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Social Media for Start-Ups - An Effective Marketing Tool

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Social computing involves the use of online social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn to reach consumers in innovative ways. Businesses of all types are getting involved in social media in an attempt to reach to a new audience and reinforce their ties with existing customers. As one is starting a new business, the major concern is with creating a product or service offering, finding first customers, building partnerships to help grow more quickly and ensuring one has enough money to sustain the company. The question in hand is, does social media play a role in helping one get their business off the ground. Is it worth investing your time in social media early in your start-up? Do social media really make a difference in marketing efforts?The purpose of this study is to investigate how marketing efforts in social media can be successful in attracting customers for start-up companies. It also tries to understand how an owner of a start-up, recognize using social media to grow its business and uses social media to engage with its customers. The paper has shown that Facebook is more efficient and that social media is effective in spreading word-of-mouth and communicating with customers. This was reinforced by several case studies and two live start-ups which were examined. As a result, suggestions for social media marketing strategies are recommended to the companies. The conclusion of this study is that Facebook is an effective tool for start-up companies, to reach new consumers and also to retain current customers.
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Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2333262
Social Media For Start-ups
An Effective Marketing Tool
Vidisha Sharma
Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development
Symbiosis International University, Pune, India
vidisha_sharma@scmhrd.edu
S. Vijayakumar Bharathi
Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology
Symbiosis International University, Pune, India
svkbharathi@scit.edu
Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2333262
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract ................................................................................................................................ 3
1.0 Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 3
2.0 Literature Review ............................................................................................................ 4
3.0 Research Methodology .................................................................................................... 6
4.0 Theoretical Model ........................................................................................................... 7
5.0 Analysis ........................................................................................................................ 11
6.0 Case Studies .................................................................................................................. 14
7.0 Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 19
8.0 Future Scope ................................................................................................................. 19
Bibliography ....................................................................................................................... 19
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Theoretical Model .................................................................................................. 7
Figure 2: Marketing Kit for Start-ups using Facebook ......................................................... 11
Figure 3: Marketing Kit for Start-ups using Twitter ............................................................. 12
Figure 4: Marketing Kit for Start-ups using YouTube.......................................................... 13
Figure 5: Marketing Kit for Start-ups using LinkedIn .......................................................... 13
Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2333262
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Abstract
Social computing involves the use of online social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter,
YouTube and LinkedIn to reach consumers in innovative ways. Businesses of all types are
getting involved in social media in an attempt to reach to a new audience and reinforce their
ties with existing customers. As one is starting a new business, the major concern is with
creating a product or service offering, finding first customers, building partnerships to help
grow more quickly and ensuring one has enough money to sustain the company. The question
in hand is, does social media play a role in helping one get their business off the ground. Is it
worth investing your time in social media early in your start-up? Do social media really
make a difference in marketing efforts?
The purpose of this study is to investigate how marketing efforts in social media can be
successful in attracting customers for start-up companies. It also tries to understand how an
owner of a start-up, recognize using social media to grow its business and uses social media
to engage with its customers. The paper has shown that Facebook is more efficient and that
social media is effective in spreading word-of-mouth and communicating with customers.
This was reinforced by several case studies and two live start-ups which were examined. As a
result, suggestions for social media marketing strategies are recommended to the companies. The
conclusion of this study is that Facebook is an effective tool for start-up companies, to reach
new consumers and also to retain current customers.
Keyword: Social Media, Start-ups, Marketing, Customers, Engagement
1.0 Introduction
Social computing is not a fad, nor is it something that will pass us by. It has revolutionized
the way we interact with the world around us. It has developed an appetite for new ways to
communicate and to the increasingly flexible ways that we can go online. This has led to
global changes, huge shifts in ideologies and a transformation in how we absorb and process
information. Gradually social computing will impact almost every role, at every kind of
company, in all parts of the world.
Social media offer plenty of services on the internet. The types of social media include: social
networks (Facebook, Myspace, and LinkedIn), micro-blogs (Twitter, Tumblr, and
FriendFeed), reviews and ratings (Yelp, Amazon, and Trip Advisor), video (YouTube and
Vimeo), and more.
Social media let consumers „friend‟ or „follow‟ favourite brands and comment or post
questions as a form of engagement. Through the use of social media sites, managers can find
out what is being said about a brand and they can also connect with consumers (Reyneke,
Pitt, & Berthon, 2011). Consumers are able to generate new business and promote or help a
brand by tweeting, blogging, reviewing, following, etc. Loyal customers also help generate
online word of mouth which is very important for businesses today.
