An estimated half million small businesses open in the US every year, adding to the 27 million small businesses already open. Making a startup’s brand stand out among millions of other new brands can seem daunting, but with social media, it’s easier than ever before. Here are three social media channels to help you kick-start your startup branding.
Pinterest is one of the hottest social media channels in the past two years. This social bookmarking tool lets users “pin” (or save) images with attached URLs to their virtual “pinboards” – like folders on your web browser. Users can categorize their boards any way they choose, including choosing which image acts as the cover for each “board” on their profile. Users follow their friends and repin images from other boards to their own, enhancing the potential viral nature of the channel.
Small businesses on Pinterest can use the power of visual images to enhance the brand of their company. Companies with visual products – like clothing stores, boutiques, floral shops or home decor companies – do very well on Pinterest, in addition to companies who can leverage tips or tutorials using their products (think restaurants, marketing agencies or craft stores.)
Branding Tip: Create a board with contributors and ask Pinterest users to pin their favorite recipes, tips, tutorials or other content that reminds them of your brand. Create images for your website with your logo, colors and other branding elements and encourage users to pin them to their own boards.
Half blogging, half Tweeting and all fun, Tumblr has been steadily gaining popularity among young, international users – half its users are less than 34 years old and half visit from outside the US. Tumblr is considered a micro-blogging platform, and includes built-in tagging and sharing, making your content easily discoverable. Although Tumblr accounts are somewhat basic – you can change colors and fonts, add logos and enhance basic themes with widets – it can be a great way to communicate quick pieces of information, share infographics, promote new products and introduce your brand to a new audience. The basic nature of Tumblr lets your content shine and can help you develop the voice of your brand through well-written posts or shareable photos.
Much like Pinterest, striking images do very well on Tumblr, as well as industries catering to a younger demographic.
Branding Tip: Use Tumblr for behind-the-scenes information about product production, life in your office or other “exclusive” content. It will help your readers learn more about your business and make them feel like they are a part of your brand.
The mother of all social media channels, Facebook is where many small businesses start with their social media brand. Recent changes in Facebook allow users to customize their business fan pages with big, powerful cover images, customizable apps and the ability to highlight certain posts for a specific period of time. With a little time investment, you can turn your Facebook fan page into a mini-social media hub by adding a Twitter feed, RSS feed, online store or email subscription page. To make the most of Facebook, follow other pages in your industry or local businesses in your area and comment regularly on their posts – this is akin to leaving a virtual “business card” on other Facebook pages.
Facebook boasts 845 million active users, and a wide range of demographics – essentially, everyone is on Facebook. Branding and content-wise, anything goes – from polls to photos – but the best performing content is that which lets your fans engage with you. The key to successful branding on Facebook is to be consistent with your content quality and quantity, and always stay true to your business’ voice.
Branding Tip: Ask your readers questions that apply generally to your product – if you run a restaurant, ask their favorite food; a shoe store, what type of shoes they normally buy. People love answering questions, and as an added bonus, it’s a great way to conduct market research.
About the Author: When he isn’t providing resources for small business owners, Steven Boggs is covering a wide range of topics in the small business blogosphere and enjoys fine dining in his free time.