Growth StartupPlays: Franco Varriano Experience Launching Startups and Generated Over $100,000 in Sales from Step-By-Step Guide
Franco’s particular expertise is in gaining the initial traction for a new product, and building it’s early community of users. He is a proponent of social growth hacking.
TOPIC FRANCO VARRIANO COVERS
- His expertise in gaining initial traction for a new product
- His background on startup plays
- What his current role on startup plays
- His proponent of social growth hacking
- His typically aim for sign-ups on the landing page
- Building that landing page around a feature
- What is the best kind of core thing to build his campaign around is
- His thoughts on Zappos
- His strategy with hashtags on Twitter
- His thoughts on Hacker News
- His thoughts on Google Plus
- What does Link Tally do
- And a whole lot more
LINKS & RESOURCES
WATCH THE INTERVIEW
READ THE TRANSCRIPTION
Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV. I’m Bronson Taylor and today I have Franco Veriato with us. Franco, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Franco: Thanks, man.
Bronson: Yeah. Was so glad to finally get you on here. So, Franco, you are currently with startup plays. Is that right?
Franco: That’s correct.
Bronson: Yes. All right. So tell us, what is startup plays? What does it do? Who’s it for? Why is it exist?
Franco: It exists basically because we found a need in between, you know, attending lots of conferences, reading lots of books and finding a really detailed way of of applying all this knowledge in the real world. So basically, startup plays is specifically for startups, for entrepreneurs. There’s step by step guides written by successful entrepreneurs that have really developed a market proven process throughout the years. And they’re all, you know, really focused on their niche. So whether it’s, you know, how to get really great ads or how to set up a really killer social campaign, they’re really, you know, experts of their domain. The idea is really it really comes from, you know, football plays where each team has, you know, this giant binder full of different strategies that they want to execute on the field together in order to win. And that’s the idea behind that. You know.
Bronson: I’m a user of started plays, so I can, you know, testify to it’s a great product and you have a lot of great content on there. What’s your what’s your current role? Is startup plays? What do you do there?
Franco: Well, I guess you know how things, you know, start ups and you’ve got to be able to juggle all these different roles at once. But what primarily I’m responsible for, for really developing an awesome community of both authors, the people that are writing these guides and, you know, the amazing fans who, who, who support us, who use the guys who champion the vision and just helping them really get the most out of the product. So anything I can do to encourage the growth on either of those two sides is really what I spend most of my time and focus on.
Bronson: Yeah, and that’s why we had you on the show. Really, honestly, because that leads perfectly into us talking about what your particular expertize is. You’re kind of domain expertize is in gaining the initial traction for a new product, building its early community of users. This is what you did for start up plays, like you said. So let’s dove into that more specifically. All right. Because that’s really what you’re going to, I think, share a great value for for our audience today. Let’s start with this. What kinds of companies in general do you think are most susceptible to gaining traction early on? Is there any kind of theme, any kind of threads across them where you can say, yeah, they have a chance to get some traction? Where other companies, you look at them and you say, yeah, they probably won’t gain any traction. Well, what do you see? Because you’ve seen it.
Franco: Yeah, I don’t like saying that nobody’s going to, you know, not gain traction. I think some just gain it faster than others. And the ones who are going to gain it really, really quickly is because they are in a niche that they know very well or have a deep connection to the existing community. And so what I’m talking about there is, you know, something something very, very personal to the founders. A lot of a lot of entrepreneurs will say that you have to be an expert in the space, which is not necessarily true. I mean, you you do have to know the space, but I think having that connection is more important than having expertize. I think if if you belong to a community, you kind of know a little bit about it. You can see where the pains are and what kind of value can provide to the other people. The expertize portion can get pulled in to create that product that’s really going to serve those people well. But basically, you know, I think Alex Ohanian from from Reddit talks about it a lot is his model of making something that people love and that evolves from, you know, his background with Y Combinator, the motto there is, you know, make something people need. So I think if you aren’t really familiar with the space or the culture of the community where you want to really build your startup with, then it’s going to be much harder for you to get some traction.
Bronson: Yeah. The word that comes to mind as you’re speaking is authenticity. It almost seems like that’s a kind of a broad word to sum it up, that you have to really love the community. You have to know about the community. You probably have to be a part of the community to just be trying to make a buck off the community because that’s not authentic, it’s not real, and it’s hard to gain traction. And I think people miss that. Sometimes they think that, oh, you know, you can make money and it doesn’t matter if you’re really in it or, you know, you really have to be in it to make money sometimes, you know? So yeah. Yeah. I like what you said. That’s great. Let me ask you this, too. So you’re an expert in kind of gaining the early traction for a product. Does a product have to be fully built before you start gaining traction, or do you prefer to begin even before that point? How do you view that process?
Franco: Yeah, absolutely. I typically like to to start building a community around a product. You know, you don’t build a product, you know, polish it up and then try to market it. To some people, that’s just a dumb, bad way of going about it. I mean, unless you’re you’re Coca-Cola or Apple or GoDaddy and you’ve got a giant budget, but even then, it’s very wasteful. The best the best thing to do is to really start, you know, using your few initial weeks of of having a concept. Building a community around them and helping them validate are using them to help validate the kind of concept and bring in influencers. I mean, that’s what we did was start a place I think some of the initial. You know, assumptions that most startups should should have is that, you know, you basically start off with the landing page, whether it’s launch rocket powered or something else, but basically just try to get people to sign up, give them enough that they know what you’re working on, get them to sign up instead of set a limit for yourself. So, you know, if I don’t get 1000 sign ups, then something’s not working, whether it’s the idea, the concept or the messaging. You know, you’ve got to set those deadlines for yourself. I like to think that if you have a if you have a great landing page, that you’re attracting some people, you start reaching out to them right away. You really need to show them your vision and kind of get their thoughts. Don’t sell them on the actual product. I mean, because it’s probably not built or it’s in shambles of a of a development stage. But but really what you’re trying to do is, is, like you said earlier, you know, get that authenticity, show them that that you are part of the community, that you want to help pull everybody together around your startup idea. And once that happens, I think there’s there’s a certain magic or passion that’s going to shine through. And I know that sounds a little fluffy, but I think the more people you talk about it with, the more feedback you actually take and use, the more influencers within the space that that, you know, you spend time refining and going through. They will actually help you get to the next steps. And, you know, the next steps are in terms of, you know, business development, product development, whatever. It becomes more clear, the more people you start, you start talking with. And you definitely shouldn’t wait until it’s done because nobody’s going to use it.
Bronson: Yeah, yeah. Because then you haven’t got their feedback, you haven’t got them on board exactly.
