A big part of launching a successful startup is nurturing a community that would support it throughout its journey. It might seem odd, but building a tribe of early-adopters doesn't always make it at the top of a founder's priority list.
Why focus your time and energy on nurturing a community of passionate followers and eager early-adopters?
It's simple - consumers nowadays care about culture, communications and ethics and expect to have genuine interactions from real people with real experiences. Connection breeds loyalty and in turn, growth. Building a long-lasting relationship with your consumers is a worthwhile investment because when a customer feels connected to a brand, 57% of these consumers will actually increase their spending with that brand.
A great way of you connecting with your audience as a founder is having an active social media presence. Studies have shown that 65% of consumers feel more connected to a business when their CEO is using social media - you might even say that it creates transparency about the business, thus increasing the sense of trust your consumers have about your product.
To build that initial connection you can use platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but what about less obvious choices when it comes to launching your startup like TikTok or even Twitch.
Social media platforms have made it easier for entrepreneurs to tap into their target audience, build a business and then scale it. It's also made it easier to build hype around the launch date. Pat Walls, the founder of Startup Story, took it to the next level by creating a startup in 24 hours and streaming the whole process live on Twitch!
| Pat Walls used Twitch to stream live the launch of his startup - from ideation to creation. Image: Courtesy of Pat Walls.
With a bit of extra support from other social media channels to promote his activity on the popular streaming platform, Pat was soon watched by thousands of curious viewers as he came up with his startup idea, wrote lines of code, got feedback, and finally - launched his product. The end result? Pat had over 9,000 Twitch views, 1,000 registered users on launch and his product 'You Don't Need WordPress' made it to #1 on Product Hunt.
Of course, there are less extreme examples of building a community for your startup. Eat Out in London and Car Crowd are two recent ones I've spoken to that are smashing it in this space and have used social media to secure a successful launch. Another great example are Fitpack.io, the health & wellbeing optimisation platform, that have validated their idea for a year using WordPress and Instagram before building their v1 app and successfully launching it in early 2020.
| Car Crowd used Instagram to build a following of 11,5k for their startup.
Having a community of passionate followers and eager early adopters creates a sense of belonging and makes members feel like they're part of something important - something they should feel proud of. Because of their level of involvement, they can help you validate your startup idea and also be a great source of inspiration of what features to add next or what other opportunities lie within that market. If you treat your followers as partners, rather than simply looking at them as end consumers, and make them happy with your product your startup is bound for great success.