I work with a lot of B2B tech startups helping them to get their go-to-market messaging and marketing strategy figured out. I never cease to be shocked when CEOs ask me about hiring a social media marketer as a freelance or full time role. Somehow social media has become the hope of these founders. That a young college grad will come in and get their message out in social media and their target buyers will just flock to their website.
Unfortunately, this is absolutely the wrong approach. I’m not saying that social media isn’t worth your time, but I am saying there is a much more effective way that will save you money and get you better results.
Why social media hires don’t work
Social media is a fantastic channel for tech startups to build a following of their target audience. Investing in this will save you money in the long run because you’ll have more organic, high quality traffic coming to your website and need to spend less on paid advertising and paid search.
The mistake is treating this organic channel like a paid one—thinking that each post is a generic ad to bring people to your website. It is that thinking that leads to hiring someone to create those posts and keep blasting them. It just doesn’t work. Social media requires being human and thoughtful to build a following. And if you are a tech startup, you need to be a thought leader in your field with intelligent posts and interactions. A social media hire just can’t do this for you.
Here are some reasons why social media hires fail
- They don’t have the expertise to understand what you do and it’s a long ramp up time to teach.
- They don’t take the time to read every article to the point of deeply understanding it in order to figure out how best to share it.
- If you have an audience like IT or is highly technical, chances are your social media hire will have no idea how to speak their language and know what they care about.
- They can never produce the results desired in the short term relative to the cost of hiring them.
How to build a tech social following
So if hiring a social media manager is a bad investment, how can a tech startup build a social following?
The answer is part human and part machine.
Let’s address the human side first. Most founders and experts at tech startups are willing to write blog posts. They are passionate about the topics surrounding their offering and have no problem expressing this. [Note: You don’t have to be a brilliant writer to still do this. There are technical writers (like me) who can interview you and get your thoughts organized into an engaging article.]
As the author of the blog, it would only make sense that said author would have the best idea of what about that article is most interesting and would make the target audience want to read it. Additionally, the target audience will likely trust a founder’s social media channel more than a corporate one and be more willing to follow it.
But wait, founders don’t have time to go into their social channels and create social posts. Let alone have any idea when the best days and times are to post or what hashtags to use!
I totally agree! Which is where the machine part comes into play.
There is a really cool social media tool that simplifies social media and allows non-marketers to master social media. It’s called CoSchedule and I use it myself for my business. I’ll be the first to admit that social media is not a passion of mine. But since using CoSchedule, I am able to make it work without putting in a lot of work. [See examples of how I use it here]
Basically, CoSchedule allows you to set up social media sharing campaigns that have all the details of social posting that make people want to pull out their hair taken care of. Details like when the posts should go out, what hashtags should be included, and whether an image should be used are all baked into the campaign template. So the author of the blog post just needs to do a few things (which takes me about 15 minutes per blog post).
What the author needs to do in CoSchedule
- Copy and paste the blog post link into the campaign (unless you create the blog inside CoSchedule or a plug like Google Docs—then it automatically fills for you)
- Go into each post in the campaign template and type in a hook for why people would want to read the article. Usually I come up with about 3 main hooks and vary the way I phrase them to fill in all the posts for all the social channels I use.
- CoSchedule will suggest ways to optimize your post wording and you can improve based on that feedback.
- Check the box that says you want to enter the campaign posts into ReQueue—which will take older posts that were successful and reuse them later (at the times/days it has figured out are best for your posts) to fill in blanks in your social calendar based on rules you set.
- Click Schedule and your campaign will run, posting in social media over months or whatever time period the campaign templates are set for.
Certainly the owner of the social channels needs to follow relevant influencers and follow back targets as they follow their channel. This is a 60 second daily task that founders and thought leaders should be doing anyway.
Fifteen minutes by a founder when a blog post goes live will equate to around 50 social posts over a year that will bring in lots of visitors to the website. And no one needs to manage this or worry about what you’re posting in social media that week. It just runs and works.
The benefits of using CoSchedule to build social channels
With the help of CoSchedule, tech startups can share great content and it makes it easy for the team to share the load. Sharing third party content is also super-easy with browser plugins for a quick share right from the article. And CoSchedule shows you all the data on how your posts performed. No need for a monthly report, you can just open the built-in dashboards.
Why CoSchedule + tech experts is the best way to succeed with social media
- Coming up with posts right after creating content means it is fresh on your mind and fast to complete the task.
- Having the author or reader of the content create the post means you get what hooked you in or will grab the attention of the reader—no social media expert will get this.
- Coming up with multiple post hooks in one sitting means you get better at your post pithiness and your posts will be more successful.
- Humans—even those hired as social media managers—just don’t go back, look at good posts and reshare.
- We aren’t as good as machines and the learning that they can do to make our posts more successful.
A combination of personal expertise from your people and AI power from CoSchedule is truly the best combination for social media success.