Franco: Because it doesn’t feel like it’s theirs. Right. They’re not going to they’re not going to take it and champion it. You’ve just built something for yourself. And I mean that that might solve your pain, but you don’t solve everyone’s. And again, it kind of comes from that that forward, backward approach. It it doesn’t make sense to build something and then market it back to the people. You really need to start, you know, with the marketing and making them feel involved. And then that’ll evolve into, you know, loyal users.
Bronson: Yeah. No, that’s great. You know, if the first question was summed up with authenticity, this one’s going to be summed up with ownership. You know, you give them ownership, make them feel like they’re a part of the process because we know how it feels, just a normal, everyday life. If somebody tells us what to do, it’s one thing if they involve us, ask for our input and include us in the decision making. It’s it’s a whole different way of viewing reality. And it makes us more just want to be a part of it. We want to go with the flow. We want to make it work because we had we had we had a role in it, you know. So exactly at.
Franco: The end, you feel like it’s yours.
Bronson: You feel like it sure is. It’s ownerships, authenticity, ownership. Those are awesome. Now, you mentioned in what you just said, you know, if you don’t get maybe a thousand sign ups, then you go back to the drawing board. Let’s talk about a real number, right. Because you’ve seen these numbers online maybe more than most people. You see what kind of sign ups should be expected. You know, if 200 is a lot or if 20,000 is a lot, right. So when you start a project, I mean, how many sign ups are you looking to get on that vaporware landing page? There’s nothing built yet. But here’s the raw idea. Are you looking for 1000? Was that a real number or is that just what’s going on or you think is a good one?
Franco: It’s definitely a starting point. I think it really depends on on kind of your personal experience, I typically aim for anywhere between three and 5000 sign ups on a on the landing page before I actually start to consider it a viable option. But I think it really depends on, you know, your experience, the the niche market that you’re in, how well, you know, it’s so but but, but I think the important part is really actually just setting a number that you personally feel responsible for for hitting. And, you know, I’m not going to say that it’s going to fail if it’s got this many numbers or not. I think it really depends on just some personal objectives, you know, saying that, you know, I think I can get this many people in X amount of time. And if if I hit that and it seems like it’s a viable objective.
Bronson: Yeah. So you say you go for 3 to 5000, and what kind of timeline do you usually give yourself or are you talking a couple of months, six months? I mean, what what is it you’re doing.
Franco: For weeks.
Bronson: Or weeks.
Bronson: Weeks for your personal projects that you’re involved with? If you don’t get three or 5000 email addresses on hand in a month’s time, once they move on to the next idea.
Franco: It’s on the back burner.
Bronson: You bet. All right. So that leads perfectly into the next segment, because right now, everybody watching this is thinking, okay, yeah, that sounds nice. Now, how do I actually get 3 to 5000 signups? Because those people think I put up a landing page to go to launch, Rog. Crickets like no one knows about it. No one cares about it. There’s no way to distribute it. And, you know, a month goes by and you have 11 signups and three of them. Were you testing it, making sure launch. Right. Was working. Right. So that’s.
Franco: The truth.
Bronson: Yeah. Yeah. So people watching this are going to need the dots connected now. Like how do you distribute these landing pages so that you can see if it has traction to get 3 to 5000 email addresses on file? So you’re a proponent of something that you call social growth hacking, and I like that word a lot, that phrase what is social growth hacking in your mind?
Franco: So so it’s it’s not really, you know, playing a trick on your friends or anything like that. It’s it’s really about striking a nerve with your with your chosen community in the right way, not, you know, something negative. It’s creating a message or an idea that resonates with people and that kind of pushes the campaign that you’re trying to create to grow much bigger than than yourself or that you could grow it, you know. By yourself within that four week period. It’s about being able to to gain momentum very rapidly, support attention and ultimately some business traction from this edition of people coming together and expressing their ideas, their opinion, grabbing that ownership and really pushing the project, the start up forward.
Bronson: Yeah. Now let’s get to the details of all that. One thing that that I saw you said online that was interesting to me was that social growth hacking doesn’t necessarily have to be online. And obviously that stands out as like a ha like that is what we do. Right. So what do you mean by that?
Franco: So, so basically any kind of rapid growth is never exclusively going to happen online. I’m not saying ignore the online world and I’m not saying, you know, ditch the ads and stuff like that. But I mean, until we all have a kind of cybernetic chips implant and various goal and that becomes our sole method of communications. Humans will always be creatures of relationships, and real relationships are actually based on the exchange of value information. So, you know, Steve Blaine talks about it a lot in building his start ups, getting out into the real world, throwing your assumptions against the wall. And so it’s great that you got a landing page, but you got to get out into the actual community, show them that landing page, talk to people because once you, you know, quarter them in a one on one conversation, maybe not necessarily one of them, but have one on one conversations. They’re more susceptible to actually giving you valuable feedback that you won’t get through those feedback forms. You know, they’re going to you know, not everyone is going to take the time to email you and saying, listen, your messaging on your landing page wasn’t clear. You know, if you post it looking for feedback on on some sites that we’ll get into later, you’re probably going to get some of that, but not everybody’s going to take the time out of their day to help you. So basically you got to get out there and start talking with people and then finding that that nerve, that one thing, the pain point that everybody has where you can provide some value and then bring that back on to the online space. I think one of the best examples for the kind of mass consumer Internet age in the early nineties was Salesforce. I mean, they really identified a better way of doing things for a specific group of people and then went to them for feedback and involvement as things started to grow there. Famous for doing this, they started hosting a lot of mixers and this is before the whole meet up dot com thing started happening. But basically the point of their meetups was really to talk to users and evangelists, find out what they liked, what they disliked, and then, you know, they started sponsoring them in other cities. I think that once you kind of understand that that initial pain point, I struck a nerve with the community. You can better reflect that in your messaging, on your landing page. And then that’s when, you know, later on, even once you’ve already hit the target of users, then you can start worrying about a massive onboarding strategy, you know, refining your viral loop and creating something really complex with technical integrations and other tools to kind of expand your circle of influence. But you really want to start tiny and focus on, on, on what really works.
Bronson: So really go low tech before high tech. And the first part of social growth hacking is really an emphasis on the social part. And still one of the best things we can do socially is face to face, you know, as you said, corner somebody and really get a dialog going with them and and get real feedback, force them to tell you the truth and and even ask questions where they’re forced to be honest. You know, that’s the thing I like to do when I’m looking for real feedback. I ask certain questions. And when I’m looking for fake feedback, I ask a different set of questions. You know, the fake feedback is it’s great, isn’t it? You know, it’s kind of leading the witness. They’re like, Yeah, it’s great. You know, the real feedback is, Tell me the three things that you hate most about it, and you have to give me real answers, you know? Yeah, now they have to tell you something is wrong with it. There is no. Well, it’s all good. No. Tell me three things that are not good about it. What does it not do that needs to, you know, whatever. So I like that the first piece of social is offline. Now when you build these social campaigns, you alluded to this just initially a little bit ago, but what do you build those campaigns around? Are you building that landing page around a feature? Are you building it around a benefit? Are you building it around a promise, an idea, an emotion? What do you think the best kind of core thing to build your campaign around is?
