Social Media Marketing — Starting at ZERO

Social Media Marketing — Starting at ZERO 636 483 C-Suite Network

by Roman Weishäupl


Imagine you are heading a startup, and your product is almost ready to launch. What you have is a new company with a new product coming out — and a start at zero! You don’t have any search ranking, no users, no fans, basically no audience and nothing to grow out. Yes, there is a tiny little base: You have engaged potential users in interviews to define the market, problem and solution; you have gotten some interest with a landing page and, of course, the network the founders bring on board. If you are lucky, you have a round of 1,000 people you can contact. However, your mom, your former colleagues and friends are most likely not your starting target group. You find yourself, at max, 100 people that will be using your product at the start.

I founded Twyxt, an app for couples. It is a private messenger, shared calendar and lists app to help you stayed connected and organized with your loved one. It is the smallest social network only for two. There is no real market in this area, as it is a totally new concept. No one searches for an “app for couples,” but once they hear about the concept of an “app for two,” they love it. The key is letting many people know our app is around, and if you are in a happy relationship, chances are high you will like our service and feature set. The quest for us was to build a happy relationship with potential users. This task had to be done with little amount of cash and a small fan-base on Facebook.

There are typically a few ways to start:

  1. Grow your user-base slowly by direct engagement. Make your few starting users your fans and grow from there. Make them spread your app around and keep it going.
  2. Get aTechCrunch article to kick off. This is the standard way of accessing a larger early adopter audience; however, that article is not always easy to get. At the very least, it helps you improve search visibility on Google.
  3. Social Media. So many startups I meet are solely relying on social media to grow. When asked, “How do you grow?” they might reply, “We have a wonderful social media campaign.”
  4. The viral factor. Create something people love, and build it in a way it can grow organically.

However, No. 1 is slow and time consuming. No. 2, If achieved, leaves you wondering what’s next. No. 3, How are you supposed to campaign with just a few followers? One idea is to try a sweepstakes with a reach of 1,000. No. 4 seems good, but how many startups have viral features and still struggle with growth?

Finally, what can bigger companies or corporations learn from this startup dilemma?

The key for a young startup is to conquer new grounds. If it is too crowded, it is tough to get your flag up. You should still try, but the secret is to look for places where people still actually listen to you. There are places on the web where many people are actively looking for good content and are craving what you have to share. The problem with Facebook is that the reach is limited to your base, and extending your base is either hard work or you have to pay, first for likes, then for content to spread.

However, at Twyxt, we tried something different. We looked at Google+, Instagram, Vine and Tumblr. All of those have one thing in common: People are eager to view cool content and are interested in sharing, following and being followed.

Google+ is my all-time favorite. People think it is dead, but it is not. There is a vibrant life in communities and groups. Google+ users are more likely to share/re-share and like content. The best part is that every engagement on Google+ increases your page rank for your website via Google search. We where looking for Google communities for love and relationships and found three major groups about our topic, each with more than 100,000 people in the group, and they want related content. We started posting photos, articles and videos, and each got around 30 to 50 +s and more than 10 re-shares. Even our own small circle of followers is highly engaged. Our Google+ activities improved our page rank, engagement and organic impressions on Google by more than 400 percent within one month! This increased our website traffic and consequently our download numbers.

The best thing about Instagram is many users are all about following and having many followers, so it is quite easy to grow a strong follower base without investing any money. The key is to post good content photos and use tags to make it easy for people to find your photo. Likes and followers come in automatically.

Tumblr is all about big emotional photos, and similar to Instagram, the crowd is all about following and being followed. Use good keywords so users can find your content. Even without a follower base, they will find your photos and like them. You can even place your ad, and with the right tagging, it will be found and re-shared.

In other words, the question is: Where are people looking for content? vs. Where is content pushed to the user? (e.g. Facebook) If you don’t have fans on Facebook, it can be hard to reach people to push your content to. Or, if you have lots of fans on Facebook, the challenge is growing beyond them; your max reach are their friends, but you want to grow out of their friends circle.

There are other ways than just hope to get Likes and re-shares. There are many grounds to conquer, and even for bigger companies there is lots of space and ground to own. Sometimes you have to do it startup style by just doing it!  And with the power of a brand and some cash, those grounds can be taken quickly fast and cheap. Most likely you are already producing content for your Facebook page and blog, so now start sharing it with people who are looking for it! There are many frontiers to be conquered – Now go get them! Share your content where potential users are. Go beyond the social network effect. Content is king; now have people find it!

Roman Weishäupl is the founder of Twyxt, the app for couples. He created Twyxt to stay connected with his girlfriend. If Facebook is doing such a good job for your friends, why is nothing helping you in your most important relationship? Before he started the business to make relationships, better he was working as Global Innovation Advisor and Keynote Speaker for TrendONE in Germany.