Good Audience for Business

 

 

In the last update, I told you about how we lost our first customer. We learned a lot from them and people who didn’t convert from free trials — small businesses just don’t have time to spend on social media every day.

I’m excited to share with you Good Audience for Business which we implemented and launched this week. We fully manage a business’s Twitter growth using account managers and have already signed up 3 new customers. The brilliant part? The account managers use Good Audience on their behalf.

Key achievements the past week:
- Paying customers +10%
- MRR +22.5%
- Karl featured in a group interview at Founders Grid on How Startups Manage Their Code

- Sherman was a speaker at Silicon Valley Code Camp.
- Crunched our dataset and wrote an article on How to Triple Your Growth Rate on Twitter

What we’re working on next:
- Exploration with Instagram as they have over 200M monthly active users

How to Triple Your Growth Rate on Twitter in Just a Few Minutes a Day

 

 

We all know that growing an audience on social media is important for you and your business. It builds brand awareness and contributes to your bottom line. However, few of us actually have the time necessary to spend on Twitter. You could hire a social media manager, but the good ones are expensive and you risk hiring someone incompetent. 

After running experiments and analyzing the data, we’ve tracked down the perfect formula to grow an engaged audience without sacrificing too much of your valuable time or money. Here’s what we found:

Show Your Appreciation

Favoriting

Twitter is a conversation tool and everyone enjoys any acknowledgement. They want to know that you’ve been listening to their thoughts and reading their content. The easiest way to show your appreciation is by favoriting their tweets. When you favorite a tweet, it sends the user a notification. Oftentimes, the user will check your profile, read your tweets, engage with you and follow you back, and visit your website.

We’ve tracked over a million favorites and have crunched the numbers. About 4-6% of all tweets you favorite will turn into a new follower. You still receive exposure from those that click your profile but don’t follow you.

In this simple example, I received 7 favorites for my tweet with Brad Feld and Gordon Daugherty in Austin, Texas. Guess what I did? I looked at the profiles and websites of all 7 people because they showed me some love. In fact, I even followed them. Try engaging with me above and see if I follow you ;)

A great example of a Twitter influencer leveraging favorites is TechStars London Managing Director, Jon Bradford. Below is a graph of Jon’s twitter growth over the past year. In the first 6-month period, he was growing at a rate of 150 followers a month with no favoriting.

You can see the inflection point starting at the second 6-month period of when he started showing appreciation to other Twitter users with a simple favorite. The results were amazing. Jon started growing at double the rate with 300 followers a month. His tactic? He targeted specific tweets where users were talking about startups and entrepreneurship. Not only has the number of his followers increased but so has his engagement. That highlights the fact that these are relevant and captivated new followers.

image

150 followers/month for 1st 6 months. 300 followers/month for 2nd 6 months. Favoriting doubled growth rate.

Following

While Twitter users enjoy receiving a favorite, they LOVE getting a new follower. In fact, they love it so much that they are 5 times more likely to follow you back as opposed to favoriting their tweet. We’ve also tracked over 1 million follows on Twitter and found that ~20-30% of all people you follow, will follow you back.

Let’s have a look at the startup @PicResize. In the graph below, you can see that their growth was relatively flat up until the beginning of August. That’s when they started targeting key influencers and potential customers to follow. They even targeted tweets talking about photoshopping and image resizing to favorite. Their growth rate tripled and are gaining 900 followers a month. 

image

With no follow or favorite engagements, growth remained flat. Growth rate tripled after employing those tactics.

Targeting the Right People

We know that favoriting and following users works to rapidly increase your growth on Twitter, but how do you know who to follow and favorite? Targeting is important because you want to make sure that you are following and favoriting people that have an interest in what you have to say and will engage with you. 

Some factors we look at are number of tweets and followers, how often they engage with others, related keywords, and their overall influence across the web. Through millions of our data points, we’ve been able to create a robust algorithm that targets those users who are most likely to engage with and show an interest in you.

