The AirBnb success story makes you dream and you are certainly not alone. Many entrepreneurs today are experimenting in the collaborative economy. But succeeding in launching a project that is close to your heart without a budget or experience in this mode of consumption is not always easy …
At the outset, it is difficult to grasp the inner workings of the early stages of developing a CtoC business (from consumer to consumer). We must first understand how the collaborative economy works. Imagine: it’s like you decide to rent or lend your drill to your neighbor to make ends meet. It’s as simple as that, and it can apply to all areas: it’s a connection between individuals.
In collaborative consumption, use prevails over property. A customer who is not a typical consumer of a service can therefore be tempted by occasional use. While it can be difficult to reach and convert, it is far from impossible.
Here are some tips to follow at the start of your collaborative adventure:
1 / Word of mouth will boost you!
The first individuals who offer their services will be your ambassadors. I myself have been an ambassador, and like you, I have many anecdotes to tell about different services that I have used. Imagine your carpool driver who tells you that he has already done a Paris-Nantes with a ferret in the trunk of his car to bring it back to its owners. Apparently the ferret was constantly moving. It was a horrible experience, but it was the “weirdest” story Jean had in 152 trips on Blablacar. User experience must be at the heart of your interests. It is therefore essential that you yourself know what the user will experience.
Providing a unique experience is above all the idea of the collaborative economy and is one of the keys to success. By developing certain practices in this direction, you should yourself be able to refine your concept and offer a unique moment that the user will then tell his entourage.
2 / “Real” stories you will tell!
Your content strategy should be in line with your vision of your concept. Nobody knows you, and yet your small user base already appreciates your service very much. This core must serve you: interviewing them and taking them as an example will help you show and prove that the service is real and serious. Telling and commenting on the experience of the service makes it possible to image the lived experience and boosts the desire to test the service. Here is a great example of storytelling around the user experience engaged by Airbnb which has worked well. These are real stories that generate a sense of belonging to the community.
Knowing your users and putting them forward through the experience of your services should give you visibility. Above all, share this content on your blog and on social networks.
3 / Community Manager you will be!
It is essential to use social media in your strategy. Knowing how to animate your community is essential. Engage your fans on specific themes in your sector and especially in a very simple approach. Interact with them on your accounts with photos of the team, interviews, meetings between individuals.
Nightswapping, the 1time night barter platform between individuals, is very active in the animation of its community: this is what makes it strong. For example, it is not uncommon to see the Nightswapping team come forward through challenges offered by the community on Facebook.
It therefore seems essential to make its service a real exchange platform on which each of your users can share their experiences on social networks. The “community” aspect is a major asset for eco-solidarity businesses.
4 / The journalists will target you!
If social networks and content strategy are undeniable in the marketing logic of a collaborative economy startup, journalists are just as much. Obviously, this is a very closed circle which it is not always easy to confront. Anyway, you have to take the time to contact the journalists. This will benefit you, especially if your service is pioneering and original.
In recent years, the media have been paying close attention to the social and solidarity economy. Many reports and papers have focused on rapidly developing startups. What they are looking for: original and innovative projects. From then on, you will have your place in the media landscape.
5 / Some Metrics, you will not follow!
The collaborative economy is a small revolution. A few years ago, no one had ever heard of these few companies which today dominate certain sectors such as housing or transport. Be aware that your first metrics analytics will not necessarily reflect the potential of the target market. If at first, Brian Chesky, founder of Airbnb, had only followed Google Analytics to develop, he would certainly have stopped his activity after 6 months. Developing this type of platform takes time, money, but also a lot of creativity in your communication strategy.
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