The objective of this research study is to find out if social media is an effective marketing
tool for start-ups or budding entrepreneur. To reach the stated purpose the following
questions will be answered:
To identify and analyze the appropriateness of social media in marketing for start-ups
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Analysis of start-up owners who have used social media tools
To measure the effectiveness of social media tools for marketing
Understand which tool is the most effective and can be further leveraged
2.0 Literature Review
Marketing is a crucial activity for the survival and success of a business. Businesses today
have more marketing opportunities than ever(Bresciani & Eppler, 2010).
In the last several years social networking has received a great deal of attention and has
gained acceptance across numerous economic, demographic and geographic segments. Social
networks have become invasive as they touch us in our homes, while we travel and even in
our workplaces (Perlstein, 2010).
Kaplan and Haenlein (2010)describe social media as a group of internet based applications
that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the
creation and exchange of user-generated content. Web 2.0 technologies on the social web
permit two-way conversations with consumers enabling brands to listen to consumers and
respond (Fournier & Avery, 2011). Consumers and organizations alike are increasingly using
the web to discuss, share, and collaborate (Jones, 2010).
Social media is best understood as a group of new kinds of online media which share most or
all of the following characteristics such as participation which encourages contributions and
feedback from the audience, an openness that allows voting, comments and sharing of
information, conversation that is seen as one to one, communities which can be formed
quickly to share common interest and connectedness that makes use of links to other sites,
resources and people(Mayfield, 2008).
Social media enables firms to engage consumers in a constant and direct manner at relatively
low cost and higher level of efficiency than with more traditional communication tools.
Businesses want their message to reach as many people as possible. To maximize this reach,
a business must have a presence where customers are hanging out. Increasingly, they are
hanging out on social networking sites (Halligan, Shah, & Scott, 2009).This makes social
media not only appropriate for large organizations, but for start-ups as well (Kaplan &
Haenlein, 2010).
Much of the growth of online social networks is facilitated by the growth of the internet. In
2012, worldwide internet users stood at 2.3 billion against a population of 7.2 billion.
Globally, by 2017, internet users will swell to 3.6 billion, which will be more than 48 per cent
of the world's projected population of 7.6 billion (Times, 2013).Social technologies continue
to grow, it is estimated that two-thirds of the world‟s internet population visits social
networks or blogging sites(Nielsen, 2009). This growth is likely to continue for the
foreseeable future since 67% of adults between the ages of 18 to 29 and 21% of those
between 30 and 39 already use social networks with the fastest growth coming from the 35 to
49 year old age group (Nielsen, 2009).
Social media has caused a significant change in the strategies and tools companies use for
communicating with customers. Mangold and Faulds (2009) argue that “social media
combines characteristics of traditional integrated marketing (IMC) tools (companies talking
to customers) with a highly magnified form of word-of-mouth (customers talking to one
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another) whereby marketing managers cannot control the content and frequency of such
information.”
Companies must be able to monitor and respond to conversation, both positive and negative,
surrounding the brand. There are ways however, that companies can influence discussions in
a way that is consistent with the organization‟s mission (Mangold & Faulds, 2009).Social
media marketing enables companies to achieve a better understanding of customer needs in
order to build effective relationships.
Researchers widely agree that marketing practiced in start-ups is different from that of large
organizations (Coviello et al., 2000; Gilmore et al., 2001; Hill, 2001; Reijonen, 2010). Firms
that are just starting up have been described as informal, unstructured, spontaneous, and
reactive (Gilmore et al., 2001; Reijonen, 2010). According to Stokes (2000) in start-ups,
marketing is used for immediate needs and little attention is paid to plans and strategies. They
direct their attention to sales in order to survive (Stokes, 2000). For all issues outside of
advertising, such as customer satisfaction measurement and improvement and design of
customer service and support, the sales function has a slightly greater influence (Walsh &
Lipinski, 2009; Harris et al., 2008).
According to Walsh and Lipinski (2009), marketing in start-ups and SMEs is not as well
developed or influential as it is in large firms. Large organizations have a marketing
department that allows them for the delineation of functions and activities. This difference
can be attributed to certain limitations that start-ups face including limited resources in terms
of finance, time, and marketing knowledge (Gilmore et al., 2001; Reijonen, 2010).
One solution to the marketing challenges faced by start-ups is social media. Social media can
be a tempting tool for start-up companies to use since it is cheap (Wuorio, 2009), relatively
simple to use and the company has the possibility to reach a big audience (Weinberg, 2009).
