How Startups are Using Social Media for Real Results

For startups, the amount of money you have to burn before you either need to break even or raise more capital is your runway. Extending the length of that runway is an art form that requires startup founders to learn how to squeeze maximum value out of every dollar they spend. Social media is one important way that startups are saving money while still delivering value.

Whether being used for customer service, community building, product marketing, or internally for staying organized and communicating as a team, one common thread can be found through the social media use of every startup we talked to: Cost savings.

“We have no outside investment. That means we’re bootstrapping right now,” said Jack Benoff, Director of Marketing at Zugara, which last year went back into “startup mode” to create their own augmented reality software. “Social media has given startups the ability to market themselves in a way that wouldn’t have been possible before. Sure, it takes a commitment (in time), but the hard costs are minimal. It allows us to focus our financial resources on production, research and development, and sales, which is huge for us.”

Here are four ways that startups are using social media for real results.

1. Customer Service

One of the most useful ways that startups are employing social media is for customer service. “On the customer service side, beamME gets tremendous value out of social media. These days, people expect to be able to post issues with companies directly to Twitter and obtain a real-time response. This instantaneous access to our customers is invaluable,” said Gabe Zichermann, CEO of beamME, a maker of mobile networking tools…

2. Building Community

Barr and Phonebooth also utilize social media for building a community of customer evangelists. “With the launch of Phonebooth Free, we heavily relied on our social media efforts to rapidly build a community and are providing support, invites, encouragement and general engagement through Twitter. Social media also impacted our decision to launch Phonebooth Free at SXSW,” said Barr. “We believe that it is important to focus on where our customers are and not where our industry is. This is a very important distinction in our minds.”…

3. Product Marketing

Using social media for marketing is another cost-saving no-brainer for startups. Social media tools like YouTube, SlideShare, and Ustream have helped Zugara save money and increase new business opportunities, said Benoff. Much of Zugara’s social media use is centered around thought leadership and allowing journalists and potential customers to have immediate and easy access to information about their products and industry…

4. Staying Organized

Finally, startups are also using social media with great success internally as a way for employees to stay organized and more connected with each other. At interaction design firm ZURB, they’ve actually built two social media tools, Notable and Verify (in invite-only beta), to help streamline their internal workflow. Though they now sell it as a “software as a service app,” their flagship product Notable, an application that organizes and manages design feedback, is actually used internally at ZURB…

Read more How Startups are Using Social Media for Real Results

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