If you build it they will come… Hopefully.  There are so many start ups right now on and off the internet.  Now that you’ve developed this great company, how are you going to get the word out to potential clients and customers?  Being a start up, you probably don’t have a ton of money to throw at the marketing side of your business.  What’s cheap and relatively painless? Social media! But -where to start?  And -where do you get the most bang for your buck?

Start with a great foundation – Most people jump right into social media for their business (which is great and all), but where are you sending your customers to?  You need to start with a strong foundation.  Build a great website.  Make sure that you keep your site up to date, relevant, and easy to maneuver.  This way, when you start marketing on social media, you’re routing your customers back to a place where they aren’t running scared or completely confused from.

Start with the main players – The type of business you have is going to dictate the type of social media sites you need to be on.  But, let’s face it, there are a few big dog players out there that you should definitely have up and running.  Facebook and Twitter are a must right now.  Once you have those in place you have a good starting point.  People do a large chunk of their searching on Facebook and Twitter and you don’t want them to come up empty when you could have potential clients and customers looking for you or your type of business.

Start with a few great tools – There is no need to overwhelm yourself right out of the starting gate.  If you can afford to hire out the work, do so and take a huge weight off your shoulders.  If you can’t -don’t panic.  Just get some great social media management tools (like Hootsuite) in place to schedule posts, watch what’s happening across all of your accounts, and receive analytics on what you’re doing.

Start being creative – With so many free marketing options available with social media, start looking at what might work best for your business.  Maybe that’s spending time on LinkedIn and Google+ or maybe your company is better suited for Snapchat and Pinterest.  Research the marketing possibilities and find out what your best fit will be.  Run a contest to create an initial surge in your number of followers so that your future posts are reaching a wider audience.

Start strong and finish strong – There are so many startups that jump out of the gate with the best of intentions and then taper off when they lose their steam.  This is why hiring out might be best for you if you can cover the cost.  Don’t burn out.  You need to stay active on your social media channels (and keep your website active and updated as well).  Stale content is the leper of the online world and people stay far away from that.  Customers will be able to tell if you never check on your Facebook page or if your website hasn’t been updated in months or years.

Marketing for a startup doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.  It takes patience to start from nothing and it takes dedication to keep everything updated the way it needs to be.  Does anyone have advice for startups that are starting a marketing plan?  Anything they should do or avoid doing initially?