Some of my favourite client projects to work on are start up businesses. Working closely with a founder as they navigate the first steps of growing their amazing idea or brand – it’s an exciting time!

But, being a start up comes with so many challenges. From working out your product selling point, getting investors on board for your big app idea – or just working out your flavours for your new foodie pop up… There’s a lot to think of, before even marketing the concept.

And that’s usually where I come in. I work with start ups to plant the seeds on social and let their ideas flourish. From 0 followers to thousands over a couple of months – I help them prove to investors there’s value in their brand,  public interest plus help them learn more about their growing demographic and audience.

I’ve worked on revolutionary app start ups, food and drink businesses, pop ups, venues, hotels and off-spurts from global brands… all wanting to make an early splash.

However, as anyone in the social media world will tell you, it’s often hard to get up-front commitment from start ups. They have little budget, they don’t want to take the risk of social, or don’t see the value… and if they do, sometimes it fails. So here’s 5 reasons it can do just that, and for any start ups reading, reasons to work with a specialist which lets you focus on the important stuff!

1. Too many platforms at the start

“We want to be everywhere!” No. No. Just stop… A big mistake many startups make is trying to do too much too soon.

My first advice is always to pick the right platform to start on. Obviously, secure the usernames across ALL (another tip!) but, focus on what’s right in that initial period. For most, I’d suggest Instagram – it’s visually heavy, allows you to comment, reply and engage plus it means you can easily run ads via a Facebook Page, even if Facebook is secondary.

This can also help your client get the foot in the door and understand the value of social media over time – adding platforms, content and paid as the brand grows.

2. Not enough investment

“I’d like to get 250,000 followers by the end of the year!” Okay – achievable, but with the right level of investment across social media.

One of the biggest issues startups have is unrealistic goals. Working in social media, it’s important to set fair and reasonable aims for your client, but also for them to understand what these mean. Allowing them to understand the conversion of followers + paid, or boosting and growing engaging content will help you long term, as well as a start up to understand investment needed down the line.

A secondary part of this is ensuring they understand that followers aren’t king. Engagement, link clicks, conversions are… Make sure you put these front and centre of your reporting!

3. Creative is stock-image or poor

A huge issue with start ups is having only 2-3 images of their brand product, store, app etc.

If you’re hoping to promote content, run advertising and build visual awareness of the brand, then imagery and video content will be of paramount value. Spending a small budget on a half day shoot, or working alongside micro-influencers can easily garnish great visual results – without much hard work!

If you’re using Instagram it’s especially important your brand has enough visual assets, don’t think of this as secondary, we all like to see and look at the actual brand.

4. Lack of planning

“I’ve decided this week we’ll run 20% off…” WHY?! Is there a reason, is it linked to social talking points, is there assets and planned on-site or in-store content as well?

A lack of planning is one of the major ways social media for start ups fail. Throwing it all on at once isn’t a good strategy and you won’t reap any results for doing it. Planning is key here, ideally a month ahead. Work out key seasonal dates, content types for different days and initially begin educating your audience on what to expect from you.

By doing this, you and your client will question why and how everything is being created and whether it’s right for the brand – easily able to talk learnings away week on week from social results.

5. Thinking you can do it all

“I don’t need someone to do social for me… I can just share to Facebook and post a few images…”

This one is for the start ups. Don’t forget the value of proper, valuable social media. Just sharing your Instagram posts to Facebook isn’t a strategy, and having someone dedicated to building you a tone of voice, assets, videos etc will become so valuable long term, as well as the fact you’ve grown an engaged, dedicated and passionately committed member of your team.

You need to focus on growing your brand, and let someone in the know focus on the socials.

Lastly, just remember that if you’re working with a quality social media specialist they’ll be able to provide up-front recommendations and suggestions, as well as projections of follower growth and demographic shifts. If these suit your goals – then it’s worth the investment. Social is still king in presenting your brand in an affordable way.

Did any of these tips surprise you, or have I missed anything? Share your thoughts in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.