Social Media

Influencers: The Most Overlooked Part of your Team

Building a team is the most critical action that takes place in a startup. It’s your job to successfully gain traction and accelerate user growth. Adding an influencer could be the jet fuel to rocket-launch your product.

This article will highlight the reasons that an influencer should be a part of the founding team and how that translates into your go-to-market strategy. Also, by understanding the marketing landscape, one can deploy the most effective campaigns by spending little to no money.

State Of The Industry

Brands are beginning to realize that traditional marketing efforts are not leading to the desired level of direct user engagement and instead have re-allocated their funding toward Digital Media. According to Adweek, Digital Media will surpass total TV spending by 2018.   

Strategy Analytics recently published their latest advertising spend figures in the U.S., which is estimated at nearly $187 billion and digital accounts for just under 30 percent ($52.8 billion). That is nearly $30 billion less than TV ad spending. 

However, growing at a rate of 13 percent this year, and up 2.5 percent versus 2014, digital remains the fastest growing of any category. TV is projected to be the biggest share in 2015, which represents 42 percent of total spend ($79 billion).

This number continues to decline annually (down -0.6% versus 2014). Print is substantially less in third place at 15 percent ($28 billion) of ad spend.

The Shift Is Underway

The shift to Digital Media means more opportunity for Social Media Influencers who are able to create real-time engagement at a fraction of the cost. In turn, brands are able to more effectively spend advertising when compared to traditional media channels.

Social media ad spending is expected to reach $8.3 billion in 2015, up from $2.1 billion in 2014. With social media usage on the rise, consumers are increasingly voicing brand comments/complaints through this channel and they are having a hard time keeping up.

Complaints made publicly are challenging for brands. Only about 20 percent of consumer comments generate brand responses, and the average response time is over 11 hours.

The biggest issue with most brands that want to deal with influencers is that they confuse “audience” with “influence.”

In plain English, having a lot of followers doesn’t mean you have the power to drive them to action. You have to develop the ability to turn audiences into highly engaged customers.

This new “go-to-market” style is still quite new for the startup world, where you leverage the existing community of influencers instead of burning through a huge marketing budget in hopes of achieving similar results.

I’ve spoken to several CEO’s, who willingly admit that 30 percent of their funds are spent on user acquisition and they are always looking for better ways to increase retention.

Keys To Success

The three attributes that are most important for marketers to factor are relevance, reach, and resonance.

Relevance:

The content the influencers are sharing relevant to your business.

Reach:

Determines the number of people you could potentially reach through the influencer’s follower base that would bring value to your business.

Resonance:

Defined by engaging with a valuable audience through relevant content.

One thing is certain, if it doesn’t make sense in the digital world, it’ll never make sense in the real world.

Identify and Recruit

Twitter is the recommended platform for recruiting. Pay attention to the tweet constructs (phrasing, hashtags, link and photos/videos). Imagine these same tweets coming from your company’s handle.

Identifying An Influencer Can Be Incredibly Difficult, But Here Are The Key Questions To Answer:

  • Does the influencer’s voice align with your brand?

  • Are they already engaging with your customers or potential future customers?

  • Can this person build a community of influencers to join your campaigns?

  • Is this influencer monetarily driven or willing to accept equity?

  • What is the likelihood of a long-term commitment?

Before approaching an influencer, keep several points in mind to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. Most influencers are already receiving tons of offers from major brands with budgets and since early stage companies are typically under financial pressure; transparency is paramount.

Never ask an influencer to work for free. It’s disrespectful and this rule applies to all creative types (i.e. photographers, videographers, designers, etc.). Instead, lead with the reasons that your vision and company’s voice aligns well with the influencer’s content.

Sell The vision!

Collaboration is Paramount

As with anything in life, relationships are the cornerstone of future success. Always remember to pay it forward and take the time to genuinely engage with people.

Please share your thought about incorporating influencers, building communities and other go-to-market strategies.

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Jeremy WebbInfluencers: The Most Overlooked Part of your Team
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Live Stream Billboards – The Underground Billion Dollar Industry

YouTube released its beta of live streaming to content creators who have over 15,000 subscribers on their channel in June of 2016. As a YouTuber with 30,000 subscribers and 250,000 monthly views, I was eager to test live streaming with my audience. Over the past 3-months, I’ve worked closely with a community of fellow YouTubers from Finland, the UK, and India who introduced me to the elusive “Live Stream Billboards.” This underground marketing channel is believed by many creators to be the beginnings of a billion dollar industry.

Twitch along with other similar platforms have pioneered live streaming and marketers have been desperately trying to figure out successful ways to leverage them. I’ve seen a few tactics developing on Twitch with gaming, but from my research on YouTube’s streaming community, I can already see it is drastically more advanced.  

To properly describe how these extremely effective live streaming billboards are executed by YouTubers, I deconstructed the process into steps from start to finish.

Step 1: How To Live Stream on YouTube

To start a stream YouTube requires 15,000 subscribers, 3rd party “enabling software” (Best free software is OBS) that acts as a server, and a streaming “key” that YouTube provides.

Once the stream is live, your subscribers are notified to begin watching and commenting in real time. Live streams can last as long as you can produce content.

