How Not to Use Social Media for Your Start Up?

Over these last 6 years we have made many more mistakes than have had successes, but based on these unsuccessful attempts is how we have really learned. That is the main goal of this article that I share with you.

In a world of entrepreneurships, this new world and the constant evolution that Social Media represents, it is totally different from what we can imagine. Its rules vary constantly. The same happens with the correct strategies to be implemented. 


However, there are 3 general rules that we will analyze below, that remain constant over time. Being aware of those will be, undoubtedly, of big help for our start-up.

Let’s not begin from the final goal

As good founders of a startup, the first that comes into our minds is to generate clients and, in direct consequence: generate revenues.

This statement is perfect; however, if we are looking for this in Social Media without first generating value to the potential and future client, then we are on the wrong path. It’s better if we use Google AdWords or an affiliate program.

The best we can do is to think of Social Media as a face-to-face conversation with a friend. We first say hi to him, we ask him how he is doing and how his stuff is, we then talk to him about our project to finally evaluate if the dialogue leads or not into a new client.

As we can observe, selling is the last part of the process, not the first one. And in the social networks this is not an exception; it’s the reflection of daily life of people’s relations (offline world).

Even when we are taking our first steps with our startup, the truth is that revenues are not the most important thing. It’s essential to be able to first respond to a key existential problem: “Does this project solve a real and concrete problem to the user?”

We made the same mistakes with our own startup eMT when we first started. We used the social networks to “sell” our services, instead of taking advantage of them to establish a dialogue with potential clients so as to learn about their needs.

Nothing is more powerful than a concrete example right now. Let’s assume that we are starting an online project with some friends from college that is based on selling tourist packages through the internet, where we will develop a website that offers an automatized searcher that helps people find cheaper flights, hotels, and excursions.

Now, if a person on Facebook has an average of 200 friends (contacts) the best we can do is take the time to contact them one by one. First we need to greet them, then we need to ask them how they are and finally, invite them to use the services of our startup; selling is not the goal, what it’s even more important is to ask them for their comments, suggestions, and critics to be able to improve.

To consider: this contact must be one by one, by name and surname, through private messages on Facebook. In this way, the result is better compared to simply posting it on our wall. Furthermore, we shouldn’t forget that we need to be brief; the text shouldn’t exceed two sentences.

“Hi John,

How are you? Such a long time! How’s work? And how’s your family?

Everything’s fine over here. My friends and I are working on an online project to search for more economical vacations and I’d like to ask for your opinion (suggestions and critics) in order to improve. You can have access to it by clicking here.

Could you please help me by telling me what you think about it, John?”

As we can see, we are not looking for anything to be sold, but most importantly, to be able to learn from their experience and let them know that their opinion helps us a lot.

Now, if we have an average of 200 contacts, we can not only get in touch with them, but also with our friends’ friends, so it would be 200 x 200: 40,000 contacts that can help us. This means that, if we are constant, persevering and, above all, respectful of our messages, there’s a big potential that we can take advantage of using our time and dedication.

Not only one contact generates results

This is not a rapid process that can be achieved from one day to another, but let’s remember that our priority is to use Social Media to take the first steps in our entrepreneurship, in order to improve it from the hand of our users because nobody knows our clients’ needs better than themselves.

This is the stage at which, after the initial contact, we must continue; an approach only is NOT enough.

There are two options: the ones who will not answer our message and the ones who will give us some feedback.

For the first group I recommend not to take it as something personal and I suggest writing to them one more time if two days have passed without getting any answer and tell them that their opinion does matter and that it’s very useful to improve.

Fort the second group, for those that give us an answer and have dedicated a portion of their valued time, I recommend before anything, thanking them for this gesture and establishing/maintaining a dialogue with them, whether it is one more contact or several.

The best thing is to be able to understand their suggestions and critics. For example, if they tell us that a person that has searched for flights to the United States didn’t have a satisfactory answer, we must understand if it was because: the price was not low, the searcher didn’t give them an answer at all, the person couldn’t understand the results, or the credit card was not accepted.

I personally consider that examining the comments of our future clients is the only concrete path towards success that will never fail.

Let’s not always prioritize our necessity

And last, something that I see is currently working is sharing things that are not only important for us: showing our project, eventually generating clients, and finally selling, but always prioritizing our users.

For example, if we are in tourism, it is very interesting to generate a space of invaluable content that talks about new places, historic monuments that have been remodeled, and news about recreational places not only at a local level but also internationally.

Even adding guides, pictures, videos, and tutorials of “What documentation do we need to travel to Europe?”, “What historical spaces shouldn’t we miss if we go to Mexico?”, “How to take care of our credit card when being abroad?” and millions of other valuable alternatives for our “brand” to stay as a reference for clients in Social Media.

Each client that reads this “likes” it or shares it, means an additional channel to generate even more users through Social Media.

That is to say, why can’t we think of us becoming a referent in our field of work by offering the latest news and events that generate added value to the user?

Today, the websites of newspapers, magazines and news sections are flooded with advertising to the point that the user has to “struggle” to read the content. Furthermore, even today, they still don’t understand to perfection how social networks work; their historical business of selling advertising prevents them from that.

In this way, our community of “early adopters”, as the first users that help us grow are called, give us the chance of interacting with our service so that they receive interesting news on a daily basis giving them the chance to follow our evolution over time as entrepreneurship and eventually offer them the latest innovations of our own project.