My recommendation for you individuals who are interested in just growing your experience, mastery, equity, and inclusion as deeply as you can in as many relevant and germane communities as possible, you will never be rewarded unless and until you really commit to reddit. I have been with reddit way over 5 years and I have yet to get any traction there. Like I said last week in Reddit is the 800-pound Gorilla in the room, commit to reddit completely. Eschew Facebook and Twitter for a little while and replace Flipboard on your iPad with reddit. Commit making reddit your morning news and the novel you read before you go to sleep. This week, I want to add a few more specific tips. Continue reading
reddit is the 800 pound Gorilla in the room and has been for years. No one talks about the powerful and direct influence that this quirky, impenetrable, and oddly still-underground this social sharing site is. While people are writing post-after-post about Pinterest, So.cl, Google+, Facebook, Instamatic, and Twitter, reddit’s eating everyone’s lunch – at least when it comes to authentic bottom-up self-organization. Continue reading
Target audience: Startups, corporations, small businesses, marketers, digital PR agencieis, social enterprises, Web publishers, educators.
In my role as an evangelist of new technology products, I have pondered and researched this question for years now. In my research, I have recently come across a highly interesting discussion happening around this question on Quora.
There were many interesting answers given to this question. However, one of these responses, given by Rick David, stood out, and I wanted to use some of the points illustrated in his response as the basic outline for my post, shed more light and detail on each step and include my own insights from my years of working in the industry.
So …. How do social sites go from 1 to 100K users? What techniques and methods are used to grow early?
- Create a good, simple product that solves a need in the market. No matter how great your marketing is and how thoroughly you follow each one of the steps written below, unless you have a good product that is clear to understand and fulfills a real need that exists in the market, you won’t be able to succeed in growing your network of users. Make sure the need is there before going forward.
- Do one thing well rather than doing a few things not so well. Make sure your product offering is good. Really good. It’s better to do one thing well than spreading yourself too wide. Have a simple product that does what it proposes to do and does it well. In many cases this will also enable you to focus on a niche market first before conquering the whole world. Once you figure out that your value proposition works in one niche, you can take on the whole world. Too many startups try to take on the whole world too quickly. Take it one step at a time.
- Invite all your friends and acquaintances. Once you’ve determined that your product is good and provides a solution to a real existing need, invite everyone you know to it. This should get you your first few hundred to a thousand visitors/users. Not only would this phase get you your first set of users, but it will also give you valuable feedback regarding what sort of response you get for the product, how to improve your offering and valuable time to fix bugs that are found. If even your friends are not entering the site, then you know that you’re not in the right direction.
- Word of mouth. When a site is good, people tell their friends about it even if the viral loop isn’t yet perfectly optimized. If you see that this viral loop is not occurring, you need to find out why. Go over your site offering, see what can be added/changed/integrated in order to make this viral loop a reality. Have you integrated enough social incentives in the product in order to make it viral? Have you added gamification features that will make the landscape more competitive and sticky? Are all the sharing options in place? This is very important. Make sure that you’re enabling your users to evangelize your product easily and spread the word.
- Blog and media coverage. Make sure to be where the early adopters hang out. This includes: Social networks and top tech blogs. If you’re going to pitch to a blogger for coverage, make sure you know what you’re doing. Otherwise you will probably damage your brand more than help it. If you’re not sure that you know how to pitch, hire a professional to do it. In the same way that you wouldn’t fix your car in-house, unless you’re a mechanic, you shouldn’t do your own pitching in-house unless: 1) You know how to pitch to perfection and 2) You have the personal connections with bloggers who you desire to write about your product. Make sure to nurture those media connections and be in contact with them on a regular basis.
- Buying traffic/users. Facebook ads and Google AdWords are some of the most common ways of bringing traffic to your site/product. No other company on earth knows more about you than Facebook. Facebook knows your age, your marital status, your hometown, your friends, your job, your likes, your dislikes, your hobbies, etc. Therefore there’s no better way to bring the correct target audience to your site/product, than via Facebook.
- SEO. Even a social site can be structured to generate a bunch of content pages that will do well in search engines. Yelp is great at this, and it looks like Hunch is going that way too.
- Viral growth – Invites. Your user flow and service need to be optimized so that users are incentivized to invite their friends. Add in an invite structure that will, on the one hand, give your site a feel of exclusivity (a limited number of invites), but on the other hand give the first users/influencers the power to invite up to a certain number of contacts so that they can better enjoy the service and feel “a part of the founding team of members.”
- Viral growth – Content creation. Sites like YouTube, Flickr and Posterous grow largely because users create content that draws in visitors, and some of those visitors convert into users that create more content, which draws in visitors. Take a look at your site or app. Does it require users to upload interesting content? If not, maybe you should rethink your strategy. New fresh content is what’s going to keep people coming back to your site.