Step 2: The Description

Over the past few months I’ve tested dozens of descriptions and I’ve had links in live streams that lasted 7-days driving 2,000+ people to another YouTube channel. The live stream’s description is the most important part of the campaign.

The most recent stream campaign I launched was 4 simultaneous streams on a channel with 30,000 subscribers, which drove an average of 300 new subscribers per day to a YouTube channel. This campaign cost $100 and was alongside 5 other channel links for 7-days.

This “stream billboard” was live 24/7 and had bit.ly tracking links for each customer. By the end of the week, all channels roughly received 1500 new subscribers.

Step 3: The Presentation

The video stream presented to subscribers should consist of multiple parts. Showcasing the livecount.net feeds of the corresponding channels in the description I found to be the most successful.  This lets subscribers see how quickly the channels are growing, creating a “jones effect” to drive more clicks in the description.

Part 3: The Call To Action

So far in my experience with, the best strategy I’ve seen is providing giveaways to incentivize viewers to click the description links. With an average of 5 other links in the description surrounding yours sometimes the creator hosting the stream will offer overall giveaways to help with engagement.

Here are some examples I’ve seen used in descriptions:

“Join to win a free iPad”

“New subscribers are entered to win a free phone case!”

“Subscribe to enter and win a free YouTube channel”

“Follow this link for a 14-day trial!”

The primary goal of my research has been to see if these “live stream billboards” could work for startups. The overwhelming answer is YES.

On average they are performing 2x better than any acquisition channel I’ve tested within the past year.

Think of these streams as a 24/7 advertisement that subscribers opt-in to.

Part 4: YouTube Steaming KEYS

The stream key that YouTube provides for syncing with your 3rd party enabling software is similar to the keys to a car. Whoever holds the key can control the channel’s stream.

When working with this community of YouTubers I saw that they were exchanging keys to stream on each other’s channels.  This type of collaboration key sharing is unheard of even in the YouTube community and was fascinating to watch.

For example, if I gave PewDiePie (largest YouTuber in the world) the key to stream on my channel, he would be able to stream to my subscribers, directly on my channel. On the inverse, if I had PewDiePie’s key I’d be able to stream to his 50,000,000 subscribers. This is high risk and YouTube doesn’t recommend it.

Stream keys are meant to be kept personal and not to be shared with other channels but while watching this community streaming on each other’s channels, everyone increased their value, exponentially.

For beginners preparing to use YouTube as a marketing channel, I recommend keeping your keys personal and testing with stream billboards for other YouTube channels. Once you get used to streaming for channels you can expand into promoting your service or product.

Have fun streaming.

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Jeremy WebbLive Stream Billboards – The Underground Billion Dollar Industry
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Generate Leads From Your Startup’s Instagram

I am placing my bet that Instagram will take the spotlight as the top social platform for businesses in 2017. With 70 percent of U.S. companies transitioning their marketing efforts to this platform over the next year, most of the focus will be around how to generate leads.

Having grown multiple Instagram accounts reaching over 1,000,000 people every month, dozens of businesses reach out to me regularly asking how to drive traffic from their account.

The answer is surprisingly simple — if you’re familiar with the Instagram algorithm.

100 Plus Potential Customers To Your Landing Page Each Week

In short, to drive 100+ potential customers to your landing page each week from your account each of your posts will need to use the location feature and reach the “Top Posts” section of Instagram search.

First:

When a user searches on Instagram for a topic, they’re first shown “Top Posts” from the most liked and commented posts. This is where your growth team should focus, daily.

To reach this section, there are multiple variables but the primary path is by using multiple hashtags. Each of these acts a keyword someone will be searching on Instagram.

Example:

For example, on our company Hacksaw Academy’s Instagram page we use the same hashtags for every post that our team knows will reach the “Top Post” section with between 300-1000 likes. This generates roughly 80 new targeted followers every day and about 2,500 per month.

Hacksaw Academy Instagram stats from http://socialblade.com/instagram/user/hacksawacademy

Second: Driving Leads 

The second important piece to driving leads from your company’s Instagram account is using a location feature “hack.”

When creating a post you have the option to add a “location” which is displayed under your username to your followers. Many people have become creative with different location names, but in order to make this work in your favor.

There are 3 key location names to drive leads.

Link in Profile – Location is made up in San Francisco, CA

Link in Bio – Location is somewhere in Phoenix, AZ

Follow Us – Random locations all over the world.



Tagging

Tagging each of these on of your company’s posts — with these specific locations (above).

This tagging will drastically help increase clicks through your profile page.

Using these first two strategies will increase your lead generation from Instagram, but it will take time to gradually grow your following. There is a much faster method called shoutout for shoutouts (#sfs)

Shoutout for shoutout (#sfs) is a free tactic used by social media influencers on all networks to grow their followers rapidly. After researching #sfs for over a year I found that there are four unspoken “rules” to getting shoutouts for free.

Unspoken Rules:

  1. Only request #sfs with people in your space or industry.

  2. To get free shoutouts, only message people with accounts as popular as your account (within 10k-20k followers of each other)

  3. Ask for permanent posts. 80% of the time people will use these shoutouts like billboards and delete them after 1-2 hours.

