So to validate an idea you need to have people be aware of you. The first step in Introducing bashfully was a Twitter account. This provided someway of people finding out about project, promoting the survey, and getting to the landing page.
Publishing the survey was one of the first pieces that I had available to promote. It was also vital in starting to get some evidence for the problem that we were trying to solve and the audience.
The landing page was a very important piece in getting started. When this was created it gave us a way of sharing progress, to explain the concept in more detail. This then meant that when we directed people to the survey from the landing page we could get better feedback.
Another key feature on the landing page was a sharing button on registration, this gave people who were interested a way of generating some word of mouth interest. Around the same time a friend asked me a question about her website and I noticed some interesting meta tags. This took me on a journey learning about Twitter cards and the Facebook Open Graph template
So, after a bit of experimentation I came up with this for our landing page
<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary" /> <meta name="twitter:site" content="@bashfullyapp" /> <meta property="og:url" content="http://bashful.ly" /> <meta property="og:title" content="Do you want a better online resume?" /> <meta property="og:description" content="Tell the world about your achievements through storytelling on Bashful.ly!" /> <meta property="og:image" content="https://bashful.ly/images/hamster-background.jpg" />
Which when you copy a bashfully link to Twitter gives you this ...
As the functionality develops we will be exploring this further! I wasn't expecting to learn this kind of thing when we started this side project, but it certainly has given me an extra insight to social media for my day job.
Once the registration process, landing page and survey were all up and running I started sharing. First with HBX networking groups as they are part of the target demographic. Then on twitter, first just from the bashfully account, later from my personal twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
Another important factor was starting to write blog posts and share on personal social media to boost awareness. The blog that really got interest going was one about the technical infrastructure. This lead to a lot of interest from friends and acquaintances. I'm guessing because of their background and the subject matter made it seem more "real". The lesson here is to write a piece that will resonate with an audience, then promote it to them.
As I was doing this and collecting together research I realised a big mistake. I hadn't thought about emails sharing useful information to people who had registered. This would have served two aims, the first the reason people were interested in the product in the first place - information and guidance about creating profiles and selling their skills. The second, more selfish reason, was to create engagement. Make sure that they remembered us when we were ready for the public beta.
It's a bit late to do that now as we are making such good progress! But it will come in soon after we launch. One benefit of doing it this way is that we will have a working site people can use and more concrete news that we can share.
Coming next are the lessons learned in building the onboarding process...