Business Essentials

A Social Media Guide for Start-ups

It’s easy to see social media as a tick-box in your start-up’s marketing strategy, but if anything social media is a marketing platform perfectly catered for start-ups. Building a strong brand image, developing customer loyalty and consumer engagement are key pillars behind social media’s ability to amplify your start-up and scale-up its success.

“A large social-media presence is important because it's one of the last ways to conduct cost-effective marketing. Everything else involves buying eyeballs and ears. Social media enables a small business to earn eyeballs and ears.”

Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist, Canva

Jargon Buster - What does it all mean?!

  • Social Media Algorithms These sort posts in a users feed based on the likelihood of the user engaging with them rather than the date they were published. User data and history informs the algorithm. 

  • Engagement A way of measuring the performance of a post through shares, likes, comments, clicks, views and more...

  • Reach A measure of how many accounts have seen your post or story on their feed. 

  • Impressions A measure of how many times your post or story appeared on users feeds (includes repeats on the same account)

  • Organic and paid reach Organic = the number of people who saw your content outside of a paid promotion (for free). Paid = the number of people who saw your content as a result of a paid ad.

  • Analytics Data gathered from your posts which allow you to track and monitor the performance of your posts in impressions, organic and paid reach and engagement. 

  • Content Distribution The act of promoting content to online audiences on multiple social media platforms through various channels

  • Social media Traffic The number of users that are brought to your website through links on social media.


Use the following areas to guide you through thinking about your approach to social media for your business.

How to develop a social media marketing strategy 

The potential for social media to grow your brand reach and increase sales is massive and requires forward planning with clear aims and objectives. Work through the steps below to begin to shape your social media marketing strategy.  

  1. Establish your business objectives and then decide what sort of engagement you want to generate - sales, sign-ups, awareness, follower growth? You might want to build each of these at different stages of your business.
  2. Choose your content method for achieving this goal. For example, to drive up sales you might post offers and product/service-based content, or for increased followers and shares you might tell the company's story or share a testimonial video. 
  3. Decide on your customer demographics so that you can target them through age/gender/location/interests and more.

Having monthly reviews of the analytics data from your social media posts can help you to adjust your strategy if needed. 

To learn more about analytics from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin follow these links

Why it's important to say something interesting

Creating content that grabs the reader's attention is important. Social media marketing is less about putting out just any content and more about smart content that triggers psychological responses in a viewer holding them on your post. Try to be funny, say something interesting or share an idea that users can connect with.

It is important to remember that social media is more of a dialogue with your customers, than a monologue to them, so aim to start a conversation. 

For more information read the Online Marketing Institute’s article on creating shareable social media content.

How to create content that stands out

Content needs to be eye-catching so try to use visuals wherever you can with good colour schemes. If you can't use photos then make the typography graphic. 

If you can, try to stay consistent with your design aesthetic as you want a clear brand image to be translated when your content is viewed together on your pages.

Some useful apps to create engaging visual content are Canva, the app Storyart - for story content and Adobe Spark.

Those pesky algorithms! How to understand them and use them to your advantage

Your posts used to reach every follower of your page, but algorithms prevent this and are now used across nearly all social media platforms.

Algorithms collect user habit and engagement data and then use this to sort posts based on their predicted relevancy to the user’s interests. Each social media’s algorithm prioritises slightly different factors and understanding these, can increase your organic reach. 

A good short cut for start-ups to grow their reach is through paid promotions on their posts. 

Try to plan out clear goals before you start promoting posts using these pointers...

  • What is your target audience? 
  • Do you want to promote your post to maximise engagement or so that it reaches as many people as possible? 
  • What is your monthly budget going to be? 

For more information on how to promote posts on Facebook go to Facebook’s business centre and hootsuite’s article for detailed advice on promotional ads on social media. 

How to invest your efforts effectively 

Less is more when it comes to social media marketing. You cannot do everything perfectly so it's best to focus on the most effective methods to reach your customers.

Each social media platform has different average user ages. Certain apps like Tiktok, Snapchat and Instagram have a younger average user age than platforms like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.

The larger the pool of users that are within your brands target audience, the easier it will be to grow an organic reach and generate engagement. You can learn more about this through SproutSocial’s article on social media demographics.

In an article titled ‘Thinking vertically: why 9:16 video matters for your brand’ Crowdmedia have detailed why stories are the new growing form of content that maximises engagement and user watch time. 

You should also try to maximise video and live content as they earn exponentially more engagement than their photo and text equivalents.

Facebook groups are a great way of creating close customer connections and brand loyalty. They are also brilliant for creating a community of consumers, publishing newsletters and promoting special discounts. Learn more about the importance of Facebook groups from Crowdmedia’s article.  

Finally, you can maximise your post's potential by scheduling it to post at times when users are most likely on social media. Using a third-party social media scheduling tool allows you to manage this with ease. For more information on the different scheduling tools follow the link.

To summarise, marketing your brand on social media is about meeting the user where they are, communicating a message that is meaningful to them and generating a brand image and community that a user can get behind. Social media can seem like a circus of content, but with a focused vision and effective use of visual methods, your start-up will speak through the noise. 

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