Can you compete against what's there in the social media universe? (courtesy of fredcavazza)
As social media gains in popularity and starts attaining mainstream status, more and more "netrepreneurs" have hopped onto the "blogwagon". Peddling new and exciting platforms, tools, widgets, and channels, they are relentless in pushing them out. The sad thing is that many of them often do not have a clue about the basics of how markets work.
Here are some of my thoughts (admittedly recycled from an email I wrote many moons ago) on what one should consider before starting anything 2.0-ish in nature.
1) Positioning. From the onset, you need to get the messaging right about what your venture hopes to do and how it differentiates itself from the tonnes of other web 2.0 applications out there. How does this differ from the others? What are the Unique Selling Points (USPs) that this service offers?
2) Content. If you focus entirely on made in Singapore content, your audience is unlikely to reach that of Wikipedia's. However, it may get you a more loyal and consistent readership. You may also need to filter the wheat from the chaff and exert some editorial direction and control. Quality can sometimes be subjective.
3) Range and scope. What are areas that your new blog/platform/facebook-killer/widget will cover? Is it purely limited to geek appeal or can it also attract more mainstream business folks in areas like marketing, PR, finance, operations, sales and finance? It sometimes pays for you to be more focused on an exact niche than use a blunderbluss approach and fire everywhere.
4) Community. You need to build your community of believers. These are your alpha-customers, ie the folks who are going to be your beta-testers. Think about the focus of what you are doing and the kind of members that you wish to attract. Do they need to be engineers and programmers or will the average Joe do?
5) Target Audiences. Who are the folks that you are hoping to hit? Are they already frequenting the social media universe or are you hoping to reach the unconverted? I think one of the largest untapped market in Singapore's blogosphere are mainstream companies. What's interesting is that many people participate in social media for leisure purposes (hence social) as opposed to work reasons. This represents a huge blue ocean opportunity if you know how to seize it.
6) Sustainability. This can sometimes be the achilles heel in any social media initiative. You need to continue to keep on doing it and then some. Continuity isn't only important for content but marketing, operations, manpower and finance too. It isn't just the technology or the vast network of friends from all over the globe that you have. It is also about managing a business and leading a team!
7) Stakeholders (or even Shareholders). These special folks can provide a reality check, flashes of inspiration, and act as devil's advocates - a must to ensure that you don't go over-enthusiastic in wanting to change the world on a dime. They have a stake in ensuring that the new endeavour succeed, and it will be good to involve them as much as possible every step of the way. It is best to get a panel of advisors who come from different backgrounds so that they can provide different perspectives that add value to your venture.
Are there any other points that one should consider? Comments and criticisms most welcome!
Labels: business strategy, social media