Use the filter to find people by keywords in their bio or even location. You can also choose whether the profile belongs to a person or a company or has a certain follower ratio.
Once you have a list of relevant influencers, let’s dive into the rules of Instagram growth:
1. Post a new picture every day.
2. Test to find the ideal posting time as it’s different for every niche.
3. Post the same type of photos as the influencers in your niche post.
If they post pictures of beautiful San Francisco, then you should post only pictures of San Francisco. Don’t mix it up. If they don’t post pictures of San Francisco food, then don’t post pictures of San Francisco food.
4. If you want to post pictures of yourself, you can’t entirely automate the process.
You’ll still have to take pictures. Again, look at what works for influencers in your niche and take the same pictures. They know what works best. After all, that’s part of how they got a loyal following.
5. You don’t get exceptions.
If you’re taking the pictures yourself, they need to be on the same level of quality as the influencers in your niche.
Getting Over the Hurdle
To avoid getting your Instagram account banned, you must gradually raise the automation settings for the first month. It takes time, but you’ll see results soon after.The gradual raising of Instagram automation took me months to learn. I had to restart each time my account got banned. Now, I have settings that work every time.
You may be wondering if this works for your business. Ninety percent of the time, the answer is “yes.” If you sell software, you can still market your team using lifestyle pictures with quotes from industry events.
Implement Cheat Codes
First, grab a username. Make it memorable and easy to find.
Add a retargeting link to your bio using ClickMeter. This allows you to keep track of followers and retarget them on Facebook. Next, buy and install Instazood. Post three photos every day for the first four days.
Pay Instaboostgram for 500 fake followers = social validation. Remove 150 fake followersfor every one thousand real followers. Make sure to turn off your automation settings the entire day you remove fake followers.
Run Instazood on slow and only Like tags with “like4like” and “likeforlike” posts for 4 days.
Add 2-3 highly relevant hashtags in addition to “like4like” and “likeforlike.” If you’re in a yoga niche, the added hashtags might be #yogini or #yogi. You get the idea.
Continue to post 1-2 photos a day.
Once you’ve posted 20 photos, remove the “like4like” and “likeforlike” hashtags. Now, change your targeting from these hashtags to followers of relevant influencers in your niche,
Scale Your Profile With These Steps
1. Once you have, at least, 15 pictures and 500 followers, move your Instazood settings to easy. Only turn on the auto-liking feature.
2. At 600+ followers and 20+ pictures, begin Instazood auto-commenting.
3. Once you have 650+ followers and 22+ pictures, use Instazood follow and unfollow settings on easy.
4. At 700+ followers and 34+ pictures, move the settings to normal.
5. At 800+ followers and 50+ pictures, move the settings to fast.
6. Manually turn off the follow/unfollow settings to see faster results. Try to keep a 2/1 ratio.
Pay Attention to the Details with Auto Commenting
Automated commenting is powerful when used right. When used wrong, it can hurt your brand.
The first rule of automated commenting is to use mostly comments that mention the entire profile, not the picture it’s on.
Here’s what we know:
People love their Instagram profile
People post random pictures
Having an automated comment of “that’s cool” on a baby picture is not cool.
Use comments that reflect their overall love for their profile such as “awesome profile,” “nice profile,” “great photos,” and “cool photos.” You should have at least nine comments you switch around. Make sure you don’t comment on the same users!Posting the same comment on a user’s profile screams spam.
Let’s Get Rid of the Work
If you’re looking to repost content without ever creating your own, then discover photos by searching hashtags on Instagram. Make a list of the most relevant hashtags and influencers so you know where you can quickly grab photos to re-post. Outsource this process to a virtual assistant through Upwork.
To help with organization, add photos to DropBox folders labeled by month. Download the DropBox app. Now you can easily log in and log out of Instagram to post pictures by simply saving them from DropBox to your phone. Posting 5 pictures to 5 different accounts takes about ten minutes. Don’t worry, there’s an even easier process.
Include the description of the photo in the DropBox file name. This enables you to quickly copy and paste the description when you upload photos. Just click “Rename” in the DropBox app, then copy the description.
On average, you should collect and add a description to 30+ photos in an hour and a half. Make sure to remove “.jpg” at the end of the description before posting.
What photos should you repost?
Look for ones that have quality contrast and a significant amount of likes and comments compared to other photos the accounts have posted.
For your uploaded content, people like worldly descriptions, such as “A beautiful day no matter rain or shine because yoga replenishes your soul.” That took me two seconds to write. It doesn’t have to make sense. Most of my descriptions don’t. It just needs to sound nice.
