Nowadays a lot of social media savvy youngsters start-up interesting online ventures, and while, they can’t wait to get the first thumbs-up from their friends, even before they release the alpha/beta version of their website, they start a page, portray themselves as the CEOs and other Os of that fledgling page on their profiles, and now that they have a page, they spend a lot of time in social media marketing to fetch the first few thousand likes – which they presume is a validation that their start-up is a great idea, and has got some traction.
Getting to a thousand likes is pretty easy. Almost anyone can get a few followers for one’s start-up and think that one is doing great, having so many customers. But, when magnified on a grand scale, it turns out to be delusional. We don’t realize that those are followers, not customers. They have joined due to various reasons: maybe because you were their friend, maybe because you share nice humorous stuff on your page, maybe because they get a chance to say that their friend is an entrepreneur and so on.
In my view, the success of Facebook pages can be tick-marked only when the start-ups can get a few thousand likes without social media marketing, but through their excellent content on websites/excellent products, because the key here is that people who come through social media marketing are mostly interested in your fanpage’s content, rather than your website’s idea or buying your product, and are not necessarily big-pocketed enough to pay, and even if they are big-pocketed, it’s highly improbable that they would spend a penny on your website, because they have already been used to the consumption of free stuff on your page.
What’s even more difficult is when you have your website ready, it’s very difficult to migrate the FB audience to your website. And the truth is, you can only monetize the traffic on your website, rather than on your FB fanpage. Social media marketing works only when you are getting good traction on your website and it’s the storehouse of good content/products. Check all the prominent start-up turned companies viz. Flipkart, Inmobi, Snapdeal, majority of their likes are from the users of their websites – and is therefore very targeted and very much en-cashable.
So, focus on your product(website/software, whatever it is), spend your maximum energy in creating a world class product, work hard to get the first few thousands through your website, rather than by social media marketing and once you have a decent number of users of your products – your idea is validated, then indulge in social media marketing to fetch more ‘customers’. The bottomline is: as an entrepreneur, your job is to get customers, not just followers.
[About the author: Harsh Snehanshu is the co-founder of thewittyshit.com, a literary networking and crowdsourcing website. A 2011 graduate from IIT Delhi, he is pursuing full-time writing for the next one year, hitchhiking across India all alone, meeting diverse people for his fifth book, ‘Route to Roots – A Hitchhiker’s Guide to India‘. He can be reached on twitter @harshsnehanshu]