Once Nguyen and her co-founders identified their key markets, they reached out to social media "influencers," as she dubs them, within that market.
After pinpointing Facebook and Instagram as their main social media channels, Nguyen said "the secret to discovering the right Instagram influencers lies in the fact that people follow similar popular users within an industry."
To see how users kept up with news, they asked, for instance, how many went to Popsugar for fitness-related news and tips and whom they followed on social media. Hidrate also hired a virtual assistant to go into different users' profiles and note who they followed on Instagram. The company then made a list of potential Instagram influencers to reach out to. So far, they have 2,000 on board and 4,000 "in the pipeline," she said.
The influencers the company spoke to were crucial in giving the Hidrate team insight into who exactly their audience was and what they wanted. "You have to really dig into the why — why they're interested or why they're not interested. It's not about the who or what as much as it is about the why," Nguyen said.
Once she and her colleagues collected that data, they put together a list of hundreds of early adopters who they knew would support the product.
By doing so, they had built some momentum, starting off their crowdfunding campaign with a slew of backers that massed into more than 8,000 total backers and $627,000.
"By the time we launched the product, [the backers] weren't just supporting Hidrate, they were actually part of the process itself."