The Basics of Social Media Marketing for Startups

In the build-up to the launch of a new business, agency or freelance venture, your only outlet of communication with potential customers could well be through social media. Without email leads or website visitors, social media marketing for startups plays an extra important role in getting word out both pre and post-launch. However, I find it’s often the case that after launch, content runs dry very quickly. But there are ways to avoid this. I would like to share a few tips on the best ways to use social media to launch your business, and this advice should remain relevant throughout your social media marketing efforts.

Create a Database

Creating social media pages and diving in straight away could be a misstep given it’s unlikely you will initially have a great deal of content to share with your audience. For this reason, you should spend some time compiling a database of potential social media posts that can be easily distributed and worked into a weekly content plan. The database can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, with different headers for Copy, Image and Date Posted. Make sure the image name matches the name of the image in your documents, so that you can easily put together engaging social media posts in little time. Here are a few ideas to begin this process:

  • Use Google Alerts, Twitter and Instagram to start sourcing curated content that will be of interest to your followers. Draft tweets and posts out of this content and input into your database.
  • Create some simple graphics to post and draft some accompanying text to go with them.
  • Sum up your business in a series of punchy messages with links back to your site.

You should aim for around 20-30 posts initially, but try to add a few every week to keep it topped up and ensure you’re not scratching around for new ideas every week. This way you’ll constantly have a bank of posts to dip into, saving you time in the long-term that you can invest into making your business a success.

However, one thing to bear in mind is that all of the posts in this database should be ‘evergreen’ – that’s to say, they should be relevant to your audience at any given time of the year rather than a Merry Christmas post for example. So a post welcoming people to the social media channels, announcing some news or other similarly timely posts should be left off this database.

Source an Image Library

Alongside your bank of potential social media posts should be a library of stock and original images to go with them. Clearly you shouldn’t steal them from any old place on the web without any attribution, so try a site such as Pixabay for millions of royalty-free images you can use. Again, in the early stages of a new business it’s unlikely you will have many visual elements to share with your followers, so effectively using stock images will – for now – be a great way to brighten up your posts and grab your reader’s attention in a crowded news feed. As things advance further down the line you will have to look at producing more original content and graphics to share – which is where Visme comes in.

Visme is a free tool that helps you to design great-looking infographics in a short space of time. You can choose from hundreds of templates and adapt them to match with the aesthetics and visual identity of your company, so you don’t need to worry about simply plonking an infographic on your website that is obviously a template. Time and resources are valuable at any stage of a company’s lifespan, but particularly during these early stages when they’re particularly scarce, so Visme could be a lifesaver for your content marketing needs. It’s one of a number of free tools that come in handy for social media marketing for startups – here are four more to browse through afterwards.

Be Direct With Your Marketing

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that when you launch a business on social media, you’ll have a grand total of 0 followers, zero likes and zilch fans. Which is why, instead of shouting at an empty room, you’ll need to reach out to potential customers a little more directly.

One tactic that I’ve had success with is following the followers of your competitors on Twitter or Instagram. After identifying and then noting down a list of your competitors on social media, you should set about browsing their followers and following the ones who appear to be the most relevant to your business. I find it to be effective because these relevant accounts are all getting a notification to say that your company is now following them – and you can’t say fairer than getting your firm’s name into people’s notifications, one of the most-visited areas of a person’s social media profile.

You can also rest easy knowing that if people decide to follow you back then you’re gaining relevant followers who are likely to be interested in your company – not just bots and people following back to be polite.

This process can be done manually, but it is tricky to do and quite time-consuming, which is why I would recommend the marketing automation services of Owlead and ManageFlitter to help you out. Owlead works by first choosing up to 5 profiles to target, and then up to 5 keywords for each profile. Owlead uses those keywords to target people’s bios who match those keywords, and follows up to 50 people per day using this method.

ManageFlitter is slightly different in that it only allows you to draw up a list of possible accounts to follow which you have to then manually target, but it has several features beyond that, including one which helps you to clean up your followed accounts by removing spam and inactive accounts.


Diving into a business launch on social media with no plan can cause you more headaches down the line by worrying about a lack of content every week. By putting together a database and simply distributing these posts when you see fit, social media marketing for startups will be made much easier whilst also saving you valuable time. Combining this with some marketing automation to give your followers a boost means you’ll be well set up to start turning these conversations about your brand into customers.

About the Author:

Nick Harland is a freelance social media marketer, blogger and community manager in Barcelona. Why not connect with him on LinkedIn?

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