Open Letter to Social Start-Ups: Who is Managing Your Expectations?

As I have mentioned before I come from the world of PR and Marketing, a world I will be getting back to very soon. Something that always was top of mind as a third party communicator (some who is hired to provide communication support) was managing expectations.

Look I love the entrepreneur spirit, I love to see companies taking a leap to provide the best service possible. However, when I was hired to provide PR/Marketing support the first thing I always did was try and manage my clients expectations. Every client thinks they have the greatest product since sliced bread, it was always my job to remind them that not everyone was going to think that out of the box.

I am bringing this point up to prove a fact, who is managing many of these social start-ups expectations? If part of your business model relies on using social media as a vehicle, shouldn’t you have some way of deciding if the social world wants your application or service?

A traditional model for analyzing value often involves PR people reaching out to analysts and setting up product demos. These analysts would then create a very objective look at the value and services a product provides. They also add third party credibility to what ever they are reviewing. This is the old model of doing things.

I know many of the new companies out there want to be seen as “ground breaking” and “changing the way we do business” but receiving an outside, non-bias, voice about what you are doing is incredibly helpful. I am sure many of the social start-ups out there are trying to do this with a Beta testing or something similar to it, but I think the messages are getting lost somewhere.

I say all of this because I have to wonder who says some of these social applications and social networks are a good idea. Every day I am sent emails and letters from CIOs and CTOs of these tiny social start-ups who are offering no real point of difference from the thousands of social applications that do the same thing.

Often I am compelled to write them and ask them why their product is diffrent. On the occasions that I have asked this I get some standard email back stating that company X is going to reinvent the wheel and is completely diffrent from company y and z.

Consider this an open letter to any social media start-ups out there. If you want an honest opinion what your product or service can do in the social market place email me or leave a comment on this post. I will give you honest feed back and try to offer any advice if I can. Just don’t complain that I lack vision or I am a “complete F-ing idiot” (I was actually called that in an email) if my opinion doesn’t match yours.

I look forward to hearing from you.