If you repost someone’s content, then @ them in the description = “A beautiful day no matter rain or shine because yoga replenishes your soul @username”
Don’t ask permission to repost their content. It’s fine as long as you tag them. Trust me. You won’t get sued and ninety-nine percent of the time they don’t care.
After the worldly description, write the “benefit+ solution +CTA @[your username].” For example, “A beautiful day no matter rain or shine because yoga replenishes your soul @username. For a little more sunshine in your life, check out my [i.e. free eBook, free tickets, free PDF] in my bio @[your username].”
If you’re a noob marketer, ideally the link should go to a dedicated landing page. I’ve created a two-hundred thousand dollar sales funnels with this strategy.
It’s Time for a Major Upgrade
Once you have 1000+ followers, use Jarvee (only works on PC – need a VPS for Mac) to auto schedule every post so you don’t have to do so manually or simply hire a virtual assistant from Upwork. I’ve started on Jarvee with accounts that had only 500 followers, but there’s a risk when doing this to getting banned.
As you notice, the follow setting in Jarvee is at an average of 230 followers/day.
I make sure to be selective about the users I follow. If you follow more quality users, then you can have an increase of 1000% in your follow-back rate. I do this by skipping non-English Users, making sure they have a profile image and are active on Instagram. I also don’t want to target people who are influencers because they won’t notice my follow. So I target smaller accounts, but not too small.
For Follow Sources, I target the most active engagers of target accounts. That means interacting with people who interact with the target posts on a relevant influencer profile. They must’ve interacted with recent posts as well.
Settings for Unfollowing:
For Unfollowing, feel free to do up to 250 people/day. Notice in the first setting how we give a one-day barrier to ensure whomever we followed has a chance to follow us back before we unfollow them.
It’s important that when you unfollow people you do it to the people who don’t engage with you. This feature will enable you to only follow the people who provide the most reciprocity.
Settings for Liking:
For Liking, we engage with upwards to 400 pieces of media content/day.
Similar to commenting and following, we ensure we only engage with the most targeted users.
For sources, we split between hashtags and users who engaged with posts on targeted profiles.
Settings for Commenting:
For Commenting, we engage with upwards to 400 pieces of media content/day.
I make sure to be selective about the users I comment on. If you engage with more quality users, then you can have a huge increase in your follow-back rate. I do this by skipping non-English Users and making sure they are not already in our network. I also make sure to target people who are active.
I make sure to be selective about the users I comment on. If you engage with more quality users, then you can have a huge increase in your follow-back rate. I do this by skipping non-English users and making sure they are not already in our network. I also make sure to target people who are active on Instagram.
In regards to commenting, I use spin syntax to engage with relevant comments on relevant users. That means either targeting by geolocation, hashtag, or interactors of posts on a target account.
Notice how we use comments that compliments their overall profile. This way, the comments look genuine.
Put the Followers, Leads, and Revenue on Autopilot
You’re done setting up your account for Instagram automation. Still, there are always more advanced tricks you can use if you’re running many accounts at scale.
Before you jump into asking how you can work horizontally with more accounts, let’s see how you can improve the processes we already have – that’s thinking vertically. One way is to use the right hashtags and engagement groups for even more follower growth. Engagement groups are communities of influencers who engage with each other’s posts to boost them in the feed. These are both proven strategies to get more followers.
Now that you have less work and more time – you have all the opportunity to think of new ways to grow your company’s online presence. Best of luck.
I was a skeptic about using vlogging for B2B marketing.
The reason is vlogging is notoriously known for YouTube influencers who have almost no association with the B2B space. Yet, everyone is screaming to use video content in your B2B marketing.
Rather than hold back, I jumped right in and created my first vlog.
It wasn’t the best vlog, but I’d taken that first critical step in shooting the first episode.
And that mattered more than anything.
Because now I had momentum even if only a little.
When vlogging for the B2B space, I learned fast what I needed to improve on. There was an entire list, to say the least. To help you skip over all my mistakes, here are the nine steps you need to start B2B vlogging like a pro:
1. Use Your iPhone
You don’t need fancy equipment.
For the first video I made, I used my iPhone and it turned out great. At first glance, I couldn’t tell the difference between my video and the quality the pros use. I figured if I couldn’t tell the difference, then most of my audience wouldn’t mind. It turns out I was right.
Wait until you’ve shot many vlogs before you buy equipment such as lights and a stabilizer. Because if you can’t be consistent, then even the best equipment won’t solve that issue.
2. Provide Context
You’re telling a story.
If you jump from setting to setting without a clear picture of why then the audience will get lost.
For example, in the first scene you’re at your office and say, “Hey, I’m off to visit Jessica to drop off her birthday present.” Then the next scene shows you at her doorstep with the present. Without that sentence referencing what you’re about to do, the audience won’t understand why you’re at someone’s doorstep with a present.
