Is social media really a requirement for a startup?

As we start to get out the door, we keep hearing that we need more activity on Twitter — everything from “It’s a key part of your sales and marketing” to “it lends legitimacy to your brand.”

Nothing against Twitter, but me and my co-founder just really struggle with how to use it. Is it really such a requirement for sales/marketing?

Does anyone else here struggle with how to use it/what benefit? Would love to hear what works and what doesn’t….and hear it’s not just me that can’t figure it out

  • Of course it’s not a requirement. There are many, many startups that do great without any social media presence, but they are less visible (duh!) and so it’s easy to forget they exist.

    Bear in mind that a lot of the startup wisdom you see out there is regurgitated content marketing.

    Take for instance startups that create products for other startups: payroll, customer support, developer tools, lead generation, mailing list software, and so on. These startups write about the lessons they’ve learned and they share all their best tips and tricks, but their goal is to build an audience to hawk their products to. The less observant consumers of this content take it at face value and believe these blogposts represent some deep startup wisdom when in reality they’re reading advertorials.

    You need to generate sales leads somehow. Depending on your product social media or content marketing may be a good way to accomplish this. But it’s not required and in most cases your time is much better spent elsewhere. It takes a long time (2 years easily) and a lot of effort to build a social media audience, and even then you may not end up with an audience that is really interested in buying your products.

  • Certainly not required, but it can help SO MUCH! Do a bit of research and find out where your target market/avatar spends the most time on social media and just focus on that one place (it might not be Twitter). Watch a few tutorials online about creating content for that social media platform. OR skip it altogether and hire someone to do it for you a few hours/week 🙂

  • As with most things, the viability of conventional wisdom depends on context. Are you selling medical services to octogenarians? They aren’t on Twitter, so if you are you’re wasting time. If your market is on Twitter, on the other hand, you should be too.

  • Something to be said for remaining on the down low and building the company under stealth mode. It is not just potential customers who read social networks it is patent trolls as well. Even if they aren’t a true patent troll, there is a high likelihood what you have created infringes on some stupid business process patents. It is much easier to address patent issues after you have proven your business will work and you have some cash reserves. Think it can’t happen to you?

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