What every startup company should know about social media

Launching a startup company? You likely already rank the step of securing your social media handles across platforms with filing your articles of incorporation.

Or at least you should.

About 97% of digital consumers have used social media in the past 30 days, according to a 2020 GlobalWebIndex report. The report also shows that people spent 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media every day across devices in 2019. That means about 1 of every 3 hours spent on the internet is on social platforms.

But people aren’t just catching up with friends and posting photos.

About 54% of social browsers use social media to research products, also according to GlobalWebIndex.

Here are three points you should consider about social media when launching your startup company.

Start with one platform

Just because we recommend starting with one social media platform, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t secure your account handles across platforms. You absolutely should. 

But when you’re starting out, focus your attention on that single account to best develop your social brand voice and build your community.

This also translates into a lighter commitment of your available resources compared with launching full force across multiple platforms (and not do any particular platform well).

Then, as you get comfortable, you can determine the next platform for your business to explore. Once you find balance with two social media accounts, then you can consider three and so on.

Identify your target audience

First things first, you need to know who you want to reach and convert into a customer.

You’ve likely already thought this through in your business plan.

Just make sure you understand your target audience’s basic profile: age, gender, geographic location, and any other defining characteristics. 

Determine which platform your target audience is using

Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a social media expert to figure this out. Here’s a quick breakdown:

FACEBOOK: Known as “the social network,” Facebook is by far the largest. With age demographics fairly evenly spread out, the platform offers page functionality for brands that comes with advertising and content publishing features. Beyond pages, Facebook also has Stories and Groups to potentially engage with your audience. Typically, when a startup starts on social media, it is on Facebook simply because of the sheer size of the overall audience and the opportunities there.

INSTAGRAM: This visual-first platform is owned by Facebook. It’s the No. 1 platform for influencer marketing, as well as many retailers and beauty brands because of its aesthetic quality. It is a younger platform for anyone looking to reach people younger than 34. Advertising opportunities exist, just like on Facebook, as well as some cross-advertising options because the two platforms are connected.

TWITTER: The micro-blogging platform is not the largest, but 92% of Americans are familiar with Twitter (even if they don’t use it). Most content tends to tie to sports, entertainment and politics. About 80% of tweets come from 10% of Twitter users in the U.S., and those users are statistically more likely to be women who are Democrats and who tweet mostly about politics. Users prefer transparency, authenticity and responsiveness on Twitter. Advertising opportunities are available as well.

LINKEDIN: Most B2B startups typically consider starting on this Microsoft-owned platform intended for professionals. LinkedIn wants to break away from its resume-only-posting reputation to be considered an all-inclusive professional platform, with Company Pages, Groups, content publishing features, LinkedIn Learning and job-hiring mechanisms. This is the perfect platform for a business to become a thought leader in its industry, among other opportunities. Plus, advertising opportunities are available. 

PINTEREST: The aspirational platform has a mostly female audience. Pinterest is definitely the home of DIY, wedding planning, recipe discovery and more. Retail brands see a two times higher return on ad spend on Pinterest, compared to other social platforms. Accounts can advertise on the platform as well.

SNAPCHAT: Like Instagram, Snapchat is an option for any brands looking to reach a younger audience. However, the platform tests your ROI (return on investment) because the discoverability of a local or regional brand and the availability of analytics are both questionable. However, 72% of Gen Z users on Snapchat are not reachable by TV ads, and Snapchat users are 60% more likely to make an impulse purchase. While brands can advertise on Snapchat, the cost may be prohibitive for a startup company’s budget.

YOUTUBE: While likely not considered a traditional social media network, YouTube (which is owned by Google) boasts more than 2 billion monthly active users (which does not count people who aren’t logged in), making it the world’s second-most visited website (after Google) and the third-most common Google search query. The video platform has a particularly high reach with younger people. About 81% of U.S. internet users between the ages of 15 and 25 use it. While video is highly engaging on other social platforms, YouTube is all video, and about 1 billion hours of video is watched on YouTube every day. While video content can be intimidating for some businesses to create and consistently share, it’s worth considering. About 80% of people who watched a YouTube video as part of their buying journey did so early on, and 70% more YouTube users are engaging with creators and channels.

TIKTOK: The latest social media app to gain popularity among young users is all about video and music. TikTok was the most-installed app in the first quarter of 2019, making it the 6th most-used app. The verdict is still out on the ROI for brands on the latest trending app, but Tiktok users are 1.8 times more likely to want brands to be “young,” “trendy/cool,” “exclusive” and “bold.” If your company is all of those things, you may already be aware of TikTok.

Dive deeper

Sprout Social also offers more in-depth data about the latest demographic trends across social media channels. In addition, we take a deeper look at which social media platform is right for company.

Just as you are walking through your business plan to get your startup company going, so too should you set and execute a social media plan. They go hand in hand these days. Just remember to keep it simple, focused and targeted.