Tweethunter is living proof that distribution is everything.
They built a great product, but so did many other founders. What set them apart?
The way they've positioned and distributed.
Proof of their mastery is that they recently got acquired by Lemlist, in a 8 figure deal.
I've just sold my startup for 8 figures.— Tibo (@tibo_maker) January 16, 2023
From 0 to millions in 18 months 🤯
The insane story of how a guy I met when I was 12 acquired my startup: pic.twitter.com/nni5eg5q8y
It's a great case study. Let's dive into it.
Tweethunter is a AI powered Twitter writing assistant. You get hundreds of prompts to help you write viral tweets and thus grow your following.
It's used by accounts with tens of thousands of followers. This is important - we'll get back to this later.
They started with a rough Beta, just a simple product that fulfilled the value prop. They were looking for user feedback, and any experienced maker knows this is the best way to get it.
Beta is done - time to launch this.
Tibo, one of the founders, had an ace up his sleeve. He already had a built a sizeable audience of "Startup Twitter" people. This was a hugeee advantage - right away he had people to talk to that already trusted him. He already had the early adopters.
Even if you're unsure about what the product you're building will turn out like, you should start building a media asset - an audience. This can prove extremely valuable in the future. Start publishing tweets, tiktoks, posts, articles, link roundups - whatever your audience finds more interesting to consume. Focus on the market segment you'll serve to make it specific and once your product is ready you'll have a list of users ready to test it out.
With this launch a few subscribers came in. But still short of their $1,000 MRR mark.
Wow!— Tibo (@tibo_maker) May 20, 2021
Reached $100 MRR in just 3 days of private beta for Tweet Hunter.
However, they had feedback and a clear indication that their product had value. How many products do you know that get paid subscribers while still in Beta?
Not many. Getting paid is the ultimate product validation, and they got it - and fast.
And so, it was time to scale.
There were 5 main activities.
This strategy was genius.
Tibo and Tom dove deep into who their users were.
"Where do people who want to grow on Twitter hang out? Who do they follow?"
The insight was key. These people follow accounts who promise them growth and who share tactics and strategies on how to grow.
Not SEO. Not paid. Just partnering up with influencers.
But there's an issue with influencers. I've seen it plague many brands. Incentives are often missaligned, and they can get pricey. Besides, it's hard to know if you promotion will be a hit or a flop - it all comes down to their audience and how they present your product to it.
It's a risky business, usually advised for brands with loads of cash to burn. But not for Tweethunter.
They fixed all of these issues by giving influencers a piece of the pie. Yes - literally giving them equity on Tweethunter. Here's what happened:
A bit of out-of-the-box thinking combined with user knowledge led to this insight that dramatically changed their outlook.
And as with any channel that works, you double down on it. And so they did, by getting 10 influencers to be shareholders of Tweethunter - literally 10x the potential reach they could get.
We just RAISED!— Tibo (@tibo_maker) January 5, 2022
But not money.
We raised brains 🧠 from 12 Twitter legends.
Meet Tweet Hunter's Creative Investors
A thread👇 pic.twitter.com/sgmfPLdiAo
Influencer work is more of a medium term strategy. That's when you'll get the best results.
In the meantime, they shipped a looot of products. They got consistent launches on Product Hunt of side projects they were working on.
This isn't a channel by itself, but it helped to expose Tweethunter to new people and generate growth loops through that. We'll touch on that topic in a bit.
Here are some of the products they launched:
To acelerate growth, they also acquired some projects.
The main motivation behind this was the SEO bonus and obviously the traffic these products already generated.
If you've got money to spare, then consider this. There are plenty of small websites and products that are just out there, possibly with no revenue, and their founders might be keen on getting acquired.
Tweethunter acquired Jakob's project, What To Tweet. And as a result, they found a nice boost in organic traffic.
This comes two fold - what they did, and what they didn't do.
Tweethunter doesn't try to compete in the field of social media scheduling or analytics. It goes beyond that, into a market niche of their own: a tool that helps you write better and grow on Twitter.
Hypefury id about scheduling, Tweet Hunter is about helping you write better tweet (and has scheduling)— Tibo (@tibo_maker) January 21, 2023
There are plenty of regular social media tools. The market is satured, and to be honest it's hard to differentiate them. Even for a guy like me who works in the field, I find only minor differences between option A and option B. They're the same.
Tweethunter brought new technology into a field (AI Writing), combined it with a small niche (Twitter), and boom - they got their own little space in the market.
VISUAL: big bubble of the social media market, red and satured, divided into small shares. Small bubble of the twitter writing tools market, blue and with no slices.
But there's more to it. We often associate positioning to pretty visuals reflecting a "brand vision" and it's "vision". Tweethunter gives 0 F's about that. And it works.
Here's the thing: having a unique brand is important, but you gotta do the groundwork first. Find a market niche first. Develop the visual side if it starts getting too crowded.
Tweethunter nailed their positioning, and their website looks awful. But it still works. The results are clear. The testimonials are there. And in the end, that's what matters for THEIR audience.
(Besides, we could even argue that they do have a strong brand - Tibo and Tom have tens of thousands of followers, and Tweethunter is deeply embeded with their brand. This is also brand - just not a visual one)
Here's a cool idea they work on:
Challenges. Specifically, Twitter Growth Challenges.
The incentivizes are SUPER aligned. Let's look at it:
1 - Creators get accountable
2 - Creators get a community around them and a starting bonus to their growth
3 - Creators get competitive, helping them grow.
4 - Tweethunter finds user who have a problem they solve (growing on Twitter)
5 - If their users grow, Tweethunter gains more exposure.
What I love about Tweethunter is that they didn't use any of the conventional growth channels.
They found something that worked uniquely for their own product (Influencers). And then, they shipped. Very, very fast.
The lesson you can take from here is simple:
What opportunities do you have that are exclusively yours?