3. Add More B-Roll in Your Clips
Storytelling is about capturing the smaller moments. If you’re vlogging a scene where you’re doing work, then zoom in on the laptop so the viewers can see what project you’re working on. You can even do this if you’re vlogging a scene of you reading a book. Zoom in on the couple of sentences that really struck you.
If you’re attending an event, then capture the road when you’re driving over to the event. Here’s an example below.
Here’s another example from an airport.
In both scenes, you get an idea that there’s a transition happening. This is where B-roll can have a very positive effect in tying the bits and pieces of your story together.
4. More Perspectives
If you’re in selfie mode the entire vlog, then your audience will get bored fast. They want different perspectives. In one of the Casey Neistat’s vlogs, he has many different perspectives.
Places the camera down and looks directly into it:
Shoots a couple while on the go:
Introduces an object and a person while standing in front of a stabilized camera:
Shows the handlebars of a moving bike:
Each perspective has a seamless transition into the next. By using the different viewpoints, he captures more of the viewer’s attention because almost every scene is different, yet crucial to the story.
5. Follow the Soundtrack
Easier said than done. You may be using several different soundtracks for your videos and that’s okay. The idea here is to sync the sound with emotion you’re aiming to portray. This requires you to have a strong music database in the back of your mind or stored and categorized on your laptop.
It doesn’t have to be anything special. Here’s a clip from this Casey Neistat video where the background music is subtle and helps make the revealing more intimate while providing suspense.
The light sound in the background leads up to the moment the package is opened, then it drops.
6. Walk With the Camera
To keep the story feeling like it’s moving forward, ensure to have scenes where you walk with the camera. Gary Vaynerchuk does this more than anyone I know. He opens up this video with a scene of him walking which grabs the viewer’s attention.
Walking with the video provides momentum, but like any good storyline, you need balance. It’s important that’s there’s walking, then a drop in momentum. By pulling the viewers’ emotions in different directions, they become more entrenched in the story.
7. Look Straight into the Camera
I always mess this up.
When you’re filming yourself, there’s a strong tendency to look at the video rather than the camera. If you don’t look at the camera, then the vlog loses a sense of intimacy with the viewer. It’s a similar effect to a conversation in which you’re looking into people’s eyes.
For some vloggers like Casey Neistat, they always wear sunglasses which makes it easier. This way people can’t tell if you’re looking at the screen or the camera. Still, it’s better to not wear sunglasses and show people your eyes to provide that sense of intimacy.
8. Company Content that Sells
When you’re in the B2B space, take advantage of all the things that make you unique. This means recording pieces of company meetings, moments where you celebrate wins, and diving into the backgrounds of the people you work with. Gary Vaynerchuk is the leading example of B2B execution in the vlogging world. Take a look here at how he documents a company meeting in the intro to this video.
In fact, this entire video is about company meetings and has over 500,000 views. If you thought your business life was boring, well Gary proves there’s a large audience hungry for this material.
9. Overall B2B Content that Works
If you’re not at the office, then as an entrepreneur, you’re probably traveling to events, jumping on planes, and speaking at conferences. Here’s a piece from my first vlog where I interview a couple of entrepreneurs from a conference I spoke at.
It’s a short clip, but gets the point across that I’m meeting high-level entrepreneurs.
Start with a Couple of Minutes
The first vlog I shot, I pieced together from four minutes of video. There were only four minutes of video because of how afraid I was to shoot in public. As a result, the final video was only around two minutes.
Even though I felt self-conscious, I did it anyway. Today, I’m much less afraid to shoot because the hardest step is the first. It’s seeing that even with a little bit of effort you can get results. In the B2B space, there are few taking vlogging seriously making it one of the easiest channels to build your brand on.
Do you ever wonder how some founders can come up with endless ideas?
Yet, other founders can only come up with a couple.
I wanted to learn how to become creative.
I never had the right idea to help my company grow.
Or, at least, enough ideas to choose among.
I had worked for five startups that had failed and had zero to show for it.
If I could figure out how to overcome the creative hurdle, then I could break this pattern. Motivated, I studied the creative process by reading countless books on psychology and then practicing.
The result is I’ve come up with hundreds of original ideas to help companies grow. I’m even the CEO and co-founder of one of the fastest growing companies in Los Angeles. All because I can rely on the most important intangible skill, creativity.
During the process of figuring out what makes a founder creative, I learned six ways you can add fuel to your creative spark:
1. Develop Your Deep Ts
Creativity doesn’t happen on the surface level. It happens deep beneath the ground. It’s where your expertise lies. It’s the T in the T-Shaped model.
But there’s a catch – unless you’re in the top .01 percent of your field, then you need two deep Ts. Yes, two skills you’re highly proficient in to be creative.
