Today, the place to go with your marketing strategy is social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more. These social channels can match up people and brands according to interest. This data-driven marketing approach helps you get to your targeted audience members much more quickly, so they can start getting to know you and vice versa.

Whether it is business-to-business marketing tactics applied by ad agencies or individual brands reaching out to consumers with growth marketing objectives, here are some of the test-driven marketing approaches by which you can use social to grow.

Meeting of the fans

Social is perfect for startups because it’s a place where each company can start with its own devoted circle. These are the friends and family members who are excited about the new company and eager to become brand ambassadors.

Social platforms were constructed with sharing in mind, and it’s the people closest to a startup’s founding team who will proudly share information about that startup on their social media sites.

This is marketing that works and doesn’t cost your startup anything. When fans help you reach other potential fans on sites like Instagram, which has hundreds of millions of active users, your marketing is well on its way.

Focused goals direct social success

For social media to work for your startup, you need to know what you want to get out of it. As a startup, it may be difficult to know that at first. It’s a relatively safe place to try out different objectives, but there are some basic ones that will stimulate startup growth.

First, social will help you get the word out about what you are doing and how you can help your intended audience. As a platform, it’s there for you to take center stage on your own business page or profile, where you can share information about your brand. When the members of your audience enter search terms to find sites using hashtags or keywords, you’ll be able to connect with those searching for the product or service you offer. Therefore, it’s important to include those terms in your content throughout all posts, as well as the titles and file names for any visual uploads.

Second, it’s a place where you can differentiate yourself from competitors while developing thought leadership credibility. That’s because social media is a content monster. To succeed on social, you’ll need to continually feed it with valuable, insightful information. You can generate this content yourself, work with content marketing agencies or seek expertise from freelancers to craft the content that your audience is hungry for and will share with others. And if the content is compelling enough (because you’ve spent the time to understand what your audience members want), then social media will help you grow through click-throughs that become leads and eventually conversions.

Social analytics direct insights for future growth strategies

According to available statistics, there are more than 500 million tweets and 4.5 billion likes on Facebook every day. That’s not even counting the 95 million photos and videos uploaded daily to Instagram.

But social media isn’t just about what you do on there to engage with your audience. It’s also an intelligence-gathering spot, and that data can be organized in so many different ways. It can help you understand what your audience members look like, what they do and how they think. Most important, you can learn about what drives purchase behavior.

Social analytics are generated daily, providing a constant stream of insights to direct how you shape your growth strategy to the market. The data can also show you how you can tell your story as a startup. In addition, you can see what your competition is saying and doing.

That’s because all business social media content is public knowledge. It provides the competitive insights to clarify how you can differentiate yourself and do it better. The act of social listening helps you become more strategic in leveraging social media for even better growth potential.

Eight Loop Social’s Cat Howell explains that the targeted information provided by Facebook—with data-gathering abilities rivaled only by Google—can also make it easier for companies eventually looking to capitalize on paid ads and other opportunities afforded by social media platforms. “If you’re already driving an audience on the platform,” she explains, “it becomes that much easier to launch advertising campaigns that don’t require you to reinvent the wheel.”

No two approaches are the same

According to Jon Brody, co-founder and CEO of growth technology company Ladder, each brand must determine what works for it on social. There is no one formula for determining which social media platform or messaging is best. “To discover an approach that works for you, implement tests across multiple channels with varying messages,” Brody advises.

With social media platforms now understanding how they must provide values for users, numerous tools have been developed for use on each platform to conduct relatively cost-effective analyses that show you which strategies, messages and social marketing and analytics tools work best for your particular audience.

This data-driven marketing is now in use across all channels. It helps to identify where you can use the same content or interaction successfully, thus enabling you to maximize your startup’s limited marketing budget.

It’s these different approaches that allow a brand to stand out on social media. The result is a crowd of prospective fans and deeper relationships with your existing loyal followers.

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