Franco: Yeah, definitely. So there’s there’s I mean, you could you could build it around a feature, a benefit or promise. But the high likelihood is that that’s going to change over time. So the better the better approach, I think, is building it around the idea of the vision or a feeling, whether it’s a positive or a negative feeling. And by that I mean, like, you know, you’re fresh, you know, your user base is frustrated with something. So how can you harness that frustration to say, you know, there’s a better way of doing it? Check this out. Provide me some some some examples or some feedback. Come back to read it. I mean, their initial marketing campaign, when they when they tried launching the site was less than 500 bucks and they spent it all on stickers and just, you know, putting it up around the neighborhood in the college and their their little alien mascot didn’t mean much to people, but once they started to check it out and saw the power of the site and how it worked and kind of felt like they were they were part of it or that they could relate to it a little bit more than what existed at the time. It really fueled the idea of of that kind of consistent front page, Democratic front page that helped it become so popular. Another real word. Temple that I really admire is is to share with Zappos and you know nothing about that company is about the shoes except for the product.
Bronson: Is the other way to say it.
Franco: Yeah. I mean, their users don’t think about Zappos as, as, as just a shoe place. They think about it as the feeling, the experience they get from from buying from them. I mean, Toms does the same thing, right? It’s not about the shoes. It’s about the social campaign of doing good, of, you know, buying a product that that makes you feel like you’re connected to something special or something bigger than you. And so that executed with, you know, a simple, you know, sticker or feeling or, you know, a hashtag. If you’re on Twitter, which will get into a little bit later, all you need is, is for people to feel that that you’re doing something special and then they’re going to, you know, join in and kind of create that that momentum that is really going to push it forward.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. Now, if you’re building a campaign around an emotion or an idea like you’re saying, it seems like you’re having to tap into something deep within somebody. Since that’s the case, it almost seems like it’d be hard to go for a broad market then, because a broad market you could reach them, but you’re not going to tap into that deep emotion, that deep idea. It seems like you almost have to focus and you have to go niche to even begin this idea of planting emotions and ideas and people. Would you agree with that?
Franco: I would. I would. I think that a lot of startups often make the mistake of picking a huge target market. You know, whether that’s because they think that that’s the best way to change the world. I mean, logically, it probably is. If you could reach everybody at once, it wouldn’t you know, it would happen right away. But it’s also the hardest in the least likely for a startup, you know, and subconsciously, I think that you you think if you can create a product or service that, you know, 90% of the world is going to use, it’ll be an overnight success. And, you know, how could you feel if that many people are going to be using it, but you will fail because they won’t get it again unless you have a giant marketing budget. With most startups doing so, it won’t mean enough to these users right away. They’ll they’ll look to their peers and say, well, if they’re not using it, why should I? And that might be fine. You know, that mentality, because you’ve got such a huge market, the next person’s, you know, going to come on board, right? So so what if that person didn’t get it, whatever the next person will? The truth is, they’re probably not. You really have to start small. You have to start very specific, hyper targeted, even sometimes, you know, hyper localized to a city just to test things, just to run by and develop that that core user base and that evangelical force that that’s going to push, you know, later on into different cities, because then those people are going to start talking to other people and so on and so forth. So, so again, that, that, that connection from your startup to the community is very critical. And that’s the kind of social relationship that we’re talking about that’s happening in the offline world with face to face communications and that leader that’s going to happen on on the online world. Once you kind of nail what that messaging and what that idea and what that that campaign is, you know, when you think about it, big, big startups like Airbnb is they’re still not for everybody. They’ve got a huge user base. But, you know, there’s still some people who don’t want strangers in their house and there’s still some people who love staying in hotels. And that’s fine. That service is not for them. It’s for the the this hyper targeted audience that that’s really ready to do that, that kind of sharing economy. And they feel great about what they’re doing and they love the service and they’re the ones we’re going to talk about at the most for you. And so those are the people you really need to focus on. It’s more than okay to to not focus on, you know, the the hotel people.
Bronson: Yeah. If you don’t have enemies, you don’t have obsessive fans.
Bronson: You have to be kind of a polarizing figure. You have to be a polarizing company. If somebody doesn’t absolutely hate what you’re doing and doesn’t get it, then you’re doing it wrong. Yeah. So and for a lot of people, you know, a stranger in my house, it’s horrible. Like, what are what is that? But that’s good. It’s good that somebody hates it or they wouldn’t be loved by people like me and you. So I think you’re absolutely right. So, you know, you have an idea initially you want to kind of see if you can get some traction. You put up a landing page. The landing page is not built around features and benefits because they’ll change is built around an emotion, an idea you hyper focus on the community you going to go after because you can’t get an emotion idea into a broad market and it wouldn’t actually work in a way that all just ignore it even if you get in big numbers. So all that’s in place now let’s get specific, right? What do we actually do on these different social platforms to actually see if we can get those 3 to 5000 email sign ups? Right. So let’s start with one of the big ones, Twitter. So how does Franco see Twitter when you view Twitter and you’re ready to go there and do what you need to do, what is it you do?
Franco: Yeah, absolutely. So I think even before getting into the Twitter aspect, I think that any startup should really consider three social platforms for online engagement Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. The reason is because and actually I’m a power Twitter user or, you know, claim to be anyway just because the conversations the amount of conversations you can have there and the amount of ever changing information, Google Plus, you know, is debated as as one of the up and coming, you know, networks depending on the report, you see. But I think it’s really important to be there just for SEO purposes. A lot of startups tend to ignore SEO and that’s going to help you in the long term once you kind of get all those all those signups. And even in week three or four, if you’re doing this, you’re right. It’ll definitely help out a lot. So so Twitter, the first thing you want to do, basically, you start following as many influences as you can and we’re going to kind of get into how do you find those with some of the tools later on? But basically inside your niche, there’s already people talking about it. There’s already people that are proponents of, you know, whatever messaging or campaign you want to help distribute or people who are likely to jump on board. So you want to find these people and just like you would in the real world, having one on one conversations, you just want to talk to them, you know? Don’t talk to them about your startup right away. Just just talk to them about what they’re doing, about who they are, about what interests them. If they’re in the same city, even better meet up for a coffee. Take those, you know, take that online conversation to the offline world. The other thing you want to do with it is try to get on as many lists or start as many lists as possible. There’s a kind of a reciprocal effect with a lot of social networking sites that as soon as you do something, the other person’s going to do it back. Or, you know, at least 70% of the time, I’d say, yeah. So if you’re creating lists about, you know, this this specific niche category in your city, those people that you add are probably going to add you back in because they realize that, you know, you’ve added them for a specific purpose. They’re going to realize that you share that purpose or that cause or that ideal, and they’ll be more likely to add you back or falling back after a few conversations or whatever.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. So you look for influencers and you follow them. Now let’s get specific because I really want this to be actionable for everybody watching this. How many people are you following in a given day when you start a campaign like this? Five, 1000. I mean, what are you doing? You know?