The reason is creativity happens when you combine ideas. If you can combine them from deep expertise in two verticals, then the chances the idea is original increases exponentially. For example, if you combine your knowledge of programming with content creation, then you might come up with a brilliant software idea.
If you had surface level knowledge of both areas, then you might come up with what you think is an original idea. Then you share the idea with an expert and they’ll probably say, “Yeah, that’s an old idea. It doesn’t work.” That result is fine because it shows you that you have much more room to learn.
2. Become an Expert
If you’re not an expert, then you need to know the steps to become one. The good news is this is the easy part. The hard part is the execution.
To become an expert, follow this four-step model:
1. Find an expert to mentor you
Use LinkedIn, Facebook, and email to reach out. Mentorship is a big time commitment on their part so asking right away will deter them. Start by giving them value no matter how small, then ask for coffee. Get them to become your friend before you ask for them to become a mentor.
2. Deconstruct the skills that will deliver 80 percent of results
Ask experts, then research on Google and YouTube what those few core important skills are to get results.
3. Stop multitasking
You’re learning one skill, not a hundred of them.
4. Practice until you can recognize your mistakes
Did someone say practice?
Yes, you have to show up every day if you want to be good at anything.
World-recognized learning expert, Josh Kaufman, explains that all you need is enough information to self-correct. That means you need the ability to recognize your own mistakes, and then make adjustments when this inevitably occurs. Over time, you become mistake free.
Rinse and repeat, and you’ll eventually get to your desired level of proficiency.
3. Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Most people quit soon after they start.
The major barrier to skill acquisition isn’t intellectual; it’s emotional.
Whenever you start learning something new, you get frustrated because you feel inadequate. It’s easy to lose hope. And nobody wants to feel like they’re no good at doing something. They key is to recognize that feeling, then do it anyway.
That’s what the best leaders do.
They feel the fear, then still take action.
It’s not that they’re more confident, it’s that they internally process the idea of fear better.
4. Get it out of Your Head
In 2013, Sciencepublished a study by economist Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard University and psychologist Eldar Shafir of Princeton University describing how reminding people with a low income of their financial trouble reduced their capacity to think logically and solve problems in novel situations.
A subsequent study found that Indian sugarcane farmers performed much better on the same cognitive performance test after receiving the once-a-year payment for their produce, temporarily resolving their monetary concerns.
The learning lesson?
If one’s mind is constantly occupied with urgent problems, such as paying bills, there will not be much capacity left to come up with long-term solutions or creative ideas.
In other words, your mind only has a certain amount of capacity to carry thoughts. Your job is to constantly open up this capacity by externalizing your thoughts whether through writing, video, or audio. As long as you’re not distracted by thoughts at the forefront of your mind, then you’ll own your creativity.
5. Store it in a Compartment
If you’re externalizing your thoughts, it’s best to organize them to the best of your ability. That means writing books, using your Google Drive or Dropbox storage, and even creating how-to lessons and uploading them to YouTube. Here’s a peek into my Google Drive. There are over a 100 guides in here about marketing. That’s 100 tutorials I no longer have to keep in my mind. And that’s exactly why I can keep coming up with new ones.
If you’re not a writer, then record yourself on video documenting your creative ideas. This only helps to an extent when removing the idea from your head. The next step is executing it to see if it works. If it does, you’ll now have room to come up with more creative ideas to improve it. If it doesn’t, then come up with new ideas to chase.
6. Find a Partner
Not all of us have time to learn a new skill or document all our processes. Sometimes we need a little help. When I co-founded my company, BAMF Media, I partnered with Houston Golden, the former director of growth for an agency. Here’s a picture below when we opened up business for the first time.
I didn’t understand much about founding and scaling an agency. I knew a lot more about marketing, writing, and building an audience. So I found someone who’d already helped build an agency. This way, when we founded the company, we had two deep Ts that we could rely on for creative ideas.
Take a Leap of Faith
Chasing creativity requires an abundance mindset. You need to get all your bad ideas out to come up with good ones. It doesn’t always work out in your favor, but if you try enough times, then it will.
The secret: trust in the process.
Know that creativity only comes once you’ve documented and executed on your already existing ideas and problems. If you can stand on the plate and keep batting, then you’ll hit that home run.
I say “every day” because I haven’t skipped a beat for the last five years.
Somehow between sales, partnerships, and hiring calls, I manage to find time to write.
Someway between managing a community of 20,000 entrepreneurs, speaking around the world, and working out, I manage to find time to write.
Today, writing is an automatic behavior.
I don’t need a prompt.
Just a keyboard.
What I’ve learned is that writing is more than throwing words on a screen or paper.
