Startups are hard, there’s no doubt about that. Building up something from nothing, where the main resource is yourself and your time, is no small feat. Once you’ve gotten your startup off the ground and running, it might be time for a community manager– or, at least, for someone to take on that role.
I recently spoke with Giselle Gonzalez, marketing manager for doggyloot and startup social media extrodinaire. Giselle has been in the business of startup social media for over three years, and here are some of the things that prove her to be successful in this area.
A little about doggyloot: doggyloot is a daily deals startup for dog products. The company was founded in early 2011 and now boasts over 700,000 active subscribers, as well as a robust Facebook community.
The 80/20 Rule: Make sure you have an idea of the balance of content you’re aiming for. Giselle aims for 80% general dog-related content (which can range from funny images to news articles) and 20% doggyloot-related content, advertising recent sales. Too much of either can throw your community off. Figure out what works for your customers and aim to stick to it!
Platforms: Sometimes it seems like a new social media platform is debuting every day. Don’t get caught up in the noise; for doggyloot, Facebook is where most of their community lies, so that’s where they spend most of their time. If you’re a B2B marketing firm, your best bet might be LinkedIn. Prioritize those platforms that actually contribute to sales and community, and think critically before jumping into the noise of yet another. Your bandwidth isn’t unlimited!
It’s Okay to Take a Break: This is similar to #2. If you’re not sure if a platform is actually working for you, it’s okay to step back for a few months and critically evaluate what’s working and what’s not, as well as conduct research on your competition. Although doggyloot’s blog had good engagement, it wasn’t driving sales. The team is stepping back to see what they can do better.
Look at Your Org Chart: Where does your community manager sit in the organization? Is she a summer intern who’s just getting into the swing of the business? Giselle is close with top management at doggyloot, which allows her to see both sides of the story: management and community. She’s a pro at communicating between the two.
Passion: Nothing is a substitute for passion. If you’re passionate about your community and its subject matter, it will shine through. Giselle loves dogs (just check out her Chihuaua’s Facebook page) and it makes her all the more qualified to answer questions and find great, relevant content.
What are your top tips for a startup community manager?