Startups & Social Media: 6 Issues

Startups & Social Media: 6 Issues

Startups & Social Media: 6 Issues

Your startup’s new product is almost finished and you look up and–uh-oh!–did anyone think about creating a social media strategy to spread the word about your terrific new app? Wait. Wasn’t the intern going to do that? Didn’t we write a note about it on that napkin that got thrown away with the pizza? Oh, just a sec. It was on the pizza box! Sound a little too familiar?

No Planning

Social Media Strategy Written on a Pizza Box?

Social Media Strategy Written on a Pizza Box?

Issue: You’re making a product, or creating an app, or a new platform, but don’t have anyone on the team to do the social media. If the technical team handles the social media, this means that there will be additional strain put on them to explain all the twists and turns of the product while they are learning the ins and outs of social media and while also doing a launch.

Fix: Have someone on board to do the social media before you think you need them. Yes, that’s right. They can

  • get the word out
  • be in sync with the rest of the team, and
  • learn about your product even before the product launches.

Not only that, but your social media manager can be out forging relationships with whomever you need to know on your behalf. However, if you really want to do everything yourself, you might want to read about first steps for startups.


Issue: You used to sell your app to consumers; you are shifting to an enterprise-only model. So you will need relationships with a whole different crowd of people.

Fix: The relationships you’ve already made aren’t a waste of time. Those people all know other people, right? Focus attention on your new demographic, and see how you can leverage the social media relationships you’ve already made.


Frequent Meetings Are a Must While Rebranding

Frequent Meetings Are a Must While Rebranding

Issue: You didn’t really think about your name, look and feel, or the user experience at the starting gate. Although you have a great product, you now need to pull in some marketing wizards who can do their magic and rebrand. How will you migrate the social media?

Fix: Communication is key. Everyone needs to be talking to everyone else frequently or the social media won’t reflect the new brand promise. So frequent meetings, communication between key players, and all that groundwork will go towards making a more solid social media strategy. Even a 15- or 20-minute meeting can make a difference in keeping everyone informed. The more your social media manager or team knows, the easier it will be for them to make an emotional connection with your customers.


Issue: Too much chaos. Yes, being in a startup is a fun, fun thing. Except when it’s not.

Fix: Write everything down and put dates on things. This includes account names and passwords for all your social media accounts, at the very least.

Management Changes

Issue: Does everyone know everyone else? Was the new marketing wizard fired last week? Does everybody know that that happened? Did the CEO run off to France to do a dance in his underpants? (Just making sure you’re reading…but you get the point, right?)

Fix: Create an organizational chart! Or at least a list in an Excel spreadsheet. And inform the team with an email letting them know what just happened. Update the spreadsheet and post it where everyone has access. Even thought you might think it’s a special secret (shh!) just for you, it actually does help the entire team.

Being in Overwhelm

Deer in the Headlights?

Deer in the Headlights?

Issue: You’re struck by that “deer in the headlights” feeling whenever you think about social media.

Fix: Pick a starting point. What would get you the most momentum the fastest? Would it be Pinterest? Google Plus? Twitter? Facebook? I suggest you look at the platforms with the most traffic, not the trendier ones. Start where your customers are. Keep it simple to avoid overwhelm.

Your Issues?

If you work with a startup (or even if you don’t), I’d like to hear from you! Maybe you handle the social media for a brand. What is your biggest issue?


  1. Best Quote:
    “The more your social media manager or team knows, the easier it will be for them to make an emotional connection with your customers.”

    As a manager for some brands that is my biggest frustration. GIVE me some content, people!

  2. Another good one for me right now. Thanks Carol!

    Two things:
    1. How do you leverage social to build legitimate relationships? I’ve been trying to decide if it’s better to use our brand app to reach out prelaunch even though we have 0 tweets and only 17 followers right now or if that effort would be more successful from my personal accounts. Obviously there are pros and cons to each.

    2. In regards to the final point, I’ve read that due to SEO and general link building, it’s good for brands to be on around 5-9 social media, though I also agree you need to have a focus. Do you have any thoughts on how many social accounts a brand should be present on?

    Thanks again Carol!

    • Hi Eric,

      Wow. Great questions (and maybe opportunities for me to write in-depth replies to both of them!).

      1. I find that the sooner you can get offline and deepen the relationship, the better. It may not always be possible to meet in person, but deepen the relationship as much as possible. Phone calls, Google hangouts, meeting for coffee when possible, are all ways to do that. But before that, asking questions and having conversations that make you memorable all help. There are lots of ways to build your social capital pre-launch. You can retweet, make introductions for others, and just be friendly by listening to others because so few people actually do that. Having a few followers helps, though, because otherwise it’s like you’re in the shower singing to yourself. Retweeting others’ content before you have your own isn’t a bad way to start out. I know I’m rambling a little here, but I hope this is making sense.

      2. Find the platforms that work the best for your brand, and the ones that get the most traffic. Who is your potential audience and where would they be online? Go for the big platforms–Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, G+ and possible Pinterest (maybe Instagram, depending). If you’re doing it all yourself, I’d just pick 1-2 to start with. Doing it all yourself is a lot of work.

      Thanks for all the thought-provoking questions, Eric!

  3. claudia wilkins says

    Hi Carol,
    I’m in charge of the social media accounts for a start-up video app (where people can get discounts for uploading pictures and videos about brands) which should be launching in a months time. We’re active on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and trying to get a few blog posts up. I feel confident about running the social media side once we’re going as we should have lots of content and the ability to show lots of offers, run competitions etc.
    I am struggling with what to do pre-launch- I know i should be building an audience, but the main audience we’re targeting is teenagers, and i’m really struggling to work out what we should put out there that they would be interested in before we have a product to offer them.
    I’m also struggling when it comes to engaging on twitter, as it feels peculiar trying to talk to people from the brands perspective before we really exist. Our website isn’t ready yet so even if we got their interest they would have nowhere to look for more information. I feel like I’m starting all this too early.
    Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

    • Hello Claudia,

      Now is the perfect time to get going with your social media, to start building social capital and relationships with your potential audience. I would talk to a few teenagers in your area and ask them what they like. What are their interests and how do they overlap with what you’re doing? What kinds of videos do they watch? Get inside their mindset and listen to the language they use.

      You can retweet content interesting to teens and tell people that your website is still in development. In Twitter, create lists of influential young people, those who create and tweet about video. Set up all your channels so they’re ready to go…even if they’re not very active yet. Make sure the name you want is available across all platforms. You may need to use Snapchat or another platform, depending upon what the teens use.

      Best luck to you!


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