10 Rules of A REAL #SocialMedia Strategy For #startups

About 2 years ago a group of startup founders working at a tech startup incubator at The Greenhouse in Boca Raton talked about running a tech startup pitch event.

I decided I would promote and run the very first event.

Back then I did not know how to promote a pitch event. What I did count on was the couple hundred people I was connected with on Linkedin as well as Twitter. I also had been blogging for a couple years about technology and startups. So whether I acknowledged it or not, I had followers and likes!

Rule 1: Start your social media strategy by looking at what assets you can leverage.

I began to promote my event through my personal blog and through local startup organization social sites as well as Meetup and Eventbrite. I also mentioned the event to local newspapers. To my surprise I had over 110 attendees for my very first event.

Rule 2: There are no rules to social media.

Each unique social media campaign requires different forms of social media based on what you are doing. You wouldn’t promote your daughters birthday party on Linkedin and you should keep business on Facebook to a minimum. Nobody on Facebook likes it!

I just think that using a one size fits all, cookie cutter approach to all social media makes absolutely no sense. Often that is what social media agencies seem to do for clients. They seem to have one set of tools they deploy for all clients. Well, let’s just say if you outsource YOUR social media to a paid agency, expect to get crap and expect to pay a lot for your load of crappy social media. How would they know your business better than you?

I don’t use Pinterest, Instagram or Vine because it makes no sense for a startup pitch event. I don’t use Facebook because I don’t think my family members, high school friends and fraternity brothers want to hear about my event. They just don’t care! Use the right social media that makes sense for each market segment! I use Twitter extensively. Even Twitter does not work for some social media campaigns. Meetup, Eventbrite and Periscope are part of my tool-set. I run events, that’s why!

Rule 3: Be Real.

Being real simply means that authenticity means a lot in the world of social media. It means talking directly to people like I am talking to YOU in this article. When I see non-personalized business articles, simply stating facts, products and services with no personality, it is just not that interesting. And it is really not effective. It is just best to be a real person behind the social media! When you go and purchase 30,000 Twitter followers and send me a canned response when I follow you on Twitter that you are going to change my life. That’s actually worse than junk mail. It’s just not real. Let’s just say that my 6 and 8 year old sons can tell you if you are being real. That’s a good test of your social media!

Be real and people will follow you. I will say it again, do your own social media and don’t outsource it!

Rule 4: Give up something and you will get something back.

When I see a blog that just wants something from you, selling you, soliciting for something or Tweets asking you to buy something without an exchange I shake my head. What I am doing right now is giving YOU at least my thoughts (for free). Before I ask you to do anything I give you something. By teaching you I am giving to YOU. I gave away my last book, Names, for free as a PDF if you sign up for my email list. I give and give and give. And after I give, sometimes I give again. Then whatever I am asking for at the end, attend my event, BUY MY BOOK, join my email list or buy my new 3 year projection excel spreadsheet for sale on Gumroad, you choose whether you want to do that.

Rule 5: Connect and Automate Everything.

I will give you a little tip. You can either pay a Hootesuite to post out to all social media out there after writing an article or you can use a little known feature called Publicize built into Jetpack, a WordPress plugin to hit a variety of social media all at the same time. Jetpack sends the actual social media blast through WordPress.com {The WP Mothership} When I am done with this article, I will use it and blast out to Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Google+ with one click. Now that will save time. See, I am still giving stuff to you!

Rule 6: Duplication and Replication is ok.

There are all these Google rules you will hear about like not duplicating content, but my experience is that only applies to website pages and static pages and not social media. Linkedin for instance does not get searched well by Google (maybe the Microsoft deal will make this even worse). So I copy and paste these articles to my @dgudema Medium.com account as well as my personal blogs http://startuppop.com andhttp://strategicpoints.com. And don’t be afraid to tweet the same thing over and over. Yes, it’s ok. Tweets are fleeting and tweeting 2 hours later actually reaches a whole new crew of people in different time zones.

Rule 7: Activity is Everything

This is why Facebook is so good for social media, there is non-stop activity. Because I don’t feel comfortable using Facebook for business, I use Meetup activity as a way to replicate some of this constant activity. People seeing action really helps the group or event get traction. This is why I often give away the first 40 or 50 spots for my events, because once people see I have 50 attendees they want in on the action. Have you attended one of my events because you saw 75+ RSVPs already in the meetup queue?

Rule 8: Be Available

I don’t think you have to be around 24 by 7, but you need to be part of the mix. Without you, the social media personality or social media manager responding to comments and coming out of your shell, you are pretty much dead in the water. I read a great article that says if you don’t respond to a comment on your blog, you are dissing the person commenting! Try to respond to every comment!

Rule 9: Be Controversial, Be Daring, Be Different

Nobody wants to read 10 Golden Rules that everybody already knows! They want to learn something. They want to be challenged. They want to be engaged. They want a reason to put down a comment at the end of this article telling me that I am so stupid and here is why! Don’t be afraid to say something nobody wants to hear. For me, well, I am still fighting this feeling that I am over-exposing myself with certain issues. I am not going to make a comment on this election, but those of my close friends know what I really think. Like Ted Cruz said “Vote For The Person You Think Will Protect Your Freedom!” That’s about as political as I am going to get here. Being honest, direct and truthful is what makes the most sense for social media.

Rule 10: Build YOUR Community

Whether you want to have an event, a party, a new business, a startup, a school, run a non-profit, help kids with autism, be a writer or anything, you need YOUR OWN COMMUNITY. That is why you need to start building members of whatever community you will need for your social media campaign in the future… today.

If you are sitting at a job and are starting a startup next year, you need to be recruiting members to your list today. How to do this? Well, there are so many ways I can not even list them all here. You don’t need to build out your own social network technology. That would be stupid and just not worth it! You can use Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Tumbler, Periscope, Meerkat, Meetup, Eventbrite, Medium, Evernote, WordPress, Goodreads and 100 other social media out there. You just have to choose the right tools for the right segment of people for what you are doing!

Names BookIf you are in south Florida and are not in my Meetup group, please join below: http://www.meetup.com/Boca-Raton-Tech-Start-ups-Meetup/

Once again, I am promoting my new eBook called “Names: How To Name Your Startup Venture.

Follow me on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/dgudema

Read this and other articles here on Medium: https://medium.com/@dgudema

Have a great weekend and start blogging like me if you want to create a community for what you are planning tomorrow!

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