Franco: Yeah, you definitely want to. It really depends on the niche. I think anywhere on a given day that you want to follow is probably between 25 and 50 just to get, you know, a good user base. But the most important thing is that, you know, you’re not just mass following that, you’re creating some valuable content. So, you know, sharing stuff, tweeting stuff. They want to know that you’re not just another robot, you know, mass following people. So if you got like one tweet and 50 following 50 and no followers, then it looks kind of suspicious. So just like you would kind of, you know, branch out into into a regular social kind of setting or conversation, you want to be able to kind of have that check and balance. I like to try and keep it as evenly distributed as possible for the first little while, just so that people know that it’s authentic. So the best way of doing that again is by generating some really great content, sparking lots of conversations, not just resharing, but sparking conversations that way. You know, people who are going to check out your stream later on and say, okay, this person has been engaged with some conversations. It’s obviously not a robot. You know, the very best in the community. It’s great.
Bronson: Yeah. Let me ask you this about sparking conversations, because this is something I try I struggle with figuring out the best way to do it. Sometimes I just look at the feed and I see who’s posted something really recently, like in the last 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and then I respond intelligently and I try to get a part of that conversation. Right? Yeah. But then the problem is other people are doing the same thing because that’s their strategy as well. So is it better to respond when they have just posted something and it’s front of mind in their mind, or is it better to do it, you know, when there isn’t something in front of mind for them and you’re the only one kind of pinging on, but they may not be on Twitter right then or what do you think?
Franco: So I think specifically for the startup scene, that that that story is true. I mean, you know, you have some big names that they’re posting some some stuff, some links, their latest blog post, then everybody jumps in. I think, you know, in other niche communities, it’s it’s a little more subdued, you know, but you don’t want to wait too long before jumping in, but you don’t want to bombard them right away. Because then if it’s a blog post, let’s say, and you just respond intelligently, have you even read the blog post? Doesn’t make sense, right? There’s no way. And I just posted that 2 minutes ago, and now you’re like tweeting me. And that was like, you know, a 5000 word essay. I don’t know. Unless you’re a really fast reader.
Bronson: Yeah, I don’t know if I can read that quite that fast. Yeah.
Franco: Well, so I think that there’s, there’s definitely a window where you want to kind of respond and, and engage that person. But, but it doesn’t really matter even if you’re the first, the fifth person or the first person to go tweet back that person. Typically you’re going to get lots of responses. And then if you start, you know, sharing that that person’s content or messaging them in a regular fashion without being super weird about it, they’re going to notice you. You know, eventually things change on Twitter so fast. So even if you don’t get a response, you know, within the first 2 minutes, don’t worry about it. You’ll probably get one in the next couple of hours or a day. I tend to, you know, personally do that where I’ll I’ll share some stuff and I might not get to it because things come up and you don’t get to it for another five, 6 hours. But it’s not because you want to ignore the conversation, it’s just the nature of the platform and kind of the social stuff. So so that’s why it’s really important, again, to take that, that offline message that you’ve developed in the early stages, you know, bring it online so that you can kind of understand what the whole new shares and then, you know, take it back into those one on one conversations with with different people when you’re trying to meet up with them, especially the influencers, you know, asking them for some of their time to grab a coffee and just sharing some of your thoughts and asking for feedback. And then eventually, you know, you will gain that kind of respect. If I’ve been kind of talking as if you’re you’re posting from, you know, your personal Twitter account. And so if you’re already in that niche, you would already have. A following. But if you’re trying to create a Twitter account for your startup, you probably initially want to let them know in the bio that, Hey, these tweets are specifically by this one person, or even even better yet, don’t create the Twitter account for that for that brand, because it won’t resonate with the community right away. You want to be as authentic as possible, so you leverage your existing individuality to reach out to them.
Bronson: Okay. No, I was just.
Franco: I was just thinking maybe we should we should have clarified that a little bit.
Bronson: No, no, that’s good. I’m glad you clarified it now. Now, you also do some interesting things with hashtags, if I’m not mistaken. What do you do with hashtags on Twitter that you like to do as a part of your strategy?
Franco: Yeah, so I like to bring hashtags. I think it’s a great way of kind of getting as many users as possible around a specific subject. And I’m not saying, you know, something as wide open as marketing because you’re going to get everybody, but it’s if it’s again coming stemming from the idea of of a pinpoint within the niche or something that the niche is talking about or, you know, a recent event specific to a fairly sizable yet yet small group of people, you definitely want to leverage that. And then as you kind of grow your personal following, whether it’s, you know, through your personal account or through your or your startup Twitter account, you want start to make up hashtags, you know, something witty, catchy that people can kind of, oh, that’s kind of cool. Whether it’s, you know, you’re you’re hosting a special chat on Twitter and you have a special hashtag for that or special event that you’re going to be hosting where you’re going to be attending. You know, always try to pull that into your conversation so that you’re expanding your circle of influence while still maintaining a small niche kind of ownership and authority.
Bronson: Yeah. No, that’s great. So you’ve given us some actionable stuff on Twitter that you would do. What are some of the stuff you would do, let’s say with Hacker News, I know you like to use them as well as a part of your campaign. How do they fit into this?
Franco: Yeah. So they fit in specifically for Startup Place. I wouldn’t recommend it to everybody. So Hacker News is kind of this this subset community of startups, mostly technical, but the marketing people have been breaking in length and I’m a little responsible for that. But but these people will typically do the post. They do really good. There are the posts that are really awesome are high quality content, really intelligent stuff. And so it’s not for everybody. You can go on there. And the reason I mentioned is because it’s a good place, because they’re technically minded, it’s a good place to get feedback on your landing page, on some of your messaging, on some of the more technical side of of of your startup. And so if you do some of that, you know, if you spend some time on the page watching what’s happening, some of the more popular tags for younger start ups that are trying to get some feedback is show a chance or sure. Hacker News And then just kind of the title of your project or like a question. So you want to use that as well as ask for some specific feedback. That way they kind of know that it’s something related to feedback and more the, you know, the advanced users that don’t want to spend time clicking on a link expecting something else. They know right away that your young startup looking for feedback and they’ll either respond to that with that mindset or just skip over you entirely. And that’s great too, because you don’t want somebody, you know, falling onto a link that that they expect to be something else. And then, you know, kind of seeing a startup that’s asking for advice, sometimes it gets a little frustrating just given the community that’s that’s there.
