It’s thrilling and terrifying to see your startup hit the open market. Seven out of ten die. The deck is stacked and you're not the house – if you want to survive, you're going to have to go guerrilla.
The definition of Guerrilla is "unconventional". Most people just form a conventional strategy for advertising and marketing. Why? They're afraid to try something unconventional or they simply don't know how. So jot these down – guerrilla gold: social media tactics you should use when launching your next startup.
Buy Twitter Handles, Facebook Pages and Instagram Accounts At my sophomore startup we hired a social media expert for the first time. The advice that stuck with me most was this: purchase social media properties.
Brilliant. I had never heard that before.
This guerrilla tactic enables you to access an audience quickly, which is what all startups need. However, this is not the audience that's going to get you to cash-flow positive – this audience is going to get you to market-fit. These are the people who are going to beta test your product. They're going to give you the feedback and insight you need to win.
The key to making this guerrilla tactic work is to make sure the social property fits your startup. For example, if you’re building a product to edit photos on your phone, then you should acquire Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and Instagram accounts that revolve around beautiful photography.
A Facebook page is valuable if it has at least 10-20K likes and a high engagement rate. A Twitter handle or Instagram account can be valuable with as many as 5K followers.
Look to build a list of several target acquisitions in each social space. Not all will be interested in selling, so you need a good sized list to pull from. Depending on the audience size you should expect to pay anywhere from $200 - $5,000. Note: once you buy the social property don't blow it up with advertising. You have to massage it. Slowly slip your marketing message in.
Always, always, always add value after the acquisition. This will drive you to use creative ways to market your product. Once you get a game plan try a company like Buffer to help you easily manage your social sharing. It’s the best app I’ve found for managing many social platforms from a single account.
Buy Retweets, Facebook Posts and Instagram Posts If you can’t scrounge up the cash to purchase a social property then buy retweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram posts. Even if you don't own the social property you can still benefit by paying for high quality tweets and posts that go out to large numbers of followers that go out to large numbers of followers.
Like I said earlier, build a list of targeted social properties that make sense for your product. Many owners of these social properties will be delighted that someone is willing to pay them for tweets. The key is to write a well scripted email that outlines your purchase proposal. Here are a few lines you can steal from me:
"I really appreciate the audience you've built. It's impressive." "The content you share is super valuable and I am sure your audience appreciates it." “I'd love to share my startup idea with your audience – My hope is it would add solid value to your audience.” “Here's what my product does…" “Would this add value to your audience? If so, I'd love to pay you for several tweets to help get my startup off the ground.
If the account owner is willing then make an offer. You may consider buying in blocks of ten. For example, buy buy ten Facebook posts for $100 or twenty tweets for $350. Don’t try to negotiate too much – state plainly what you’re willing to pay. You’ll be surprised how many people will be thrilled with the offer. Once you reach a deal, you’re ready for the transaction.
So How Do You Buy? Use PayPal to facilitate the transaction. Almost everyone uses PayPal so it should work nicely. I would offer to send them the money before they start posting. This says to them that you’re an honest buyer and you trust them. Yes, in rare occasions you may get stiffed but that’s what can happen in guerrilla warfare.
If you’re buying a social property, the first thing you need to do after you send the funds is get their login credentials (username/email and password). Once you get their credentials login and change them. This is the moment when you officially become the owner of the account. You just built your audience.
Now it’s up to you to maintain and build it – slowly transforming them into users of your product. Always remember, seven out of ten startups never reach cash-flow positive. The deck is stacked and you're not the house – If you’re going to win, you’re going to have to go guerrilla.