Various businesses have been ‘social-media passive’ for some time, which means I didn’t use Facebook for the last five years. My tweets, in general, have no likes or re-shares. Once in a while, I receive a bit of traction on Instagram. That’s about it. Even many humble attempts to learn how to be good at building a community miserably failed.
That all said, we still managed about 20K total views in around 3 weeks of being active on the internet. Honestly, it is not about the numbers*. I call it a success in every aspect – mostly because my base assumption was just 100 views, but also due to having no marketing targets, timelines, or outcomes associated with this side-project. Trollishly wanted to keep things fun and simple.
So What Really is Instagram Growth?
If someone has questions like – How to pick a co-founder? How to select tech talent? How to divide equity? How to scale up your Sales? How to stop customer churn? And many more similar startup questions, visit our workspace. Instagram is a curated knowledge database for founders/professionals that can reduce the learning path and level-up startup specific knowledge. It is a complementary learning resource to almost anything you are currently looking for.
Image Source: Pixabay
Now let’s talk about some of our learnings.
1. ‘Share-power’ is a Plus
In today’s internet world, an entrepreneur’s efforts, to an extent, are counted in likes/shares/comments on social media accounts. If you don’t rake-in enough, it is an issue, especially in B2C/D2C. It is an inherent disadvantage when your startup is located in regions/countries where people are very restrictive on social accounts.
Compare the social ‘share-power’ of some of the U.S. VC’s/Founders with the EU ones. You will get what I am saying. Without grossly generalizing this, I only want to urge users to play along and help early founders reach out far and wide. Even if you are not a fan of what someone is doing, one can always comment and mention – How things can improve, What can be added, or offer one’s support.
2. Keep the Insta Page Familiar
Businesses have their core product + impact-side-project (#Idea2Growth) Since our core product is still in stealth mode, the page’s language is, purposefully, a bit vague because we don’t want to reveal all the details about our product as yet. While we made our emotions and position (that we are in stealth) clear, it wasn’t obvious for everyone. No one wants to spend time to understand your website. People couldn’t even connect GrowNord with #Idea2Growth. You really have to tone down the content to bare simple language and then repeat the process until it’s easier on everyone’s mind.
3. Keep the Profile Easy to Digest – but not too simple.
Since many pages are currently all about #Idea2Growth, we thought two pages would be enough for visitors. Within one hour of launching, we were proven wrong, as a lot of people came back and mentioned – there is not enough to read and didn’t know whether it was a ‘real’ website. Being simple – became a liability.
4. Manage Tech Naivety.
if audience visit your Insta page, does it automatically collect my email-Id.’ This led me to discuss for the next 5-10 mins how the tech landscape has developed in the recent past. While everyone these days uses website analytics tools, I don’t think such a thing as automatic-email-collection exists.
As a founder launching a product, you will have to deal with customer-education on topics that aren’t related to your product. Privacy and security are currently top issues that are better-tackled upfront via additional website information.
5. Avoid Conservative Traps.
During your product/service marketing, many channels will be inward-looking, conservative, and show huge inertia to adopt. For us, it was conversations where we heard – ‘…not able to understand how #Idea2Growth will fit into the curriculum?’.
Sometimes these questions are genuine, and you should do a better job on your website text; other times, people don’t want to understand out of the fear of self-disruption. Make your life easy by initially avoiding these channels or bypassing them completely; otherwise, you are in for a big disappointment.
#Idea2Growth isn’t coursework, lectures, or slides. It is simply a database of top curated content that complements any form of learning. There is no need to think; simply pass along the link to anyone who might be benefiting from the knowledge!
6. Respect Engagement.
Engage more with people who like or share your content to build reputation and trust. Do reply if someone reaches out.
We were super responsive and replied to anyone and everyone who reached out to us (even if it had no relation to our startup whatsoever) by offering to schedule calls and much more.
7. Taking Comments Graciously
Someone asked straight-up – ‘Are you doing this for marketing?’ To such people, the moment you make a profile on Facebook – you are marketing your personal life, on Insta – your photography skills, on LinkedIn – your professional self and the list goes on. If you don’t like these rules, well, you can’t really do anything about it. Whatever actions (or no action) you take, those will be attributed to your product/service. How you respond to such direct questions will define what your brand eventually becomes.
8. People Still want their Spam.
We decided on purpose upfront that if someone registers on our website to receive updates, they will not receive a confirmation email mentioning – ‘Welcome —and Blah Blah Blah.’ To us, it seemed unnecessary and spammy.
However, it didn’t bode well with visitors. Learning: Play along and give people what they want by taking the easy path.
9. The Mistrust.
‘Why are you doing it for free?’, ‘What is your benefit?’ It is a painstaking effort to get even a not-for-profit accepted by the people. Many wouldn’t think twice to register for a 10% discount with their email-id, but we had issues when asked for people’s email-id to proofread this article.
Many criticize the rise of big techs in general, yet it is easy for us to conduct our everyday lives on these big platforms without even a thought of what’s happening behind. On the other hand, young startups who actually need more love (customer details) to make better products/services have to face mistrust.
Understand these behavioural aspects better, and if you can take advantage of this knowledge – you are in for the gold.
10. Brand Building Takes Time.
Being out of the professional world takes a toll. I have been a full-time dad for the majority of the last two years. Not working means losing the day-to-day touch, and people don’t respond to you when posting something on social media. In hindsight, founders will have to start very early, even before they have any idea. They need to start building their voice. Everyone likes doers, so don’t be someone just sharing updates or news, but be the one with an opinion.
What Worked for Us?
Experts love things that don’t scale and enjoy working for the long tail. We actually searched (on different channels) relevant people working for the ecosystem and reached out directly. We talked to them or dropped them a message about what we are doing.
These amazing pieces are already in our database. Learning – During the very beginning, if early founders outsource such marketing tasks, there might be a good chance it doesn’t work. The words you speak and the tone you write should convey emotions. Only founders can do it because they have spent tons of time thinking about the problem.
Closing – To everyone – Being less known on social media doesn’t mean that a project is not worthy of support or is not a good cause, or is not turning out to be a likable product. Early founders need your support to spread their efforts far and wide! To founders – Social media is a critical marketing channel; however, there are like a billion relationships/conversations happening on the sidelines.
Remember – keep doing what you believe in and are passionate about. We think it is more about the long term impact of a project, positive feedback from users, and continuous engagement that matters than achieving ‘number of total views.’ Many others have done it much better and have even gotten millions of views in the first launch days. Plus, not all tools have similar statistics results.