Techpreneurship, with Jeff Amerine
(Jeff Amerine is an IA advisor and officer with the University of Arkansas Technology Licensing Office. Each Thursday, his Techpreneurship blog will appear in INOV8. Drop him a line in comments.)
Twit, tweet, re-tweet….even the jargon sounds suspect to a basic blocking and tackling, gray-beard Techpreneur…but didn’t we just hear last week that Tweeter raised $100 million in private equity against a $1 billion valuation even though they have almost no revenue? Check it out - http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aPAHFu.jBrhM
How do you suppose they justified the valuation that supported that investment? Irrational exuberance yet again?
Well even though someone recently – can’t remember who - described Twitter as the “Paris Hilton of social media,” I think Techpreneurs can find value in this microblogging, community-reaching tool. Oh, and did I mention as of August Twitter had 23 million subscribers? How’s that for rapid, viral adoption?
To get some concrete ideas for how Twitter can help your startup, check out some recent small-business success stories in a recent Wall Street Journal blog by Riva Richmond http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203550604574359362541707146.html#articleTabs%3Darticle
Here’s my perspective. Every startup needs to really understand its target customer base. This can’t be done through purely secondary-market research. So, it follows the answer is primary-market research, right? Well most startups don’t have the money or the time to do endless face-to-face focus groups, surveys, etc., on a national scale.
In addition, once you have that epiphany that someone, somewhere will actually pay money for the problem you solve, how do you keep them engaged and interested? Regular traditional-media advertising, slick sheets, expensive static website? Again, unless you own a platinum mine, you probably don’t have the bucks to make that happen.
Enter Twitter… If managed well, Twitter can create a user focus group in the demographic that cares about your product or service, and it costs far less than traditional techniques. Most Techpreneurs with a little time investment can master the best way to use Twitter and other social media to create buzz, raise awareness, ask probing questions…..
And most importantly, you can keep customers engaged in being part of your “Tribe” (sorry I am again quoting jargon from this social media space and can’t for the life of me remember the source…..).
Think you may want “expert” help to get the maximum benefit from social media? A number of consultancies have sprung to life. Here again, the Wall Street Journal talks about the advantages and disadvantages of using outside help to become a savvy Twit. Check it out: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125435764583454651.html.
So you may be saying to yourself, “Great, sounds cool, but who in Arkansas can help me become an effective Twit?” After all, where’s the fun in being an ineffective Twit? I’m certain we have no shortage of those in certain U.S. zip codes…
We do have local expertise! Check out Scribe Marketing at http://www.scribemarketing.com/. Jeanette Balleza runs Scribe Marketing. Aside from being an overall marketing guru, and local to NW Arkansas, Jeanette has grown up with the social-media revolution from the start. She can transform you and your company into a twittering, tweeting, re-tweeting, super-twit! You can also follow Scribe Marketing on twitter at http://twitter.com/netscribe.
Alright, fire away – let me know what you think about becoming a Twit…