NEWS / INSIGHT
It doesn't pay to play it cool
There's something you should know, by Bernadette Kelly
There’s something you should know is our bite-sized business advice column. The amount of advice out there can be overwhelming, so we ask the professionals we meet along the way to tell us the one thing that they think every start-up needs to know.
Bernadette Kelly is an early digital adopter who works in marketing. She has helped power a UK top 50 digital agency from 33 to 80 people in 16 months. And she knows the value of social media – it can be the cheapest way to reach lots of people.
“Many start-ups think the solution is to rely on word of mouth”, she says. “But that’s a risky, unreliable strategy for a fledgling customer base.
Meanwhile, TV and print advertising are likely to be beyond your budget. But there are so many other options available to small businesses now. You can run great campaigns through targeted advertising on social media. Take advantage of various social media platforms to develop a core base of loyal followers who can potentially help you talk to thousands of people simultaneously.”
Bernadette adds: “It’s all about brand ambassadors. You want to rally a group of them to help spread the word”.
But how do you get them on your side? Well, for a start – don’t be socially aloof.
“I see a lot of brands who won’t follow or engage with prolific supporters of their business on Twitter or Facebook,” says Bernadette. “But taking the aloof approach is likely to alienate people who would be champions of your business. Don’t pretend you’re too cool to interact with them.
“Not everyone can be Kanye West, who has millions of followers, despite only following his wife, Kim Kardashian. The likelihood that a brand will garnish that level of popularity is a long shot. Businesses – particularly start-ups – should really avoid social snobbery. Engage with people who like your brand – they could end up broadcasting your message to tens of thousands of potential customers. For free.”