Social media provides many opportunities for them to market to consumers and build closer
and more profitable relationships. It enables start-ups to overcome the challenges of limited
budget, lack of expertise, and positioning against larger competitors (Cox, 2012).It levels the
playing field by making it possible for them to compete effectively with established
businesses.
Social media marketing offers many advantages for a start-up. They include:
Promote products and services
Deliver content
Reach out to a huge audience
Drive sales through social commerce
Build quality back links to the company‟s website
Establish trust and reputation
As mentioned previously, social media is a great equalizer: big brands can be outsmarted
without making huge investments, and small brands can make big names for themselves. The
following paragraph shows how companies have leveraged the use of social media to market
their products and services.
Blendtec is a company that sells high performance blenders priced at $400. Marketing
Director George Wright had a brilliant idea for a series of viral videos where he started to
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blend all kinds of objects such as glow sticks, iPhones, Rubik‟s Cubes, and television remote
controls and posted the videos to video-sharing sites such as YouTube. The videos have now
been viewed more than 100 million times and have earned the company a ton of press and
media.
Pink Cake Box a small bakery in New Jersey used almost all type of social media tool to
create awareness for its brand. The company maintains a blog operated by its employees in
which they post images and videos of their cakes and goodies. They post the photos on Flickr
and the videos to the company‟s YouTube channel. Pink Cake Box has more than 1,300
followers on Twitter, and more than 1,400 fans on Facebook (Zarrella, 2009).
HubSpot a software start-up has invested a lot of energy in social media marketing with some
success (Molander, 2013). The blog has more than 19,000 subscribers, Twitter account has
more than 16,000 followers, LinkedIn group has more than 34,000 members, and Facebook
page has more than 6,000 fans.
Pork Barrel BBQ, a barbecue restaurant and catering company based in Virginia, also found a
way to use social media for its benefit. The two co-founders created their own social media
network called Backyard BBQ where barbecue enthusiasts could post pictures, exchange
recipes, and share stories. In addition, they invited some well-known people from the
barbecue world to join their network and spread the word. The site has 4312 members since
its creation in February 2011 (Dye, 2013).
3.0 Research Methodology
The used methodology in this study is qualitative with a focus on different case studies of
start-up companies.
The reason for choosing case study as a research method is to examine complex and special
subject in detail. Case studies are particularly useful where one needs to understand a
particular problem or situation in great depth, and where one can identify cases rich in
information (Noor, 2008).
As a method it is applied to real business situations and its focus on investigating a
contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context (Soy, 1997). This study uses start-up
from various sectors to get a broader idea of marketing communication usage of social media.
Multiple cases enable comparisons that clarify whether an evolving finding is simply
distinctive to a single case or consistently. Multiple cases also create a more robust theory
because the propositions are more deeply grounded in varied empirical evidence (Ahlberg,
2010). They also enable broader exploration of research questions and theoretical elaboration.
The lessons learned from the case are assumed to be informed about the practices of a start-
up that has experienced growth through social media.
This study is based on different sources of data. Secondary data was collected from different
articles, journals, books, and internet sites. Furthermore, existing thesis and reports assisted in
clarifying the ongoing trends of social media.
Two live cases of start-ups have been analysed, Chai and Vini‟sLip Smackers. The current
implementation approach has been designed for both and their social media strategies have
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been given additional ideas to reinforce their marketing efforts. The observations of their use
of their Facebook pages and other platform were also examined. A telephonic interview was
conducted for Vini‟sLipsmackers to further know about the products and services. As a
result, case companies are given recommendation to move forward to the next step in their
social media marketing.
4.0 Theoretical Model
Based on the literature we have created a theoretical model and the continuation of this paper
will be focused around this framework. The model provides linkages for the use of social
media as a marketing tool for start-up companies.
Figure 1: Theoretical Model
The model above shows the relationship between social media, marketing and start-up.
Social media is a powerful marketing tool provided to start-up looking to increase their reach
and interaction with customers.
The concept of social media has brought the tools and underlying technology, which provide
start-ups with the interface to continuously converse about their products and services. Using
the social media tools and technology such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for social
sharing of content, videos, and images, start-ups can market at a lower cost. Social media is a
great platform for two-way communication. It allows consumers to discuss ideas, post
comments, ask questions and share links. This facilitates open communication, leading to
enhanced information discovery and delivery. The start-ups expect their marketing effort to
be cost effective, interactive, engaging and scalable to a large audience. This is because they
would need better and faster reach to create awareness and visibility to offering and to build
long lasting relationships with customers.
In the subsequent paragraph the effects of social media as a marketing tool for various start-
ups is examined.
