Growth Hack Your Network

grow network

You may have heard the phrase ‘growth hacking’ over the past couple years.

You may even be familiar with how various companies have been using the strategy to acquire users and customers. You may not have, however, applied growth hacking to your personal network.

Simply put, growth hacking centers around creating a product that markets itself online. Many start-ups lack the funds to launch massive marketing campaigns, so instead, they let their users promote their products for them. They call them brand evangelists.

Take a look at just about any successful social network. I’d never heard of Facebook, for example, until a friend asked if I had a profile. When I responded that I hadn’t, I received an invite.  Facebook’s cost per this acquisition = $0.00.

Now we can’t let Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have all the fun. It’s time to start growth hacking your own personal network.

Your Brand

First, make sure you are 100% comfortable with your brand, your reason for networking, and the people you want to reach. When identifying your target connections, you will need to determine why you want them in your network, and a reason that they would want to connect with you. Fully understanding your brand and your goal is critical before you get the ball rolling.  You don’t want to change course halfway to your destination.

Your Target Audience

Now that you are ready, identify your target audience. Consider where people with similar interests to you congregate online. Start making connections through LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, Google Circles, and professional membership groups like Ivy Exec.  Find people who will be enthusiastic about what you’re offering, and stay focused on them. If you are a consultant looking to pick up a contract in a specific sector, stick to networking in that sector. If you want to gain followers for your blog, focus on who would be interested in reading your posts.

Your Product

What is the best way to get out your message? Your product is some form of content you can share with your target audience.  Create a blog post, Slideshare presentation or video that will entice your audience. Lend your expertise or provide need-to-know insight. Get people interested, but keep ’em wanting more.  If you give everything away, you lose your mystique.  The reader can take your information, and never turn to you again.

Your Virality

The most important piece will be your call to action – and to truly exercise growth hacking – focus on sharing.  Make your content as easy as possible to share – one click options for social media are easily attached to WordPress articles, so make good use of them.  Your goal is to trigger a viral chain of shares, likes, retweets, reposts etc.

Keep in mind that the title of the content you create will be the factor that will gain clicks above all else – so get it right! According to an article in The New Yorker, the formula to crafting a perfect title involves ethical appeal, emotional appeal, and logical appeal.  Studies have shown that the most shared articles have titles that evoke positive emotions, or create a feeling of unrest with the reader.

The end result, is that you can target your product to a particular circle, who will then perpetuate the content within their own circles, until you become recognized among as the go-to-person for information.

About the Author

Greg Olsten is Ivy Exec's Sr. Content Manager, producing Online Classes, and Executive Intelligence articles.