Doing It Efficiently

Now that you know the secrets of increasing your growth rate on Twitter, how can you make time to perform all the engagements? We are able to perform all of our engagements for the day in just a few minutes using our own tool. By surfacing high quality users and tweets we can quickly scan through the suggestions and engage with users seamlessly and efficiently.

It’s up to you to define what your workflow looks like. I’d suggest spending 5 minutes every morning doing a quick search on Twitter for conversations that are going on. Then show those people some love. Get started now! Follow and favorite these people below. I searched specifically for people talking about “startups” on Twitter.

The Best Part: It Just WORKS!

While following and favoriting users may seem like a rather simplistic growth strategy, the fascinating thing is that it works! We’ve done our research and have crunched the numbers from millions of engagements, and it’s proven to be a successful growth and user acquisition strategy. Your users are out there, you just have to interact with them!

How do you achieve growth on Twitter? We’d love to hear your strategies in the comments below…

Good Audience Weekly Update 9/28

 

 

We received our first account cancellation this week :( It hurt, but having these conversations ensures that we are delivering on what users want. Don’t worry, we’ll win that account back.

On a positive note, we had a super fun week as we head towards ramen profitability! There are already positive signs with our efforts in engaging the startup communities in SFLANYC, and London.

Key achievements the past week:
- Paying customers +26.2%
- MRR +14.9%
- Event sponsor at the Startup Marketing Conference. Our logo will be on all signage, power points, and we’ll be in direct conversations with over 500 marketers in SF. All with $0 marketing spend thanks to Karl’s hustle. Did anyone mention he’s the CTO?

- Partner at Library For All in NYC. We’re helping nonprofits raise their awareness on social media.
- Offering our product to all hackathon organizers at Major League Hacking
- Featured on StartupCatchup

What we’re working on next:
- Automated organic audience growth
- Continue engaging the startup community in SFLANYCLondon.

Can you help?
Do you know small business owners who know they need to build a strong social media presence, but never have time for it? Or hired someone to handle it for them? I’d appreciate an intro to learn about their experience.

We discovered an interesting gap in the market. We’re experimenting with a solution that doesn’t require the business owner to sit in front of a tool. That frees them up to work on what they’re good at. It’s also cheaper than hiring a social media person. That makes replacing 1 or 2 entry level employees a no-brainer.

Cheers,
Sherman and Karl

Good Audience Weekly Update 9/21

 

 

Thanks for all the feedback, introductions and help last week :) Your support really makes a difference.

Key achievements the past week:
- Paying customers +23.1%
- MRR +17.1%
- First iteration of a keyword analyzer (making use of our 1M Twitter users dataset)

- Became a community sponsor at Silicon Valley Code Camp and LA Startup Week
- Won the Tech Warrior Award!


What we’re working on next:
- Automated organic audience growth
- Engaging the startup community in SFLANYCLondon.

Can you help? We need feedback from experienced folks in..
- Deeply engaging the startup community. Building relationships here have showed positive signs so far. Startups love being early adopters, they need our product to get traction and more keep popping up :)

Cheers,
Sherman and Karl

Good Audience September Update

 

 

The past month has been super exciting. We’ve been working closely with our early adopters and made several key discoveries.

After generating over 1M suggested followers, we know what converts a Twitter user to a follower for different business categories. This data can be used to power keyword suggestions, interests and tailored audiences on Twitter’s Ad platform.

Furthermore, our customers have been asking for ways to automate their organic audience growth. We’ve already done this for ourselves using a scalable workforce that uses our proprietary software.

Our vision has always been to help businesses build a good audience that converts into customers. We believe we can transform how easy it is do organic and paid audience targeting across the social web. Tell us a little bit about your target market and we fully manage your growth!

