How To Use Social Media To Launch Your Online Business
If you plan to use the social media to help launch your startup business, you’ll need to have a very definite plan in hand well before you begin the process. About three months before your anticipated launch date, you should choose which platforms you’re going to be using to launch your business. Before you make your selection though, be sure that you’re going to be able to commit to posting regularly on each platform you choose. By posting intermittently or irregularly, you may end up doing more harm for your business than good, so make sure that you can commit to regular postings before including a specific platform in your launch process.
This is also the time to coordinate with your marketing team to make sure that your social media plan is fully incorporated into the overall marketing approach for your brand. It will help you decide which platforms to use by doing a competitive market analysis, because that will tell you whether or not your competitors are using the same platform. Part of your selection process should be to consider which platforms are best for supporting your marketing and advertising objectives. Now is also the time for planning a dozen or more sample posts that you’ll be making for each of your chosen platforms on launch day.
Your social media guidelines
About two months before launch date, you should begin preparing your social media guidelines, which is a critical step especially if marketing and advertising efforts will be handled by multiple personnel. Everyone should have a clear idea of how your brand is to be marketed, and which values you want to convey to the public about your brand. When you’re considering guidelines for your social media initiatives, give some thought to how frequently you will respond to comments, including negative ones, and the tone that should be used when addressing these comments.
Your guiding principle in many of these considerations should be that your brand personality should reflect the type of people you are interested in attracting your business. After you have had several discussions with your team, you should commit all these thoughts to a formal handbook which includes rules and behaviors regarding your brand representation on the social media. It’s okay if eventually some of these rules are bent or broken, but by establishing a handbook of guidelines, you’ll have something concrete to refer to as you approach launch time. This handbook should be written as though you’re trying to explain your brand and its core values to a complete stranger.
Create a social media calendar
Approximately one month before launch date, you should begin to create your social media calendar, even if you don’t plan to adhere to it strictly. In fact, a rigid social media calendar can be counterproductive, especially when you intend to comment frequently on current events, or if you intend to use all the latest memes while they’re still trending. However, it is still a good idea to have specific goals for the frequency of your postings, and to keep some planned shares available for busy days.
This is the ideal time to start considering what will happen a few months in the future, or possibly even as much as a year after launch date. While you probably wouldn’t want to begin drafting tweets six months in advance, it could certainly be worthwhile to team up with your product managers to give some thought to the direction your brand is headed.
This could also be a fruitful time for determining some ideas about social media campaigns which could be launched within the next several months. Launching a social media campaign will always take more time and effort than you would initially think, but by organizing your thoughts and getting everyone on the same page a few months ahead of time, it will definitely ensure that your launch goes much more smoothly.
Confirm all the details
On the eve of launch day, you should have a detailed list of all the things that have to be accomplished, and each one of these tasks should be checked off before you leave the office on the day before launch. These launch days are quite often consumed with reading emails and responding to them, checking notes with various personnel, and invariably fighting a few fires which crop up at the last minute.
To prevent all this from getting out of hand, prepare a very detailed checklist and double check everything which is of critical importance. Try not to leave anything to chance, and try not to overlook anything. Some of the things that are common to most launch days, and which you should be sure to personally check on are the following:
- everything has been signed off on
- all your photos have the necessary branding, watermarks, and possibly even hashtags
- all your links are accurate and in place
- all your postings have been edited and proofread, and are ready for posting along with accompanying photos
- all the artwork and social media bios have been proofread and are ready to go live
- your social media team is prepared with launch day objectives and KPIs, and everyone is clear about how all these metrics will be evaluated
- time zones have been accounted for and all your critical personnel are aware of what needs to be posted on their personal accounts.
Launch day activities
If you have paid attention to all the preceding steps faithfully, your launch day should be mostly about execution and about observing the results. Your copy will go live, and all you have to do is sit back and watch your brand actually come to life before your eyes. Assuming you have some customer inquiries or comments, you should definitely begin engaging with your audience and responding to those comments or inquiries, and providing whatever information you can about your brand’s personality.
In the days following launch day, do your best to develop your brand’s personality by staying active and involved with your user community. It’s even a good idea to get to know your initial followers and people who post to your brand. It will be interesting to see if your initial followers are the type of audience you intended to attract.
You probably won’t want to change anything about your approach in those first few days after launching, but if you observe that there are things which may need to be tweaked, these should all be jotted down in a notebook, so they can be reviewed at the appropriate time. Other than these few considerations, you should really just take time to enjoy the fact that your startup business has been successfully launched, and that your business is off and running!