I’ve worked with clients on their new business launches, and I enjoy following how small businesses in my area utilize their social media to launch their new businesses. In my years of doing this, it definitely seems like most businesses understand that they need some type of social media presence in today’s world, but the way they approach their new brand’s social media is another story entirely.
Things like how many and which social media platforms to use, how far out from launch to begin posting to social media, who to follow on your new business’ social media accounts, and how to get people aware and excited about your launch are the typical questions I get. With that in mind, here are the 5 things I think all business owners in launch mode need to be aware of so they can avoid these common business launch pitfalls.
5 Pitfalls with Social Media & Business Launches
- Not understanding social media profiles are public Facebook is an exception here because it allows you to hold off publishing your new Page until you are ready, but for the most part, I find a lot of new business owners to be under the impression that they can create their social media profiles and keep them hidden in some way (or believing that no one could possibly find these new profiles) before they want them to. However, once you have completed registering your new profiles, they are public and can (and will) be discovered by people so you need to be ready to properly build out your social media profiles at the same time as you are creating them. Your profiles don’t need to be perfect, but at least have your profile photo, cover photo, about/bio text, and website and contact information ready to use so your profiles look professional from the start.
- Once your profiles are live, you need to have content ready to post to them Before you get too stressed out about this point, please know that you posting to your profiles before you launch won’t have the same content plan as when you are opening the business. For one, you don’t need to post nearly as frequently as you will be after you open your doors for business (once a week during pre-launch will work in most cases). Second, most of your content will be photos, videos, and information about what’s going on during your launch prep plus what to expect from you once you are open for business. But once you are open for business, your content mix will expand a lot from there.
- You’re late if you haven’t started building your social media presence with 2 weeks to go Unfortunately, I usually find small businesses either launching their social media profiles at full steam, months in advance, OR waiting until 2 weeks or less before their doors open. This is something that varies by industry, but usually 6-8 weeks ahead of opening for business is a good bet. If you start too much further out than that, the excitement for your new business will die off. And if you wait until the last minute to get started, you will open for business to crickets.
- Not advertising Establishing yourself on a social media platform takes time. Plus, algorithms often complicate things further. Don’t assume that posting, “We’re now open for business!” means many people (or anyone) will see it. Plan for an advertising budget and begin running ads 3-4 weeks ahead of your launch day to make sure to get the word out.
- Not connecting with the right users Following people for the sake of following people isn’t going to do much for you. Neither will getting a bunch of followers for the sake of followers (so don’t be tempted to buy fake followers. Not even for “social proof”.). I can’t begin to tell you how often I’ll get a new follower request on Instagram from a business located in another state, or one of my clients (who have a single brick & mortar location) get a Twitter follow from an account located on the other side of the country. Although it may seem like it goes without saying, but you need to search for users to follow based on their location (if you have a physical location) as well as based on keywords in their profiles. Also, don’t discount connecting with other business accounts in your area, especially those that are physically close to your store location or those who offer complementary goods or services. Cross-promotion can be a powerful marketing tactic that benefits both parties.