It’s a way of becoming a better founder.
Why Founders Should Write
You know that founder who always tells you about their amazing idea even years later? The idea they never accomplish? Yeah, the founder whom you can’t stand. That’s because they’re not writing down their idea and executing on it.
Once the idea is out of their head and on a blog post, then shared with the world, they’re forced to come up with a new one.
So what does writing do for you?
Writing your ideas down and sharing them holds you more accountable for executing on them.
Writing your ideas down keeps you from annoying your friends with them for years.
Writing your ideas down gives you room for new ones.
At BAMF Media, I write down every process that solves a new technical problem whether sales or marketing.
I put this process in a blog post or in a social media status.
Then I hit publish.
You’ll notice that almost every one of our blog posts on our site is geared towards technical growth hacking processes. That’s because those are the problems I’m solving. Once you’ve created an audience for your work from consistent writing, then you have fans encouraging you to solve problems faster to create new content. It’s a bonus many don’t see.
What does writing does specifically for founders?
Writing keeps your presence with of your team
Writing builds thought leadership
Writing attracts new customers
Writing attracts new hires
That’s why I also write about every new hire we make, every culture move we make, and every client we turn into a hero for their company. This makes our employees feel being a part BAMF Media is more than a job, but a journey and story worth telling. It gives them a reason to say with confidence, “I work at BAMF Media.”
Why It’s Hard for Founders to Write
It’s the same reason it’s hard to play music, shoot video, or play sports.
Skills take time to learn.
That means practice.
No one knows more about practice than founders. Often they need to practice with multiple startups before they get one right. Here’s the secret: the hard part isn’t practice – it’s consistency.
“On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally’s study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.
In other words, if you want to set your expectations appropriately, the truth is that it will probably take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life — not 21 days.” – James Clear
The first day is the hardest.
The second day, the second hardest.
And so forth.
There’s a reason for this – you’re building a behavior.
A behavior that says you can sit down and write wherever and whenever.
This brings me to my next point.
Lower Your Expectations
Top writers don’t need the perfect setting to write.
They don’t need the right music with the right cup of tea in the right coffee shop to write.
They need a keyboard or paper and pencil. For some, like myself, they only need their iPhone.
If you set high standards for what it will take you to write, then the setting will never work in your favor.
Expect to work with less.
Otherwise, your head will be filled with excuses.
I can’t write because it’s…
“Too early. I can’t think.”
“I need to send out sales emails first.”
“I have to check the analytics on our website first.”
You know when I write?
Before I feel the excuses starting to reveal their ugly head.
You know when the excuses appear?
When you wait.
Think of it as a challenge to become a better founder.
Every time you find an excuse, ask yourself,
“Do I want to inspire my employees, partners, and customers?”
“Do I want to release my ideas to find room for new ones?”
The answer is always yes.
Trick your brain to work in your favor by asking the right questions.
That way before you have time to set expectations for your writing, you’ve already started.
Replace One Routine for Another
Write down the routines you have today that you don’t admire about yourself.
Spend late nights drinking with your buddies?
Watch too much T.V.?
Play video games?
Take one of these routines and replace it with writing.
Don’t add writing on top.
That’s what many people do when trying to adopt a new behavior. It doesn’t work because there are only a certain amount of hours in our day. You can’t add a routine without taking one away.
For me, I used to watch T.V. before going to work.
Now I get to work earlier and start writing.
Do I miss all the hours I would’ve spent in front of a T.V. screen?
What do you think?
Use Quora as a Cheat Sheet
Quora is a place where a few of the brightest founders participate regularly. Jason Lemkin, the founder of SaaStr, answers questions almost every day on Quora. Each question he’s answered is related to entrepreneurship, startups, and venture capital.
To date, he’s answered 2,700 questions.
That’s 2,700 ideas out of his head and onto paper.
That’s 2,700 answers that build his thought leadership, attract the best startups to invest in, and recruit employees for his company.
When I became a founder, I answered many of the same questions Jason Lemkin did, but with my own perspective. This helped me get a better understanding of the different pieces in the startup world from company culture to raising money. The best part: he did all the hard work for me by finding the questions to answer.
Nothing is Off Limits
To write every day, you need to break down every barrier you have.
“That subject is too personal.”
“I don’t know how they’ll react if I write about them.”
“I’m not sure people will even care about what I have to say.”
The fastest way to not write is to hold topics off limits. It’s saying, “I want to pick a niche.”
Here’s the truth: You don’t pick a niche, it picks you. The key is to start writing and see where the chips fall. I went from writing about entrepreneurship to festivals. As long as you’re learning and growing from your writing, then it’s a success.
Strike Before You’re Ready
You’ll never feel 100 percent ready to write.