Bronson: Absolutely. I think it comes back to what you said initially. Authenticity. Yeah. Not trying to sneak a link through their filter. You’re trying to be authentic. Look, this is what it is. You know, buyer beware. If you click here, here’s what you’re going to get. So then that whole conversation, it starts with trust and that’s what you got to do to build these communities that you’re talking about. You also mentioned they use Quora in our correspondence before. What do you do with Quora? How does that play in? Because I hear Corbyn Corbin is more and more on this program.
Franco: Yeah. Oh, that’s cool. I think people are starting to realize that CORE is a really great place to kind of get lots of insight into into people’s questions, into their mindset. And so that’s how I use it. And depending on your niche, they may or may not be represented there as well as as some other things like the startup scene. But the startup scene has got a great kind of community on core people, people looking to get different insights, different perspectives. And so if if you’re trying to understand, you know, their specific mindset, you know, what are they looking for? What problems do they have that very initially we start a place, you know, why are people frustrated with X, Y and Z? Why do they go to core? What kind of questions do they ask? What are people looking for? What kind of authors and experts should we be targeting? And so it wasn’t necessarily about directly engaging on Quora. I mean, you definitely should answer questions if you have the expertize to try and help some people out. It comes back to that authenticity of being involved in the community, but it’s more of a of a kind of social search engine that Google hasn’t quite tapped yet of of understanding where people’s mindset is. And, you know, where specifically are the stumbling blocks in that process?
Bronson: Absolutely. They’re using it to inform that emotion or idea that you’re trying to get into people. You’re using it to kind of inform your whole entire system, you know, and then know see what people are talking about. I gotcha. Yeah. You mentioned earlier the big three. You know, you said Twitter or Facebook, Google Plus, obviously. We’ve talked about Twitter already. Tell me about a Google Plus. What are you doing there?
Franco: So so Google Plus, again, like I mentioned earlier, is is strip. You know, more specifically from an SEO perspective, if you’re sharing links or posts or things to through to a Google Plus page, they’re most likely going to get indexed a little bit faster than some of the other stuffs and some of my experience, depending on what the content is. But a really powerful feature that Google Plus just introduced, I don’t know, maybe four, six weeks ago, something like that is Google Communities. And so, again, it’s another place where you can kind of go same thing with LinkedIn groups. I don’t really suggest that start ups, unless you’re in a very professional field, get on LinkedIn, you know, it’s more of a personal or professional thing. But those groups features on both of those websites, same score. It will kind of give you that insight into, you know, what are people stumbling blocks? What are they talking about? What do they share most often? What are some of the frustrations? And so those are those are all things that you should be able to draw from to either, you know, refine what the product’s going to look like, refine your messaging or refine the way you’re planning to interact with these people, you know, on an ongoing basis.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. Makes sense. What about blogs? What do you do with them? Do you do anything with blogs at all?
Franco: Yeah, absolutely. So I think, you know, once you start to feel that there’s some traction that’s happening, you should start blogging. If it’s not a personal blog, you know, as a you know, you as a personal founder, then definitely start the business blog. I think, you know, lots of great people out there have their own personal blogs where they kind of talk about, you know, the different experiments that they’re running, different things that they’re testing. And so these guys are obviously really awesome founders and you kind of gravitate towards them because of all the different things that they’re trying. And then as soon as they start transitioning or posting more often on on the specific start up site with some problems, some really great content, you kind of transition there as well. And just some examples of that is, is Mint.com. I mean, very, very in the early days of Mint, they they started creating blog posts on every possible problem that their users might have. So that as you’re searching for it on Google or you know, now that the social, the social sphere so big, you know, you’re looking for a specific hashtag or some keywords and all of a sudden that link comes up and then you’re, you’re, you’re likely to go there. And if the content looks great, as stellar is amazing, then you’re more likely to have that trust in that service or start up, and you’re bound to start exploring what they actually do and what service they provide. And even if it’s just a splash page, you are more likely to sign up for that if you feel that that blog is an awesome source of information.
Bronson: Yeah, makes a lot of sense. I mean, talk to us about the third of the big three Facebook. How do you use Facebook? Because it seems like there’s a lot of, you know, hey, this is what I’m doing. The day I went to the beach, I guess is still viable for like I’m trying to get traction.
Franco: So so I mentioned Facebook because there are a lot of very young users on there, people that check in, you know, fairly often within within a span of 24 hours. And so, again, it all comes back to your niche. If it doesn’t make sense for you to be there, then don’t be there. But generally, I think most startups should have a should have a Facebook page where they’re collecting likes. And, you know, initially you want to get all your friends and family to go ahead and like that page because it’s it’s generating social proof, you know, of who you are and what you’re doing and plug that into your page that people kind of, you know, hit the landing page or hit, you know, the initial home page and start to feel like, okay, like this is something that they’re starting. I can be a part of it because other people are a part of it. And so in that sense, again, it’s just like some of the other social platforms where you want to take some of the messaging and some of the high quality content that you’re producing and share with other people, you know, and start having one on one conversations there as well where, you know, you give a shout out to somebody that that’s really big in the space or or, you know, you know, fairly big in the space. Some of the some of the local influencers and just, you know, have those conversations with them and other people start coming in. A big trend recently is is sharing lots of, you know, amazingly designed pictures with with awesome quotes. People love that kind of stuff. As long as it’s as long as it’s really great content that’s going to spark, you know, kind of a feeling of attraction or discussion. That’s what you want. That that’s an important part.
Bronson: Yeah. Okay. So let me ask you this now. So you’re trying to get to that 3 to 5000 user mark. What does your day look like? Because all the stuff you’ve just told me, it seems like it’s authentic and it’s great for one on one communication, but I’m not seeing how that comes together. I mean, does building authentic, authentic communities really grow? I mean, does this work, I guess is what I’m saying? Because I mean, it seems like I can go on Twitter, talk to my for a few minutes. I go on Hacker News, I post something, I go on Twitter, I learn something and it informs my emotion. I’m trying to put it to people, but then it’s like I still got 20 signups like it is. I mean, this is really work. I mean, what does your day look like? How do you make this work?
Franco: My day looks like a lot of coffee.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s what I’m getting.
