Which tools make the biggest difference in fostering the growth of start-ups on social networks, and which techniques do these tools use?

Following our examination of tools to manage social network contests, and our overview of tools that make the job of the Community Manager easier when traveling, we now turn to Growth Hacking tools that are dedicated to social networking.


  • What is Growth Hacking?

Growth Hacking involves a series of actions that together can help startups to boost their growth. Growth Hacking is also a state of mind, as well as a new way of looking at the growth of an enterprise, a startup, or an SME. Action is taken to bring about rapid growth, by using a range of different tools to ensure that ensure that objectives for growth are achieved.

Growth Hacking is now a familiar concept but, going back a little while to its early days, the term was first used by Sean Ellis, a marketer at Dropbox who was responsible for raising awareness of the service and growing its user base. Anecdotally, he changed jobs and had to find his own replacement. However, he had difficulty coming up with a job title that matched his job description, until he eventually settled on Growth Hacker, a term that he invented.
According to Sean Ellis, a Growth Hacker is “a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.”


  • Growth Hacking, startups and social networks

As we have just discussed, enterprises such as Dropbox and Hotmail engage in Growth Hacking. It’s impossible to forget Hotmail’s famous signature “PS: I love you.” This inspired hack enabled the messaging service’s user base to snowball in just a few hours, with 3,000 new users per day, a million users in six months, two million in the next five weeks, and twelve million within a year and a half.

These are not isolated examples. In fact, social networks themselves have used the technique: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter experienced it in order to expand their own user bases.

Startups with a social network presence clearly have the option of getting involved in Growth Hacking, and indeed, that is the purpose of this article. Their goals are the following:
Increasing the number of their fans and followers;
Finding relevant fans and followers;
Building customer loyalty;
Making their products or services go viral.

Community Managers use a range of different techniques to achieve these goals quickly using social networking, with or without allocating a budget to do so, but always building on the social network’s inbuilt functionality (whether or not that functionality is immediately obvious) while focusing on a highly specific goal. For example, you might use Twitter to mark a tweet that mentions a competitor of yours as a favorite. Tweeters who respond to that tweet would then receive a notification about your account activity and could then choose to find out more about you instead. The next step is for you to engage them in conversation, and so on.

However, the most effective strategy is to use tools that are designed for the job! On Twitter, for instance, certain tools are based on hashtags, favorites and retweets, as well as lists and Twitter Cards. Another example is Facebook, where tools might draw on existing posts or ads.


  • Our selection of five Growth Hacking tools for Community Managers

Buzzsumo (Multi-network): Community Managers submit keywords relating to their business or their competitors, and the tool uses specific criteria to identify the most widely shared content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+. Buzzsumo reports on the number of times content is shared, allows filtering to show only certain types of content, and lists the names of people who have shared the content. It supports different content types, including articles, videos, infographics, and interviews. Buzzsumo also allows certain searches to be saved, and even supports data export to CSV or Excel format.

Twitfox (Twitter): For “autofavorites.” This is particularly useful for the launch of a new startup or a new Twitter account, as it allows certain terms to be marked as favorites or retweeted, based on a keyword search. The tweeter who submitted the content is informed, building a link between accounts. This is an effective tool if it is supported by sound, targeted keyword searches.

Crowdfire (Twitter and Instagram): This automates your account activity and helps you to manage your followers, identify your user community more effectively, and view inactive accounts, followers — and those who have unfollowed you — and generally ‘clean house.’ Crowdfier also offers a Copy Followers function, to copy another user’s followers.

Instagress (Instagram): This automates your account activity and enables you to manage your followers. The tool is used by a brand’s Community Manager to raise the profile of the Instagram account and to increase the number of likes and comments. Comments are published by interested users in response to photos that are shared via the account. Unlike other tools, Instagress targets accounts that belong to real people.

AdEspresso (Facebook) is used to manage Facebook advertising and simplify the ad optimization process. A major function is the ability to carry out A/B testing, creating thousands of variations for each ad with just a few clicks, easily testing it with the target public, recording their preferences and then reusing the format in future campaigns. AdEspresso also gives access to advanced statistical analysis of ads, and enables Community Managers to maximize their ROI.

Another interesting tool is IFTTT, which we discussed in our article on mobile applications.

If you’d like to find out more about Growth Hacking, we suggest that you take a look at www.growthhacking.fr. This is a community dedicated to the subject, created by Camille Besse, where you can sign up for free and explore the range of tools described above, and where you can ask any question openly.

As for you, which tools have you, as a Community Manager, already put to the test?

Article published by Camille in SocialMedia

the 24 March 2015