After five years of consistency, I still dread the thought of it.
I do it anyway.
I wake up, work out, get to the office, and write no matter how painful it feels.
I need to write.
I have to write.
Because after you’ve written for an extended length of time, it’s a behavior that defines you.
The Facebook Group Extractor is a Google Chrome plugin which you can use to extract Facebook group members’ first name, last name, company name and profile URL into a .csv file. If installed correctly, a blue Facebook icon will pop-up on your Chrome bar.
Before you continue with extracting data, set your Facebook language settings to English. Don’t forget this step as the failure to do so will mess up your results.
If you are on the group page and you are all set to extract, navigate to the member page under facebook.com/groups/*groupname*/members/. Click the Facebook Extractor plugin in your Chrome bar and it will start extracting the data from each member.
Leave the software running and don’t change tabs as you’ll then lose your progress. Download the results in a .csv and you’ll have a file with a list of Facebook URLs, names, and job titles. Rinse and repeat.
Make sure to filter the results in your Google Sheet by job title so you focus on the most important members when getting personal email addresses.
Step 2. Use Phantombuster to Get LinkedIn Profile URLs
Next, you want to plug the editable version of this sheet URL into the LinkedIn Profile Finder API from Phantombuster, then fill in the appropriate column and CSV title.
Then hit Launch.
After it finishes processing the data, you’ll receive a list of LinkedIn URLs to download.
Copy these URLs into your original Google Sheet.
Step 3. Get Personal Emails Using Contactout
Next, have a virtual assistant use the Chrome extension and software, Contactout, to go through each LinkedIn profile to grab their personal email address and phone number (if available).
Another way to do this is to plug the person’s name directly into Contactout’s dashboard.
This doesn’t always work depending on how common their name is – that’s why I use the Phantombuster -> LinkedIn URL strategy as well.
For these processes, you should get 60+ percent of their personal emails.
Out of this 60 percent, you should get a 50 percent match rate when creating a custom audience.
That means if you scraped 1,000 people from a Facebook Group, you’ll have a custom audience of 300 to build a Lookalike audience from.
Keep in mind, Contactout recently released their paid plan. They have a backlog of over 10,000 requests to get it (they don’t even have a request button – you need to email them directly). As a result, it may take time to upgrade to get the paid version of 1,000 credits/month.
Start Extracting Today
If you manage to be one of the few early adopter who get the paid version of Contactout, then take advantage of it as soon as possible. In the past, we’ve seen many tools like this one get banned or acquired. That’s why competitive advantages when using online software don’t last forever.
The only advantage is for those with a first come, first served mentality.
I’ve been the head of growth for several startups.
I’ve even evangelized growth for a couple of the fastest growing SaaS companies, too.
If there’s a role that’s hard to fill – it’s the growth marketer, growth engineer, head of growth, growth lead, or whatever you call the open growth position at your company.
It sounds nice, right?
All companies need growth no matter what position they’re in.
But it’s hard to hire for this role because it doesn’t just take the experience to fill it, it takes the right experience. The balance of technical skills with a deep understanding of marketing psychology, branding, and statistics. The complete blend.
If one piece is missing, the equation is off.
The marketing doesn’t quite stick.
The traction doesn’t quite hit.
After hiring over ten different growth hackers, lead growth strategists, and growth engineers, I’ve learned to ask these seventeen questions in every interview. When a candidate has experience in each piece, the interview goes from phone to in-house to offer letter in a matter of days.
1. What competitor analysis tools have you used?
This is one of the most basic marketing skills, but also one of the most overlooked. For example, by analyzing the paid marketing, backlinking, and team structure of a software company, I decided to invest thousands of dollars to build a competitor.
Competitor analysis shows you where the long-hanging fruit is in any market. The real skill comes in interpreting the data. You can be looking at the best opportunity in the world, but without the right knowledge of the marketing ecosystem, the numbers will just be numbers.
Then I expect them to interpret the data by seeing opportunities that tell me they can picture the full funnel. For example, if they see no traffic from Facebook, they may come to the conclusion that it’s because it wasn’t a profitable channel for them.
However, an experienced marketer might notice they ran poor Facebook ad campaigns because the copy and images had no focus on the benefits of the product. Rather than an obstacle, they’ll see an opportunity to take a startup from five figures in revenue to seven.
2. What’s your experience in paid social?
If the candidate doesn’t understand how to drive paid traffic to a landing page, then the chances of them discovering an opportunity from any analysis drops significantly. The two most important advertising avenues today – Facebook and Instagram. A growth marketer with experience on other platforms is a plus, but because they’re not as widely used, we don’t place a heavy consideration on them (e.g. Reddit, Pinterest).
