Who are your ‘believers’? Might there be people out there who want what you provide and just don’t know you yet? How will you know? What’s the cost of not knowing?
Every company, cause or campaign must find its believers.
Think of all those people who camp overnight outside Apple Stores to be first to get the latest iPhone. The people who can’t function without their triple shot soy latte from Starbucks. The millions who were captivated by the ALS “ice bucket challenge”.
These are the people who share your “why” – the reason you do what you. They are people who have a passion that your company or cause may enable. They are people who have a need you meet.
They are all sharing their thoughts, passions, ideas, product tips, opinions and more in millions of social conversations every hour of every day. Some of what they’re sharing with each other – and amplifying to millions more – will tell you just about everything you need to know about your market, its segments and what remains untapped.
Take SavingsSquirrel, a startup for American kids to collaborate on how to spend their allowance for social good. It knew kids have a collective $50 billion of allowance money at their fingertips. It had a hypothesis that parents wanted their kids to learn about savings, debt and investment, and a theory that kids would enjoy participating if it was fun and they could see the impact of their collaborations in positive change.
SavingsSquirrel didn’t yet know the scale of its addressable market, nor how to identity and segment the most likely early users and customers. With traditional market research and advertising it would take many months of costly investment and most startups simply don’t have that luxury. They need to test and validate hypotheses quickly and cost-efficiently.
So SavingsSquirrel asked Verifeed to identify everyone on Twitter talking about allowance and teaching kids about money. “Tell me something I don’t know” was the request. “How many people care about this? Where are they? Why do they care? Is there anything you can tell me about them? Once I know who is interested, how can I recruit them as early users and influencers?”
In just one month Verifeed was able to identify millions of people – mostly moms and teachers across three continents – who wanted exactly what the founder was busy building. Many were lamenting how difficult it was to engage their kids in conversations about money, or were actively searching for a product to teach kids about money management and financial responsibility. We could see who was influencing conversations, either by providing tips, sharing opinions or experiences – and how many millions of people these influencers were engaging virally. We could see where they lived, what else they cared about, and how they talked about money.
The intelligence proved vital in helping SavingsSquirrel better understand its target market segments and shape a precision-targeted marketing strategy.
What we found was that of all the moms talking allowance, there were three segments that used completely different words and contexts to describe the same thing: Stay at home moms talked about kids needing to understand the value of money; entrepreneurial moms talked about teaching kids about how to make money work for them; Tea Party moms and home-schooling advocates talked about personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. They all qualified as early adopter customers and influencers, and yet how SavingsSquirrel started the conversation with them would have to be radically different.
The founder was now able to use the very words and phrases used by his newly identified ‘believers’ and target the most influential of them to become beta testers, early adopter customers, and ‘word of mouth’ evangelists on social media. By listening and learning, he could leverage what was resonating most to identify the best Google Adwords and Facebook advertising keywords – and even the messaging he used on his website.
All this combined to grow reach and engagement quickly – and enabled SavingsSquirrel to personalize their conversations, build valuable relationships and loyalty, become a valuable influencer, and hone their product to better serve their early customers.
We often ask, “what is the cost of not knowing?” Whether a startup finding its first customers or a large established brand preparing to launch a new product or better understand a target market, it’s vital to verify your relevance on social, know your customer and what makes them tick. It saves you time and money and gets you where you need to be much faster.
Who are your believers?