Startup Pivots: Social Media Nightmare?

Startups and Pivots: Social Media Nightmare?

Startups and Pivots: Social Media Nightmare?

Nothing can make a social media manager want to reach for a bottle of antacid faster than his or her team mentioning the word “pivot.” After all, engagement on social media takes time, and a pivot can happen in the blink of an eye. Where do you start, if you have to pivot? Pivot, if you’re not already aware, means a dramatic change in direction. Startups face other issues, too.

Calm Down

Realize that a pivot is not the end of the world. You may think that all your relationship building efforts have gone to waste, but realize that that’s not true. You have strengthened your abilities at building relationships, and you still may be able to engage with some of the same people, although maybe in different ways. So take a few deep breaths. And maybe a large glass of chardonnay. Or two. You probably do not need to start from scratch.

Ask Questions

You may still be connected with the same organizations, but maybe connected with different people in that organization. Ask:

  • What is the reason for the pivot?
  • Who will your new audience be?
  • Can you leverage your existing audience?
  • Is there any overlap between the new and the old audience?

Maintain Some Transparency

Startups and Pivots: Social Media Nightmare?

Startups and Pivots: Social Media Nightmare?

Think back to a time when you had a favorite radio station. One day, you turn on your favorite mariachi station and you hear hard rock! Ay, chihuahua! Que pasa? Will your audience feel the same way when they tune into your social media “station” and suddenly hear a different tune? Yes! So mentioning beforehand that there will be a change is generally a good idea unless you want your audience to say hasta la vista!

Have Realistic Expectations

Any pivot is going to require more work, and a flexible attitude. Your content will have to be reworked. This will take time and effort. The entire team may need to be involved. Prepare for a few late nights. Also realize that you may be able to repurpose some content.

Reach out

Get help from others on the team. They are struggling to reformulate their ideas at the same time that you are. Don’t expect to have all the answers right away.

Have You Had to Pivot?

Has your team drastically changed their path overnight? How did you handle it?


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?

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