written by Will Fraser | March 22nd, 2013
As we start to build our startups, we are often overrun with excitement about sharing our company with the world. This could be great and lead to major investment, customer excitement and wildly successful business, or it could lead to an unfortunate stream of Social Blathering with no focus and leave people with the wrong impression.
In this article, we outline 3 case studies of 3 different startups, each at different points in their company’s timeline. Each case study covers what the startup did before they launched – how they gained traction and notice and what they did to turn that traction into a marketing machine.
Please take these simply as examples and ideas as you consider how your startup should act on social media before the Launch.
Launched Feb 26 2013
This startup is trying to modernize snail mail – by digitizing it.
Outbox is a great example of a startup that did their pre-launch marketing right. They didn’t go exceptionally heavy into social media until their product had been launched. Once the product was launched, they were sure to keep their social media light by only answering questions, giving thanks and not selling.
The Outbox blog is another example of great pre-launch marketing. They started the blog a year before they launched and have filled it with lots of pictures and quotes from keen customers. The quotes stand out because they have been re-written in a visually appealing manner that pop off of the page making this blog a great place for future referrals. (take a look here)
Outbox also delivered a number of Tweet-worthy gifts to influential offices around San Francisco and gained huge momentum in the social media world. Once those Tweet-worthy gifts hit – the media storm took hold and on Feb 27, 2013 the coveted Mashable article was written. Now Outbox is everywhere online.
Take home message: Start slow and low to build a strong foundation then surprise the influencers and be prepared for success.
Launched Aug 17, 2012
App.net took a different approach to gaining a quick social foothold – they launched on App.net’s crowdfunding platform.
Crowdfunding allowed them to raise $500,000 and gain over 9,000 paid users very quickly. In turn, they were able to attract more customers by quickly adjusting their price structure, which earned them even more social buzz.
Their crowdfunding success alone earned them articles on TechCrunch and Mashable that began early in August 2012. They are now an established brand, which has an active social presence with multiple conversations daily.
Take home message: Your investors talk , especially when they are customers. Crowdfunding sites can be just as (if not more) powerful than finding a VC for consumer focused businesses.
In Their Pre-Launch Phase
Startupality is a startup that aims to offer other startups a collaborative management tool based on lean startup principals.
They are brand new and have not yet started making a fuss. You can find their Facebook and Twitter accounts are created but doing nothing. They do already have a blog up with a couple of posts. Overall, you can see they are staying under the radar and focusing on the company.
Their main web presence is their landing page where you can enter your email to stay informed. Once you have signed up you are given the option to share their page on social media. This is a great first step to getting the word out without blasting out to the world that there is an impending beta.
Take home message: Take it slow, get the product right and then blow the top off of your great new company.
These are just 3 of many startups each with different pre-launch strategies. Which strategy is right for your startup is up to you. If you learn from others and think about how to apply their experience to your businesses, you greatly increase your odds of launching your own great company will greatly increase.