  4. Always direct message (DM) the person. Response time is 2x faster than emails on average

Rapid Increase

If you can execute on enough shoutouts your team will see a rapid increase in the amount of targeted followers on your startup’s Instagram account. After continuously posting on your account you will notice followers tagging friends in the comments. When followers tag their friends in the comments section of your

Tip:

The two primary reasons teenagers in middle and high school are so amazing at growing their social media is consistent content creation and their ability to shout each other out.

So, think like a teenager.

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Jeremy WebbGenerate Leads From Your Startup’s Instagram
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5 Marketing Strategies to Amplify Your Business

What’s the difference between the confident entrepreneurs who lead growing businesses and owners who can’t get out of survival mode? 

It all comes down to this:  All successful businesses have a clear marketing strategy that makes everything they do more effective.

Sometimes people say something like, “I’ve placed some ads, but they just don’t seem to be doing anything,” which simply means that they are not getting the desired results. But marketing and advertising are different things. Just placing a few ads will not draw the kind of sales that a business needs to be successful.

Marketing is a process, not an event. It involves planning marketing goals and implementing marketing strategies to achieve them.

The strategy is simply the decisions you need to make so that your tactics work better. Your marketing strategy is the foundation for creating awareness, generating interest, closing new sales, and continuing customer engagement. Your marketing strategy guides your company culture, your products and services mix, and pricing. Marketing isn’t a complex process, but you have to be clear about your objective. Here are six simple marketing strategies you can use to increase your customers and sales.

1. Tap the right button

The first step in any marketing strategy is to identify your target market and target customer. Who do you serve and who can be your customer? This needs to be answered before you execute any strategy efficiently. If you are spending time and money on marketing, it’s important to define the right market and audience. The narrower you define your market so you can focus on those that you can best serve and those that can best service you, the more effective your entire business will be.

What few words will your customer say to describe your business? Dominos is about yummy pizzas, Starbucks is about high-quality coffee.

You have to clearly define the category of product or the service that you provide to the customer. People should always have a clear idea about your business so that they can share it with other people. Be laser-like in your focus of defining the category and market, so that it can amplify your marketing and sales efforts.

Always describe a unique feature of your product and the benefit of using it. Your unique benefit should highlight the one or two main things your product or service actually delivers (benefits) that your target customer really wants, not a long list of all the things your product does (features).

A company that offers e-marketing and sales automation need not describe much about its software, it should focus on customers’ interests and tell them how their software will help the customer to grow their sales and save time. The more simple and short you can describe your benefits, the better your marketing will work.

Also, offer some free classes/workshops related to your products or services — in your home, in a rented venue, or through a local education institution, such as a community college. Target specific audiences or events, if appropriate.

For instance, someone with a leading business might offer special workshops on Beaded Christmas Projects or Beading for Girls. A yoga instructor might offer a free session in the nearest school or college.

2. Build a website to present your work online

If you have a business and don’t have a website, you are losing out on opportunities for your business. A website itself can be used to implement many different marketing strategies to help your business grow. As a business owner, you need to know where your consumers are.

But what if consumers know your business and what you can offer, but they can’t reach you?

That is one of the risks you take by not having a website for your business. Your website and social media are accessible 24/7/365 to your customer. The more professional and creative your website, the more marketing advantages you can gain.

By building your website, you can tell your customers why they should trust you and about the testimonials, facts, and achievements that backup those opportunities. Your website should be user-friendly and it should answer the queries of the customer. Also, adding live chat support can be a good solution to providing them with answers and briefing them about the whole ideology of your business. Real time chatting with a customer support expert not only builds customer’s confidence during their shopping experience but also helps to improve your conversion rates.

It can be convenient for customers to get their queries answered through this medium; it also saves them time, which they can utilize by doing more research on your service.

For a visitor, as long as you manage to create an ideal first impression your target audience is pleased with, you will start to build a successful website, following, and community.

It is important to regularly update the content and improve the design of your website. Your website will be the tool that will reflect your business position, your goodwill in the market. So in just a few seconds, the user should know the whole DNA of your business.

3. Design a strong advertising strategy using both online and offline platforms

Advertising your product is a very important tactic in any kind of marketing strategy. While incepting a strategy, you should understand many things, like what type of advertisement plan is best for your brand and can attract your target customer. If you want your advertisement plan to work and your sales numbers to grown because of it, then you have to put faith in the traditional mediums of advertisement. No advertisement will work well without the usage of newspaper or magazine ads, radio ads, billboards or banners, etc. Using these mediums is one of the most effective ways to portray trust and commitment to your customer.

Create your own blog and use it to build an audience of people who would be interested in your products or services.  Then write regularly about topics related to your business and what your business is doing. Use Search Engine Optimization related words frequently in your content. You’ll start connecting with other bloggers, business people, and potential customers.

Social media is at its peak. Make a Facebook page about your business and keep posting and updating people with the new trends in your business. Twitter is very simple and easy to use. Keep tweeting, not only about your products but with like-minded people who may be interested in your business.

