Community-building online requires daily activities from the startups – but how to get started?
Every startup dreams about getting coverage on big tech medias and newspapers. For sure a single great splash in the media might lead to great connections, but if you want to have a longer tail for content about your company, start building a community around you – and maybe even help the whole startup community on the side. There are other opportunities too.
The first step is to start creating content yourself and actively contacting influencers in your region or your field of expertise.
“We have been reaching out to social selling and marketing influencers, and asked actively from journalists if there’s a need for quotes to be included in articles – but we have also written our own content alongside that, cooperating with other professionals,” explains Jaakko Paalanen, the head of Partnerships of Finnish SaaS startup Leadfeeder.
Leadfeeder defines itself as the pioneer of web analytics technology development in northern Europe – especially in developing intelligent sales and marketing systems. The B2B-focused company started to publish their own content more actively in the beginning of 2016, but Peter Seenan, communications and customer support expert of Leadfeeder, says that that the actual production of content is not the biggest challenge for nailing content marketing.
“There is loads of great content all over the internet not being read. Content outreach is critical in driving readership and we’re focusing on mastering the art of outreach,” says Seenan.
Ever since the company started to put effort into active content creation, the number of visitors to their website has doubled and the number of signups has increased by 70 percent.
What’s great for Leadfeeder about getting more traction on their site is that they can analyse the visitors, with their own tool working seamlessly together with Google Analytics, and both target their content and find sales leads.
Perform – Not Only Preach
Paalanen, who has self-studied basically everything that has been discussed around social selling, has been rated among the top specialists in the field in Finland. He is active in social media, and arranges webinars and lectures around the country. At the moment, he is also co-writing an article with number one Social Selling author in the World, Tim Hughes. Paalanen actually got to know Hughes through asking for a quote from him for a blog post.
“If a startup founder had a personal brand, it would be so much easier to pitch when people already know about you,” says Paalanen – and emphasises the importance of branding the company through publishing engaging content.
“Why would startups not try to become thought leaders, and why wouldn’t they open discussions about general topics in their fields,” he ponders.
There’s still a good deal of startups and big corporations who do not regularly update their social channels even though they might provide social media as a service. Paalanen says the situation is similar with a buzzword like social selling.
“Many people still don’t understand what the difference is between social media marketing and social selling. Those aren’t the same thing!”
As social selling is very close to Paalanen’s heart – so is building meaningful relationships. That’s also the core of the content that Leadfeeder creates on their blog, and shares on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. They want to be a meaningful startup to follow.
The articles with greatest success this year for driving traffic to Leadfeeder site have been written about remote work, startup life, female entrepreneurship and the company’s most recent funding round. Paalanen emphasises that these topics are great examples of how sharing the success stories and struggles among the community can benefit the whole startup ecosystem.
“It’s important to have good relationships with other startups as well, because we can teach each other and learn from each other,” he adds.
Leadfeeder was founded in 2014, and the Helsinki-based company has users in over 100 countries.
Of course measuring the online performance is important too and Seenan says that some KPIs their content and marketing team use are click-through rates, for example from Facebook, page views on the site and new trial sign-ups, which is also part of their wider marketing strategy.
“When we see that a blog post is converting well we make it even easier for people to sign up for a free trial by adding additional proof and sign-up buttons. It’s no surprise that when we have a lot of traffic to our blog they are also our best sign-up days,” adds Seenan.
Create, Distribute, Track – And Repeat
As every successful blogger knows, the secret sauce for finding engaged followers is interesting content, but also being consistent with publishing. For Leadfeeder this means creating two blog posts a week, and sharing interesting articles at least every other day on both Facebook and Twitter, as well as organising webinars a few times a month.
“Facebook is a good fan page for us – there we share our blog posts as well as other interesting links. In comparison, LinkedIn is a more business-focused channel for us and Twitter is great place to react to customer feedback,” Paalanen explains about the different channels they use. He points out that webinars have also become a great way to communicate with users of the service.
Alongside social channels and their own tool, Leadfeeder team is also using Trello, Google Drive, Sharetally and Google Analytics for content production, outreach and measurement.
“Proofreading and editing are utterly essential to good content. It’s all very well having a great idea but if your delivery is crap and you clearly haven’t been arsed to check it for mistakes then why should anyone bother trying to read it.”
Nevertheless, Leadfeeder’s path of becoming the thought leader in website analytics-based sales has started through sharing relevant information to the network and having fun as a team on the side of putting together blog posts. Their most successful blog so far has been a combination of news and educational content of Leadfeeder integration with Pipedrive.
“It’s rewarding to see the engagement and how creating your own content brings interested people to your website,” says Paalanen, adding that he can’t emphasise more how important it is to know your audience and how your website is getting traction.
And that’s actually why he fell in love with Leadfeeder – by using it for tracking leads and website traffic in his previous job.