Spacehoot is a social networking platform for web promotion, social and business networking. Its purpose is to help businesses, solo professionals and freelancers to create, showcase and promote their pages, projects/portfolios, articles and products/services in an organized, uncluttered environment.
For most of it, the idea of Spacehoot was incubated and brought to fruition by Mark Melton. Mark is a software developer whose experiences are primarily in developing, training and implementing financial management and microfinance software. Mark is also a professional website designer and developer. As an entrepreneur, he has co-founded a company that develops and markets microfinance financial management software.
The idea of Spacehoot was born due to his company’s efforts to market financial management software solutions using web 2.0 and social media. It became clear to them that the current inbound marketing paradigm is about creating and promoting rich content. This method of marketing appears particularly well adapted and suited for businesses that market information such as blogs, seminars and books, or other high-tech ware such as smart phones, CRM software, social marketing and analytics tools and the likes.
Whereas this way of marketing works well for a subset of businesses and professionals, it is not well-suited for other businesses that produce and market products that are incapable of generating interesting content for inbound marketing. These later businesses desire primarily to increase their visibility and find ability online. They just wish to create and showcase their portfolio, let other people know what they do and how to contact them. They also desire to engage with their customers and prospects and discuss their offerings in professional social network environments.
Spacehoot aims at filling this gap, but also provides features that the former subset of businesses and professionals may also find useful. It works just like other social networks. Users may register free and start using all of the features on Spacehoot immediately. Users can register locally on Spacehoot or use any of their social media accounts to register, which eliminates the need to verify email accounts. After registration, users can immediately start following other users and business pages to start networking.
Whereas networking is one of the features offered on Spacehoot, but users can benefit without ever following any other user, or being followed back. Users who are not interested in meeting and networking with others may simply register and promote themselves or their businesses via creating projects (portfolio items), business pages, sharing articles for inbound marketing and posting links to help with their SEO and search engine ranking, etc.
All contacts/messages between users are business related, thus eliminated noise and idle chitchat. There are no paying accounts. All registered users stand equal chances of visibility and virality. It is particularly highly optimized for search engines. Users of Spacehoot can help their websites and blogs achieve quick higher ranking by creative use of links within Spacehoot post (natively referred to as “hoots”).
The biggest hurdle for the team has been in the area of marketing communication – how to reach out to their audience and potential users.
This is the era of Customer 2.0. In this era, prospective customers have turned completely to social media for information on businesses, trends, products and services. The Customer 2.0 will rather listen to what his/her trusted social media connections and peers are saying about a service before they purchase or patronize it. Businesses/sites with the highest positive social reviews and mentions tend to have the highest signups. Practically, for Spacehoot to become viral, a good number of influential social users need to give it their positive reviews and recommendations. This is currently their biggest challenge. There are not many users signed on Spacehoot yet, and other than social marketing efforts, they currently do not have sufficient endorsements from the influential voices and gurus of social media and marketing.
However, as soon as more users try out Spacehoot and begin to perceive its value, this trend is expected to change quickly. Yes, Spacehoot offers very many complementary social marketing benefits, and they expect more users to start sharing this good news once they themselves have benefited from Spacehoot.
The hardest part of the job is convincing users to sign on and try Spacehoot. This is the age of “Big Data.” Internet users are continually bombarded by astronomical and biblical amounts of information and marketing messages. Every marketer touts his/her offering as the silver bullet – surest solution to solve man’s needs!
They have several features in the pipeline that will be released in the next couples of months, all of which are consistent with their mission. Examples of these features include events and event invitations. They intend to present a different way of inviting users to attend events. They also have in the pipelines additional social media features that will complement and enhance the usefulness of the other features that are already available on Spacehoot.
The startup is currently funded by the creators in seed investment. There is no external or venture capital funding. However they are exploring marketing partnership with other agencies or businesses in exchange for stock options.
When we asked Mark about where they get all this inspiration from, this was he had to say, “Napoleon Bonaparte: Arguably the world’s greatest general and military genius, who was born in small Ajaccio in Corsica, but rose to become the Emperor of the French and conquer nearly the whole world. He defied all odds, setting himself apart by hard work and self-exertion.” He further continued and highlighted his favourite quote by Napoleon, “Impossible is a word to be found in the dictionary of fools, and I am not a fool. Truly, most everything is possible if we are willing to work hard and long enough to achieve it! It is reported that Bonaparte slept an average of 3 hours per night – and that, mostly on horseback!”