Using online tools like Gainbuzz can help you plan the whole advertising campaign and allow you to cater to a much wider audience.

4. Join local networking and business groups to promote your work

Many such home-based business groups and local institutions are inexpensive to join and you can get huge marketing benefits from them. You should join such groups and introduce your business so that more people can know you. Once they get to know you and what you do, the other business people in your group will mention your business to others and may even give you referrals.

You can also be aware of inflation and economic trends in business, and build a good network by joining such groups. Local business organizations are great opportunities to create and participate in some cooperative marketing strategies, such as holding special Market Days or other events.

5. Participate in some charitable or industrial events and also ask for referrals

You can get huge amounts of press and reach from events like this — which can give you some new customers. Many charities have events established on a particular day or during festivals. You can be very much a visible part of that event by sponsoring them. This can also be a noble deed through which people will know you and, if it’s a large-scale event, you will also get the huge benefit of sales automation in the near future.

If you are a service-based business, asking for referrals is one of the easiest and least time-consuming marketing strategies. Don’t fear or feel awkward asking for a referral. Remember that most people like to help other people, if there is no negative cost to them. Always make asking for a referral a part of your project routine. In most projects, there is the last meeting with the client, which is a perfect time to receive feedback and a referral from the client. Don’t let your own shyness or fear get in the way of building your business.

Referrals will get you more clients. And the more referrals you ask for, the more referrals you’ll get – just because the customer knows that you want some. It’s a small effort for a great reward.

Final word

A mix of marketing strategies, such as advertising in conjunction with the marketing strategies above, will get you the marketing results you want. None of these marketing strategies are going to draw hordes of customers overnight, but assuming you have a good product or service, if you do them and work at them consistently, you will see an increase in customers and sales.

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Jeremy Webb5 Marketing Strategies to Amplify Your Business
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How Millennials Are Shaping the Business World

As the millennial generation continues to grow and make an impact, the business world is starting to see increased changes brought on by this generation. The result is a major shift in the landscape of today’s workplace, and while some are still getting used to the idea of this new millennial-friendly work environment, many major corporations are making some big changes to accommodate the lifestyle and the needs of this revolutionary generation.

Millennials have already surpassed Generation X and the Baby Boomers to become the biggest presence in the workforce today. So what impact have they exactly had? Here are a few key ways millennials are shaping today’s business world.

They’ve Made Social Media Bigger Than it Ever Was Before

Millennials were the first generation to rely on social media — you will almost never see a millennial without their phone in their hand, or sitting on the table in front of them. As a result, social media is now bigger than ever before not only for social purposes, but in for business as well.

Social media marketing has in and of itself become one of the most influential ways to promote virtually any business, product or service. Social media is not dying anytime soon, as the generation to come relies on social media even impossibly even more so than millennials.

They Demand Flexibility and Work Life Balance

Millennials are starting to demand more of a work-life balance and the result is a major change in the former 9-5 model that most corporations abided by for decades. Many millennials are demanding to have it all both at work and at home, more companies are getting used to the idea of flexible hours, work-from-home jobs and telecommuting.

The result is allowing many young workers to balance their growing families with their growing careers. There are also many millennials who are moving towards more freelance work, as creating their own schedule is extremely appealing.

They Are Consuming Products Differently

Millennials aren’t just shaping the way that businesses operate, they are shaping the landscape of consumers as well. As millennials become some of the major spenders in our market today, companies are starting to look for ways to change and ultimately meet the needs of these tech-savvy consumers. This means focusing not only on online commerce, but on making sure that reviews are plentiful as well.

In fact, over half of millennials say they would trust an online review over the opinion of a friend or family member. Now that’s saying something. This generation is strongly dependent on the reviews and opinions of others, which is why more and more companies are focusing on curating positive reviews and comments to meet the needs of today’s consumers.

They Are Demanding a Sense of Purpose in the Workplace

Perhaps one of the most interesting changes that has been brought on by the millennial generation is that they are looking for a sense of purpose with their jobs. This has become very important for companies who are looking to recruit future talent, and keep them happy.

Millennials want a job where they have a sound, meaningful purpose and they want to work for a company that is actually advancing the wellbeing of our society in new and innovative ways. This is challenging companies to stand by their mission, and ensure that their employees are connected to the purpose and passion that the organization must promote in order to keep millennials happy.

If you are looking to stay ahead of the curve in today’s fast-paced marketing world, then it is time to pay attention to the way that millennials are shaping the market. Changing to fit the needs and lifestyle of this generation has been the key for many businesses who are looking to stay relevant in this ever-changing market.

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Jeremy WebbHow Millennials Are Shaping the Business World
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5 Strategies to Boost Your Facebook Following

Creating a Page is not necessarily going to guarantee that you will be able to attract even a fraction of the followers who are on Facebook. But, then again, you don’t have to have a FB following of 1.7 billion order to be successful, either.

Businesses all over the world are making great headway in their advertising efforts on Facebook. But as a business — you would still have to engage in best practices and seek out relevant people to follow its Page. Growing a base on Facebook is a mix of online and offline tactics.

After all, a user is only likely to follow your page or “like” it based on their real-world experience of your products or services.

