Build the audience before the product.
I’ve always believed you as the founder should be the face of your business. With the publishing tools available now, I believe that more than ever.
My prediction is that within 2–3 years, the “typical” CEO, i.e. the one who sits behind a desk and doesn’t “get their face out there” will be outcompeted.
Not by a company with a higher marketing spend or better team, but by afounder who understands that the foundation for any sale is trust and likability.
And the easiest way to build those two assets right now is via live streaming — either Snapchat or Facebook Mentions.
The wise Gary Vaynerchuk has been saying this for a while about the general population, but I don’t think most founders are considering what live steaming and ephemeral content mean for them, their brand, their cost of customer acquisition and a bunch of other baseline requirements to build a company that cuts through the noise.
When I think about the products I’ve bought in the last year or so, at least 40% of those companies have a founder who regularly shares advice and help via Snapchat, Facebook Mentions, Instagram or Medium.
If you think about your buying decisions and purchase history, I’d bet you’re not too dissimilar to me.
If I was going to build a company for scratch in 2016, here’s how I’d do it:
- Start with 5–10 stories a day on Snapchat about the problems my potential customers have and give real world advice on how to solve them
- Go live on Facebook Mentions once a week and do a 1–2 hour stream about a problem your potential customers have and (surprise surprise) how to solve it
- Repost all video assets from above to YouTube and optimize their titles etc to rank in YouTube’s search results
- Interview one thought leader on YOUR Facebook account as a live stream every week and ask them to tell their audience about it
- After 6 months of doing the things above repeatedly, build a product based on the feedback, questions and challenges learned from your audience
This is building an audience before a company or product and it pays monster dividends because attention is the most important currency we need to capture in business today.
Imagine launching a product that your audience has asked for — and having thousands of potential customers eager to hear about your product on launch day.
A final take away: if you’re not the face of your business and taking advantage of Snapchat and Facebook Mentions (live), I’d strongly suggest starting. It will pay huge dividends fairly quickly.
|About Mitchell Harper
Mitch is a 7x company founder, advisor and investor. He is best known as the co-founder of BigCommerce. His companies have generated over $200,000,000 in total revenue and he is currently building an online education company and a SaaS company.