Social media has done a fantastic job of connecting us to almost anyone we can find across the globe, but a question begins to arise that presents an ironic contradiction.
Why don't I know my neighbors?
This was a question that Gregg Alpert, Founder of Cohab, reached out to us with and we decided to set up a campaign to test the market.
To kick things off, Gregg decided to write a Medium post on Creating Community in the Age of Isolation. This helped us establish a context and direction for what he was aiming to achieve.
To validate his startup idea, we built out a campaign that focused on promoting his core message to audiences with specific interests on Facebook and Instagram.
We were able to generate leads for his pre-launch list and determine if there was really a market for this concept - hyper localized social networking.
We used the data to evaluate the market demand, competition, and viability of acquiring customers. We ultimately discovered that the target audience was in fact landlords who would be interested in extending a social layer service in addition to their rentals.
I always recommend clients to establish a clear sense of vision and OKRs prior to delving into the process of developing their campaign.
If you're unfamiliar with OKRs, it stands for Objectives & Key Results. These are the high level objectives like Generate Leads and specific results like:
When you set your vision and OKRs, you can set up the project components to achieve those specific KRAs and ultimately hit your vision target.
Once we set the vision, we started with a strategic project structure for the Growth side of the brand.
I always recommend structuring the Growth folder as follows:
This allowed us to easily store assets related to each campaign objective and in this case we focused on Leads first.
We initially didn't have much data for the target audience. Gregg had just began investigating the market and was just starting to have conversations.
We knew that he had a concept that he wanted to build out, so we started with a scope whereby we would deploy a 3 month campaign (1 quarter) and test the market with an Facebook campaign.
Cohab was a social media concept around connecting local neighbors and providing them with a way to see a feed of their activity in a localized geography. Different from Facebook or Twitter, there is a scope of the geography. So even though you are browsing through digital posts, you are only seeing what is physically located near you. This makes it easier for you to meet up in real life if at any point you actually decide to leave your couch.
The core problem it solves is that people can get lonely in apartment buildings if they live by themself. They want to meet other people in their local area, but are too overwhelmed with Facebook and other social media platforms.
They are looking for a simple way to connect with people and use an interface that gives them a reason to meet.
To set up the campaign we started with the most important component of every business - an email list. We installed Drip and set up 2 automations for surveying a cold audience and engaging them with soft CTAs.
Before we created any campaigns, Gregg focused on working with an external designer to create his logo and app screens.
He created a few app screens to represent his MVP concept for a social feed with groups around activities. Once he had the app screens, we could focus on integrate them into the website and "selling" the idea.
The Landing Page
For the landing page, we went with Webflow. It was the best choice because of it's flexible for designing landing pages.
The first iteration featured a hero with a sign up form and a few sections to describe what the app did and it's main benefits.
The second iteration featured a more in-depth look at each feature and described what the benefits were.
Facebook and Instagram Ads
We then set up the branded Cohab Facebook page and added it to the Business Manager for Cohab. The goal was to create a "homey" look and feel to the brand and make it feel like you were actually meeting new friends through the Cohab brand.
This gave us the foundation to start setting up the ad campaign.
A/B Testing & Optimization
To further optimize the campaign, we set up Google Optimize and started testing different headlines and background images on the landing page. We determined one background performance superior to the others and generated more leads as a result.
We tested a variety of ad creative and copy to drive results and we ended up generating around 100 leads from the initial ad sets.
After a few months of the campaign, Gregg had acquired hundreds of leads and he was starting to understand that many of the best engaging segments were actually landlords as opposed to users who would do the social networking.
We increased conversion rate, decreased bounce rates, and ultimately put a solid advertising and split-testing framework in place so that Gregg could quickly identify his target audience, build a list and start learning more about their needs.
Our hypothesis about the social media service itself was invalidated, and we ultimately learned that this was more of a value-add for landlords who wanted to better service their clients.
While Gregg ultimately decided to shut down Cohab months later, he was a savvy entrepreneur that validated his idea the right way. By campaigning and building a targeted list to validate his idea, he was able to determine if there was indeed a viable market opportunity.