Aug 15 2012

“I just wanna, like, do social media!”

  • Posted by: admin

Says every college girl, ever.

Ok, so, while saying “like” can make your goals/dreams/aspirations for the  future sounds a little silly, doing social media IS NOT. It’s one of the greatest things you can do for a company, especially a startup, IF you’re good at it. So, just, like, be good at it!

I went into my internship at Dashfire knowing that one of my duties would be to manage Twitter and write blogs. Leaving Dashfire, I’ve recognized just how important being active on social media is, so I’ve come up with (what I believe) is a good framework for how to attack social media.

After you’ve gone through the process of launching a startup company, how are you going to get everyone to love your idea as much as you do? People aren’t going to come to you, you must go to where your audience already is: the world wide web.

Social media outlets are your saving grace. Be thankful for them and use them for all they are worth. Here’s how to do so:

Just like the really great business plan you’ve created for your company, you’ll need a social media plan. The plan should include the following

  • Objectives. Defining what you want to accomplish is key. Do you want to expand your customer base? Drive more traffic to your website? Retain customers? You should want to do all three.
  • Purpose. What are the core values of your company? Make sure they are clearly defined before you start posting random things. Take Bucketfeet for example; their core values are rooted around connecting art and fashion through different cultures, and that’s very evident throughout their social media presence.
  • Strategies. Define which outlets will benefit you most. While some companies, such as TableSAVVY, can find Facebook to be extremely helpful, others, such as Dashfire, see less use for it. That can’t be said for Twitter or creating a WordPress or Tumblr, which I believe to be outlets that everyone can benefit from. Take into consideration which outlets you’re going to use, and make managing the right ones a top priority.
  • Timeline. Hire experts, or soon to be experts (aka interns), to devote time to social media. Lots of time. I’ve spent 8 weeks at Dashfire, and feel that this amount of time is perfect for building a strong online presence. After these initial 8 weeks, it’s now time to grow that presence and continue growing until the internet blows up, or something. Knock on wood.

Before you get started, pick a username that you’ll use for all your accounts. Because everyone and their mothers (unfortunately..) are already on social media, your username may already be taken, so be flexible. Dashfire had this issue, so we just used variations; our Twitter name is @Dashfirex, Instagram  is @Dashfirepix. (Follow us!) Our photo, bio and themes are the same for each account, and they’re all linked to each other, so it’s recognizable to users. Do the same.

Here are the outlets we love, and how we (are trying, every day) to use them to their full advantage.

LinkedIn. Over 150 million members are on it, so if you’re not….

  • Sign your company up! First make sure you aren’t already on it though. If someone has listed that they’ve worked at your company, you’re already on it, which takes away the first step.
  • Complete your profile 100%.
  • Link it to every other social media outlet you have, as well as your homepage.
  • Obtain recommendations from anyone you’ve worked with. Even a couple sentences will help.
  • Create and become part of groups.
  • Post, post, post! Everything! Jobs, status updates, events, engage in polls, answer questions.

Twitter. It’s where everyone talks about, well, everything! Chances are there’s people talking about your company right now without you even knowing it. Find those people, keep them talking, and then get more people talking. Rick always says Twitter rocks because you can promote your product to millions of people FOR FREE! Rick is right.

  • Follow relevant people. TableSAVVY is a Chicago-based startup focused on dining, so they follow everyone in the food industry; restaurants, chefs, food trucks, food bloggers, people who simply love to talk about food, etc.
  • Create lists while you’re following people to keep organized. You’ll be able to group people and interact with them in different ways. Using TableSAVVY as an example, they aren’t going to interact with food bloggers entirely the same way as they’ll engage with Chicago restaurants. Creating lists early on will make managing things easier. Tweetdeck is a great tool for managing these lists, so get that too.

Blog. Get one! I suggest WordPress, but Tumblr can be useful too. But never mind, I like WordPress. Do WordPress. If you like writing, write. If you don’t like writing, try to write, but if that fails, find someone who likes writing and will write all the time. I went in to Dashfire knowing about the tech startup scene, but not nearly as much as I would have hoped. How did I learn more? I read blogs; tons and tons and tons of blogs. Everyone in the bloggosphere is on the same page: they want to learn about what they don’t know and teach about what they do. And they just really like talking. Become a part of this.

You can basically say whatever you want, so don’t be shy about writing a post. Finding a topic can be the hardest part, here are some ways to overcome writer’s block:

  • Attend an event related to your industry. Or not even related. Attend anything. Write about your experience there. I attended Tech Week and some panels at 1871, so I wrote about them.
  • Read blogs, get inspired, write about how you feel about a certain topic. I read tons of blogs about social media, and here I am!
  • Write about someone/something you like! Literally pick anyone or anything. I love the Cheeky Chicago girls, Lisa Frame, Milli Mital, the Drink With Chicago girls, so I wrote about girls who run the startup world.
  • Something going on right now? Write about it. It was national co-working day, so I wrote about cool co-working spaces in Chicago.
  • Write about something you’ve done well. I got an internship, so I told people how.

Instagram. Not only is Instagram really instafun and makes you feel like the best photographer in the world, but it’s a great way to attract followers. It’s popularity alone is reason enough for you to be a part of it.

Once you’ve created an account..

  • Play around with it, start uploading pictures.
  • Link it to your Twitter and Facebook, and follow everyone you’re already following.
  • Use hashtags. If you take a great photo of the Chicago skyline, include #Chicago. It’s the way people look for other great photos of Chicago, and yours will be so great that they’ll follow you and then BAM! more users!
  • Engage with users:
    • Create Instagram contests. Are you giving something away? Instagram is the perfect way to start a trend. Bonobos is currently giving away products. To select people, they’ve asked users to use #cannonballing and they pick their favorite photo.
    • Comment, like, comment, like, repeat. What’s better than being a random person (me) and having an awesome company (you) like my photo? Not much.

When you’re posting, whether it be on Twitter, blogs, Instagram, whatever, here’s what you should remember:

  • Link all of your accounts. If you post an awesome blog post, make sure it goes to every other outlet. Same goes for posting pictures, status updates, you name it.
  • Be consistent and realize that good content is key. Tweet about relevant things, current events, things you like, etc.
  • Make people laugh. There are times for tweets about serious things, but not all the time. I follow people who make me laugh, be one of those people.
  • Participate in this wonderful land of social media, don’t broadcast. This means: ask questions, don’t just post statements.
  • Interact. Follow up with your fans, answer their questions, be there when they need you – whether that be for a source of information, comic relief, customer service, WHATEVER. Just be there.
  • Praise others. Know a great company who’s doing awesome things? Let them know it.
  • Repost. Writing one thing and sending it out one time isn’t enough. Write a great blog post, post it on your blog, and then every other outlet available to get as many hits as possible. Upload it to places like Built In Chicago, who will promote it if they like it (which they will because you’re awesome, right?!)
  • Reward your followers. Let them know how important they are to you! Whether it be giving them shout-outs or giveaways, you’ll retain users if you make yourself useful to them.
  • Don’t stop. Be on social media as much as possible. This doesn’t mean you always have to be posting, because you shouldn’t always be posting, but if someone mentions your company, respond immediately.


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