On the surface level, I look for a marketer who uses formulas for ad copy and has databases they regularly pull images from. On a deeper level, I look for a marketer who has experience with bidding strategies, device targeting, location targeting, naming campaigns, working with Lookalike audiences, and custom audiences.
Then I ask about ad sequencing. This quickly separates the novices from the experts. I see whether they have knowledge about how to run video ad sequences and pure branding ads to generate a lower cost-per-lead. A good sign is if they talk about remarketing videos after a percentage of watch time and using PR features to warm an audience before running conversion ads.
Now that I know whether they can run ads, I check their ability to discover a new profitable audience using social media advertising. I propose a hypothetical situation where they have a product with no defined customer base.
To find it with social media advertising without wasting a ton of money.
Here, I look for them to mention the use of Facebook Audience Insights, Google Analytics, Amazon search, YouTube search, and a competitor analysis tool to help them identify this audience.
If they bring up little-known resources like Quora questions or even the phrase “affinity score,” they earn bonus points. But all the bonus points in the world doesn’t mean anything if they don’t have skills in attributing campaigns. That means using a URL builder tool to ensure all paid traffic is tracked in Google Analytics. That way you can say, “This ad campaign led to this conversion”
Lastly, they should understand where to check for attribution in Google Analytics and how to adjust the conversion window that Facebook reports on.
3. Can you run an effective Google AdWords campaign?
Google AdWords is the best friend of social media advertising. The reason is your campaigns on social often influence the hits on Google search. In other words, the more people hear about you on Facebook, the more likely they’ll click your Google AdWords’ ad.
One of the key attributes I look for in Google AdWords experience is the proper use of Ad Groups. Most often, you should only have one keyword per an Ad Group. If they don’t know this, it immediately throws up a red flag. I also ask about device targeting, location targeting, and bidding strategies.
Then I ask them about their philosophy on bidding on company names and branded terms via Google search. I take it deeper by seeing what they consider great bidding opportunities. A top Google AdWords strategist knows that the end goal is a quality conversion with a prospect likely to retain, but that usually doesn’t happen right away. Often AdWords campaigns are set to take prospects to the site, then Facebook retargeting is implemented to bring them back for the ultimate conversion.
This knowledge matters because by knowing the ecosystem around the conversion process, an AdWords strategist can make more precise bids that drive revenue for the companies they work with.
4. What’s your experience with Google Analytics and Data Studio?
Most marketers will throw on their resume that they know Google Analytics, but it’s often far from true. Google Analytics provides a wealth of knowledge for how your marketing campaigns work from paid to organic. It will even tell you how well your individual site pages are optimized for different traffic sources.
I start with goals. Do they know how to set conversion goals in analytics and implement Google Tag Manager? If they don’t know how to implement either one, then that’s a big, bad sign. That means any goals whether capturing leads or turning email subscribers into paying customers has never been properly tracked.
I step into the finer details with asking about excluding IP addresses, identifying bot traffic, and creating proper dashboards like in Google Data Studio below to keep an eye on their company’s most important KPIs. Google Data Studio is a free tool that streamlines reporting for website analytics to Facebook and AdWords campaign performance.
If they have experience with Google Data Studio, then that tells me they’ve probably used analytics with strong depth and have given company presentations on their findings. This is a big plus if the position requires them to be customer or C-level executive facing.
5. Do you have badass data analysis skills?
I didn’t understand how important data analysis skills were. Then my boss asked me to use SQL for better attribution. When I started with SQL, I noticed the numbers Facebook and Google Analytics gave me weren’t the right ones. The only source of truth was diving into the back-end database with SQL queries.
This not only allowed me to get better attribution but to design more effective marketing experiments. For example, I used SQL queries to discover that our Facebook login underperformed the standard email capture on our landing page when measured down the funnel. The reason? Facebook emails were old which led to a low open rate on nurture emails.
If the candidate doesn’t understand SQL, they should, at least, know Excel. With Excel or Google Sheet knowledge, they can clean data faster, perform pivot table analysis, and index-match function to help combine relevant data.
If the candidate doesn’t even have a high-level understanding of Excel or Google Sheets, then they won’t survive as a growth marketer.
6. Can you run A/B and multivariate tests to optimize pages?
I don’t care how much traffic you can throw at a website. If traffic doesn’t convert – it doesn’t convert. That’s why you need testing tools like Omniconvert and Optimizely because rarely does traffic convert well on the first run. It often takes many iterations of a website before visitors engage. Then even more before they convert.
Iterations on landing pages mean changes in copy, images, and email capture pop-ups. Knowing how to test is equally as important as what you test. For example, if you’re running a viral campaign while you’re conducting A/B tests on a landing page to get sign-ups for the campaign, you’ll get skewed results. The reason is at any time in the campaign you may experience an unusual uptick whether an influencer sharing it or getting featured in a publication.