Franco: At multiple times. But. But, yeah, it does really work, because what you’re trying to do with all these different things is really evaluate what sticking. I’m not saying do the same thing every day. If you know, if this if a Type eight content is not working with your audience of nobody’s following you after you’ve posted, you know, five types of of this kind of content, then don’t start. Do not do something else. If one hashtag doesn’t seem to be gravitating with a bunch of people who went to the same event or the same meetup as you, you know, do something else. But what you’re trying to do is with with all this is is is find out what your community, what your niche community is, what kind of content they’re really latching on to. What is what is it that they’re actually sharing? Is it blog post? Is it tweets? Is it is it. Is it a contest that you’re going to be running or an idea that you have? You know what really sticks with them? And I think that that will vary quite tremendously depending on the niche that you’re in. But but what you want to do is find out, you know, what did they like and how can I give them more of it? And if I’m giving them more of it, they’re going to start telling their friends about it. And that’s what I want to get to.
Bronson: We might start off slow because you don’t know what’s going to work yet. So the first couple of days on Twitter, you may not have a lot of followers and you may not have content that’s being reshare and nobody may care you exist, but eventually you find something gets retweeted a couple of times. You find something that gets put on somebody’s favorites in Twitter a couple of times, and you start to learn, Oh, okay, there’s something about that photo and that tagline that worked when my infographic didn’t like it or whatever it may be.
Franco: Whatever it may be. And so the closer you are to that news, the bigger part of it that you are, the more you already have that kind of that that that figuring out part phase already done, you’re going to know kind of, you know, right away. You know, if I’m in a vegan community, this kind of stuff is going to fly and that kind of stuff isn’t going to fly. Right. And if you’re specifically targeting men’s fashion, you’re not going to talk about women’s fashion unless you’re trying to get their girlfriends to buy something for the boyfriends. But that’s a completely different story. You don’t want to do that right away. But so so yeah. So the closer you are to the an issue, you should already have kind of a feeling of what’s going to work and what’s not going to work and how to interact and engage with these people. You already understand like key concepts, you know, you’re really going to belong. It’s kind of like the whole Mac and PC battle, right? If you’re Mac users are going to understand other Mac users and if you’re PC because you’re going to understand other PC users, you wouldn’t try cross marketing them unless you were trying to steal some users away. But then it’s a completely different, different ballgame.
Bronson: Absolutely. So along with these platforms we talked about, there’s a number of tools that you use to really make your day more efficient, to give you better insights on things, all these different things. So let’s talk about some of the tools that you use, because what you’ve laid out for us, these platforms is really time consuming. Yeah, I mean, there’s no shortcut to this, it seems like, but the tools can help a little bit. One thing that I saw in the correspondence with you was check this dot com. Explain that to me. I wasn’t familiar with it.
Franco: So that’s a that’s a new startup out of out of New York. And they’re kind of like it’s very Tumblr esque, but you create these social posters and there seems to be a lot of traction around that site right now, a lot of sharing happening if it’s really high quality content. So I’m always on the lookout for those things where, you know, the great thing about social media is that you can just test something. And if you understand who your community is and what they like, you should be able to just test it in many different places without, you know, investing tons of time. So check. This is, like I said, an awesome site with.
Bronson: A social poster.
Franco: It’s exactly what it sounds like. So I guess you’ve got to check it out. It’s just pictures and like blogging, like it’s very Tumblr esque, like I said. And so I threw up some content there just to see what I was, what I could get. And within a couple of hours, I’d got over five, 600 hits and likes that, you know, share back to Facebook, people tweeting about it. So from a friend site that I wasn’t really expecting because because it was kind of new and heard about it at the time. You know, I just threw some put some content there that I figured would resonate fairly well with, you know, a wide majority of early adopters who would also be on check this because that it would it would kind of spark them to come back to start a plays and check out what we got going on. And that’s exactly what happened. So that that’s what you want to do with these social sites is the main ones you want that you want to kind of work out over and over again and then some other ones, you just want to try and test things. If it fails, it didn’t cost you anything except for your time. And so as long as you’re not, as long as you’re learning from the experiment and then the testing that you’re doing or not doing it day after day, saying, you know, why haven’t I got a million followers yet? As long as you’re learning something and improving is never a waste of time. Yeah. And, you know, six, 600, you know, likes and a few hundred tweets and stuff like that from from 1 hours or less than an hour. Work not to test is not too bad. Yeah, definitely. What I would, you know, I would recommend doing it for sure. And just for the tools. Yeah. Sorry. So some of the tools that we’re going to talk about are really about specifically engaging with influencers on those communities because kind of, like you said, there’s no shortcut. It takes a lot of time. So influencers are a kind of a shortcut because if you can share your vision with them and help them see what you’re working on and they really feel engaged with it, then they’re going to share your message much faster than you could buy it by yourself. So then it’s not just you. You know, you’re really building a network effect. It’s not just you everyday posting a face, you know, a Facebook message or a tweeting. It’s you and a bunch of other people, you know, sharing that message and amplifying its distribution or, you know, helping other people see what you’re doing and sign up. You know, one of the most powerful things about a landing page, especially with the launch rock thing, is that as soon as somebody signs up, if you can give them the the incentive to invite three other people, you’ve just, you know, tripled your growth.
Franco: Not one person. So you got to you’ve got to make sure that you get better at doing that time after time. And that’s why, you know, four weeks is definitely enough to hit 3000, 50,000 signups. If you get really good at it, you can do it, you know, a little bit longer. And it might take a little bit longer, maybe maybe six weeks because, you know, you spent two weeks learning what’s working on on social networks, you know, so, so, so, so these tools I know I use Gmail a lot. I think that there’s lots of great plug ins on on Chrome and Gmail. And so specifically, I use these tools to try and identify, you know, who I’m dealing with really quickly, you know, whether they’re influencers or or just, you know, really loyal users that I want to be able to know who these people are, what they’ve tweeted recently, you know, what they do so that I can engage with them as quickly as possible.
Bronson: Yeah. And so you can recognize that’s the influencer. This is who I’m building a tribe with to then go and influence other people. So let’s go through the list of some of these tools. Yes. Where what is? Yes. Where and how to use it.
Franco: Yes. Was a pretty awesome little tool. It just plugs in to your Gmail and lets you know whether somebody has opened an email or not. You know, just just tracking. It’s pretty straightforward. They give a trial account with, I don’t know how many opens. It’s more than enough to get you started. And so I specifically use that when I’m looking to target somebody very specific. And I want to know if if they’ve opened or read my email, because that’s going to influence the entire series of events that’s going to follow. It’s going to, you know, do I send them the same thing because they haven’t opened it yet? Do I send them something different because I know they open and haven’t responded? Did they open, you know, late at night or early in the morning? That’ll kind of tell me who they are and what they do. Or they might person or a morning person. I’m not gonna try some creepy or, you know, smart, weird marketing. Exactly. It’s smart marketing. You’ve got to know if that person’s reading your stuff, if they’re interested, you know, what is it that that’s really going to make them an ally and a powerful ally? And so the faster that that you can kind of figure that out, the better it is. Yeah. And so report of I don’t know if I’m skipping the gun here.
