Monday, 8 December 2008

Who is the ideal social media audience for a startup?

I've been privileged to meet a lot of exciting startup people in my social media travels. One thing they - we - all seem to have in common is an excitement about the potential of social media, to create awareness quickly and inexpensively among a core community.

As part of this process, you start to interact with others in your community, and spend a lot of time and energy interacting. This can create some great search-friendly content, which is useful for marketing, but can it also be distracting?

Like any really useful question, the answer is "it depends". It depends if your core target audience, your community, are other entrepreneurs like yourself. In many cases, like PlanHQ or Pocketsmith, this is the case.

Of course it doesn't have to be an exact match. Entrepreneurs can be a subset or overlap with your larger audience, and they can help spread your message.

But a startup like BizChat has shown remarkable restraint, focusing on making the user experience easy, and avoiding the temptation to cram the site with as many widgets as possible. (Ahem)

It's a lesson Rowan Simpson points out very clearly, and the approach we tried to take with our current iteration of the iJump site, showing that we use the tools (as you can see from our Twitter updates) but not overwhelming or distracting people who visit.

What do you think? Where's the line between networking with like-minded individuals, and getting lost in the fishbowl?
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1 comment:

Ben Kepes said...

Thanks Simon - Yep we've thought long and hard about who our community members are likely to be. It's easy enough to build a community site that meets the needs of early adopters but building something for the mass market (Joe the plumber being the traditional example used) takes much more work.

We're excited about bizchat and hopefully that it'll prove sufficiently "light touch" so all comers will feel comfortable