Key achievements the past month:
- Paying customers +66.6%
- MRR +36.5%
- Implemented keyword level analytics
- Improved spam filtering
- A/B testing of pricing plans and free trials
- Kicked off content marketing. Syndicated on MediumHuffingtonPostTechCityNews and EditorialIV

What we’re working on next:
- Automated organic audience growth
- Twitter Ads keyword suggestion tool
- Looking for startup community ambassadors in SFLANYCLondon. Startups love our product the most because it gets them real traction. We want to evangelize at meetups, hackathons, accelerators, etc., to get the word of mouth going fast.

Can you help? We need feedback from experienced folks in..
- Running an ambassador program to build deep relationships with local startup communities (Sherman’s already done some groundwork by teaching entrepreneurs how to get their initial traction at General AssemblySilicon Valley Code CampHACKcelerator and PubHack)

Cheers,
Sherman and Karl

How I got into Techstars, was almost kicked out, and fought to stay in

 

 

Techstars applications are open and I’m constantly getting asked the same question over and over: “How do I get into Techstars?” In hindsight, I can clearly see the exact path that got our startup, Good Audience, into Techstars London 2014.

The Application Process

There were over 1,500 applications and only 11 companies accepted into the program. That’s less than a 1% acceptance rate. I know what you’re thinking, “I probably won’t get in.” However, I urge you not to play the percentages; the best thing to do is make your startup look as good as possible on paper.

Team

There are endless configurations of founders and Techstars has seen them all. In your application, it’s important to show that your team can pull off the startup.

Do you have several years of industry experience in your space? State it. Have you scaled systems? Show that you can do it technically. Can you hustle to break through obstacles? Share an impressive story.

Our team managed over 180 social media accounts for businesses, scaled systems to over 600M users at Google & Yahoo, and always seem to be able to hack non-technical systems to our favor (like skipping lines into night clubs without paying the entrance fee.)

image

Karl and I doing customer development. Knowing how different businesses use social media is crucial.

Differentiator

How are you different from your competitors? Investors tend to shy away if your market is crowded and if theres nothing that separates you from everyone else.

This could be tough depending on what stage your company is in. You may not already have figured it out yet. The important thing to know is what specific problem you are trying to address and how people are solving it?

For us, it was simply that the mechanics of social engagement to grow your audience worked. Techstars believed that we could easily become the SEO Moz for social media; completely different from all the other social media platforms out there.

image

All active users have a graph that go up and to the right. It just works.

Market Size

How big is the opportunity you’re attacking? Does the market exist? If it does, how can you capture enough of it?

For example, there are over 25 million businesses who use social media. If we captured just 1% of the market, charging $100/month, we’d be a $300M/year business.

Signs of Traction

Do you already have users? Paying customers? In what time frame? This is your chance to show how well you have been executing. Be sure to have a target metric and try to hit it every single week.

At the time we applied to Techstars, the product we were working on had been growing in new users at 51% a week. Even if someone doesn’t fully understand the product or market, traction will trump that.

The Interview Process

Interviews happen over Skype, Google Hangout, and even in-person. The whole goal of the interview process is to see if they like you and how well you execute.

image

I’m giving the interviewers a high five over Skype.

Show How Awesome You Are

There are multiple rounds of interviews and they all gauge two things: can the team clearly explain their business and can the team get a lot done? You should be showing progress every single time you interview.

Each time we talked to the team at Techstars, we got an amazing amount of things done. We won the goodaudience.com domain in an auction for $79, acquired more paying customers, integrated more social media services, and received term sheets from competing accelerators.

Find Someone to Vouch For You

Techstars spend a lot of time recruiting to ensure the best teams apply. One strong signal is a direct recommendation of your team to the managing director of the program you’re interested in. Have a look through your network to see who may be able to help make an introduction.

One of our mentors introduced us to Cody Simms, the managing director of the Techstars Disney Accelerator. He was kind enough to take the time to meet our team over lunch and gave us tactical advice on how to move the business forward. Luckily, he liked us and sent a note over to Jon Bradford who is the managing director of the London program.

