Too Much Signal Turns Marketing Into Noise

July 26, 2013

11:00 am

Many of the startups in our 50,000+ membership roll have asked our team for some advice on social media marketing. Many of the founders ask, “How can I get more visibility for my startup?” and, “What are some tricks for rapid social media or viral marketing?”

There is actually a simple process for this, but two things need to be understood when starting to use it:

1. Marketing in social is not the same as marketing anywhere else.

2. This requires work — social media does not equal automation.

Stephen Bech, founder of Wantr (and a guy who made a great pitch) is really good at explaining what his company does, and telling a story about its growth and its beginnings.

The genesis for revealing the method that I use came from a conversation that happened today on my Facebook profile with several startup founders. I had noticed that so many startup founders practice the pitch, and they believe that the pitch is actually the most important thing in their tool kit. I don’t think this is true, though it was probably true at some time. The pitch was most useful, I said, when the network that people needed to get funding and development was narrow, small, and geographically located/isolated. Investors liked it that way. Keeping things “small” meant that investors could keep the gate closed when they needed to, and then they could rely on their own intake systems to look through the business plans — and listen to the pitches — that would signal a future success.

But now, investment inroads are everywhere, and the route to your network is much more multi-path. Look at the rise of companies like Angel List, or any of the hundreds of new platforms where you can create crowdfunding opportunities, or network opportunities.

The signal routes have multiplied, meaning there is no signal in your signal anymore. What investors — and investor networks — rely on now is intimacy and storytelling. So, I asked people, what would be the most important way to create this network and storytelling?

The answer is very simple, and it involves three real actions — Setting a goal, listening, and telling a story. The rest happens organically on social networks, or (should you be bold and funded), on social network platforms you create yourself.

Here is the methodology. If you want to know more, leave a comment here, or tweet @BizSpark and we can keep the conversation going.

1. Have a business goal in mind, and the values and themes that align internally with those goals
2. Listen outwardly for signs of alliance with said goals
3. Approach and create conversation socially about those common goals
4. Ask questions that create new understanding or new information about areas that are aligned with common goals, to find new values or new goals
5. Include others in the creation of content that aligns with values and brings them internally
6. Distribute and spread and listen again, repeat cycle and then increase audience by doing so. Recursive relationship marketing.

If you would like more information on how Microsoft can help you with marketing your startup, or if you enjoy getting professional tips about how to bootstrap for success, consider joining Microsoft BizSpark, a community of 50,000+ companies in 154 countries, that drives you toward completing your goals. More here:

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Douglas manages the social media strategy for a Microsoft division that works exclusively with startups. He works with internal partners in product groups like Windows 8, Windows Azure, Windows Phone and others to create an integrated marketing channel from startups to Microsoft and back. His work entails curating great content, showcasing the work of startups, and managing the way developer evangelists in Microsoft use social media to engage with their audiences.

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