We talked to Josh Melick about the importance of having a solid social media strategy for your new business venture. Josh is a veteran startup founder who now consults for early-stage companies, helping them launch with a good product and solid brand.
He knows his stuff, too. Josh was an engineer, project manager, and in sales before founding Broadly in 2007. He successfully grew the company to over 10,000 paying SMBs while raising $30 million in venture finance. Prior to founding Broadly, Josh had product leadership positions at three different firms, all of which were acquired: Demandforce by Intuit, Ingenio by AT&T, and MxPlay by Smith-Micro (where Josh was also a founder).
“When it comes to social media, too many people see it as an afterthought. You don’t want to do that. You want to think about it ahead of time, so put together a strategy and plan around what you’re trying to do with social media,” says Melick.
Josh goes on to explain what he means by having your “social media ducks in a row” before launch:
“Before you go live, think about what you want your digital persona to be. What is the character that you’re trying to create with your business? Then think about how that can mesh with social media. You don’t always have to play the most popular game, but it does help to know what’s trending.”
He also talked about getting your messaging right on social media. “It’s all about having a human voice.” Josh explains, “People want to talk with a real person. So, for example, if you’re going out and canvassing the neighborhood, take a picture of yourself doing it and upload it to Facebook. It’s okay to mix in some fun too—it doesn’t have to be all business.”
One of the most effective things you can do to get your personal brand right is to craft a really solid bio. This is particularly important on LinkedIn, where people are going to be finding you and looking at what you have to offer. “LinkedIn is a terrible way for a company or business entity to market,” says Melick, “But it’s an excellent place to market yourself. Of course, you can link out to your Facebook or Twitter pages, but you want people to be able to find the things that are important about you on LinkedIn itself.”
Lighting up social media is only one aspect of a good marketing campaign, but it’s an important one. Don’t forget about messaging either, and get your bio right on LinkedIn before you make a big push to hook new customers.
“Don’t skimp when it comes to social media management. Instead, hire some professionals who know what they are doing and have experience in big campaigns. The last thing you want is to miss a big opportunity because your message wasn’t communicated effectively.”
He concluded by saying that you don’t just want to be on social media for the sake of being on it. “You don’t just go to Facebook and say, ‘Hey, here’s our new product,’ and then leave. Instead, you want to build an audience over time, which will help you generate word-of-mouth marketing.”