Staying In Techstars

On day one of Techstars, we were told that at least one team wouldn’t make it through together to Demo Day. I didn’t think that would be us, but it was.

Almost Getting Kicked Out

One week into the program, a co-founder abused our trust in a very bad way. So I had to terminate them from the company and inform the Techstars London directors of what happened. They were not pleased, to say the least.

Our business at the time received terrible feedback during the first mentor week. Nobody could understand how it would scale. To top it off, my wife was pregnant; about to give birth, and I would have to fly back to San Francisco at any given moment.

We were at a serious low. Given the situation at hand, Jon Bradford suggested two paths to take. We could accept that sometimes life plays us a bum hand and call it quits. Or we could clean things up. They would stand behind and support us, but we would be on a week to week probation and need to start demonstrating significant forward momentum. From an outside perspective, our team looked like a mess and the business was a pile of crap.

Community Support

Later that day, Mick Hagen from Spatch (another Techstars London team) saw that my body language was off. He sent me an email that inspired me to fight hard.

image

I could have easily given up, walked away from the mess I created and returned the money. Mick and I took a walk around Clerkenwell, the neighborhood where our office was located. I told him everything that happened and he had my back. He wasn’t going to let Good Audience leave.

Our CTO Karl, was on a flight to join us in London and didn’t know about being asked to call it quits. He was going to show up at the office at 4pm and we were going to have a meeting with the directors that would determine our fate.

Mick suggested that I better go find Karl and make sure we’re on the same page. It was about 2pm, I rushed on a double decker bus to his flat as he just checked in, and filled him in about our current situation. It was comforting that Karl never seemed nervous at all, he was confident we’d get through it and had my back too.

image

The bus I took to go find Karl just as his plane landed.

Fortunately, the meeting with the directors went well. We stated our case and were granted life. There was no way we were going to simply give up and they completely supported us in that decision. As entrepreneurs themselves, they didn’t want to be the ones that pulled the plug on our startup. We had one week before the next mentor sessions to get our act together. They applied some pressure to ensure we got back on the right track.

That night, I let all the other companies know what happened. Their support was amazing. Everyone pitched in with feedback, introductions, customer development, competitive analysis, designs, prototyping, etc…

In one week, we were able to clean things up legally, and create a prototype that described a compelling vision of the business we would pursue. We took what we learned from the previous business, threw away the product and created something for a different market based on feedback.

image

This was a clickable HTML, CSS, and Javascript prototype of our new vision.

A prototype and a vision can go a long way. All the Techstars directors and the mentors were excited about it. We looked like a completely different company. They were happy with how we handled the situation and we were going to stay.

Jens Lapinski recently told me at that time, the directors took us off their list of companies to worry about. After that initial (almost catastrophic) disaster, we never made it back on that list. They whipped us into shape and I wouldn’t have changed anything about the journey.

People, People, People

image

The people of Techstars London 2014. Founders, employees, hackstars, associates and directors.

As you can see, how we got into Techstars and how we were able to stay all had to do with the people. They were investing in people who had strong qualities. All the teams in our program had the following characteristics:

Adaptability

You must be able to handle change well. You have to be willing to throw things away when they’re not working. You must be fearless in getting feedback and internalize if your product isn’t something your users want.

The team at Spatch were building their app on top of IMAP. After a couple of months, they realized that building hack on hack on top of email wasn’t working. They scrapped it.

Fast Execution

You have to get a lot done, fast. Decisions must be made quickly. They may not always be the right decisions, but you must be able to quickly recognize that you’re wrong and fix it. Your main focus is doing the best possible thing for your company on any given week.

Our friends at Shortcut were blazingly fast. They came into Techstars with just an idea and pulled through by relentlessly cold calling venue operators, iterating multiple versions of their mobile app, and servicing several live events before demo day. In fact, they went straight from demo day to do another live event.

Resiliency

Never give up. As a founder, it’s up to you to keep the momentum going. There will be endless tough challenges that will test you mentally and emotionally. All you have to do is get through them.

