Dave Nevogt is the co-founder of Hubstaff.com which helps virtual teams communicate better through automatic time tracking and activity tracking. He’s been running online businesses since he was 23, and now manages a team of 30 remote employees. Dave has been honored as one of Indianapolis’s top 40 under 40 entrepreneurs and focuses on teaching others to manage remote teams. You can follow him on Twitter here.
You’ve grown your startup, Hubstaff, from 0 (in 2011) to nearly 4 000 customers today. It’s been a long journey! Based on your experience, what are the top hints you would give to young entrepreneurs who are starting their own businesses?
Don’t get too attached to your ideas but instead pay attention to what people are telling you. It’s a lot easier that way. Just build what people are telling you they want and look at the data trends to show you what they are using. If I could start over, I would definitely start a business where the customers could be easily identified and were actively looking for a solution.
Was your communication strategy based on social? Why?
We do communicate via social but it’s only a small aspect of how we communicate. The majority of the way we talk to our customers is via email or in-app messages in Intercom. We find this to be more direct and easy to measure. That being said, we definitely listen to social very carefully and communicate individually with people there.
You have big communities, on the biggest social media platforms. What are the three key points that you’ve used in order to grow such a big audience?
Honesty – we just try to speak honestly and put out information that is straightforward. 2. Interesting – we try to stand out a little bit and be a bolder brand instead of being reserved. 3. Lots of hard work and consistency – we’ve invested years of work and made it an important goal of ours to build the audiences that we have.
Do you react to every comment from your audience? How do you deal with negative feedback?
No, we don’t react to every comment but very close. We try to think about the mindset that people are in. If they are just trying to cause trouble then we generally don’t feed it. If they have a legit concern then we pay attention and get them the response they deserve.
Would you recommend that every startup and small or mid-size business begin marketing by building a brand presence on social?
Yes definitely, it’s needed in order to look like a credible brand and many customers can contact you directly via social. It makes you a much more personal and transparent brand which is what people want.