Why Startups Must Build Online Influence by @Ronsela

Startups Online Influence

Understanding Social Media Influence is essential for entrepreneurs when shaping their social media strategy for companies in the early stages. Startup founders, senior management, advisors and investors are all part of the voice of the startup, and even more so in the early stages of the new company. Amplifying this voice and making it loud and clear can†give†a huge boost to the startup companyís marketing efforts, while supporting its growth and leveraging its communications efforts.

Entrepreneurs who adopt a social media strategy that empowers social media influence†offer†a significant benefit to their startup in several ways, such as helping the startup company in setting the tone in its niche, exposing the products and services to large audiences, and providing added value by amplifying positive coverage.

In order to carry out a social media strategy that boosts the social media influence, startup companies and entrepreneurs will do well to recruit†individuals†who are already social media influencers. Welcoming individuals who engage online regularly with prominent individuals in their industry helps the startup to communicate with its ecosystem in a way that provides more visibility and†encourages the engagement.

 

Social Media Influence and the Management Recruiting Process

 
Recently, an ongoing debate has emerged regarding†the need and efficiency of using†online influence rankings, such as checking an individual’s Klout Score together with their Kred and PeerIndex ranking, as part of the selection process of prospective candidates. It is a common practice today for almost every†social media companyto require a minimal Klout score of the candidates as a threshold for applying for a new position with the company.

A similar process†can be†applied when scaling a startup team, from a very small group of individuals into larger teams. Communicating online is becoming a core competency, required for senior management level members in startups and early stage companies.

Online influence is not measured necessarily only by reviewing the prospective candidateís Klout score (which is moving towards becoming the market standard). Sophisticated and well-designed systems are emerging online, primarily as tools that†offer†guidance for influencer marketing processes. These tools give a very good solution for assessing the sphere of online influence of†each individual.

 

So, Why Would You Even Need to Consider Social Media Influence?

 
Influential individuals, as part of the leading team of a startup company, provide the new venture with many benefits that can support its operations, marketing efforts, customer service process and communications with the financial markets. Although in many cases social media management can be outsourced to third parties to maximize results, startups need the voice of their management team to be heard in a genuine and clear way:

  • Influential people tend to understand the importance of social media: Recruiting influential social media individuals will ensure that the startup management will be more familiar with online platforms, and more used for engagement with the startup eco-system. As such, it is always a good idea to ensure that the management understands the importance of social media in communicating their businessís core competencies to the outside world.
  • Influential senior managers provide an additional encouragement to the digital marketing team: When the company is in need of producing and communicating a clear and concise message to its potential customers, investors and vendors, messages from the core team tend to be better accepted.
  • Messages directly from management are perceived as more credible: High visibility in social media venues provide a significant increase in the ability to distribute and spread the desired message on the internet rapidly. The messages communicated by co-founders and senior management are also representing the companyís views, not just individual comments.

 

Who is Part of this Startup Core Team

 
Startup founders, co-founders, senior management, prominent advisors and investors, as well as consultants are all part of the startup voice, and more so in the early stages of the venture. The core team is construed of a few layers of individuals involved with the corporate life of the young venture.
 

Entrepreneurs, Startup Founders and Senior Management

 
More often than not, entrepreneurs and founders are named as the first employees. A social media strategy specifically aimed at increasing the startupís online influence is an essential part of the marketing toolbox in the new venture. Although core activities like communicating with potential investors, recruiting efforts and product management are all done by a very small team, social media strategy should not be neglected.
 

Investors, Startup Advisors and Prominent Consultants

 
Strategic investors usually bring more than just funding to the table. Typically entrepreneurs expect their investors to help the startup company with leads in the market for its product. Investors who have high rankings of social media influence can be very helpful in introducing the company and its products to other influential individuals, and through them to the market. It would be wise to include a small team of stellar startup advisors as part of the leading team. The combined and orchestrated activity of investors, advisors and consultants in social media, including by using social networks and blogging, definitely enhances senior management efforts.
 

Vertical Online Influence vs. General Online Influence

 
When checking the online influence parameters of an individual, the sphere of influence should also be tested. It will probably be safe to assume that most of the influential individuals or corporations online are influential on topics other than your startup. Therefore, introducing high rankings, such as Klout score, suggests a high general online influence level.

For the communications and engagements to become effective, you want your team to become influential on topics that are as closely related as possible with the startup companyís areas of expertise.
 

Recommended Reading

 

How to Get Influencers to Help You

How to Get Influencers to Help YouMarch 14, 2014EntrepreneurBY Stephen Key | December 13, 2013| | Image credit: Shutterstock We all need help to succeed, whether itís crucial advice from a seasoned professional, a testimonial about our product or service, or an introduction…
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Startup Gives Free Stuff to Student Influencers

 

Startup Gives Free Stuff to Student InfluencersNovember 6, 2013MashableBy Kurt WagnerNov 06, 2013 Did somebody say free samples? Sumpto, a startup that identifies top social-media influencers at colleges across the country, sends students free gifts from brands in hopes that they will tweet,…
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Donít doom your startup to failure ó know your centers of influence

 

Don't doom your startup to failure ó know your centers of influenceFebruary 11, 2014PandoDailyBy Andy Beal On February 11, 2014 Itís a common refrain: focus on building a great product and your startupís reputation will take care of itself. Sorry, thatís a Silicon Valley fairy tale. While a…
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Conclusion

 
Entrepreneurs that adopt a social media strategy that empowers social media influence, and recruit influencers, benefit their startup in many ways, such as helping the startup company to set the tone in its industry or niche, exposing its products and services to large audiences, and providing added value by amplifying positive coverage.

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2 comments
TatiCeresa
TatiCeresa

Something that many businesses and startups miss, which you briefly discussed in this post, is that online influence for startups refers specifically to a narrow niche these days. It is not realistic or effective for businesses to attempt short tail marketing unless they have the financial backing or are a known brand. Startups will really benefit from finding their niche market to target the "right" people. 

audiencewatchme
audiencewatchme

True, and Having that social influence can make it possible to succeed in something like a kickstarter campaign, for instance. Perhaps the most important thing to gain momentum in a company today is online influence.  I increasingly hear ABC's sharktank pitches including discussions of social influence.  And, as competition for limited attention of the world increases, the influence to me, seems harder to build. 

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