Thousands of people are set to mark online news community Mashable’s fourth international Social Media Day with events on June 30.
The aim of the day is to bring people together to discuss and celebrate social media. The hashtag is #SMDAY.
Social media has been a breakthrough for start-ups and small businesses keen to connect with consumers, build communities and share their offerings.
Bernadette Jiwa, a Perth-based marketing consultant, award-winning blogger and author, told StartupSmart social media was a “gift” to businesses of every size.
Start-up operators rarely have time to waste, so they need to be focused on what they’re doing and insightful about how to use the channels well.
“We think our job on social media is to change how people feel about our product, when really it’s to change how they feel about themselves via our product,” Jiwa says.
“The biggest common mistake is to forget that social media is a tactic, not the be-all and end-all of telling your business story.”
Jiwa cites Instagram as a stand-out success at business story sharing through social media. One of many photo sharing apps, it succeeded because the story it told was about presenting one’s best self to the world.
According to Jiwa, brands often mistake social media as a free alternative for advertising and use it as a way to broadcast about their product. She cautions this means you may miss out on a rich source of feedback and insight.
“For start-ups, you don’t have a big budget and you could use social media as a free alternative to advertising, as a way to broadcast. But it’s not best for that. Use it to tell the truth about your business and connect with the right people,” she says.
“With many start-ups, they start with a good idea but they may not know how interact with the market. You can try and sell your product, but you’ll probably find your product probably does so much more for people than you think it does.”
The key to mastering social media for start-ups is developing your social media engagement strategy from the most potent reasons you launched your business in the first place: your product or service and why you launched your business.
“The people who are really good at social media are those who use it as an extension of their story,” Jiwa says.
She says having a great product, understanding the impact it has on your customers, and being passionate and able to communicate about that is central to a good social media strategy.
According to MeetUp, an online platform for organising and promoting public events, close to 2000 communities worldwide will be holding events to mark Social Media Day.
The events are casually organised rather than managed by Mashable, although tools and events listings can be accessed here.