Tools & Platform
Technology
Social Media
Lower Cost
Interative & Engaging
Scalable
Communication
Marketing Reach
Awarness
Visibility
Relationship
Start-Ups
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Social media comes in many forms, but for our purpose, the focus is on the most popular:
blogs, microblogs (Twitter), social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn) and media-sharing sites
(YouTube).
Giantnerd
Giantnerd is a company that sells outdoor equipment for outdoor activities like hiking, biking
and snowboarding. The objective here is to build up GiantNerd‟s fan/follower base. The tools
used by Giantnerd are the company‟s website and Facebook page.
They have created a unique social network on their website that is entirely different from
other social media like Facebook or Twitter. Members are allowed to talk and interact with
one another about the different products, in that way everybody can make pre-mediated
purchases. They incentivize new members by offering a discount to all new followers with
their “Nerds save 5%” promotion. Members can also receive points that can be used as nerd
dollars which is basically free money when you post, comment or share any information
about products. Giantnerd assure their fans with exclusive deals and promotions when they
click like and join their Facebook community
Giant Nerd also provides an excellent way through various social methods to get feedback
from their buyers which can be useful for potential customers wanting to buy a product. One
example is their WikiNerdia which is similar to Wikipedia, viewers can check out all of the
different products, including descriptions and photos, and their customers can edit the
information as well, making it more interactive.
The results show that adding the like button, their average order has increased by 50%.
Giantnerd benefits from their follower‟s engagement by allowing customers to answer
questions and give feedback about their product, thus increasing brand trust for prospective
customers.
Tablewalla
Tablewalla allows real-time, online bookings for the restaurant of your choice. The portal
prevents the pain of calling individual restaurants to check the availability by providing a
single destination known as Tablewalla. They heavily relied on social media tools such as
Facebook, Twitter and website for pre-launch marketing activities.
Since the service was yet to be launched, the website was up for preview and integrated with
their blog. Users can register themselves with Tablewalla by filling up a quick form. The
website gives a clear indication about what its motives are. The blogs are about new
restaurants, chefs in town, events, recipes and everything related to food. Facebook page
content is wisely chosen and relevant to their expertise. They are not just promoting food, but
restaurants too. They have also managed to get the attention of restaurants and food bloggers
on Twitter.
Examining the results through the conversations, users have already started asking about the
brand. This is a good sign and indicates that they will be looking forward to using the service.
They have generated lots of word-of-mouth buzz and have had many sign-ups as a result of
our social media efforts. The brand has achieved in bringing visibility and building
relationships with their users.
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Emmy’s Closet
Emmy‟s Closet is an online store that sells accessories for children. Emmy‟s Closet is an
extension of the popular arts and crafts ecommerce site, Etsy.com. The start-up has developed
a strategy of infusing social media with e-commerce. The tools used are blogging and
Facebook.
Etsy has created an application which allows customers to browse and purchase directly
through Facebook. They‟ve also included social share buttons so fans can share their
favourite items on their Facebook profile. The share buttons create a viral buying experience.
They have also included social buttons on the blog to reflect their brand, which makes the
entire social experience more personal.
The results are2421 likes on Facebook, Etsy website 1813 sales and 462 admirers, blog page
contains 622 members.
UrSqFt
UrSqFt is a multi-specialty real estate advisory, transactions and property management firm.
UrSqFt is setting up a base in India and were facing issues such as reaching out to partners,
clients and employees. They decided to use LinkedIn to overcome their issues.
Team members were made to join diverse groups to help them address various problems. For
any important property that needed to be sold, messages would be posted by their employees
in various LinkedIn group. People that they wanted to recruit, messages were posted on
LinkedIn for CVs. Their Facebook page also contains relevant content on real estate such as
prices, from various news sources.
This allowed more lead generation and brand awareness of the company. They received many
CVs for their recruitment process.
Zindigo
Zindigo is an online direct-selling platform, developed to operate through Facebook.
Consumers open their own shops as business pages on Facebook. They can stock their shops
with a great range from more than 80 apparel and accessories designers. For every sale they
make, they will receive a 40% commission. The company takes around a 15% cut of every
sale.
It is using Facebook as a social media tool to promote the individual‟s shop, spread the idea
and create awareness to friends. Getting potential consumers to become their product
ambassador will allow Zindigo to reach out to a larger audience.
Zindigo has raised $4 million to expand its direct-selling platform. For its efforts Zindigo
collects a 15% sales commission and the remaining 35% goes to the direct fashion brand
seller.
