In this day and age of cutthroat competition, new startups are being launched and funded almost on an everyday basis. It has become crucial to keep up with disruptive marketing trends to sustain in the market. SMEs and startups cannot afford to lose numbers and need all the traction to take off and sustain, and social media can play an important role in all this.
Gone are the days when social media was just a friendly space to connect with loved ones and meet new people. Social media marketing is an element that all companies need to focus on.
I have worked closely with a number of entrepreneurs and founders based in and around Singapore. I have come to realise that the general opinion about social media marketing is mixed. To some, it is the “next big thing” while for others it is just a temporary buzzword with no practical advantages. Some also think that social media marketing entails a complicated learning curve with minimal or no ROI.
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However, on the global front, statistics paint a totally different picture. There are over 3.3 billion people on social media globally and most founders think that this kind of “ready” user base cannot be ignored. According to the HubSpot State of Inbound 2018 Global report, over 95 percent of the marketers worldwide are using social media to reach their audiences. Another study reveals that over 90 percent of marketers around the world say that social media is important to the growth of their business.
Southeast Asia has risen to become a hub producing unicorns, decacorns and hundreds of promising startups. Business owners need to understand the importance of social media. It is still not too late and early adopters can beat the competition with a strategic social media marketing campaign.
First things first, let us bust a few common myths.
Social media marketing is not rocket science
I have spoken to a lot of SMEs and startup founders as well as stakeholders in the region. I have come to realise that most of them worry about social media being a complicated space. Social media doesn’t have to scare you. One of the best things about this platform is that it is an open and flexible space. You can always adopt “hit and error” methods to see what works. Social media marketing can be simple. You can share industry-related news or post commentaries on any relevant report. You can reshare a video or simply wish people a “Selamat Hari Raya”.
It is not just about the numbers
Another common myth that business owners have regarding social media marketing is about numbers. Most entrepreneurs assume that it is crucial to have a large number of followers for social media marketing to work. Well, that is not entirely true. Let’s say that someone has 55 000 Facebook followers but even 55 people are not reacting to their posts. In that situation, the 55K number means nothing. However, someone has 500 followers on their page and 50-100 are actively engaging on the posts- they are already up in the game.
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Now that we have busted probably the two most common myths, let us address a few common issues that most entrepreneurs face.
The time factor
One of the most common complaints is the lack of time. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to have the time for posting content on social media. As the founder of the company, you are always meeting potential partners, clients and investors. You are innovating and brainstorming the business model. Sometimes there is a tight budget cap and you cannot afford an entire team dedicated to social media. In that situation, can always outsource it to agencies and get the work done in the salary of one. You can let an external party manage your brand image and campaigns on social media. And, you can focus on the core elements of scaling the business and ideating new products.
Privacy and security
With the emergence of social media marketing, there has been a rise in the need to outsource it among startups and SMEs. Due to the lack of time, they generally turn to agencies or other third parties for social media campaigning and marketing. Another advantage of outsourcing it to a dedicated team is that they are experts capable of drafting crisp copies catering to the relevant industry and target audience.
This helps establish the brand image while creating awareness around your products/services. However, with this arises another common concern. Most startups and SMEs don’t feel comfortable granting full access to agencies or any third party with login credentials. To address this issue, there have been significant technological strides in this industry recently.
Today, there is no dearth of platforms like Buffer and Postify that allow you to grant limited access to social media accounts to a third party. These platforms enable you to outsource your social media marketing to an external party with limited access to your official accounts. From LinkedIn to Facebook, and Twitter to Instagram- these platforms support almost all popular channels.
This is the first blog in a series about social media marketing for startups and SMEs.