts. The company will get a reach of millions within two or three days and thousands of leads brought to their website. I have been part of such “campaings” myself, and it always was exciting and fun, not only for the founders. :-)
Business Angels and Venture Capitalists
Business angels and venture capitalists are very engaged on the social web. Search for the hashtag ‘startups’ on Twitter, take a look at some personal profiles there, and you will find angel investors and venture capital firms within seconds. They are all in search of the next great opportunity. That’s why they provide usefull information for startups and tag it for them. Of course, they are also listening to startup related hashtags. Think about what happens when your company gets mentioned continously by happy early adopters and brand advocates.
Founders out there, I hope I could provide you with some usefull information about the importance of social media for your business. You want to discuss it – please get in touch in the comments below.
Ahh, you want to network right away? Please find me @RogerAT.