Foiled Cupcakes
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Foiled Cupcakes are a Chicago-based company that has used social media to deliver gourmet
cupcakes. It has launched its business primarily using Twitter and LinkedIn, and hasn‟t used
a single traditional marketing initiative yet.
The firm has used Twitter as a new way to meet people, follow people in their target
demographic and start a conversation prior to the launch of their website. Something that
worked really well in terms of growing their base, was just talking individually to people and
generate interest about the business. It also used LinkedIn to meet new people and offered to
donate cupcake to generate the awareness of the brand.
To date, 93 percent of the business has come from social media leads and they have
surpassed initial revenue target numbers by over 600 percent. Using Twitter, Foiled Cupcakes
went from zero to 2,200 targeted followers in less than six weeks. Twitter has been used to
engage the audience, talk about things that they are interested which resulted in followers
spreading the word about the business.
SheepStop
SheepStop is an eco-friendly, „designer T-Shirt‟ brand that crowd-sources its designs from a
large community of artists across the world. The designs are taken from freelance designers
which are put on the website and the company‟s Facebook page.
SheepStop‟s business model survives on the web and they have been very smart in embracing
Social Media. They use social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter.
SheepStop has posted Facebook comments with every design displayed. SheepStop has
placed the share button and like button to be shared across platforms. They are constantly
active and keep engaging their community with tips and links. Tips could be about different
eco-friendly designs, fashion trends in the market, etc. It has decent conversations going on
in Twitter with its followers. The conversations are meaningful discussions with the sharing
of helpful articles and they display a great humour while showcasing designs. They have
pioneered concepts like bidding for a T-Shirt on Twitter through our #TwitBid platform.
It has a community of 1890 fans on Facebook and around 600 followers on Twitter. The
owners put in a seed capital of Rs. 0.3 million and launched Sheep-Stop and now the
company reported a turnover of Rs. 6 million.
Marination Mobile
Marination Mobile is food-truck business that mainly sells tacos on the go. It included social
web strategies in their marketing efforts four months prior to when their food truck served its
first taco.
They build their relationships from scratch with positive face-to-face interactions, word-of-
mouth marketing and a strategic digital presence. With no permanent street address,
Marination Mobile utilizes social media as its storefront, building a virtual community of
neighbours and supporters solely through online engagement. Using Twitter handle
(@curb_cuisine)for a restaurant constantly on the move, Twitter is a perfect tool for keeping
in touch with customers and letting them know where to find some good grub.
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They have well over 10,000 people between Facebook and Twitter. Each social media tool
has a different usage and purpose depending on what it is trying to accomplish.
Hokey Pokey
Hokey Pokey is a premium ice cream brand which gives the freedom to create your own ice
cream by selecting a flavour & mixing it with various add-ons.
They followed a seven-step process to develop their online social strategy. The steps are:
monitor social media conversations, identify influential individuals who can spread messages,
identify the factors shared by influential individuals, locate, recruit &incentivize those
influencers who have interests relevant to the campaign (How Startup Hokey Pokey Sells
More Ice Creams With Social Media, 2013). The social media tools that they use are
Facebook, Twitter.
Hokey Pokey features morning news network on their Facebook page where they share
wonderful stories every day. They also share cute and funny pictures as well as posts on their
brand page.
Initially when they got on Twitter they just monitored and listened to people‟s conversations.
They would listen to the chatter on Twitter and react to any opportunities. If someone says
they had a great dinner, they would recommend an ice cream dessert at a nearby branch. The
company then identified influencers and started speaking to them. They also invited a few
followers to try their ice cream.
Hokey Pokey‟s social media campaign resulted in substantial increases in brand awareness,
social media ROI and sales revenue growth rate for the company. Hokey Pokey has over
100,000 likes on Facebook.
5.0 Analysis
After doing a study of various case studies, the important and prominent elements of four
social media tools have been identified and explained below. The models describe the nature
of the tool and how it can be used by start-ups for effective marketing.
Figure 2: Marketing Kit for Start-ups using Facebook
Facebook
Detailed
Content
Smart
Phone
Apps
Profile,
Photos,
Links
Advertising
Social
Portal
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Facebook is a popular medium for social marketers both for everyday conversations and
organizations of engaging promotions and contests for fans.
Facebook allows you to put a large amount of content on its site through its posts, walls,
instant messages, e-mailer, etc. The content will be different from brand to brand, as well as
the tone of voice used, but it should be factual, relevant, timely and interesting to members of
the target audience. Facebook offers its own form of advertising with Facebook ads, which
appear in the side columns on the Facebook site. They include a headline with copy, an
image, and a click-through link to a Facebook page.
