Perhaps not surprisingly, a current buzzword for startups is the word ‘buzz’. In some ways the strong growth of social media is both the cause and the effect of this phenomenon. Cause because the social media through the community spirit they develop encourage the sharing of whatever may be the latest scuttlebutt. This level of chatter in the social media means that marketers must make greater efforts to spread the word about their latest offerings: in other words, increase the intensity of the chatter.
The online Entrepreneur magazine may well offer the caution, Look Out Startups, 2014 is About Results, Not Buzz, but few are likely to follow these words of advice.
How then can the budding entrepreneur ensure that the word gets out about their latest product or service. This requires careful thought and planning. Here below you will find 21 essential tips to help you ensure everyone is talking about your startup.
These tips fall into three groups. The first five deal with the essential attributes of what your startup should offer and therefore what may be successfully promoted. The next six cover the online tools you will need to maximize the chances of effective buzzing. The final ten deal with specific details on how to approach the more popular social media.
Get Your Product Right
1. Focus On A Niche
It is impossible to create a product or service that is right for everyone. What you must do is focus on a very specific niche of the marketplace. Unless individuals in that niche are willing to consider what you have to offer, you cannot even get out of the starting gate.
2. Meet A Real Customer Need
You then must look for real problems that your market niche faces where you can provide the solution. Unless they have a problem, they are not going to be interested in why you might be offering a solution. Ideally, they have a real problem or might even describe it as a pain.
3. Have An Awesome Product With A Real USP
If you are hoping for significant buzz then your remedy for their pain should be something they will find almost beyond belief. USP stands for unique selling proposition, a very traditional marketing concept, but with a world of meaning. What you offer should far outstrip anything the competition has available.
4. Create An Instant Appeal
With that awesome product, it should then be visible to potential buyers in a way that encourages an instant wish to buy. How you should showcase your products may demand some creativity, but this will be effort well spent. Product demos in stores or late night TV advertorials represent one way of approaching this and may suggest approaches that will work in your marketplace.
5. Encourage Peer Pressure
If you can think of ways in which it is not individuals that consider a single purchase, but rather friends who encourage other friends to get involved, then this provides a good basis for spreading the word.
These five basic considerations are essential in order to create the best possible package around which you wish to create that buzz. Once the formula is set, you can then determine what online tools you need to support that buzz.
Set Up Effective Marketing Tools
6. Tune Your Calls To Action
It might appear that we are putting the cart before the horse in considering Calls To Action as the first of these marketing tools. However, the precise nature of these Calls To Action will determine what you must present to customers prior to them clicking that button. A firm decision to buy by clicking a button requires much more conviction than clicking to start a conversation with a Chat representative.
7. Develop A Sticky Website
Once you have that potential customer visiting your website, you have the most ideal place in which to make the sale. It is equivalent in physical terms to having them enter your store. It therefore must be attractive as they enter and encourage them to wander around to find whatever information they may need. It also should be easy for them to make the purchase.
8. Respond To That Growing Mobile Market
Remember that in many markets, the majority of potential customers will now be seeing your online presence on a mobile device, either a tablet or a smart phone. Indeed, it may be best to start the development of your online property by making it suitable for a smart phone. This may also be suitable for a tablet, but you may well wish to add more content for those who are still using laptops or desktop PCs. Some may rely on responsive web design to accommodate these different formats, but it is probably better to have different designs for very different screen sizes.
9. Landing Pages That Convert
An important consideration is the web page people first see when arriving at your website. At its worst, this might encourage an immediate bounce away from the website. At its best, it should encourage them to follow an optimal path within the website, leading to the purchase decision.
10. An App may Be Needed
Given the importance of mobile devices with small screens, it may well be justified to create an App which can better provide a good visitor experience as they move around the online property.
11. Use Your Blog For Real-Time Communication
Some potential purchasers will wish to check out what their potential supplier is doing at the moment. A business blog is an ideal way to provide an up-to-the-minute place where exciting news and new product highlights can be displayed. Its news feed is also a way those who are keeping a watch on what the company is doing can rapidly be aware of new opportunities. The blog posts are also very effective in making the company more visible in keyword searches that potential buyers might be doing.
