There is a new sun rising. It is a new day and age and as a student entrepreneur, one must adapt to these changing spheres if there’s any hope of surviving in this wonderful venture you’ve undertaken. One of the winds that is making strides is social media.
Social media is basically a computer/mobile-based platform which helps with the dissemination of information and ideas as well as the creation of invaluable networks and communities. It is distinct from industrial and traditional media such as newspapers, magazine, television, and film as they are comparatively inexpensive marketing tool and highly accessible with its influence far-reaching and deep.
Now, let’s talk some statistics. A study carried out in 2015 suggested that an average of 1.72 hours per day is spent on social media platforms such as the facebook, Instagram, twitter. Also in the US, about 81% of them use social media as of 2017. There are roughly about 1.96 billion social media users which is likely to almost double by the end of 2018 with about 5% of this number being adults as of 2005. Think about it. With these statistics, you would be blind if you don’t see the goldmine here ready to be exploited.
Here are some reasons why social media must be your 12th man in the game of entrepreneurship.
- Stay up to date with current trends.
Whether you are trying to figure out an idea for your next business or are currently running a successful company, it is crucial that you stay up to date with emerging trends within your industry.
Successful media houses like the Blockbuster have been blindsided by services like Netflix and Redbox because they missed an emerging trend that other entrepreneurs capitalized on just because they couldn’t keep up with current trends.
Consider how information is now accessible to everyone now on Facebook and Twitter before it is reported anywhere else. Smart entrepreneurs can now monitor social media and learn a lot about what people like, what they want and where the world as a whole is headed. The best way to do this is to follow relevant people, as well as monitor specific keywords. Engaging with like-minded entrepreneurs is a great way to stay up to date as well.
- Monitor Competitors
Entrepreneurs that hope to succeed must have a firm understanding of what their competitors are doing. Without reliable knowledge about what they do, it is impossible for you to position your product/service effectively. Monitor what your competitors share on social media, what benefits they try to highlight and how they interact with their customers. Take action: Take advantage of the search capabilities available on the major social networks. Use sentiment to find negative posts about your competitors. Monitor why their customers are unhappy and use it to your advantage. If you have a solution to their problem(s), let them know.
- Announce your presence.
This might come as news to you, but the rest of the world doesn’t love your product/service as much as you do. Putting in 80hour weeks looks crazy to the average person, but entrepreneurs rarely even notice it. They are so passionate about what they are doing that they do not even process the hours they are putting in as “work.” This can lead to delusions that everyone will love or already knows about your product. In order to succeed you will need to tell the world about what you are doing. Social media is one of the best place to share the story of your entrepreneurial journey. Share your success stories and your failures. Being open about what you are doing will attract other entrepreneurs. If you are lucky, over time it will also attract reporters that want to share your story to the masses. To increase the chances of this happening, regularly engage with reporters (like and share their posts, join conversations and add them to a dedicated list). Reporters are constantly pitched to by people they do not know. Create a relationship with them long before you approach them about covering your company, so when you do you are already friends.
- Get Feedback
You can’t build your product/service for yourself. Well you can, but you won’t make a lot of money like that. Instead it is important to find a product-market fit. One of the best ways to figure out what people want is to ask them directly. Before social media, it was much harder to get feedback from current and potential customers. With social media, however, entrepreneurs have access to free feedback all the time. Social media has become the go to place for customer service. Most customers now expect a response on social media within 45 minutes. As an entrepreneur, you can use this to your advantage. Provide reliable service to your current customers, and help non-customers with their problems as well. Building these relationships can lead to future business. Finally, use these relationships as a way to get on-going feedback. Most customers will be thrilled to work alongside an entrepreneur or company they love.
- Connect with Mentors and Advisors
Mentors or business advisors are one of the most valuable resources for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship can be a scary thing, full of surprises around every corner. Smart entrepreneurs learn that they can increase their chances of success by partnering with mentors or advisors. Through partnership they can avoid mistakes and learn from an expert. Chances are you already know how important it is to find mentors. What you are probably wondering is how do you find the right mentor? One of the best ways is through social media, LinkedIn specifically. For entrepreneurs, LinkedIn is a powerful tool. It gives you quick access to work histories, recommendations, contact information and much more. When used properly, social media is the perfect place to form new relationships, find mentors and grow your business.
- Join A Community of Entrepreneurs
The internet, and more specifically social media, has allowed the entire world to connect. As long as you have an internet connection, you can literally connect with billions of people all around the world. Groups on social media are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals. Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ all have great groups for entrepreneurs that are free to join. You would be surprised how many mentor or founder relationships started on, or were at least aided by, social media.
- Find Top Talent
94% of companies are using social media to recruit talent, while 73% of companies reported they have successfully hired via social media. These statistics make it clear; your competitors are using social media to find talent. As an entrepreneur, employees are your biggest asset. Even the best, well-funded ideas fail without talented people to execute them. If you are ignoring social media as a legitimate way to recruit and hire top talent, you are putting yourself and your company at a severe disadvantage.
- Brand Yourself
We all know the entrepreneurs that make a ton of money just because of who they are. They write a book and immediately sell 25,000 copies. They do a 45-minute speech and walk away with $50,000. If you were to have to compete against one of these people, you would be at a definite disadvantage due to their personal brand. The good news? You can create a valuable personal brand with the help of social media. When done correctly, it can help you generate more business, secure more funding and attract top talent. To learn how, read: A Step By Step Guide to Starting and Building Your Personal Brand
- Generate More Business
Two words that every entrepreneur loves: more sales. It means people are willing to pay for what you built. It means your business is growing. It means you are doing something right. What if we told you social media could bring you more sales? A lot of sales. All of the things we talked about up until this point will lead to more business, if executed properly. The feedback you receive will help you to improve your offering. The connections you make will lead to game-changing partnerships. The talent you are able to hire will work tirelessly to make your dream a reality. Many entrepreneurs are hesitant to dive into social media because they think it is a waste of time or that there is no ROI (return on investment). We certainly all know a few of these people. Next time you encounter one, kindly direct them to this post so they can see all the advantages social media provides from entrepreneurs. The difference between success and failure when it comes to business is razor thin. The slightest advantages can be the difference in realizing your dreams and going back to the drawing board. When you look back on your entrepreneurial journey, will you want to wonder “what if I took advantage of social media?” We certainly hope you never have to. Get started today! It will be the best thing you ever did.
Most young entrepreneurs are very social by nature. Just like any other wonderful wind of change, it can be exploited for the bad gains and so as a young entrepreneur, you must be very careful when using it. Do not focus all your energies on updating social media you or may run the risk of losing sight of the business goals. Having a clear vision of how to use social media is key to managing time, boosting productivity, and ultimately profit.