All the Android and iPhone users can get official apps on Facebook to stay in touch with their
social community all the time. This allows constant interaction between the user and the
brand even on the go.
Figure 3: Marketing Kit for Start-ups using Twitter
Twitter works in real time where you can ask a question and get an instant response. Its
search features can be efficiently used to monitor what people are saying about a company,
service, product and competitors. Increasing or declining trends and patterns can be tracked
effectively as well. In contrast from Facebook where you become friends with people you
know, on Twitter you follow the people and institutions you find interesting. Friends
included, but also companies, celebrities reaching out a huge audience.
Twitter
Real Time
Information
#Trends
Tweets,
Retweets,
Images
Massive
audience
base
Microblogging
YouTube
Streaming
Content
Brand
Channel
Tile,
discriptions,
comments
Advertising
Shoppable
Video
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Figure 4: Marketing Kit for Start-ups using YouTube
People appreciate a visually appealing marketing approach. Uploading videos on YouTube
will make it visible to thousands of people within minutes. One can reach out to a huge
market without having to resort to expensive techniques that require a lot of time and work.
YouTube can be utilized for presentations, webinars, testimonials, and any announcements
you need to make to your audience. YouTube also has a “subscribe” button where viewers
can subscribe to the channel of their choice and see the latest videos that they upload. This
allows one to keep their target audience updated with recent offers and development which in
turn builds a loyal fan base. The comments and feedback section can be activated so that
individuals can give their comments and reviews about the company and products.
YouTube has introduced a new channel tool that allows consumer goods brands to connect
consumers directly with retailers. The new channel gadget will enable shoppers to purchase
products through videos and find which retailers carry them, check the availability and price
with just a few clicks.
Figure 5: Marketing Kit for Start-ups using LinkedIn
A LinkedIn profile is basically like an online resume where you can list your experience,
schooling, interests and more. LinkedIn users try to connect with as many people as they can,
so when they need a new job or they‟re looking for someone to hire, they can search through
a vast network.
LinkedIn also allows you to join groups that are relevant to your industry and expertise and
then join the conversation. One key difference between LinkedIn and other networks are
recommendations and endorsements. Recommendations are just an online review of you and
your services. Endorsements are a way for your connections to verify the skills and expertise
you list on your profile. LinkedIn has become useful in recruiting industries looking for
potential job candidates. In many professional circles, a potential client or business partner
will take a close look at your LinkedIn profile before doing business with you. LinkedIn is a
tool geared to help people connect primarily for business purposes and marketing.
LinkedIn
Connections
Interest
Groups
Profile, Photo,
Experience
Notifications
Job Listings
B2B
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6.0 Case Studies
The two live cases that have been examined and given an implementation approach are Chai
and Vini‟sLipsmakers.
Case #1
Chai (https://www.facebook.com/apniCHAI)
Chai offers desi chai in a cool ambience and has become the one-stop spot for tea lovers. It
started in January 2012 by the husband - wife duo in Pune. Chai began with one outlet and
currently it has expanded around the city. The small café is filled with bamboo taatis,
Bollywood movie posters and light bulb shades made of locally made kettles. Chai‟s
customer base is mostly comprised of youngsters who want to hang out and chill with their
friends.
Chai has a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. Chai can also be found on
websites such as burrp. They have used Facebook extensively to create awareness of the
brand and engage with their target audience which has resulted in 572 likes.
The Facebook page contains inviting pictures of their Chai, snacks and even accessories that
they sell. They have even captured youngsters having a good time and playing games that
they provide in the café. They have done a fantastic job of posting creative and fun comments
such as Weekend + Awesome weather = Perfect time to catch up over a #KadakChai
#GingerChai.
The Facebook page needs to increase its interaction with its followers to generate more leads
and traffic to the page. The objective here is to make more people talk about this brand as the
majority of consumer‟s trust comes from peer recommendation. The following suggestions
are given below:
Facebook:
Free Offer
People love FREE Chai is not an expensive commodity to give away
Creates buzz about your product and build habits
Example: You can randomly post time duration (9am -11am) on a particular day in which
people have to like your page and will receive free Chai. This technique is known as „like
gating‟.
Customers visit your page more frequently and winners of claimed offers get
accustomed to drink your chair in the store
Easy to participate and manage
High potential for going viral and becoming a trend
Great way to easily boost fan base and acquire customer information
Chai Addiction Discounts
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Allow redeemable discounts and offers on Chai
Example: Coupons and promotion "buy 1 get 1 free" will lead to Facebook comments, likes,
and share.
