Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Leveraging Startups with social media -1: building from a sound foundation

Posted in startups, Web 2.0 marketing by Timothy Platt on November 10, 2010

Startups present a series of specific and even unique challenges. They can carry within themselves the key to offering a unique and at times even disruptively revolutionary value proposition. But they start without a track record or name in the marketplaces they would seek to lead in. They may have dedicated founders, but very often their founders lack at least some of the essential skills and experience they would need in order to succeed. Mentors can help and so can tapping into outside help with specific tasks and responsibilities (e.g. bringing in the services of an experienced CFO, and one with startup and early stage experience at that.) But startups by definition start without the benefit of ongoing organizational momentum.

That said, startups can and do succeed, and that includes building a marketplace presence that can be lead to significant market share. That means building an organization and coming to cost-effectively provide products and services, but it also means Marketing per se and effectively getting the word out as to who you are, what you do and what makes this special.

I have written several times now about the challenges of Web 2.0 and the way a fully interactive marketplace changes things for businesses (see Social Networking and Business). Web 2.0 and the interactive online experience also offer some very specific opportunities for startups and my goal in this posting is to at least briefly discuss how. And in this, one advantage that startups have is, at least for social networking and social media the fact that they do start with a clean slate.

I have written in several postings about the importance of developing a good business plan, as a working roadmap and for developing performance benchmarks that you can use to chart your progress (see Startups and Early Stage Businesses and postings 15 and 28 there, among others.) I come back to that here, with a focus on the Marketing Analysis that would go into an effective business plan, and making it Web 2.0 and social media-ready.

• Know your products and services and who they would most likely appeal to. Identify your target demographics, and do so as building a conceptual model of a target community.
• Now who as to demographic type and where possible by individual identification, would you find early adaptors? Who is more likely to be an active networker? Think here in terms of the structure and taxonomy of social networks as outlined in postings like Social Network Taxonomy and Social Networking Strategy.
• In this more traditional central publishing model marketing, and interactive community-sourced marketing can and should be used in coordinated combination to get a basic message out and to draw people into a conversation that can help you spread and clarify, and even validate your message.

I am going to continue this posting with a second piece that will shift to the more practical and hands-on details in actually doing this, and with a case study to take this out of the abstract.

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