At the start of 2017, I promised myself to spend this year launching four different side projects. One every quarter.
I’ve got three other side projects part ready, and growth.email which I am still running, however for this quarter I’ve decided to double down on something I began a while ago as a purely community project.
I’d like to introduce an old side project which has been bubbling away, however now it’s time to put some real effort in. Startup Perth is a Twitter account and associated landing page, which I started back in August 2015, as a way to promote fellow Perth startups and innovators.
Over time, it has grown to become a valuable resource for the local startups which receive extra visibility and promotion as a result, and to the 18,500+ people who follow the account, who get an insight into local innovators.
I wrote an article just recently about the progress so far. This reminded me how much I spent, both financially and the hours I have been putting in over the last 20 months.
I’ve made the decision to dedicate the next three months to either get at least the money and time I am spending promoting Perth startups, covered through some income, or look at either selling it, or shutting down. Whilst I started it purely for the benefit of the community, it is taking time and money that I could be using towards one of my other side projects (or, you know, a life).
The trick is, that it’s typically hard to monetise a Twitter account.
Marketing Benefits of Startup Perth for Startups
Whilst the idea of sharing content on Twitter seems very simple and low value, it’s actually very valuable for brands, as most marketers attest to. In this article on Quuu, they discuss five benefits, being
- It’s Free Traffic
- Engage and Cultivate Even More Free Traffic
- Your Google Rankings Will Rise
- You’ll Get Indexed Faster
- You’ll Create a Better Relationship with Customers
One of the big benefits for many of the startups I have been sharing content from, is the search engine rankings, and the exposure of these brands to new markets. A while back, I started sharing one particular startup which had 9 Twitter followers at the time. A week later, they had 24 – all naturally as a result of Startup Perth sharing their tweets.
This is great validation that comes from promoting Perth startups, especially early stage innovators.
Recent statistics show a high correlation between those successful on social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ also have much success in Google visibility.
Recent changes to Startup Perth
In the last 13 days, I have been getting a few tasks lined up and completed, to give this quarter a better chance of success.
I started by overhauling the Startup Perth website (it used to be just a page here on my blog).
Afterwards, I deleted a number of old automated feeds, and added a few new startups. I also changed the timing for many of these, and tweaked the hashtags that are associated with them.
I also compiled a contact list for each startup, and put it in a spreadsheet. I have reached out to all of these businesses by email, and I confirmed their URL, name, etc is all perfect.
The plan for Startup Perth
So this is what I am going to attempt to achieve over the next three months. I’m going to spend the next two months building further engagement on Twitter, as well as trying to attract income to cover the costs.
Depending on how this goes, I’ll spend the final month either negotiating for selling the name, website and Twitter account or shutting the account down.
Startup Perth already attracts a fair amount of engagement. Most tweets are retweeted, replied to or favourited. So here are a few things I’ll be trying over the next month;
Add more visual quotes. I’ve tried these on and off, and they are always well received. Inspirational quotes that relate to startups and innovation.
Daily focus tweets. I am scheduling a daily tweet, where we focus on one of the startups in my automated posting list.
Reaching out and saying hello. I’ll be using the account and say thanks to a few followers, and hello to some new followers.
Promoting Perth startups. I’ll continue doing what I have been, and try to find new startups to start promoting as well.
— Startup Perth (@startupperth) April 9, 2017
There are a few possible methods of getting income whilst also promoting Perth startups. I believe I could just demand a monthly/annual fee to include the 35 startups I am currently promoting, or I could sell sponsorship for a time period such as a week or month (Like “This week’s tweets are brought to you by 6Q”).
These methods, however, put those early stage startups, who typically are bootstrapped and possibly not making any money at this stage, at a disadvantage.
The model I am going to try first, is literally just ask for donations, using a PayPal link. This way, the startups and others who gain value from the service, and who can afford to spend a little on advertising can send me what they feel is adequate and fair value, and those who don’t have the spare marketing budget, don’t feel pressured to.
How you can help
If you want to help, sharing this post, or retweeting Startup Perth would be a great help.
If you follow the account, and feel you are getting value from it, a small donation towards running it would be nice. If you are from one of the startups that I am currently promoting, I would appreciate you pitching in a small part of your marketing budget towards paying the bills.
See this page for more detail.