Easy to participate for customers and win goodies
Great way to easily boost fan base and acquire customer information
Applicable on social media platforms and mobile devices
Photo Contest
Most engaging types of online content
On Facebook, photos generate 50% more likes and 100% more comments than other content
Relates and promotes to the product you're selling
Example: Ask your customers to show where they best enjoy your chai through uploading
and voting on the photos.
Design Kulhads
High on interactivity and engagement with the followers
Example: Kulhads are clay tumblers that you drink Chai in. Followers will get to design the
kulhads unleashing their creativity. If your design generates the maximum likes the winner
gets free treats and goodies and his/her design will be used in the cafe.
Result in more people taking full advantage of your product and generate interest in
your product
Making the customer feel special by using his/her design
The Twitter page seems to be in minimal usage. The strategies to be used in Twitter are to
find the potential customers you want to connect with. Once they have been identified, look
at who they are following and who they talk to. These people could also become part of your
audience. Start following people and organization which will enhance the kind of personality
you are bringing out to the page.
Once you have identified your target audience, interaction needs to begin immediately. Here
are some helpful points to keep your audience engaged:
Retweeting or sharing the post they tweeted (remember to mention their Twitter ID in
your tweet)
Giving a compliment, which shows you have taken time out to check their content
Providing helpful answers to questions asked on Twitter
The kind of language you use to tweet and the content that is shared should be targeted
towards your audience.
16
Twitter:
Chai Tips
Become a resource for your customers and help them out with tips on home ingredients, Chai
freshness, and storage, complimentary food combos such as Maggie and bun maska.
Books and Chai
An excellent way to engage people is to talk about various books people have read while
drinking chai or even without. This strategy here is to build relationships with your followers,
thus it is not necessary to just talk about your product or service.
My Chai Idea
Ask consumers to tweet innovative Chai names or even ingredients using hash-tag
#mychaiIdea. The winner‟s input will be taken and incorporated into the menu. This platform
enables followers to take part in optimizing the brand experience.
It is essential to have great content on any platform. It acts as powerful marketing and brand
building tool that help to reach a larger audience. Content writing should be done on a regular
basis to keep your followers updated with your brand. It will also improve your search engine
ranking and increase traffic to your start-up‟s website.
Track Results
Tracking results of your social media marketing efforts will give you an idea of what is
working and what is not. The easiest way to get started is to set up Google Analytics to track
your social media marketing efforts. The most popular metrics when tracking results are
visitors and sources of traffic, network size, quantity of commentary as well as sentiment or
quality of the commentary.
Case #2
Vini’s Lip Smackers (https://www.facebook.com/LipSmackersPune)
Capt. Vineeta Dixit, a home baker offers a fabulous assortment of Cakes, Chocolates,
Pastries, Cup Cakes and Muffins, Mousses, Cheesecakes, Quiches, Pies and other baked
goodies.
Vini‟s Lip Smackers are currently active on Facebook where it does all of its marketing of its
products. The Facebook page has 478 likes with consistent posts and pictures on the page.
Each post has comments and likes by her followers. Steps to be taken for reinforcement of
marketing efforts:
Facebook
Run a monthly contest
17
Example: Get ideas for new flavours and choose a “Fan of the month” and give a free box of
cupcakes or treats.
This will allow engagement and trial of the product especially for new users and followers. A
special surprise such as free cookies or some pastries can make these customers feel special
and appreciated. Loyal customers such as these are like unpaid ambassadors for your
business.
Facebook Poll
Facebook polls and surveys can be a great way to engage your fans with questions that build
loyalty or provide you with valuable feedback.
Example: Create a poll asking your fans to vote for their favourite desserts.
Some more ideas for Facebook that encourage interactions with your fans
Fill in the Blank: If I was a dessert, I would be a….
Contests: Ask fans to do something (create a song, or send in a picture)
and entice participants with free yummy desserts.
Guess what I’m making: Post an image with ingredients, or your starting batter, then
update Facebook with another image of the final delicious food.
Twitter
Follow people in the target demographic and converse with them about the things that they
are interested in. Occupy your audience, talk about things that they are interested in and they
will return the favour. It is proven that 53% of people on Twitter recommend products in
their tweet.
Example: Start a conversation asking everyone their favourite dessert by using #sweettooth
More tips for Twitter
Use hashtags: Great ones for bakeries are #yourcity (#pune), #bakery, #localfood,
#bakeryname (#VLipsmackers), #sugarfree #organic #cookiemonster. This way
people searching for a hash-tag will see your tweets.
Mention people and products: If you use a specific type of ingredient like Nestle
Toll House Morsels, tweet a picture on them and maybe they will retweet it or other
Twitter users following them will be more likely to see it.
