Growth hacking is all about using creativity and modern technology to increase exposure without a traditional marketing department or a large budget. You make use of creative techniques and social interaction to draw a crowd, rather than the old-school marketing through television, radio, billboards and the like. Many modern companies are finding explosive growth through such hacks, and you can be one of them.
You need two things for growth hacking; a platform and a goal. In this case, your platform is Twitter and your goal is to grow exposure. Try these techniques and watch your popularity soar.
1. Promote your content, not yourself.
When you’re too self-promotional on your social media pages, it drives users away. Instead of emphasizing your own business, emphasize your content and your insight. Users will recognize the value you provide and will naturally convert into followers and customers.
Seriously, everywhere. Social sharing buttons next to your blog posts and on product pages for your shop. Use your @username when you comment on blog posts. Mention it in your Facebook and other social media profiles. If there’s anywhere a user might visit that’s tied to you, make sure that button or username is there.
3. Encourage users to tweet your content.
Often times it’s as simple as asking them to tweet your content. A simple call to action at the end of a blog post is enough to increase social sharing. When more users tweet your content, you gain wider exposure, in a cycle that expands your circle of influence.
4. Use contests to gain followers and retweets.
Users love nothing better than a reward, even if they aren’t guaranteed to get it. Tell them you’ll give a prize to a follower once you reach a follower milestone. Do the same for anyone who retweets a given tweet or uses a particular hashtag. The prize can be anything from a coupon in your store to a gadget or one of your products itself.
5. Require recruitment to access gated content.
Offer a gift or access to content to anyone who refers another user. This works best with apps and games, but can be used in a number of ways if you get a little creative. It’s just a variation on the common theme of rewards for a simple bit of social engagement.
6. When a user mentions using your product, ask for feedback.
Feedback is great, particularly when it’s public. Users trust testimonials from other users more than they trust them published on your site; after all, you could fake them on your site. If the feedback happens to be negative, it becomes a great customer service opportunity.
7. Follow other popular accounts in your industry.
Popular accounts and thought leaders in your industry are great targets to follow. Introduce yourself into their conversations and you’ll attract the attention of their audience, who in turn may follow you for your insights.
8. Be quick to respond to both praise and criticism.
Social media is all about responses and engagement, and none so more than Twitter. It’s the closest thing you have to an always-active chatroom, so make use of it for active responses. If someone complains, work to make it right. If they offer praise, thank them. It’s easy and it builds a great reputation for your brand.
9. Tactfully newsjack current events by adding relevant value.
Newjacking can be done poorly, which runs the risk of demonizing your brand. Usually these are instances where you poke your brand into something unrelated and try to interject yourself in an irrelevant way. If you’re related to the event and you can provide positive value, newsjack away.
10. Build hype with tantalizing countdowns for new promotions.
On Monday, tweet about a special event happening on Friday. Each day, release something tantalizing to encourage people to care. If you’re especially creative, you can make the whole thing an ARG. It builds a lot of interest and engagement, and the payoff can be immediate.
11. Just plain ask for retweets.
It’s simple, and yet it’s surprisingly effecting. Just adding “retweet this” to the end of a particularly important tweet drastically increases the chances of people doing just that. You may be surprised at how effective it is just to ask for what you want. You should also include requests for tweets at the end of blog posts, in Facebook posts and throughout other bits of your marketing plan.
12. Join in on Twitter hashtag chats.
Hashtag chats are long, ongoing chats centered around a single popular hashtag. They can range in topic drastically, so you’ll very likely be able to find a couple related to your niche. Don’t try to advertise in them, just join in the conversation. Your goal isn’t to promote your product in the chat, it’s to gain exposure as a social participant.
As part of avoiding being too self-promotional, you should share content from others in your industry and from current events you find interesting. When you share a piece of content, look for the author and see if they publish a Twitter username. If they do, mention their @username in your tweet, to gain their attention. It can start a dialogue that leads to mutual audience sharing.
14. Create and publish regular content worth sharing.
All content marketing plans center around one thing; the content. If you don’t have the content, you can’t gain exposure, won’t draw an audience and have no chance of conversions. Make sure you have content worth sharing before you try to establish yourself on Twitter. Furthermore, as you work, you need to continually publish new content. Start off slow and ramp up your flow as you gain the audience to support it.
15. Automate as many of these tips as possible.
Automation is the growth hacker’s best friend. Every tip here can be automated in some minor way, from automatic tweets upon publishing content to queued up messages throughout the weekend. More automation means more time to spend on producing content and interacting socially in ways you can’t automate.
All of these tips are just basic guidelines. The true growth hacks come from applying your creativity to them in ways users don’t expect. How you do that is up to you; to publish the secret is to eliminate the value of the method. Originality is your friend in growth hacking.