How to validate your ideas with Twitter

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Everyone’s says you should validate your ideas.

“Share your ideas and see what people say”.

But sometimes, it can be hard to interprete the feedback or comment you received when you share your ideas online. Are people genuine when they say it’s a good idea? Should you take someone seriously when they say “count me in”? What about the “have you thought about x” suggestions?

Today, I will show you 3 real examples of solo entrepreneurs testing their ideas on Twitter and how we can interpret their results.

What A Validated Idea Looks Like on Twitter – 3 Examples

But first, if you’ve not read The Mom Test, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. It shows you exactly what to do in each of these scenarios and can save you months of pain and heartaches chasing the wrong ideas!

And of course, there are dozens of different ways to validate ideas including Noah Kagan’s phone call method in The Million Dollar Weekend.

Today, we’re looking ONLY at a specific low budget method that solo entrepreneurs love – sharing their ideas on social media.

By the end of this article, you will learn what are positive and negative signals when validating your ideas.

Positive and negative signals

Idea validation is not an exact science. At our venture studio we applied thresholds to our smoke tests but even then there are lots of different factors to consider when interpreting the results.

When testing your idea on Twitter, I’d recommend you think about the feedback you receive as either a “positive” or a “negative” signal.

Positive signals are when your potential customers thoroughly considered your proposition and wants to work with you. This is an invitation to proceed. Examples:

  • How can I pay?
  • Can I trial this?
  • Can you do monthly instead of weekly? (Shows that the commenter thought about his specific circumstances)
  • Can you include [specific feature]? (Great feedback!)

Negative (or neutral) signals are the opposite. The commenter might be giving your completely irrelevant suggestions or offer generic encouragements. This is NOT a dig on the commenter, they might just not be your ideal customer. Examples:

  • Good idea! (Too generic)
  • Have you thought about this (completely different) idea? (Shows they are either not your ideal customer profile or they don’t value your idea)
  • Good luck!
  • I am currently [insert workaround] and it works great, check it out
  • Let me know when you launch! (They are not yet sold on the idea right now)
  • Lots of people need this! (Too generic)

Let’s dive in.

Example 1 – Kyleigh’s SEO subscription service

Kyleigh is an SEO expert and in this tweet she’s validating an idea to provide a productised SEO service. Members get to access her service for a fraction of the price of a typical SEO agency.

Her idea validation tweet:

Because she’s built up an audience that trusts her when it comes to this topic, it’s unsurprising that most of the comments are positive, from “charge me!” to “I would be the first to subscribe”.

But I want to draw your attention on 2 that I think are the strongest positive signals:

This comment by Erik is the simplest to signal to read. He basically says I want this and am willing to pay for it right now. Perfect.

The second one is harder to decipher. At first glance it feels like a negative signal. However, I think this is a stronger signal than a more generic “Good idea!” comment. Let’s break down why:

  • He’s shown you how he’d thought about the proposition and is offering suggestions to improve
  • The suggestions are highly relevant to the original proposition, not a complete pivot (a pivot example would be “Good idea! Have you thought of [something entirely different]”

All in all, given her price point and her expertise, I’d conclude that this was a successful experiment.

Example 2 – Pieter Level’s auto-refund service

The idea here is to save Stripe merchant money by auto-refunding customers who request a chargeback (refund) after making a purchase. Chargebacks are time-consuming and costly for entrepreneurs to deal with, which is why Pieter created this service to help them auto-refund disputed sales.

His idea validation tweet:

Reading the comments, it looks like Pieter misunderstood the chargeback process as merchants still pay chargeback fee and Stripe does not encourage auto-refunds.

Lesson: Sharing your ideas early can help you avoid weeks or months of work building something that doesn’t actually solve the problem you think you are solving.

Example 3 – Milly Barker’s Growth Challenge

Milly is a serial entrepreneur with multiple successful product exits. She’s launching a 30 day guided growth cohort for indie hackers to grow their startups.

Her idea validation tweet:

Like Kyleigh’s SEO example, Milly received lots of “good idea!” type comments. But as we now know, they are not positive signals for idea validation.

Example positive signal:

The commenter has thought about the proposition and considered what he’d want from the challenge.

Perhaps controversially, I’d consider this next one a negative signal:

The commenter is offering an idea for a completely different proposition.

Milly also received many “I’m in”, “Sign me up”, and “Definitely interested” comments. These are nice to haves but you should expect to only convert a small number of these.

How to replicate success

There you have it. 3 real examples of idea validation executed by 3 solo entrepreneurs. When doing your own, remember:

  1. Discount “Good idea!” comments. These make you feel good but are not something you want to rely on when it comes to idea validation.
  2. A strong positive signal is one that shows an intent to purchase right now – “how can I pay or try this?”
  3. “Have you thought about this?” is usually a negative signal disguised as a positive one. This is not usually done maliciously, but it’s important you don’t misread this as a positive signal.

That’s all for today. If you are pursuing an idea and are struggling to know how to grow your startup, do check out Milly Barker’s 30 Day Growth Challenge. The first cohort starts 1 May 2024 and you can use code JUICYIDEAS50 for $50 off your purchase.