In the USA alone thousands of startups are emerging from beta each month. How does one define a startup as social? If you are a CMO, marketer or agency, knowing which startups are social can benefit your brand or client.
If you are an entrepreneur or product developer catering to the social consumer or brand, then it’s essential that the technology of your product is social.
There are tens of factors and product features that make technology social in nature. Listed below are five key features that ideally should be included in the makeup of any social startup.
Investors love this one. Communities are the building blocks of the social web, the go-to targets for social media strategists and hooks for a brand’s content.
Build your technology to foster a community or micro-communities.
Examples: Yelp, Foursquare, Ning. Meetup.
2. Entry to the Social Graph
Software that is designed to integrate with mainstream social networks will facilitate growth and create opportunities for brands to leverage.
Example: One startup that is doing this extremely well is Gogobot. Read my POV here.
3. Data Mining
Data is gold. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman says that Web 3.0 will be all about data. He sights LinkedIn Skills as an example of how analyzing user data can result in useful insights and reveal trends — figuring out things like which industries are growing the fastest and which skill sets are related to each other.
Furthermore, social campaigns that leverage social technology vendors rely on data to report what I call social profits, AKA Social ROI. Data and reporting capabilities must be built into the product from day one.
Examples: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
Every entrepreneur should be breaking his or her head on this one. Platforms that have an in-built affinity for user addiction scale well. One to watch right now is Pinterest, which has grown about 50% month after month since its inception. Pinterest’s one-year traffic on Compete from Oct 2010 to Oct 2011 shows it rising from 40,000 to 3.2 million unique visitors monthly. That’s impressive.
Other examples: Instagram, Tumblr.
5. User Experience (UX)
Simplicity is your best friend here. Just look at Google Search – someone who has never used the Internet can use Google Search.
In the social space, Instagram is setting the standard, and more recently Flixlab is booming. The UX is free from clutter, intuitive and super fast.
Can you think of more features? Let me know in the comments section below.