Growth hacking. If you are in marketing you have heard the term, and have possibly even attended a hackathon or 10. I never felt great about this form of marketing. Scraping sites for email addresses and stealing the contacts of my competitors just felt…wrong. And since I named my company Zettist after my grandmother (Izetta), who was the purest of souls, I didn’t want to earn new business in any sort of shady ways.
That is, until I actually tried growth hacking for myself and it worked! Listen, I never once scraped a site or stole my competitors’ contacts. I didn’t even do it for my business. I did, however, try growth hacking on my personal Twitter account—just to see what would happen.
In just a few short months I went from 50 followers to over 2,000! Some of them spam bots, of course, but the majority are active Twitter users who interact with me. To say I was surprised is an understatement.
Now, my ways are amateur in comparison to almost anyone who calls herself a hacker. I am not here to claim that I am a growth hacker in any way, and our agency doesn’t offer “Growth Hacking,” but here is how I grew my audience with amateur growth tactics, and how you can, too. if you’ve found that your account has gone stale.
The first step on my quest to Internet fame (totally kidding, folks) was to follow influencers. I did a quick Google search on the top marketing influencers on Twitter and gave about 100 of them a “follow.” By doing this, I gained almost 200 followers in the first 24 hours. This is because some individuals/businesses have “follow bots” set up. So, you follow a specific influencer in their niche, and they follow you back!
As I gained followers, I followed everyone back. Remember those bots I talked about? They also automagically unfollow anyone who does not follow them back in predetermined amount of hours. By following everyone back, I avoided getting unfollowed.
It took about a month, but I finally had 1,000 followers. Before I reached this 1,000-follower threshold, I was not tweeting much. I was just focusing on the follow game. But, now that I had an audience, I used my favorite scheduling software to blast out tweets throughout the day.
Now people were interacting with me and I was getting excited!
The next thing I did was think about, “How can I do more?” This led me to play around in a program called Zapier. (I don’t know why I hadn’t looked into this before, because it is absolutely amazing, but more on that later.)
Zapier is a program that does “if this, then that” tasks (IFTTT also does this, but Zapier seems to be more robust). I set up a Zap so that if someone follows me, I tweet at them. This sort of thing is generally used for evil. I can’t tell you how many DMst/tweets I get a day from people touting their products, or asking me if I need a social media agency to help with my business (Hello?! Know your audience!), but I was using this to generate some good, old-fashioned conversation.
I set up my Zap to say “Nice to “meet” you @______! Which brand inspires you the most?” Instantly, people were tweeting me brands that inspired them! Some people were confused by the question, but many got it.
This has done two things for me: First, it allows me to start a conversation with someone I do not know, but want to know. And second, I am learning about so many amazing brands that I had no clue about before!
As I write this, I have 2,206 followers on Twitter. I expect this number to grow to over 5,000 by the end of the year. I believe that this three-step growth hacking (if you can even call it that) process is for the greater good.
Would I recommend it to any of my clients? Probably not (unless they were an unknown brand)—but I would recommend it to anyone trying to grow his or her personal social influence, or get some brand recognition.
So, get out there and tweet you little birdies! And let us know how this simple trick works for you!