Interact: Join relevant people and groups, retweet or mentioning others is just a great
way to try to find more followers or just be visible.
Pinterest
The audience is mainly female and the medium is highly visual. Hence, the platform can
work well for a company that has a product to show off which works in this case.
18
By posting photos of baked goods and links to recipes or specialty products, it effectively can
be used to attract and retain customers in a direct manner. The goal is to entice Facebook fans
to make an order. Repin, like, follow and comment other pins/pinners that are relevant to
your industry or might be interested in your business at some point. Pinterest is a perfect fit
for a bakery because of the highly visual nature of the business.
YouTube
Bakery products tend to be attractive and photogenic. Most new smart-phones are capable of
shooting video and producing a short snippet (about one to two minutes). Posting it to a video
hosting site, such as YouTube, makes your bakery visible to a wider world of consumers.
Example: Video is perfect for creating some really foodie experiences, such as one to two
minutes baking demos or informal sharing of baker‟s secret tips‟ to keep customers engaged.
Blog
Blogs are useful because it increases the amount of content you have which creates more
traffic and awareness for your business.
Example: Using WordPress and starting with simple blog posts about recipes, (without giving
away all of your delicious secrets) tips for baking, custom orders you have done, inspirations,
or just blogs about your thoughts will give a place for people to learn more about you. Then
after a post is done you can make a post on Facebook or Twitter telling people to go look at it
and connect all of the sites together.
Hootsuite
This site is a social media management dashboard that connects all of your profiles on sites
like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and LinkedIn in one place. It gives you the ability to
watch all of the sites feed in one place, publish content to many sources at one time, schedule
posts for a later date, and even see analytics.
Social media marketing for start-up companies is about trying different methods to figure out
the most effective one for the specific company and target market. This way it is possible to
evaluate what the company feel most comfortable with, and also where the target market can
be found, what content they want to receive and how often they want to get information from
the company.
The fact that Facebook is creating awareness, generating traffic, and increasing reach is
highlighted by Chai and Vini‟sLipSmacker as one of the main reasons for choosing to use
Facebook as its media tool. This supports the usefulness of this media channel for start-up
companies. This also confirms the theoretical model proposed showing that social media is a
powerful marketing tool provided to start-up looking to increase their reach and interaction
with customers.
Facebook fulfils in obtaining reach, brand visibility, awareness and building relationships.
Thus, a start-up should at least build a Facebook page putting appropriate content, starting
interaction and creating relationships with their customers. The start-ups from the case
19
studies have all used Facebook as their primary source of marketing and then branched out to
various other social media tools such as Twitter.
The spreading of word-of-mouth on Facebook is effective since it makes a lot of people into
brand advocates. Those who press the like button on companies‟ Facebook pages are
advocating the brand to their friends. This is possible since it is easy to share content through
different functions, but particularly due to the fact that a lot of activities conducted by users
automatically spread.
Thus, Facebook results high in distribution and constant feedback amongst the company and
users. The effectiveness of communication on Facebook is also connected to the functions
that Facebook enables. Even though not a lot of people post comments on companies‟
Facebook pages the company can still get a feeling of what the consumer‟s value through for
example likes and shares.
The suggestions mentioned above will further increase the exposure of the brand, generate
leads, develop a fan base, and improve traffic which will eventually lead to increase in sales.
7.0 Conclusion
From the paper we can conclude that it is essential for start-ups to understand social media
tools and the strategies behind using social media for growing their business. Social media
enables companies to show what they offer and to see what consumer‟s value. Companies
need to find out which ways of connecting are most effective for their business, what
information they are looking to share, and how to keep customers engaged.
It has been shown that Facebook is a more effective type of social media for start-up
companies comparatively as it accomplishes to fulfil to capture reach, awareness, visibility
and relationship. Facebook users are more likely to share information with friends, like
company pages, and comment on posts made by companies. These activities both create
word-of-mouth and allows for communication between the company and the consumers. This
shows that marketing on Facebook can be effective for start-up companies in both reaching
and retaining customers.
8.0 Future Scope
This paper studies the effects of social media in reaching consumers by start-ups through
various sources. The next step would be obtaining more primary data through face to face
interviews of start-ups. This would help to get detailed information on how the owner/manager
uses social media and could be analyzed deeply. To get a more complete picture of the results
of social media marketing research should also be conducted to see more tangible results of
social media marketing. This could be done by for example calculating return on investment
or in other ways try to measure what the effects of social media marketing have on sales in
start-up companies.
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