Building and engaging with online and offline communities is a sworn by growth strategy used by value-driven companies to unleash the enormous potential of building meaningful relationships with their customers, followers and brand advocates.
For profit-focused businesses, growth mostly depends on operational excellence, combined with mass marketing or push strategies. Value-driven startups start with a core community, and drive growth by maximizing the value of their community first. Community-oriented startups care about metrics just as much as any other startup, but their most relevant KPIs tend to reflect user engagement and repeat customers, rather than one off conversions; referrals success rate, rather than mentions; and brand loyalty rather than acquisition.
“Community focused growth hackers use deep targeting techniques to optimize conversion funnels based on interests and motivations, rather than on traditional demographics. They will reward participation in community relevant activities, such as recommending and promoting the brand to niche groups, creating content for the brand (eg. reviews, tutorials, pictures and videos), etc. Up to 70% of the content associated with a can be generated by core communities alone, meaning loyal members / customers, influencers and active brand advocates.”
— Catalina Butnaru, Community Development at Huckletree
Influencer marketing hacks
An interesting study conducted by influencer marketing startup Traackr, shows that only 3% of individuals usually generate 90% of the impact.
Focusing on those members that truly have an impact on your organization, should be a priority for all community managers. In a few words, if you focus on that 3%, not only will they generate up to 70% of the content you need to increase brand awareness, but also their effectiveness can reach up to 90%, which beats even the best conversation rate you could hope for with a big budget via traditional marketing.
Delphie Reynaud, lead EMEA marketer at Traackr, shares her personal recipe for success, in terms of getting more influencers to be part of your core community:
- Listen and get to know them, check the content they publish, share, comment on and understand who they are, what they think and what they value.
- This may provide natural opportunities to engage with them or at least give you a better idea on how to engage with them and what to engage them with.
- Give, give, give and maybe get—the secret is giving, share their content, repurpose if you can, basically show that you value them and start with small asks.
- Most importantly, be human and build these relationships for the long game, as the more it goes, the more value they will bring to your organisation.
If you’d like to learn more about hacking growth using influencer marketing tactics, check out this handy guide developed by Traackr, after working with global brands like Chase, Orange and Adidas:
Another alternative is OSI Affiliate, whose influencer marketing software allows you to set up and manage your own influencer marketing program and take your business to the next level.
Content marketing hacks — from The Green Age
“The key is to have a very targeted blogging strategy. This approach to inbound marketing helped us organically grow our subscriber base, and double our traffic.” #content #hacking
“Finally in terms of retaining your client base — if you have nothing useful to say then don’t say it, spamming or even appearing spammy is a real turn off for the customer. This applies to everything, from Twitter to emails to in person conversations.”
— James Alcock, Sales and Growth Manager at The Green Age
Value driven hacks
“Growth Hacking is a misnomer. Not a fan of the normal interpretations of it”— says Warren Fauval, co-founder of Nudjed. Warren’s entrepreneurial philosophy is focused on creating services that add value to customers, which is why he built Nudjed, a project management and collaboration tools that helps employees feel happier and get more done, without the stress of deadlines. Nudjed is one of the startups mentored by Versatile Connections, a Huckletree member, providing guidance on commercial planning, growth strategy and customer activation.
Growth is something the whole company is responsible for. Hacking is figuring out fast ways to do it. Again, something the whole company should be built around.
What we’re talking about usually is Digital Marketing. Specifically, looking to harness tech to grow a user base automatically or with minimum resource. Here’s a good resource though — growthhackers.com.
I believe the ‘normal’ rules apply for modern start-ups on that point:
- Go vertical and find your 100 early adopters, be super valuable to them, so they love you. Then expand.
- Show them value before they buy. Great book on this is Jab, Jab, Jab… Right Hook. Build your marketing to add value.
- Be open and transparent in how you work. Share your process so people know where they are in it. Sales should be an open process.
- Systemise as soon as you can. Use tech to simplify not complicate your processes.
Apply those rules to your marketing strategy and you should see growth.
Growth hacking online communities can make a huge difference in the way you position yourself as a brand, from the earliest stages. A healthy, active community of brand evangelists and influencers provides the type of informal social validation that new customers need to make a decision (also called the Zero Moment of Truth). Online communities will also help you test new features and products, and receive immediate valuable feedback from your fans and community members.