By many accounts, creating a successful business is as much about knowing your customer base as it is about knowing your product. That’s why many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs place a heavy emphasis on the power of social media data. To better understand this concept, we’ve turned to information from influential e-commerce entrepreneur Jesse Willms. The below information from the business leader should provide a more complete picture of how to utilize this important set of data-driven tools.
Jesse Willms Background
Before we dive into information from Jesse Willms on social media, let’s first look at the entrepreneur’s history for an indication of where his expertise lies. A longtime student of the business world, the e-commerce leader first developed an interest in his field when he was still just a teenager. At that time he had been searching for his calling in life but was finding a lack of clear direction. That changed, however, when he began to take an interest in business history and the lives of some of the world’s most influential business leaders.
The future entrepreneur soon found himself engrossed in a stack of memoirs detailing the work of some of the most innovative business professionals that had come before him. He began to gain an appreciation for not only the fundamentals of the work, but also the flair for creative and analytical thinking that seemed to link all of these great minds together. After that early introduction, he was hooked, and he set his sights on making his own impact on the field.
That opportunity came just a few years later when he began to explore the world of e-commerce. He soon realized the potential presented by the vast advertising networks that were being rolled out by the world’s biggest search engines. In the entrepreneur’s estimation, that potential rested on the idea that the data pulled from those networks could help consumers connect with products of interest with unprecedented efficiency. That insight helped him launch a business that would eventually pull in nine figures of total revenue and build a lifelong appreciation for the positive impact of data-driven analysis.
Power of Social Data
With that background in mind, it may be unsurprising that the business leader has since turned his attention to leveraging the insights available from analyzing how the world uses social media. Of course, these days, society is awash in social platforms and it’s often difficult to spend a day without logging into one network or another. While this ubiquity may be a detriment to the productivity of some users, it also means that there’s a veritable goldmine of information centered around worldwide online habits.
This data can exist on multiple levels, so it’s useful to discuss the different ways one can gain insights into this space. There are large troves of data provided en masse about the engagement patterns of entire groups of people. These data collections can be useful in the right context, but they can also be somewhat unfocused for many purposes. For instance, while it can be illuminating to know which products are broadly popular on social networks, it may be difficult to utilize that data without additional contexts — such as an individual user’s buying patterns.
Oftentimes, it can be far more useful to turn to data that is tailored to a company’s specific customer base. In other words, entrepreneurs and their organizations can often benefit more from listening to their own followers on social media than they can from casting a wide net over the world at large.
Continued Innovation from Jesse Willms
That’s one of the insights that the e-commerce entrepreneur has relied upon when innovating his latest business concept — providing vehicle history reports free of charge. The idea came about, in part, by analyzing social media to uncover buying patterns related to pre-owned vehicles. Through that analysis, the entrepreneur was able to better understand the role that vehicle history reports can play in this market. Without such reports, consumers are often left in the dark about potential issues a vehicle might have, making any purchase a chance affair. However, in the past, these reports have sometimes been prohibitively expensive, especially for consumers who want to peruse multiple buying options before settling on a purchase.
After pulling the above insights from online searches and social media data, the entrepreneur saw a potential market opening. He felt that if he could provide these vehicle history reports for a reduced price, or even for free, he’d be able to aid consumers in creating a more affordable purchasing process for used vehicles. Of course, the idea had its own central challenge — if he were to provide vehicle history reports free of charge, how would he cover the cost of creating the reports and, ultimately, generate revenue?
Here again, social media became an asset. To help inform his business model, the entrepreneur was able to utilize listening data from customers discussing another popular product — free credit reports. The entrepreneur soon found that the model used for those reports, namely relying on sponsorship and advertising to cover costs, could be viable in the context of vehicle history reports. With the idea fully formed in his mind, he set out on making it a reality. Now, he runs a network of websites dedicated to providing these free reports and has already helped many consumers reduce the cost of the vehicle-purchasing journey.
Follower-Specific Social Media Data
Now that the entrepreneur has his business up and running, he is also able to leverage an additional channel of social media data — his own followers. Many of these followers, as is often the case for many businesses, are likely to be individuals who have used his products in the past or are considering the use of his products in the future. As such, they make for another key source of insights for further refining his products.
By looking at the manner in which they are engaging with his social media posts and discussing his products on various platforms, the entrepreneur can gain valuable information about how his work is affecting the world at present. From these insights, he can make adjustments to his business model, reach out to new market segments, and pivot to new opportunities as they arise.
Though many entrepreneurs place their focus on knowing their products inside and out, it may be the case that their energy would be better spent on knowing their customers instead. For many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, this feat is accomplished through the power of social media insights. As we’ve seen in the example set by Jesse Willms above, these insights can not only shape one’s understanding of a customer base, but can also help formulate a business from the ground up. Consider turning to social media data early and often as you set out on your own business pursuits and you may be on the path to similar lasting benefits.