Bronson: Please go for it tells a competitive.
Franco: Reporter is another awesome tool that kind of plugs right in and on that side it’ll it’ll allow you to connect and customize to the different social platforms that you’re on. So as soon as you as soon as you open an email or write somebody’s email address in, in the, you know, toolbar, it’ll pre fill with some of their, you know, recent tweets, whether you want to add them directly to your mailing list or not, you know, don’t do that if they haven’t given you permission. But it’s good to have the button there because then you don’t forget to do it later. I’ve got a lot of people that I have email correspondence with that we start to talk. They really like what’s going on and they say, Hey, you know, can you add me really quickly to your your mailing list or, you know, a very specific list? I said, Yeah, sure, it’s right there in my gym of done not going to forget about it. They’re already on there. And so then you’re growing your mailing list super fast. But, but the key part of report of is really understanding, you know. What have they shared in the last little bit and how is that going to influence the current email conversation? I’m about to have them because you don’t just want to reply back to your last email, especially if it’s an introduction email. You want to kind of take the conversation a little bit further. And so with all the time you’re spending going through these social networks, you don’t have time to check up on everybody’s, you know, what have they written on their blogger, on the Post, on Facebook? That reporter kind of pulls that all in for you. So it’s right there. And if something kind of catches your eye that you figure can kind of move the conversation forward, you definitely want to check that out as quickly as possible before before kind of continuing that conversation.
Bronson: Yeah, I know. It sounds awesome. What about Rodney? You use that as well, right? I don’t know if I’m using that right. I’m assuming it’s zombie a spelling bee and I.
Franco: Yeah, I think it’s me. It’s it’s basically inbox inverted. And so those guys kind of have this, this, this app called, called Smarter by by zombie. If you search for often it’ll come up automatically. I think it’s their only app but it’s basically a smart contacts directly into the side of your Gmail and it’ll it’ll sync with with your phone whether you’re on iOS or Android. And so again, that kind of carries the the history of the email conversation that you’ve had. It kind of pull some of their social profile in. And so I think that that’s really important, especially when, you know, in the early days of launching a startup, you got a lot of different things in your mind. And, and I mean, I’ve got a pretty good memory, but I don’t remember everything. And so this, this thing kind of helps me keep different conversations straight and lets me know, you know, what kind of history we’ve had between between between email conversations and just, you know, makes me look more professional. And with my stats together properly.
Bronson: You also use buffer app. That’s probably one of the better known ones. But go ahead and tell us what does Buffer do?
Franco: Yeah. So a buffer is going to save you a lot of time in that kind of social experimentation sharing posting phase that we talked about earlier. And so, I mean, you could definitely sit there and try to use the Twitter desktop or web client, but you’re not going to be tracking your links as effectively. You won’t know some of the analytics surrounding that and you will be able to schedule things in advance. So I’m not super huge on scheduling a bunch of stuff, especially in the early days, because you really want to you don’t want to appear like a robot. Like I said, you really want to have those authentic and engaging conversations. But it’s kind of great that you can, you know, decide to schedule something for later on when you know, you’re going to be in a meeting or, you know, busy, you know, in transition just to kind of keep that that conversation or that that stream of content, you know, continuing because a lot of people are going to evaluate, you know, how long has it been since that person tweeted or they can tweet it? If you haven’t tweeted in a week, it’s going to be a little weird.
Bronson: Yeah, I’m trying to make sure.
Franco: So, you know, just just kind of keep things, you know, regular and also just understand that that it does provide some tracking. It will allow, you know, some other features where some other people can tweet from the same account. So it just simplifies things.
Bronson: Yeah, I like that you mentioned something called link tally that I’m not aware of this one. And what does Link Tally do? How do you use that?
Franco: Yeah. So I actually it’s it’s a pretty new tool. It’s actually from HubSpot and it’s just another like link calculator for, for reach and influence. So you just plug in the link of something that you share and it’s going to tell you how many times it’s been shared on on some of the most popular social networks. So if you’re sharing, you know, like, let’s say a blog post on Twitter through Buffer and then on Facebook through something else, then on Google Plus, you just put the link in a couple days later and then see how it did on those different platforms. And so then I would kind of take that information into a spreadsheet and then just see how, how the different posts, you know, resonate with different audiences on different you might find something that, you know, this type of content works really great on my Facebook page, but it does really badly on Twitter. And I might just because of the length, you know, people don’t want to read long stuff on Twitter or maybe they don’t have time because they’re, you know, tweeting from their mobile phone. It it really depends. So that just kind of lets you let you, again, evaluate and kind of quantify what you’re doing because you don’t want to be doing any of this in the dark. Otherwise, then it’s going to be a really long four weeks.
Bronson: That’s right. And you’ll end up with no users.
Franco: Yeah, exactly.
Bronson: You also use Trello. I’m a big Trello fan myself for organizational stuff, but go ahead and tell us, what does Trello do? How do you use that?
Franco: Yeah. So you can create these little cards and then assign the cards to different people. So I specifically use Trello just to kind of keep my thoughts and what I’m planning to, to share kind of organized. So I just have different verticals. It works really great if you, if you build deep verticals and add a bunch of cards rather than than trying to keep, you know, to a small amount of verticals and it doesn’t make sense. I think intuitively that kind of comes with the platform. If not, they definitely have a few like learning videos. But but again, I like the fact that you can kind of organize everything that you’re working on, you know, what you’re planning for, for different social channels, what’s working? Try to track some things, even if it’s just a note, you kind of keep it in Trello. And the great thing about that is, is it’s available across a whole bunch of different platforms. I think they just launched their iPad app the other day. So I’m a happy Trello user.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. And just to be clear for the audience, it’s a glorified to do list. But with really unique features and really unique organization. So, I mean, I know there’s a million to do list and everyone loves some and some, but it’s one worth looking at because it might fit your way of thinking because like you said, it breaks things down by verticals and then you have these little cards and a card is more than just a to do item. It’s who’s going to do it and notes about doing it. And yet it still kind of comes up visually uncluttered. So I like it for a few different reasons, but I use other, you know, I used to do as well. I use all kinds of her to do list, but that’s one of the ones I do use as well, though. So let’s talk about the effectiveness of kind of what you’ve laid out for us today. You promised us that it does work, that this isn’t a fool’s errand that, you know, you put in this time and four weeks goes by. And if the idea is good, the emotion you’re putting into them is real, then you can see three 5000 sign ups as kind of an entry point. So tell us, Brad, a little bit, what kinds of successes have you seen personally using this social growth hacking method? You know, some numbers, you know, to tell how good it’s been.