With this set of online tools in place, the entrepreneur is well-placed to initiate buzzing activities and garner the maximum revenue results from these.
Work Effectively With Social Media
There are a growing number of social media, each of them with a different socio—geographic profile. Based on the target niche, different businesses may well put different emphases on how they approach these social media. The following details are based on what might be regarded as a somewhat average product.
12. Choose A Striking Hashtag
One tool which is very effective in social media and which can also help in searches both there and in search engines is a hashtag (#). Just like choosing the best possible name for product, a hashtag can be a great asset in easily achieving product recognition. Humor is very powerful in social media, so think creatively about how this can be incorporated in the best hashtag.
13. Create A Reason For Sharing
Buzz develops when something grows exponentially. It’s the old story of ‘she told two people’ and they each told two people and so on and so on. For that to happen, the person doing the sharing should gain something. If the product is sufficiently novel and newsworthy, then merely the act of giving can be rewarding. Or if an invitation to participate in a contest is passed on, then the recipient may express gratitude towards the giver. It could be contests with prizes or discounts on entrance tickets to events: what will work best for you is only limited by your imagination.
14. Determine The Priority Of Social Media
A problem with social media is that it does require individual action. Automatic responses generated by software rapidly produce a negative effect. Given this, it is not possible to cover all the social media with equal intensity. As mentioned above, thinking carefully about the type of people in your market niche may suggest which social media should receive priority attention.
You must also keep in mind that the majority of people spend most of the time within one social medium. A Pew Research study suggests that almost 60% of people do this. There are only a small proportion of people who on a daily basis visit two or more and these often are dealing with different types of information, for example Facebook for status information and Pinterest for images. This therefore requires that you must work with several social media if you wish to cover most of the population.
Although it may be difficult to catch the attention of other tweeters at any point in time, hashtags have become an important way in which individuals can be aware of what is happening on particular topics. Given its wide popularity, Twitter should be included in any social media activity where one is trying to create a growing buzz and individuals are likely to be searching for your hashtag.
Facebook is by far the most visited social media. It is important to have an attractive profile page for the company and promote this as the way of getting interest in your startup. Paid ads will probably be a worthwhile investment in building up the hype and getting people to visit the website pages where they can buy the products.
17. Google Plus
Although Google Plus tends to be visited by more technical visitors than Facebook, the business profile on Google Plus should be a strong promoter of the startup since its contents may well influence what appears in Google search results. Adding striking updates to the profile from time to time should be a priority in the action plan.
If images can be used to promote the startup, then the company Pinterest boards are a valuable resource in spreading the word among a different audience that is no longer predominantly female. Special attention should be paid to how Pinterest visitors are encouraged to visit the website.
Instagram is another key way of displaying images about the startup to a different audience where the buzz can be created as people share with their friends. Like Pinterest, careful attention should be paid to how these viewers are then encouraged to make the purchase.
Although LinkedIn is one of the other major social media, it cannot be treated in the same way as the biggies. There is an even stronger resistance here to anything that might appear as spam. Networking is the order of the day in this social medium and only by communicating with the networks already established can the word be spread. Any buzz here is likely to proceed at a slower pace than in other media.
21. Analytics To Measure And Improve Your Results
Getting the most out of your social media efforts is not easy and you should not be relying on blind faith that success will come naturally. You should have strong analytics capabilities such as those provided by Google Analytics. In this way you will be aware of what works and what doesn’t work. You can even fine tune your approach with split A/B testing of alternative ways of presenting any given image or ad.
The Final Word
So if you follow all 21 of these tips and do the best you can, is success guaranteed? I am afraid not. This is not push marketing where by spending megabucks you can ensure all your message gets through. Successful and growing buzz will only occur when there is something magical about the message being transmitted. Only by applying your very best creativity will that be achieved. Nevertheless the 21 tips will ensure that you get the very best results from your promotional efforts.