Ryan Holmes of HootSuite: 3 Tips for Leveraging Social Media

Last Updated Jun 15, 2011 2:33 PM EDT

Ryan Holmes is the CEO of HootSuite, which allows organizations to use social web tools to schedule and publish messages to multiple social networks, monitor results and efficiently participate in conversations. HootSuite has nearly 2 million users.
"Looking back to when I established my first startup in 1992, I could only dream of having the resources social media has given us. Using traditional marketing was difficult and expensive. We're seeing unprecedented, high ROI marketing opportunities that are re-shaping the landscape. Establishing brand awareness, effectively engaging with your customers, and converting your efforts into revenue are major hurdles for a startup. Leveraging the viral nature of social media is an easy and inexpensive way to get over these obstacles.

Historically, we've heard that one happy customer tells three, while one unhappy customer tells ten. With social think 300 and 1000. As a startup working in this type of paradigm, think about how you can leverage this powerful virality:

  • Identify influencers, and start a conversation. Who are the key people who talk about your product or service. Discover them, and start talking. Informational interviews are a great way to get the ball rolling.
  • Don't advertise, build your business on word of mouth. If you have a great product/service, strong brand ambassadors/influencers are worth 100x their weight in advertising gold. Remember, people listen to friends and acquaintances much more than a blinkey banner ad.
  • Learn, rinse and repeat. Learning from the successes you have and consistent practice is integral for success. Use social media analytical tools to learn what is working, repeat, and adjust your approach appropriately. Keep your message fresh and stimulating and you'll be on your way to winning with social."
You might also enjoy these previous Startup Tips:

Tony Hsieh: How to Find the Perfect Business Opportunit
PopCap Founder John Vechey: The Most Important Quality for Your First Employees
Angie Hicks: The One Thing a Startup Entrepreneur Should Never Do