Let’s assume you do deliver a good in-house experience and that your customers mostly tend to be happy with you and yet you still have a low Facebook engagement. How do you turn that around?

Here are some ways to generate engagement and in the process expand your following on the world’s biggest social media network:

1. Run Fun Contests

Everyone loves a good contest and the temptation of winning a prize can be irresistible.

In order for the contest to be successful, plan it smartly and keep it easy. The rules should be unambiguous and the time frame displayed prominently. Make it possible for everyone to participate; the greater the number of participation, the higher the chances of the contest being a success.

Start promoting the contest early; about a couple of weeks before is a good idea. Use this time to build buzz among your followers. It is easy for a few status updates to be missed in an average Facebook user’s News Feed. But when the process is done over the course of a few days, the chances of your potential customers or “page spotting” (and remembering) the news about the upcoming contest are considerable.

All businesses, big or small, benefit from this tactic. Keep the contest and the giveaways manageable, as well as relevant – something that enhances your products/services/expertise and brings you greater followership and sales as a result of it.

For example, a café may ask its followers to like a picture, talk about their favorite latte, and win a gift card in return, a la Starbucks. An retailer might ask people to tell them why they love a particular phone so much and whoever does it best gets to win a product. Here are some more ideas to help you get a contest started.

While the contest is running and you have people’s attention in big numbers, make the most of it. Post important updates and announce upcoming sales or events. Get more people to sign up because your reach at the moment is high.

2.  Upload Pictures Of People Celebrating At Your Establishment


Although most family get-togethers, birthday parties or celebrations of any kind happen at eating places, yours get-togethers don’t have to have an eating event in order to benefit from the news and advertising.

Any consumer-facing business can utilize this technique in order to reach out to more people. Run a salon? Feature the latest fabulous cut one of your hairdressers gave a client.

Who wouldn’t love getting featured on their favorite establishment’s Facebook page? When they do get featured, they will likely share it on their own timelines for their friends to see, within their own networks.

Of course, the friends have got to hop on FB to have a look. This encourage the friends to check out your business, too. These happy pictures convey an image of satisfied customers and a family-friendly place where people have fun. This attracts followers in big numbers.

3. Have Followers Upload Photos Using Your Product To Win An Item. 

Another excellent way to gain people’s attention and get them to engage with your business. 

Share the pictures on your Page and use a chosen #hashtag for greater engagement. Promote the contest enthusiastically and get your social media team to interact personally, with those who do share their pictures, while exhorting others to do so. Get the team to think of creative captions to go with pictures and showcase the followers who have shared their pictures in the best possible light.

Items to be given away should once again be relevant to the business. It would be a good idea to promote or give out an upcoming product or put a spotlight on a lesser-known one, in line with your overall product strategy.

4. Create A Blog And Share Content On Relevant FB Groups.

If you don’t have a blog or if you have been neglecting its upkeep, (don’t do this), change your workflow now. Blogging should be carried out as a matter of priority, but not just for the sake of blogging, but blogging with a purpose and service to your customer base.

A blog allows a business to put forward its path-breaking ideas on any given matter. It helps a business establish its voice and spread that voice to those who want and need it.

Frequent posting indicates you have a lot to share. Participating in relevant industry groups will allow you to exercise this influence at a greater level. It will also be a way to attract more of your target audience and grow your Facebook follower count.

5. Boost Key Posts To Reach Into New Markets.

Boosting a post will make it appear higher in the News Feeds of your followers. That significantly increases the chances of the posts being spotted and if the content is alluring enough, it will get clicked on.

A boosted post is not confined to the feeds of your followers. Facebook allows businesses to choose their target audience, based on location, age, and interests, thus taking your content to new markets and in the process bringing you a greater and relevant followers.

We recommend you reserve only your best posts for process. One of the ways of determining the impact of a post is exposing it to big numbers of readers, which can be done via group participation.

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Jeremy Webb5 Strategies to Boost Your Facebook Following
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5 Most Important Things Startups Should Know about Social Media

Launching a startup is always hard, so you’ll need all the help you can get, both offline and online. In this increasingly digital era, if your company’s not on social media then you pretty much don’t exist, so building up your online presence should be one of the main goals in your growth strategy. 

Social media marketing can attract thousands of new customers to your business and increase popularity and brand awareness. But, the tools that help you grow can also lead to your downfall, so learn how to use social media wisely to rack up positive social proof and make sure you avoid the pitfalls that many newcomers fall into.

You need to encourage internet users to talk about your business and engage with your online campaigns, so that more and more people find out who you are and what you do. Increasing likes, shares, clicks and eventually conversion are all fundamental.

But before you begin, make sure you check out the 5 most important things all startups should know about social media:

1. It’s Not All About Facebook 

If you’re new to this business, then you might be tempted to think about Facebook when it comes to social media. But, there are in fact over 50 different major social media platforms available online. And, the good news is that many of them are underexploited, so there’s plenty of space for you to start building a strong community around your brand.

According to Kissmetrics, the most popular social media portals are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, but don’t underestimate the power of other relevant platforms, like Periscope, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, or any other channel that matches your activity and your target audience. Figure out where your audience are online and select the right channels to communicate with your public.  

