Social media marketing for startups: a step-by-step guide

Marketing - Getting Started: Part 4

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An introduction to boosting business and building communities.

Social media is a cost-effective marketing tool that can increase brand awareness and lead generation for your startup. This introductory guide will show you how to do it successfully.

More than half of the world's population (53%) uses social media and the average daily usage is 2 hours and 25 minutes, according to a recent report from Global WebIndex. In the UK alone 93% of adults between the ages of 25 to 34 have a social media profile. 

Social can be an incredibly useful way for startups to find their voice in a crowded industry and a great way of connecting with customers. The key is having a well thought out plan of attack. Give it the resource it deserves, create smart content, promote it strategically and engage with your audience.

Step 1: Plan your social media strategy

Establish your need and resources

The first point to consider when creating a company social media profile – on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, or others – is whether it is worth the effort. This will depend on several factors, such as your industry sector, your audience and the resources you have available. Using social effectively is a commitment and can take time.

Don't spread yourself too thin

Avoid running multiple social media accounts for the sake of it. LinkedIn makes it easier to understand who your followers are, but Twitter offers more potential traffic upside. Instagram carries little traffic potential, so avoid that platform unless brand and influence is your focus. Different social networks have different reporting tools and offer varying levels of insight on overall performance. It can be hard to know how you're doing when compared to your rivals. Facebook and Twitter offer a lot of data on performance, but they often measure different things, so treat each channel as distinct entities.

Set goals

You also should map out the tangible outcomes you hope to achieve through launching the account.

They could include:

  • Increasing sales
  • Growing your customer base
  • Supporting your customers and building trust
  • Growing brand awareness
  • Tracking industry trends
  • Becoming a sector influencer

Step 2: Create an engaging profile

Once your goals are set and you have concluded that your business can commit the resources to use the social channel effectively, next is planning your social strategy.

Develop a consistent voice and post regularly

There is no merit in a burst of activity once a week or twice a month with nothing in between. Neither the platform algorithms nor the users will engage with you unless you're consistent. Try also to find a human voice.

Know your audience

What do the people you want to reach like to read and watch? Are they time-short? How much do they already know about your product? Are they experts in your sector or new to it? Ask yourself these and other questions to get under the skin of your target audience. 

Know your platform demographic (figures correct Q1, 2021):



2.7 billion
Monthly active users
25 to 34
(32%) Most active age group
56% male
44% female

Gender split



187 million
Daily users
25 to 34
(29%) Most active age group
70% male
30% female

Gender split



1 billion
Monthly active users
25 to 34
(33%) Most active age group
51% female
49% male

Gender split



2 billion
Monthly active users
15 to 25
Monthly active age group



722 million
Monthly active users
25 to 34
(60%) Monthly active age group
57% male
43% female

Gender split



433 million
Monthly active users
25 to 34
(59%) Monthly active age group
59% female
39% male

Gender split



700 million
Monthly active users
10 to 19
(33%) Monthly active age group


Experiment with different formats

Videos, graphics, podcasts and emojis can add significant upside to your engagement and click-through rates. Try different content types and experiment with posting times and frequency.

Don't just share your own material

A lot of social traffic and influence relies on trust. While there will be times where sharing your own content is a business imperative, don't be afraid to engage with your followers and share their material too. A 1:3 ratio of external links to your own posts is a good start point.

Keep an eye on the competition

To stay ahead of the curve, it’s incredibly important to check your competitors to see how their approach compares to your own. Don’t assume that your strategy should match that of your rivals. However, keep an eye out for tips and tricks that might benefit your target audience. If something works for you, keep using it and see if you build on the success.

Master your marketing with more advice and information:

  • Part 1: Create a marketing plan.
  • Part 2: Define and refine your brand.
  • Part 3: Improve your marketing with customer personas.
  • Part 5: Get started on SEO and paid marketing.
  • Part 6: Find the right video approach to meet your needs.
  • Part 7: Use content marketing to build your business.
  • Part 8: Improve your reach with advocate marketing.
  • Part 9: Create content efficiently with this marketing hack: founder to founder video.
  • Part 10: How to market your business on a limited budget: founder to founder video.
  • Part 11: Discover how to find and target your market: founder to founder video.
  • Part 12: Use these marketing techniques to boost your ROI: founder to founder video.



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