social media
Photo by CC user WFIU Public Radio on Flickr.

Social media marketing campaigns are par for the course for start-ups. They’re an effective way to raise product awareness, find your first customers, and maybe even come into contact with a new investor. It’s also relatively affordable – you can reach millions as an entrepreneur even with a small budget.

The problem is actually getting it done. Every start-up in the world wants to stand out in social media, but only a few actually make it. What can you do to make your social media campaign work?

1. Work with Your Platform

No two social media platforms are exactly alike, so what works for one likely won’t work for another. Facebook, for example, is built to help people keep in touch with family and friends. Twitter is great for short and impactful messages. LinkedIn is better for people looking to connect with other professionals.

Work with your platform’s strengths. Posts on Facebook should be shareable and light. Technical posts should be left to LinkedIn, while quick messages are best put on Twitter.

2. Focus Expenditures

Making a social media account is free, which is music to your ears as an entrepreneur, but the actual campaign will likely cost you money and time. The problem is figuring out where to spend your resources. For example, some platforms like Facebook allow you to pay for direct advertising. You give them a budget and they promote your posts to an audience of your definition. Others will let you purchase followers.

If you’re not sure what to spend on, it may be best to hire an expert. A dedicated social media manager will focus on more than numbers. They’ll help you develop an effective social marketing campaign that can convert those exposed to customers or investors.

3. Make Your Company More Human

Faceless entities are a thing of the past. Companies have faces now, people who customers can talk and relate to. With some effort, you can connect to your audience on a more personal connection, allowing for more genuine connections and lasting customer loyalty.

That means acting like a human being on social media and not like a media marketing machine. Promoting your product relentlessly may seem like a good idea, but all it’ll result in is getting your profile tuned out. Make an effort to connect and engage with your audience. Listen to their opinions and answer their questions. By making yourself beneficial and valuable to them they’ll start viewing your company’s social profile as more than a shill.

4. Pick the Correct Platform

Each startup has different needs. As an entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to make sure that any social network you pick suits those needs. Developing a strong and relevant presence takes time and effort. Going after all the networks is certainly possible, but it’s likely unnecessary. You may opt to focus on the most popular option, but popularity can change from month to month. What doesn’t change is what message works on which platforms.

Don’t settle for any kind of reach — look for the right kind of rich. Look for platforms that fit your message and audience. Look at the crowd each platform attracts and find the one that matches your current goals. If you’re looking for investors, for example, you’re better off on LinkedIn than on Facebook.

Also consider other, lesser-known platforms to build profiles, such as Crunchbase. As you’ll see in this profile, a person or company can add photos, bio, timeline posts and much more—for free.

5. Examine and Re-evaluate Your Campaign Constantly

Things go fast when you’re an entrepreneur. One day all you have is an idea, and in a few short months you could have a bustling start-up. If you want to succeed you must keep adjusting your plans according to your new situation.

That same approach must be used on your marketing campaign. The moment you settle into a routine is the moment the competition starts gaining or breaking away from you. Keep an eye on your metrics and see what’s working and what needs reworking. Don’t get married to one approach.

A social media marketing campaign can be a powerful tool for a smart entrepreneur, but it’s not a shortcut to success. Just like any tool, you need to use it properly. That means constantly checking your metrics and adjusting things accordingly, finding the right platform to utilize, and making your company feel more human. It’s going to take time for your campaigns to bear fruit, so don’t worry if you don’t get an immediate response in the first few days. Just keep trucking — you and your start-up will get there.