2. You Must Offer Valuable Content 

Facebook alone hosts over 40 million active small business pages, each one with something different to sell. So, unless you provide your followers with entertaining or useful information, you’re going to get lost in the sea of competition, with only a handful of followers and almost no engagement. 

Valuable content can change your position and search ranking, as most users are craving helpful information. Use social media to share well-researched or original articles, with good sources and high quality images to support your ideas. Don’t just share publicity and promos. Over real value to your audience and publish articles longer than 300 words, avoiding adding keywords just for the sake of it. 

An article that is stuffed with keywords will not only read like a kick in the head, but you could end up inviting a Google penalty for manipulating search engines. You’ll also have a high bounce rate, as potential readers click on the title and lose interest after the first paragraph. 

3. Social Media Works Better if You Have a Blog

Statistics show that business blogs gain readers’ trust faster than websites alone and they’re generally what that determines whether users will come back to your site. 

A blog is a perfect place to start conversations, face bad reviews and build a solid reputation online. For a startup, reputation is money and having a friendly and useful blog where people can easily learn about your business means more chances of being successful. 

4. Conversion is the Main Goal of Social Media Marketing 

No matter how many followers you get on social media, they’re pretty much worthless if you’re not getting engagement. Unless you can make them click to learn more about you and your business, your virtual followers won’t bring you any money. 

To encourage fans follow you to your website, you’ll need to design efficient Calls to Action (CTAs), and powerful landing pages, where you can command users to take action in the direction you desire (request a quote, get a free download, sign up for more information, etc.). 

Many social media channels allow you to introduce CTAs, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so link your social media accounts to your website right from the beginning.

Do your homework before you start posting online: learn about your potential customers’ behavior and try to build a long-term strategy. If you’re not a marketing expert, hire someone who knows how to influence audiences to your benefit. 

However, traditional marketing alone won’t cut it on social media. You must keep it real and get to know your public, with patience and consistency. Optimization and keywords can’t substitute authenticity and a strong voice. Keep an open mind, listen to your followers and use their feedback to get better online and offline. 

5. Good Results Don’t Come for Free 

A good social media campaign costs money. Buying advertising helps increase your number of followers, especially at the beginning of your activity, when you need to build a strong image online. 

Almost all successful stories in social media marketing start when businesses decide to invest in growing their visibility. Don’t get scared about costs though. Small budgets can bring good results too, thanks to analytical tools all channels have developed. 

You can use social media to raise your traffic efficiently using advanced targeting features and build a large community around your product quickly and with low costs. The best thing is that not even one cent is wasted and you’ll get real, measurable results in real time, so you can adjust your strategy constantly. 

Social media is not as easy as it sounds and you must have a realistic plan to be able to balance your online and offline activities.

Experiment and test all types of strategies to get the great results. 



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When it comes to getting the customer what they want, who could possibly know better than… the customer? While this notion itself isn’t new, societies increasing need to connected is allowing crowdsourcing to become the new norm.

Crowdsourcing Works
With online platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, millennials are turning to crowdfunding to get the products and funding they want. Businesses can forego the traditional single firm and instead launch design contests through sites like 99designs. Allowing them to choose the best options for their new logo out of a plethora of submitted designs.

Crowdsourcing can be just as effective on a large scale. Frito-Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” campaign went viral on Facebook, allowing anyone to submit a new chip flavor and post it to social media. With a grand prize of one million dollars and the competitive aspect of constant public voting, Frito-Lay kept its customers engaged and interested. It gave itself a huge boost by using this platform as free advertising.

Breathing Life Into an Old Idea
Crowdsourcing is actually a pretty old idea amplified by modern technology. In 1714 the British Government harnessed the collective wisdom of a huge group of seamen. They proposed a nautical contest to invent a solution to determine latitude and longitude while at sea. The solution was found, and the winner was awarded what now equates to $4.7 million dollars. In 1901, in what remains one of the largest design contests ever held, 30,000 designs were submitted to become the new Australian Flag. The landmark Opera House in Sydney was the result of a design contest that sought to find the most creative and innovative minds.

It should come as no surprise that when it comes to crowdsourcing, the numbers match the anecdotal evidence. In 2015 the Global Brands increased their usage of creative crowdsourcing by 30%. This resulted in a staggering 95% boost in creativity across crowdsourcing projects, and a 12% savings in time spent creating content. These stats show a direct correlation between crowdsourcing business, and creative content and time saved. With such impressive results, top brands Microsoft, Google, Samsung, and Apple are all embracing creative outsourcing.

Benefiting from Crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing information is an innovative way for companies to increase the effectiveness of their products, and make customers happier. The Waze app gathers real-time traffic and road news from its users, and its effectiveness is a result of its active users.

Companies may struggle with the decision of whether or not to utilize crowdsourcing. While the benefits, which include lower overhead costs, more options, and maximum creativity, are tantalizing, crowdsourcing isn’t always a perfect solution. The quality of work may be lower, there’s no confidentiality or control over the product, and no reliable means of getting the job done.

