The nature of social media is changing. Out are the days of just counting followers as a sign of success, says entrepreneur Faiz Imran. Now, it is all about building and measuring community.
Communities are nothing new online. In fact, upwards of 76% of internet users are part of some sort of online community, be it paying to join a Discord group, following a subreddit, signing up for a Substack, or actively participating in a curated private Facebook group.
This means content creators and brands have to manage their presence on a growing list of online communities and traditional social media platforms. And navigating that disparate landscape can be quite a headache. Most content creators are also dealing with a very “choppy” revenue landscape as they piece together brand deals and ads on various social platforms like Discord, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Substack, and Patreon.
“Right now, “traditional” social media like Instagram allows for one-way access,” Imran told Hypepotamus. “I’ve worked with thousands of creators and I saw a couple of patterns. Some creators are huge and some are small…but they all want the same thing: they all want to reach people organically and they want to connect with their audience on a deeper level so they know whether the content they’re pushing is actually resonating.”
This led him to create Backspace, an Atlanta-based platform that helps brands and creators build up and monetize digital communities. Imran describes Backspace as a “social community platform” that moves beyond the echo chambers created on traditional social media platforms and other online communities.
Imran said Backspace differentiates itself from other online community platforms by its more robust search options and its focus on creating revenue opportunities for creators and brands.
The goal is to help creators maintain a consistent, reliable source of income and help creators of all sizes build a strong following.
He added that finance and fitness education content creators have done particularly well in the online community-building space.
The team recently received some pretty big traction on Product Hunt, a technology product discovery tool. Chris Messina, known as the inventor of the hashtag, “hunted” the Atlanta-based startup earlier this summer and helped Backspace grow on the platform.
Imran is no stranger to the entrepreneurial world, having founded the digital agency Fismma and Business Blurb, a fast-growing GenZ media company. All of his previous ventures have been bootstrapped. While the early stages of Backspace was built on capital put in by Imran and his co-founders, Backspace raised a $100,000 pre-seed round from outside investors last summer and plans to close its seed round in the coming months.
Backspace is one of several Atlanta-based startups looking to change how we connect online. Some of the fast-growing ventures include Press Sports (a social media app for athletes) and Fanbase (a subscription fan platform for artists).
Imran noted that while raising venture capital within the city has been more difficult, Atlanta’s strong creator community makes it a natural launching off point for a startup like Backspace.