Top 5 tips on what entrepreneurs should consider when setting up in the social curation sector
‘Rockfig’ is a social curation platform that helps you quickly find, create and share the world’s best free learning resources all in one place. Its CEO, David Summers, offers 5 tips on what he has learnt in creating a business in this sector.
1. Compelling Need
Do you have a social curation site that’s actually a solution for someone’s needs, and will the decision makers (in our case, it’s teachers) recognise that it’s a problem? You’ve got the best chance when you are giving your customers what they want, rather than what you think they need. Many ideas can be solutions looking for a problem and the entrepreneur fails to perform the due diligence to validate that there is a real market for their brainchild.
How strong is there a need for your offering? If the need is mild, the response will be mild. The greater the compelling need, the greater your chances for success.
People know what they want. Talk to customers to understand their needs – talk to them about your social curation idea to see if it would address their pain point. Drop the thin skin, be a good listener and welcome outside input to validate your model. Always remember that the centre of the customer’s universe is the customer.
Take feedback on UI and UX early. You tend to lose objectivity on your product and find every feature easy to use and the work flow perfect. However, when a first time user tries it, he may think completely differently.
Let your business turn into what it wants to be, not force it in the direction you think it should go. In the early stages, you need to stay open-minded, flexible, and do a fair amount of sitting back and observing. Customer behaviour will tell you everything you need to know about how your business might evolve and become successful.
2. Your audience
Each social curation site has a unique identity and audience, so take time to research the demographics you intend to target.
You no doubt have a grasp of your audience’s interests. Blogs are still a great way to build an engaged community around your brand and interests. Check what your customers are sharing on social media. By making your blog posts relevant to readers, they may pass along your content as well and become your advocate, awarding you with free, yet most valuable, marketing.
Use stories to illustrate the benefits your business has to offer. Direct your message to the reader and be sure to personalize it by using the word “you.” In this way your posts directly address (and pique the interest) of your community.
Reach out to ‘influencers’ among your target audience even before you launch. Find out whether they are potential customers of yours and the pain they have with current solutions. Solicit their feedback and use it to improve your offerings. Most influencers tend to have vested interests in a curation site once a great relationship is built, so they won’t mind mentioning you in front of their audience.
3. Create a marketing strategy
‘Build it and they will come’ doesn’t work for curation sites. If you stop marketing, your audience will stop watching. Ensure you are constantly nourishing and sharing your brand. Be unique, be memorable, be helpful to the consumer, interact and network.
SEO, ads, radio and other marketing vehicles will propel your curation service. Just hanging out your sign will not bring customers in. If you’re strapped, there are plenty of “free” ways to market a business that take other forms of investment (time and effort), but no marketing means no audience – no matter how good your product is.
And after building your marketing plan, schedule media training for yourself plus another leader so that you will be comfortable with the media as you build your business and change the game.
Never believe that there is no competition. Competition is any entity that takes your potential customer’s money away from you. You must know everything about any curation site that pursues your audience. You must be able to differentiate your curation site from all competitors and explain why the customer should spend time with you and not others. Competition is your best friend in business.
5. Find your niche
The biggest mistake for you to avoid is thinking your curation site is for everyone. Instead, think niche. Niche quickly and narrowly, so you’ll stand out from the crowd and become the go to curation source in your particular area. You are better off with a crowd of specific, weird, people who are crazy about the topic following you than you are with everyone. You’ll make more money and you’ll help more people. When you have the ability to stand out, you’ll get noticed and make money. Find a platform & stand for something…it will get you far, fast!