Startup marketing - an overview of the most important social media platforms

May 08, 2018

Marketing planning with post-its

The founding day of every startup automatically marks the start of a "big race", in which the startup has to do about a million other things at the same time in addition to the main tasks such as product development, customer acquisition and marketing. Just the normal day-to-day life of a startup...

The topic of 'marketing for start-ups' is a very special construction site. After all, start-ups usually have a much smaller marketing budget than their established competitors.

Large-scale marketing campaigns are rarely possible within a company's own marketing budget. Every marketing euro must bring the highest possible return on investment. As many (potential) customers as possible must be attracted to your own social media presence or website in the shortest possible time! As a start-up, you have to be creative and rethink.

The solution to this problem for most start-ups is 'social media marketing'. The relevance of the marketing sector has increased significantly, especially in recent years. This is actually logical. This is because start-ups can build up a comparably large community for their own products in a relatively short time and with a small budget.

Sounds too good to be true? Well, at first it is. Start-ups in particular that have not yet gained any experience in social media marketing are often confronted with questions such as
- "Which social media channels should we actually use now?"
- "Is it best if we just log in to every channel?" and
- "What do we need to post on the respective channels to be found?"
held back or stopped.

In this article, I would like to give you a rough overview of the most important social media platforms for start-ups. And thus help you choose the right channels.


To do this, we take a look at the individual channels. We answer the big question of what type of content we should use on the respective channels. And how to reach our desired target group effectively!



The list of social media channels is listed in no particular order. It does not include all existing social media channels. The aim is to provide an initial overview of the channels used by start-ups in Germany. And, of course, to learn how to use them effectively for your own marketing activities.



Although the social media giant is repeatedly criticised for its own data protection practices, the blue giant remains THE place to go for companies that want to expand their marketing mix to include social media marketing.

Based on user numbers alone - as of 2018, Facebook now has 2.1 billion active users (!) - it's hard to imagine 'startup marketing' without Facebook. The chances of meeting your own target group on Facebook itself - and turning them into fans of your own company - are too great!

Best Practice. Facebook recently announced that the platform itself is a place where users should communicate with friends and family. Companies whose content contains no added value but only calls to purchase do not really fit into this picture and are penalised by the Facebook algorithm with minimal reach.

Start-ups must therefore be clever and produce content that is perceived as so interesting by their own target group that they are willing to share it with their friends and family - on their own NewsFeed.

The big advantage here is that Facebook itself gives us the opportunity to post texts, images, infographics, videos and of course combinations of all of these - e.g. image+text. This allows us to diversify our content and inspire our followers with a variety of content.



Instagram was acquired by Facebook more than five years ago. Since then, Instagram has risen to become one of the biggest social media channels around. It's not just influencers who have discovered the platform for themselves - start-ups are also slowly learning to love the platform.

Best Practice. Pictures, pictures, pictures! Marketing for start-ups on Instagram is mainly done via images. Of course, these can also be provided with corresponding texts. You can also post videos on Instagram. However, these have a maximum length of 60 seconds. And even so-called "stories" are now possible with Instagram. As the name suggests, you can string together several pieces of content and take your followers through your everyday life, for example.

A big plus in favour of using Instagram is that you can use hashtags to increase the reach of your posts disproportionately. You should use them more often, especially at the beginning of your marketing activities. 8-18 hashtags per post are completely ok.

One last tip: your pictures should be authentic, but still of high quality. Otherwise they will not be recognised by the community when "scrolling around" on Instagram, in the worst case scenario.



While the platform with the little blue bird does not enjoy the same recognition in Germany as it does in the USA, for example, the platform should not exclude start-ups from the outset - after all, there is hardly a platform on which you can communicate more directly with your own (potential) customers.
For years, you could only send 140 characters per message - also known as a "tweet" - on Twitter. However, this limit was recently lifted and you can now also "let off steam" with longer texts.

Best Practice. Start-ups and companies alike often underestimate the effort involved in engaging on Twitter. If you want to "tweet", you should know one thing: writing a "tweet" every 2-3 days or even just once a week and then hoping for success will not work!

Twitter is a "real time" portal and its structure is most similar to a "cocktail party". It is about presenting your own offer in an interesting way in small "bites", engaging in conversations via 'tweets' and skilfully maintaining the conversations.

3-8 tweets per day should be the lower limit, although you can certainly ramp up activity at the weekend or during special events. Twitter is also less about flooding users with requests to buy and more about building a community or fan group through ongoing interaction.



Snapchat attracted attention early on in its history when founder and CEO Evan Spiegel turned down a billion-dollar purchase offer from Facebook. Initially misunderstood by most companies in the world and only really popular with young people, the app with the little ghost has developed into a real insider tip in the field of start-up marketing.

Best Practice. Anyone familiar with Instagram and its stories will be surprised at first. This is because Snapchat also works almost exclusively with the story function. The piquant thing is that those responsible at Instagram have adopted this function without further ado.

If you follow your own start-up on Snapchat, you can expect a daily look behind the scenes, added value and stories from the team that "normal" customers don't hear. Used correctly, Snapchat gives you the opportunity to build up an almost "intimate" relationship with your fans and maintain an ongoing dialogue with them. A mega opportunity!

But beware: the competition on Snapchat is fierce and the attention span of your own community may be very short! This means: to use Snapchat effectively as a marketing channel, you need to interact with your community a lot and often. Above all, it should be varied. And, of course, include a laugh every now and then!



The list of social media marketing channels would not be complete without the business networks XING and LinkedIn. The emphasis is on "business". Here, less emphasis is placed on humour & co. than on valuable content and genuine "networking".

Best Practice. The opportunities within these networks are enormous! Many other companies and start-ups are active here and, in the best case, are looking for exactly what you have to offer - and will let you know via their profiles.

It is a good idea to share your own blog posts within these channels, provide interesting updates on your company and skilfully expand your own network with interesting contacts.

The focus here is on the added value that your content creates. After all, there is enough spam on the platforms. If in doubt, you should leave out the "snapshot" from the last team-building event, beyond the 4 beer mark, rather than sharing it with your contacts.



In conclusion, there is no "one fits all" solution in the case of social media marketing - regardless of whether you are a start-up or a DAX-listed company.

Just as there is only a very specific target group on each platform, every start-up has its own product, with a unique value proposition and a specific target group to which it wants to market its own services.

This means that we can only select the right social media platforms to market our product accordingly if our value proposition is clear and we know our target group precisely in the form of a persona. The more precisely we define both, the easier it will be to select the right channels within social media.


Guest article by author | Richard Dihen


Founder of the social media marketing agency Di.Ri Social Media and passionate "marketing nerd", focussing on Facebook marketing, Facebook & social media workshops and the development of holistic social media marketing strategies