How to Find Your Target Users: Lessons from Crowdspoke

June 17, 2012

2:00 pm

Crowdspoke launched to be the news site for every imaginable community, with curated content and tweets around everything from iPhone 4S reviews, to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, to even Tech Cocktail. But that vision has been replaced; here’s why.

Warning Signs. Late last year, a handful of (competing) news apps launched, and Crowdspoke was disappointed with the traction they were getting. As cofounder Michael Pastko realized, they were trying to change the behavior of whole communities, who were used to interacting on forums, Facebook groups, and other sites.

“We kind of saw that with Google Plus when they first launched,” says Pastko. “Communities are a tricky thing. It’s about the people more so than the technology, so wherever they are suits them.”

Zeroing In. But one group of users did seem to be flocking to Crowdspoke: social media consultants. As Pastko and his team interacted with them, he realized they were mainly freelancers handling multiple social media accounts for their clients – and tired of spending so much time scouring the web for excellent articles to share. For example, one of them was managing disparate communities around craft brewing, college textbook rentals, and social media tips for small businesses.

Customizing. So Crowdspoke relaunched in beta, taking its old technology and reworking it into a simple, one-column design highlighting the top content of the day. For now, the Crowdspoke team works with each consultant who signs up to customize their dashboard, choosing news sources and keywords that will pull in the best content.

With a better idea of who their customers are, Crowdspoke can now market directly to them – whereas before, virtually anyone could have been a potential user. It may be a smaller market, but for Crowdspoke, it means a higher chance of survival.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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