Startups, Accelerators, Public Relations & the Social Media

I am a Startup baby, who has been learning a lot since she entered the world of #Entrepreneurs. Based on my observation so far, I have tried to put up some of my views regarding whats , whys & hows of – Public Relations, External Communications , #Social Media & #Marketing , especially around #Startup Accelerator Programs .

Now, I ain’t no expert in the media industry, but this is my sincere 1st attempt at understanding PR in this era of new age media and penning down the same.

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1. Public Relations 

PR according to me, should address the following needs / concerns :

-Understanding the notions that exist in the market regarding your Company, Offerings, Products / Services & designing effective strategies to ensure that what your intentions are rightly communicated

-Creating brand awareness & right public image

-Striking the right chord in the minds of both – the direct end user as well as the media

-Creating content that can be used as tools for building relations with different communities, marketing & advertising

-Earning the attention from media instead of paying for it

-Managing Crisis situations

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2. External Communications

A #startup accelerator needs to connect with various communities in order to ensure it’s visibility at all times. External communication can be through various channels

a. Online (Web) – Social Media, Promotional Emails, Blogs, Newsletters, eMagazines, Interviews etc..

b. Offline – Newspapers, Magazines, Press Conference, Talk-shows, Promotion Events, Launches, Posters etc..

        Content is the crux of these communications. This could be in the form of –

a. Informal / Direct – Story, Info-graphic, Short movie, Speeches, Call for applications, Response to inquiries/applications etc..

b. Formal / Indirect – Press Release, Articles, Statements etc..

The aim of maintaining external communications is to build awareness, grow audience, neutralize disasters, correct wrong notions , serve up to date information on a platter right in front of the targeted audience so as to ensure a long lasting relation with large communities.

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3. Who should be targeted & How

Consider the case of a well-established, yet less popular startup accelerator. Following are certain ways to go about targeting, marketing and building public relations –

a. Students – Posters/Handouts/Guest Lectures/Events etc. @ Schools & Colleges highlighting Student Entrepreneurship Programs & Job enabling opportunities ( Region / Locality based information dissemination )

b. Entrepreneurs – Communication through Social Media, Events, Web digests such as F6S, HasGeek etc.

c. Start Ups – ‘Target the Problem’ as well as  ‘Full Package’ approach on Social media & other channels.

Example 1 – What I call ‘Target the problem approach’

The accelerator provides various solutions to the possible problems any Start-Up may face, we could create content for each  problem  and the concerned Accelerator Program as a solution for that.

Example 2 – What I call ‘Full Package approach’

Visual story, consolidating all problems and their solutions by the Program. Story of a start-up that has actually leveraged most of the benefits @ the accelerator.

d. Partners – Collaboration Invites, Conferences, Appreciation on Social Media & Other Public occasions to build a rapport apart from regular updates. Potential partners should be targeted for Accelerator Partner Program.

e. Media – Roll out exciting press Releases, Stories, Launch events to capture their attention apart from direct formal communications.

f. Investors – Provide Insightful content on the Funding Segment, such as statistics on Start-Ups in different sectors (Health Care, Ecommerce, IoT etc). Covering investor stories would make it a two way communication.

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Generic points:

1. Interactive & Directed Social Media communications could play a vital role in capturing attention not only for the specific segment but also for XYZ as a brand.

2. Open Call for Media Start-Ups to conduct a tour of the Facility could create a buzz.

3. Location based stories ; Usually, people in India (for that matter most countries) are interested in knowing more about which Indian Start-Up got funded, or enrolled in accelerator etc. and what was the story behind it.

4. Personally sending appreciative or encouraging messages on Social media channels helps build a good rapport and increases the probability of referrals.

5. Increasing the frequency of generating content on new age media such as Mobile Magazines, You Tube Channel could give entrepreneurs a glimpse of what they can really achieve through the Program(s).

The content above can be re-posted but only if the Author’s name & site link are mentioned as ‘Courtesy’ footnote.

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