These days, everyone wants to build the next Apple, Facebook, Uber, etc.
One of the biggest challenges is trying to figure out what the next big thing is. How exactly does one find a gap in the market without experiencing that gap themselves? And how to know that there is enough demand for this service or product to carry the venture for years to come?
Well here’s one way to do it: crowdsource a gap using social media.
Businesses are already using social media to understand the needs of their current, and would be customers. It is one of the best listening tools around! So why not use it in reverse to find your next idea for a new venture?
Here are some tips to identify a gap using social media.
Put your ear to the ground. Beyond posting pictures of your lunch, promoting your services, or sharing cat pictures, social media has other great uses. You can essentially search for everything and anything that people are currently talking about, including: problems they have, things they want, solutions they need, and beyond.
So let’s say that you have a background in sales. Perhaps you have always been bothered that Salesforce doesn’t offer “A, B and C,” or that there are no resources or training programs for “X, Y, and Z.” Hop on to Twitter and run a search using some related keywords to see if people are discussing this problem or asking their followers for advice.
For example, begin typing a search for “CRM.” You will immediately get suggested searches including: “CRM help”, and “CRM recommendations.” Clicking through will immediately show people asking if there are CRM solutions that are ideal for their industry, or their new venture. You will even find asking people about what to try if they can’t afford more expensive services like Salesforce. You may also find people tweeting about their gripes with inadequate services from the well known companies! Open up the full conversation to see if people have recommendations, or have similar problems and concerns to the original tweet.
Search regionally. If you are planning to start with more localized services or products, it certainly helps to know if there is demand in your area. Hootsuite has an app called Hootlet which sits on top of your Google Chrome browser. One of the features includes the ability to see what people are talking about in your area – a great tool to get a feel for what’s important in your neighborhood.
Ask questions. Now that you have had the chance to do a ton of listening, it’s safe to ask questions too! Make your voice heard on Twitter, relevant LinkedIn groups, and beyond. Find out if people agree with you that there is a gap in the market for a particular service, and what solutions they would like to see.
If you chose to pursue a venture based off the feedback you receive, you may already have your first customers on social media!