Despite the possible pitfalls, crowdsourcing has an impressive success rate of 92%.
The key to success comes from finding the right set of people, keeping them engaged, and offering incentives to drive motivation. The right set of people will want you to succeed; on GoFundMe, users will send their website to friends and family willing to donate money to their vacation fund. Engagement comes from active interest, which crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and Indiegogo achieve by dangling a proverbial carrot at the end of their monetary goal. 99designs pits users against each other in a creatively competitive atmosphere with a reward of both money and recognition.

With the right planning and execution, crowdsourcing is an excellent way for large or small companies to facilitate the creation of content or products.

Inggrit Eunike Novaleta

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TechCrunch Disrupt Challenge: Can You Describe Your Startup in 140 Characters?

I attended TechCrunch Disrupt 2016 held in San Francisco and focused my time meeting startups that had a display on the floor. After, I would take a picture of them, include their company name or Twitter account, and described what they did. Interestingly enough, most startups had a difficult time describing what they did.

In some cases, it was a no brainer. A startup would have a short tag line that was descriptive and easy to comprehend, but most failed.

A great example is Infani Inc, Smart Baby Monitor Solution. Being a parent, I instantly got it. I was able to understand what the company did in few words and it got my attention. However, many companies struggled to pitch, which made me question whether they know their business well. 

A good example is Troop. Their tagline was “organize your business with cards.”  When I read their tagline, I assumed it was some sort of system that organized business cards. It turns out that it was similar to Basecamp, a project management software. I gave them my feedback so we immediately started brainstorming. We described it as “the JIRA for everything” at first.

Being a developer myself, I knew what JIRA was, but I don’t think many people did. We finally settled on “card base collaboration system.” It still sounds confusing, but I recently went back to their website and not surprisingly, they changed their tag line to “the best way to manage your project, your team, your life.” 

To their credit, they must have applied the feedback from TechCrunch attendees and re-worked their tag line.

It wasn’t only startups that had a challenge describing what they did in a tweet. The IBM Watson team had a hard time describing Watson as well. We discussed it and they finally settled on “Artificial Intelligence Platform.” 

Cisco also had a hard time describing their product Cisco Spark. Their initial description was “It’s like Slackbut quickly dismissed it. Their marketing employee revamped the tag line and came up with “Business Collaboration Made Simple.” I was still confused but they went with it.

If startups and companies don’t know how to describe their own business, how can you convince anyone to use your product or give you money? Practice your 30 second elevator pitch for your chance to encounter with Marc Andreessen. 

Ask yourself right now – can you describe what your startup does in 140 characters or less? Try it. I think it’s a great exercise that will force you to be succinct in describing your company.

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10 Ways to Get a Million Pageviews a Month

In July 2015, Sam Kazemian, Mahbod Moghadam, Travis Moore, and Tedde Forselious started Everipedia, a modern age Wikipedia.

I had a chance to sit down with them and their founding team in order to learn more about how they have used unique marketing tools to boost their success.

Keep in mind that Wikipedia is the 7th largest site in the world and gets an estimated 300 million unique page views a month, so their task was to try anything and everything to edge out pageviews from one of the largest sites in the world.

After about 9 months of being launched they cracked 1 million pageviews a month and now are around 3 million per month.

There’s a lot to be learned from their hustle – and from our discussion, I pulled out 10 actionable tips to get from 0 to a million page views per month.

1. Grow Your Social Media Following

This is honestly just a requirement for everything in this day and age. Social media is slowly becoming the new go-to for marketing.

Building a good following on social media can be tricky but extremely rewarding for your traffic. At this point, about 10-20% of Everipedia’s traffic comes from our social media networks alone, translating to around 300-500k pageviews a month.

In order to expand and leverage your social media networks, consistency is key.

All of your networks should have the same pictures, headlines, links, and posts. This uniformity means that all of your consumers whether they look to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tinder for their news will find your page and see the content you push.

Additionally, make sure that all of your posts have hashtags on them or else you will miss a large chunk of organic search via social media sites.

It’s a good place to start – but to learn more, you’ll want to copy Guy Kawaski’s social media strategy.

2. Enhance Your Social Media Engagement

Besides just maintaining quality social media profiles, you need to get out and engage with people on these networks.

Facebook groups have largely replaced the need for forums and also enhanced the ease of reaching specific demographics. Meanwhile, Twitter has made it extremely easy to track trends and keywords of your target demographic.

Between these two routes along with search engine marketing and targeted hashtags, you’ll be able to talk directly with people who might be interested in your site. Keeping up this sort of engagement and outreach is free and pays off in dividends by recruiting more members to your following.

To expand your reach beyond the basics, you’ll want to learn about the top social media platforms for engagement.

3. Nurture Virality

The Kardashian Klan made a few hundred million dollars in 2015 and will make even more in 2016.

Why?

They know how to work the attention economy, generating and controlling social media and press buzz. Even a tasteless rumor can drive incredible traffic to their personal projects, sites, and apps.

If you are able to replicate or hop on similar trends you will be able to garner boosts, too.