Smile Mom was notoriously hard working. I think they worked 90 days straight without taking a break. They maintained a 10% weekly growth rate every single week. When they were tired, they pounded another redbull and pushed through.

Generosity

Every single person involved with Techstars has the mentality of #GiveFirst. The community has no bad actors. It is a trusted network that feels just like a family.

People are always there to help when you need it. Tak Lo, a director, was a shining example of this in London. He was the first person that stepped up to help when we almost got kicked out. He supported us emotionally and kept pushing us to fight. And for that I am forever grateful.

Good Luck!

To conclude, your goal is to be a strong team working on an interesting problem in a big market. I know it’s difficult to explain that succinctly and I’m happy to help.

If you are thinking about doing Techstars, want help with your application or advice on your interviews, you can tweet me @SHERM8N or send me an email here.

Good Audience now supports scheduled tweets

 

 

We just pushed to production the "scheduled tweets" feature. You can now queue up any of the suggested content that your target audience will like. These posts will go out at a later time :)

Above: Click “Tweet Later” to post any of the suggested content at the suggested time.

Above: Manage your scheduled posts and see what’s coming up.

If you have any feedback, find any bugs or want to say hi, contact us here! We respond to everyone :)

Cheers,
Sherman and Karl

P.S. Read all our past updates on our blog.

The feature you’ve been asking for..

 

 

I’m excited to let you know about the new "unfollow" feature we just pushed to production. It’s something that everyone has been asking for the past couple of weeks. We heard you loud and clear!


The consequence of quickly building an audience that engages with your business is getting a cluttered feed. Now you can curate followers who don’t contribute anything to your business :) We surface these people for you to unfollow.

Key achievements this week:
- Strong organic user growth at +22% with no marketing effort
- Over 30% of all users are active weekly
- Direct user feedback that our value prop can’t be found elsewhere

Above: Love rooftop meetings in SF. Catching up with our current investors and getting feedback from people who are experienced in our space.

Above: Recruiting at UC Berkeley. We’re hiring a few engineers to move faster. If you know someone that will fit into our culture (we love hugs), please send them our way!

Above: A walk down memory lane at Soda Hall. Female computer science students here have increased 10x since Karl and I graduated. So proud to get a chance to talk to them about their experience. 

Cheers,
Sherman and Karl

P.S. Read all our past updates on our blog.

Demo Day is over and it’s only the beginning for Good Audience

 

 

Wow, we really enjoyed meeting so many people at Demo Day. The London startup community is definitely strong and growing! It was seriously standing room only :) 


This week we saw another 48% growth in new users. Thank you for your support throughout Techstars. It’s only the beginning and we want to thank you for being part of the journey.

We’re looking for mentors and partners to help take the business forward. You saw what SEO did for search and we believe that Good Audience will do the same for social media. Please reach out if you want to be part of the team :)

Don’t forget to sign up at www.goodaudience.com. Give us brutal and honest feedback!

Above: The teams backstage getting ready to pitch. Lots of adrenaline back there.

Above: Another great performance by Stephanie O’Brien during the break between pitches.

Above: Enjoying the special Techstars brew while giving demos of the product.

Cheers,
Sherman and Karl

P.S. Read all our past updates on our blog.

Good Audience is ready for demo day!

 

 

We’re excited to see you on Friday for demo day! The past 3 months have gone by fast and we’ve made an incredible amount of progress.

Good Audience came into Techstars with an unscalable business. We quickly recognized that, scrapped it, dug deep for customer feedback and pivoted. Our first line of code was written only 7 weeks ago and we are happy with how receptive our beta customers are.

Key Achievements This Week:
- Grew 32% in new users
- Optimizations to scale up increased usage
- Featured on Bloomberg TV



If you haven’t done so already, sign up for the beta now at www.goodaudience.com. Give us brutal and honest feedback!

Let’s do this,
Sherman and Karl

P.S. Read all our past updates on our blog.