“Growth-Hacking” with Social Media: Startupfest 2014

Published by Engagement Labs on August 6, 2014

Each year, over 2,000 founders, investors, and reporters come together in Montreal at the International Startup Festival for “a unique blend of deep content, inspiring stories, unbeatable networking, and unmistakable festival vibe.” Included in the four-day festival are keynote speeches, panel discussions, pitch competitions, how-to sessions, and powerful lessons from grizzled startup veterans.

Countless startup hopefuls will attend the event attempting to hone that perfect pitch and hoping that the “perfect pivot is just one conversation away”. Other than networking, the event will offer insights and workshops into how startups are going about growing their business or “hacking” growth.

Growth Hacking”, sometimes referred to as “Startup Marketing”, will once again be a focal point of this conference. Popular among startups, this marketing technique focuses on using creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure quickly. For example, utilizing low cost and innovative tactics like social media, content marketing, analytics and viral marketing instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspaper, and television.

As a result, it’s easy to see why growth hacking is particularly important for startups, which have fewer resources, brand equity and more uncertainty than large corporations.

Social media remains perhaps the easiest and most popular tool for growth hacking.

Leveraging content such as blog posts, infographics, and viral videos and pushing that content through viral social networks (like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) allows brands to increase brand awareness, drive site traffic and create a conversation with customers. Fan pages on these networks create an avenue for sharing things like contests, customer tips, and incentives to suggest to friends. After all, positive brand engagement is the most important driver of conversion.

Here’s a look at how some of the companies, startups and former startups turned industry giants involved with this year’s StartupFest, are optimizing their own social performances. Keep in mind that only their Twitter activity was analyzed. Included in the snapshot below (from eValue analytics Pro) are Dropbox, Fastly, Shopify, Pinterest, Speek, Clarity, Breather, PasswordBox, Shop Locket and Bitly.

Ottawa-based Shopify is the leader. This can be attributed to their content strategy. Shopify is renowned for producing a great blog, perhaps the #1 eCommerce marketing blog available, which they leverage through the big social networks, specifically on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Social media analytics helps a growth hacker improve their acquisition and conversion funnels. Tools like eValue analytics enable startups to measure the quality of their content. Firstly, it allows them to determine if their content and overall activity on social networks is reaching their audience. Secondly, if their audience is engaging with the content. And lastly, how they are stacking up with their competitors. Analytics can be intimidating, but it’s too crucial to success to be ignored. If you want to hack your way to better results, you should be checking at your social analytics regulary.

A number of recent startups such as Mailbox, Dropbox and Mint.com grew their user base meteorically through the creation of social campaigns that went viral.They all concentrated heavily on optimizing their social performance to get where they are today. StartupFest is clearly off to a great start this year. To sign up for some of the remaining events, click here.

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About eValue™:

The eValue™ score measures the effectiveness of a brand’s overall social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and provides a score from 0 – 100. It’s the aggregate of the three subscores including Engagement, Impact, and Responsiveness that work together to create one top-level KPI. Our subscores are calculated by using hundreds of sub metrics which are then benchmarked against a hand-picked database of 75,000 verified brand accounts on each channel.

Engagement: Measures the level of interaction generated by your content and how well your community reacts to it.

Impact: Measures how many unique users have potentially been exposed to a piece of content posted by the channel’s admin through organic, viral and paid reach.

Responsiveness: Measures the rate, speed and quality of your responses to fans.