- Retention. The often ignored aspect of growth is keeping your old users around. If they’re leaving, then you have a leaky bucket and your true active user count lags behind your registered user count. Try to find the source of your leak . Ask users for their feedback, ask people who have never been on your site to come with a fresh pair of eyes and tell you what’s wrong with your current offering. Don’t trust your own judgment. You’ve been around this product for way too long and are already blind to seeing what a fresh pairs of eyes can catch in seconds. Once you figure out what’s wrong with the process, you can start brainstorming on ways to stop the leak. Once users love the service enough to stick around, then you can take the time to figure out the right way to get them to invite others.
I hope you find these tips valuable. Do feel free to share in the comments section what you consider to be some of the ways to get from 1 to 100K users.
Some of the speakers at SES San Francisco 2012.
Socialmedia.biz readers get 20% discount for big search gathering
Guest post by Byron Gordon
VP, Social Media Marketing, SEO-PR
Wondering what Marissa Mayer has in store for Yahoo?
It’s never a dull moment in the search and social media marketing world, and to capture the latest trends, SES conference & Expo returns to San Francisco for a weeklong hands-on education and training series to keep marketing and advertising professionals up to date on the latest trends in search and social media.
What: Some brand new panels will be showcased, featuring insights from experienced SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click) professionals alike, including presentations on the newest social media marketing tools. Attendees can expect to get answers to the following:
- Understand how both big brands and small businesses are leveraging Pinterest for increased traffic and conversions.
- Learn how to evaluate automation tools and measure potential returns on investment.
- Learn how to avoid being impacted by the next Google update (Panda and Penguin victims take note!).
- Learn how to execute an effective Targeting/Remarketing strategy – don’t let your website fall into the 90% of those who visit it without completing any action.
A favorite roundtable forum repeats itself: Meet the Experts. It’s an opportunity for attendees to learn, network and share information with peers and leading industry speakers and specialists. Get a preview of its popularity by watching the Meet the Experts roundtable at this year’s SES Toronto 2012. Continue reading
I first told you that Pinterest redefined social media from being mostly text to being mostly photos, illustrations, graphics, and infographics.
Now, illustrating your content is not just preferable, it’s mandatory. Facebook, Google+, and Twitter have become much better at following links and automagically populating your shares with photos, videos, titles, and teasers (instead of just making your Bit.ly links hot); aggregator sites such as The Huffington Post and link-share and social bookmarking sites also spider the link, proffering a selection of images to choose from to be associated with each submission.
If your goal is to be shared or read and you’re participating in social media in order to further your personal or corporate brand, then blog, tweet, Facebook, Tumbl, and Posterous without illustrating that content with a photo, chart, illustration, pull-quote, logo, portrait, or infographic at your own peril.
Doc still looks the same as when I photographed him at the Innovation Summit at Stanford seven years ago this week.
More insights from the co-author of ‘Cluetrain’
Target audience: Businesses, marketers, entrepreneurs, technologists, academics, journalists, general public.
In “The Intention Economy” (Harvard Business Review Press), Doc Searls picks up where he left off as co-author of “The Cluetrain Manifesto,” the seminal 2000 book that coined the phrase “conversations are markets” and ushered in a new understanding of how the Internet has changed the power relationship between institutions and individuals.
In his new book, Searls takes things a step further, painting a picture of what happens “when customers take charge” of this often dysfunctional relationship. Searls describes the tiny buds and sprouts of an emerging Intention Economy driven by customer demand and customer intent, an economy he believes has the potential to supplement and perhaps displace the present-day Attention Economy, where companies mine for personal data about us — sometimes with comic ineptitude — so that they can match us with products we don’t want and don’t need.
In the Attention Economy, we are consumers, calves, couch potatoes and eyeballs. Not so in the Intention Economy, where empowered customers set the agenda for releasing their own data and set the terms for engagement with “vendors” (that is, businesses).
Doc, a longtime friend who wrote a positive blurb for my book “Darknet” and
now teaches an alumnus fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, fills in the blanks for those of us who didn’t know such a movement existed. It even has a suitably geeky name, VRM, for vendor relationship management, to refer to the panoply of startups and projects that are trying to stretch capitalism in new directions rather than undermine it. (Doc runs ProjectVRM at Berkmann.) In this new assertion of customer power, where we shed our skins as passive consumers, we will tell businesses how they may serve us, notify the market about our intention and decide how much information about ourselves and our transactions to disclose. While specific examples are somewhat short in supply today, one gets the feeling that Doc is more interested in rallying entrepreneurs to this new approach with the entreaty, Come and build!
Along the way, Doc lays out the big picture in a way that few other writers and big thinkers can do, knowing when to zoom in and when to pull back to the 50,000-foot view. He astutely points out the cold calculations of the marketplace’s big players, like AT&T and Verizon — which are trying to define the Internet in terms of their business interests — as well as the world’s most valuable company:
“So, like Apple, Google wants to fix slow, damaged, or broken markets. But unlike Apple, Google wants to fix those markets by making them freer and more open for everybody — and therefore much larger as well. That is, to grow markets horizontally.”
Short version: If Apple can’t own something, it has no interest in nurturing it. Continue reading