One of the greatest challenges of starting a new marketplace is making your presence known to the world wide web. Thankfully, social media marketing can help you accelerate this process, helping you to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships and solve your chicken-egg problem. Here are 3 tips to give you a head start on using social media for your marketplace, along with the secret sauce to social media success.
Tip #1: Have a Strategy
Before you begin looking for the right social networks to promote yourself in, it is important to have a clear strategy of why you are using social media. It is important to identify the business goals and how social media can help you to achieve these efficiently and effectively.
Every brand has a different purpose: some may adopt a more formal tone to their social communications while others may be more easy-going and playful for their community. These depend on the persona of your marketplace audience, whether it serves a professional clientele or the mass market “regular Joe”. The key idea is to ensure your social media voice remains congruent with your company culture and is tailored for your target audience. Who you are on social media also represents who you are as a company.
Next, your strategy should include what networks you’ll be using. Refer to your target persona again and see what social networks they hang out on. Visual networks like Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram are useful for consumer-based marketplaces while Twitter and LinkedIn are more suited for executives and professionals.
Tip #2: Use Growth Hacking
Being a new startup marketplace, you’d often find yourselves operating out of a shoestring budget. Here are some tips to growth hack social media without loosening the purse strings.
1. Use Everyone’s Brain Power & Network
Often, startup founders forget that their most useful asset is the strong team that they have built. When creating content for your social media, ask everyone on the team for advice and also get everyone in your team to get their friends, family and their network to “share” social feeds to their social networks. You’d be surprised at the responses you can get. The knowledge and network your team spawns can be far reaching. Your team also
interacts constantly with the customer base, especially your sales and customer service teams. They have a good understanding of the target audience. The wealth of knowledge that your team has can help you generate insightful content that will attract a quality social media following. You just need to tap it!
2. Use Others’ Influence
Another way to increase your “street cred” would be to leverage on the influential leaders in the industry. By referring to them in your tweets or posts, you create a path linking your marketplace to them. The idea is to present an image of yourself as a thought leader, interacting with other leaders in the industry, whilst injecting your own personality into the discussion.
3. Use Free Tools
While most social media networks are free, there are some tools on the internet that can supercharge your social media marketing strategy.
Automation – Hootsuite and Buffer offer easy-to-use and simple automation features that allow you to schedule posts on different social networks.
Monitoring – Tweetdeck and Facebook Insights are great tools to monitor your competition’s social media pages, with metrics such as post frequency and reach.
Content Generation – One great tool I use to discover insightful content is Feedly. With the death of Google Reader, Feedly established itself as the leading RSS-feed aggregator, adding features such as news aggregation for various websites. You can even set up Google Alerts or Trends and link it to Feedly, supercharging content generation for your marketplace.
Tip #3: Build Communities
The biggest benefit social media provides would be the ability to build a community for your marketplace. Reach out to over 2 billion people using social media daily, build a genuine human connection with them and show them the personable side of your marketplace to forge stronger customer loyalty. Each added user in your marketplace will benefit other users in the marketplace, also known as the “network effect”.
One of the most common reasons why marketplaces fail is due to a failure to solve the chicken-egg problem. Marketplace owners have to juggle between generating both demand and supply, something that is not easily accomplished. By building a strong community in their industry, they can leverage on this community to fuel both sides of the problem, ensuring a steady stream of both demand and supply within the marketplace.
Social Media is a powerful universal tool that can supercharge your marketplace outreach, helping you build strong relationships with your marketplace users. Even on a budget, with the right strategy and clear goals, you’ll be able to foster a strong community within your industry, making your marketplace presence known in the world wide web.