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Growth Hacking Examples for Startups: How Can My Business Go Viral?

In the age of viral marketing and overnight sensations, young businesses dream about following suit. Quickly exploding in popularity and numbers is every startup’s ideal, wishing that the hard work put into each product and service catches on and resonates with consumers.

Enter “growth hacking,” a concept related to traditional forms of marketing that instead explores atypical methods a company can utilize to gain top-of-the-line exposure with its target audience.

When implemented effectively, a growth hack can propel a business from the depths of a valley to the top of a mountain—often with little to no cost and in record time.

How can your startup take advantage of growth hacking? Here at DSM, a full-service advertising agency, we will explore the innovative and super successful growth hacks that today’s popular companies used to go from beginners to household names.

LinkedIn and Growth Hacks that Personally Motivate

Right before LinkedIn first implemented its growth hack, it had 2 million users. While already having a large audience, the professional networking community, like any business, wanted to grow even bigger. LinkedIn thought about what motivates its target audience and decided to capitalize on a key element of human nature: vanity.

At the time of the growth hack, searching the name of an average person online did not return many (if any) top results that actually applied. Viewing this as an opportunity, LinkedIn allowed users to make their profiles public, permitting the personal pages to be indexed by search engines. In just a few years, the site jumped to 200 million users.

Also attempting to fill a need, Dropbox appealed to personal interests by rewarding users who spread the company name. When a user invited another to join the service, both the inviter and the receiver were given free Dropbox storage space.

Make the tactics that LinkedIn and Dropbox implemented work for you by analyzing what your target audience is inspired by, or what it feels is lacking. Then, do your best to develop something that fills the void; offer a revolutionary solution that could have the potential to change your industry.

YouTube and Growth Hacks that Increase “Shareability”

How did YouTube standout among other online video services? Piggybacking. Many businesses skyrocketed in popularity by entering partnerships and/or utilizing other popular sites to serve as a publicity platform.

Back when MySpace reigned supreme, YouTube invented a way to insert its users’ videos into the pages of the social media king: easy-to-use and personalized “embedding” codes. Just by copying and pasting a link, people could share a YouTube video directly in their own content and MySpace posts. This not only spread the YouTube name, but also set a standard among other video hosting sites. Today, YouTube has 1 billion unique visitors each month, and 72 hours of video uploaded every minute.

Increase the likelihood that people will share your content by making it simple for them. Just as Pinterest shot to fame with Facebook integration and adding “Pin It” buttons to outside websites, encourage the people browsing your material to pass it along with one-click widgets and fun, informative content.

Your Startup and Growth Hacks

Inspired? Countless other companies such as Twitter, Airbnb, PayPal and Hotmail have catapulted their growth with hacks of their own. With a lot of thought, hard work and a unique idea, your company can follow a similar path.

Aren’t sure how growth hacking will work for your business yet? Talk to an established marketing agency to get professional insight.

The coolest part about growth hacks is that most successful ones are based on ideas no one thought of yet. Will your startup discover the next big growth hack everyone talks about?

Photo Courtesy of Business Insider

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