“We have a bit more maneuverability since our site is literally an encyclopedia for everything, but targets we found worked well were television shows since traffic for the pages came each and every week, celebrities for similar reasons, trendy news stories such as Bernie rallies or hashtag social movements, and other things you could see on the “Facebook Trending” section,” says the Everipedia team. 

All of these socially viral topics will lend yourself an increased probability to being found and possibly shared.

Want to know more about highjacking attention? Read Mahbod’s Startup Guide to Guerilla Marketing.

4. Always be Building your SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization is pretty much just a set of steps to follow in order to ensure your website pops up as high as possible in Google searches.

The core SEO surrounds 5 pillars.

First, keywords are pretty much what words do you want your site popping up for.

Next, incoming links refers to how many sites are linking to you, what keywords they are linking to, and how reputable are those sites.

Thirdly, the more traffic you get the higher up you rank.

Fourth, the amount of unique content on your site boosts your ranking, since Google only wants to be promoting the first edition.

Lastly, in hand with the previous pillar, Google gives points to both the oldest and most recent content for any given link, so starting out you might have a honeymoon period, but long term you will have to compete heavily to beat a similar site from 1999.

Don’t know where to start with SEO? Look no further than the Founder’s Guide to SEO.

5. Don’t Waste Time or Money on PR

Press is nice and can be a cool note to add to your resume or tell your friends, but in terms of traffic will not get you anywhere near 1,000 page views per article let alone 1 million.

For traffic and traction’s sake, your time is better spent focusing on growth hacks and expansion, rather than trying to get featured in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal.

More to the point, press is there for any startup and project – you just need a story. Spending $5,000 a month on a PR firm is purely a waste of money and giving money to any writer will likely result in a loss on investment.

Don’t outsource press and don’t do press in-house. Just keep working on your story.

6. Leave Your Shame at the Door

In order to have a site take off, you need to be promoting it constantly – always posting in your personal channels, and never leaving a stone unturned.

Too frequently, I meet people who are afraid to pursue options, reach out to investors/writers/unicorn founders, or scared of what self-promotion might make them look like.

This is 100% of the time the wrong approach to have. If you care about something more than your company or project, then you should not be working on it full time and you will never cross into the million pageviews a month club.

Simply speaking, never have shame for your company and always look for opportunities to talk about it and share its ingenuity. Mahbod certainly doesn’t – and it works!

7. Work Seven Days a Week

The problem with aiming to hit a million page views per month is that you need to average 35k pageviews a day – and this statistic doesn’t take weekends.

So neither can you.

Tying in with the previous point, if you would rather go to the beach on your weekends, then you are doing things wrong.

Building and maintaining a site requires extreme dedication and a ton of work, which needs to be constant.

As Lori Greiner puts it, “Entrepreneurs work 90 hours a week to avoid working 40.”

For websites this is even more true because each day is a precious opportunity to get traffic and if you aren’t pushing some sort of content or experience and promoting it then you are losing out on opportunities.

I asked the Everipedia team about its own work schedule to which they replied:

“Everipedia’s office is based out of a penthouse in LA that the whole team lives and works out of. Admittedly there will be a few days a month where I won’t leave the building because I am glued to my computer getting stuff done. While we try to find the healthy balance of getting to the gym and scheduling in a couple blocks of time a month for fun, realistically our only priority is the site and getting it to succeed. We have mimicked this off of one of our cofounder’s previous companies, RapGenius which is now one of the top 1,000 sites in the world and we like to think is a common denominator for both sites’ success.”

8. Put the Cult in Company CULTure

My grandfather owned a lot of businesses and the wisdom he passed onto me which I will always remember is that for business partnerships, “The beginning should always be perfect, this is your honeymoon before things get bumpy. The best businesses find a way to keep that honeymoon feel in the partnership forever.”

If you and your team are not deathly and creepily in love with each other, the project, and the mission you are certain to have cracks pop up down the line.

As the running trend for getting to a million a month is, if you would let anything get between you and your company/team then it is not the right thing for you.

Be in love, be passionate, and drink the Kool-Aid.

9. ABC: Always Be Creating (content)

Content is key.

If you are not posting content, updating features, and overall continuing to exceed people’s expectations then last month’s first time viewers will not be this month’s returning viewers.

As seen with most apps, the most important statistics are monthly active users and daily active users.

These stats derive from an extended recurring interest in the content of the app or site.

Building these loyal users and content readers, who become brand ambassadors, creates recurring monthly pageviews each month from the same demographic – but demands you keep impressing them.

10. Never Pay for Pageviews

Bought traction is not traction.

Furthermore, Google is pretty good at figuring out when things are getting clicks from Bangladeshi click-farms and when it is actually a trending page, and Google is not kind to those who game the system.

Additionally, this will likely get you burned from joining ad networks or receiving VC funding since most are vehemently against fake traffic.

Overall, fake traffic is definitely the apple in the Garden of Eden, seemingly valuable while innately poisonous: why pay for +$1 per click via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or AdWords when the chances of those clicks converting into recurring users is extremely low?

The biggest takeaway here: pageviews are not the end all be all.

Pageviews per month is only as valuable as your bounce rate, pageviews per session, returning visitors, and email captures. Buying one statistic will not get you anywhere unless the others come with it.

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