Franco: Yeah, absolutely. So we did this exact process that I’ve just gone through is what we’ve used to launch start up plays and a few other startup concepts on the side. And so basically with startup players, what we saw within our first month is we did hit 5000 interested users. By the end of our first ten months, we had a mailing list of over 45,000 users and startups really interested in what we were doing. And it resulted in again our first ten months we generated over $100,000 worth of sales just on these on these, on these, you know, step by step guides. We’ve we’ve also had some other other startups come through our space that we’ve kind of shared and work with them. And we’ve seen tremendous growth on on their side as well. I’ve also personally been to a bunch of startup weekends, and the first thing you want to do with Startup Weekend, in my opinion, is after you kind of got your idea set, you want to start acquiring users because they judge you on on how many people would actually use the product. And so I know you only have a weekend, but if you go crazy on social media and just start, you know, asking your friends to, to, to bring people in, if you can really refine that messaging so that everybody who signs up is also bringing three people in, you’re going to notice that after a while it gets easier, easier to start bringing people in. It’s just that initial push to kind of get you started. And I think, again, as I’ve mentioned before, that the closer connected you are to that niche, the more you understand, you know, what other people are thinking or feeling. Ah, you know what those what those nerves are. The faster that tapping, that will help you grow.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. You know, it’s great to hear a success story like that, you know, 45,000 on an email list in ten months time. That’s a lot. I mean, that’s it’s difficult to get that kind of traction. So the fact that you got there using these methods, it’s helpful. You know, it’s yeah.
Franco: And like you said, like you’re going to be spending lots of time. This isn’t this isn’t something that you can do with 4 hours a day. You’re going to be spending lots of time having these conversations, really understanding what the user’s perspective is and pulling that feedback back in. And, you know, the sooner you stop fighting that and kind of accept it, you know, to a certain degree to want to redesign the platform every time somebody tells you something new. But the sooner you accept that, the quicker and easier the growth will be. And so, you know, I think anybody can put these practices into use and you’re starting to see it a lot more and more, you know, in different ways. There’s something I forgot to mention earlier is is you know, you got to kind of think outside the box a little bit, too. If a tweet not cutting it, like I mentioned, then do something else. I saw a couple of weeks ago, it’s it’s a little old now, but there’s this great start up here from from the UK somewhere who created this Kickstarter Death Star campaign?
Bronson: See all that.
Franco: Kickstarter Death Star? I was kind of curious about who would create that because I mean, obviously it’s a joke, but he’s got a great sense of humor. He’s obviously very creative, so I wanted to see who he was. I went to his website and it wasn’t quite working, but he’s got a couple of games listed there. So, you know, because of that, because I kind of have a rapport with that person and you know, thinking outside the box, doing something cool. We’ve never met each other, but I obviously think the guy’s guy’s got some, some, you know, some hits or some great marketing talent. And so I signed up to see, you know, what he’s up to in the future because I want to keep tabs with somebody like that.
Bronson: So you have to be authentic on these platforms because people are they’re judging your personality, they’re judging you. They’re judging, you know, do I like this person? And that’s why I think that, you know, when you talked about how you have 45,000 on your email list, the great thing about that list is if you built it the way that you’ve laid out for us today, it’s authentic, it’s real. It’s a community. It’s not like some scam you did. You got 50,000 emails and none of them really care about you. Like, you know, that you would tell their friends about you. It’s 45,000, like real friends online, you know. And so I think that the quality of the list people don’t realize how important it is. The quality of the list matters because if it’s a high quality list, they’re going to buy it from you, they’re going to refer you. They’re going to be a part of your sales process. Otherwise, they’re not they’re just they haven’t been on your list. But, you know, it doesn’t mean anything. FRANCO Lastly, I want you to give back to the community a little bit here what some of the best advice that you can give to anyone. Now wants to gain the traction for their startup early on. I know you’ve laid out a lot of things for us today, but what’s the best advice you can give in a nutshell for people that want to gain traction?
Franco: Yeah, it’s really being really authentic and hanging around with smart people and or, you know, just doing whatever it takes to kind of, you know, meet those smart people and ask them questions and just get everybody’s get everybody’s feedback. The more feedback you can have, the better it is. It’s never it’s never hurtful.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. Last question. What resources should anyone involved in early stages of a startup be consuming to help them grow? Maybe blogs, maybe books, maybe, you know, whatever. What should people be consuming so they can get some traction?
Franco: Well, obviously, you know, everybody watching this is off to the right foot.
Bronson: I hope so.
Franco: Because a lot of sense. But kind of like I said before, you know, hang around smart people, go to meet ups, start your own meet ups, start your own event, go to events, go to conferences and just meet people there. You know, Startup Weekend will give you a lot of perspective. You know, if you haven’t done one before, I definitely recommend it. It’s it’s an experience all of its own. And you’re going to meet lots of really talented, smart people who are passionate, you know, follow some awesome blogs. There’s lots of things. Go check out Quora type in the question, what are some of the best blogs to follow? And there’s a whole list of them. You know, I can definitely recommend Andrew Chen’s or Sean Ellis for for some of that early product market fit and, you know, viral growth thinking. You know, the more I think the more you you kind of put yourself in front of it and start to absorb it. The more these different ideas like, you know, starting a Kickstarter Death Star campaign will start popping out of nowhere and kind of make sense to you, right. You know, another great tool is clarity of form. Just call some people up, talk to them. It’s not too expensive. You know, some we we were talking about some great blogs like Andrew Chen’s. Also check out, you know, Dustin’s KURTIS. I’m not quite sure how he says it, but SBB Telecom.
Bronson: Which maybe like.
Franco: I don’t know. Anyway, so so I think that that, you know, a lot of founders hang out there because they’re specifically in the startup niche. And so even if your, you know, your startup concept isn’t directly related to the to the entrepreneurship space or tech startup space like Startup Place or growth hacker TV is a lot of the concepts that are shared. There will be, you know, you can apply them to other industries and other niches and they should accelerate a lot of the growth and kind of stumbling blocks.
Bronson: Yeah, I’m so glad you mentioned clarity. Dot FM, That was actually the first thing I did when I thought about starting Growth Hacker TV. I got on the phone with Dan Martell. I was like, I want to talk to the guy who started clearly IBM and just pick his brain for a few minutes about, you know, my idea. And if there’s a market for what he thought about it, and it was the first thing I did. So I spent a few bucks and I get to be on the phone with somebody who knows infinitely more than me in so many ways. And that’s the kind of tools we have nowadays. We have tools that we actually can access these thought leaders in these industries if we’re creative or we take the time to do it. If we’re just willing to go there, you know, the sky’s the limit. We can learn anything we want to learn. Well, Franco, it’s been an incredible interview. We’re so glad that you came on the show today. And, you know, if people are able to go check out startup plays, you can learn, you know, how to do so many different things within your startup from their platform they built. So. Thank you so much, Franco.
Franco: Thanks for having me.