The best way to get reliable data when testing?
This often means Google AdWords and Facebook ads. By focusing on segmenting traffic based on the source, it provides more reliable insights. This way you can make changes to your website with confidence.
7. How do you study a visitor’s or user’s interaction with your website?
Before you dive into A/B testing your website, there’s a lot of low hanging fruit to grab. You can see these opportunities using heatmapping and tools that record visitor and user sessions. The growth marketer should mention tools like Hotjar, Crazy Egg, and Full Story to help them do this.
You may even realize with a couple of clicks that no one is even engaging with your homepage’s primary call-to-action but rather the help button on the top right.
8. Can you throw up a minimum viable test?
A growth marketer should understand minimum viable testing to validate ideas. That means using landing page tools like Unbounce, Instapage, and LeadPages that enable you to throw up a page with a unique value proposition in minutes.
This skillset can save you thousands of dollars on paying a designer and coder to validate an idea by building a custom landing page. Plus, it gives you the ability to run campaigns at scale whether webinars or ebooks without having a lag time in development to push initiatives forward.
9. Can you build an automation sequence that converts and retains?
There are two halves to the acquisition equation. First, you need their contact information, then you need to nurture them until they pay. That may come in the form of email content with relevant value, SMS texting to remind them to jump on an educational webinar, or auto-adding them to a Facebook custom audience so they get remarketed with testimonials.
If you want a high-converting system, then you need marketing automation. That means a growth marketer should understand how to use tools like Zapier, Autopilot, Twilio, and Drips.
Marketing automation sequences are also critical to increase retention. Once again, ideally you’re using an email sequence segmented by user type and SMS texting to ensure they attend webinars.
Without marketing automation, even the best funnel will remain a complete mess. Find the marketers who can lock it all together.
10. Can you write social copy that pops?
A rule of thumb: if a growth marketer can’t writing engaging posts on social media, then there’s little hope they can do it via email, on landing pages, or even SMS.
If they can write long-form copy that pops like this status below, then they have potential to cultivate the necessary skills to build an audience.
To give you an idea of what this type of content looks like, take a look at the link below where I’ve written a free book outlining a 100 viral social posts.
What I’ve noticed – the best marketers write the best social post copy, too. It’s not a surprise because copywriting is involved in almost every piece of marketing material. If you can’t hone the skill? Then you might as well throw your funnel down the drain.
11. How would you pitch a journalist?
It’s a rare skill to pitch journalists and generate positive responses. Features from fan pages to publications to podcasts provide value for early-stage startups needing to establish credibility and get their first wave of traffic hitting their site.
The art of pitching a journalist relies on the relevancy of your message to the journalist’s past writing, timing with current events, credibility, value proposition, and headline writing skills. If a growth marketer can get you features on-demand with this skillset, then they’ve made themselves an invaluable asset.
12. Can you guide a customer to their first win?
If the customer doesn’t get their desired result from your product, they’ll leave. Many products – no matter how great – aren’t intuitive. They require a little hand-holding. Products like Hubspot even have their own academy to help train marketers on how to use their platform.
A growth marketer who has experience creating user tutorials and an onboarding flow using a software like Appcues or even Loom can provide a ton of value on the retention side. Keep in mind, a product with poor retention is often not a valuable product at all.
To that end, a growth marketer should have enough experience to guide a new customer to their aha moment with your product while setting the right expectations every step of the way.
13. Can you build a website or Chrome extension?
A growth marketer must have experience building on platforms whether Shopify stores, WordPress themes or Chrome extensions. They should have deep enough knowledge to throw something up in a day and start selling.
Even if it means outsourcing Chrome extensions like I do:
If they don’t understand how to build or even outsource the construction of a platform, then they’ll have a lot of trouble understanding how to market it.
14. Have you built a strong presence on a social channel from scratch?
Those who’ve never built a strong social presence on a channel from scratch, don’t understand how much effort it takes. You’re often talking about hundreds and even thousands of hours of producing and distributing content to grow your presence.
Having a growth marketer on board who understands the level of work required to have social influence will enable you to set proper expectations, then exceed them.
15. Have you come up with original marketing tactics?
If you’re going to hire a growth marketer, they need to be a problem solver. The best problem solvers can create original solutions whether that’s a new way to clean a data set, scrape data, or run ads to custom audiences created from little-known locations.
If the growth marketer can’t point to an original solution they’ve created, then I wouldn’t rely on them to solve your hardest problems.
16. What’s one growth framework you’ve used?
There are many growth frameworks.
Most include some variation of “cost, investment, expect results.”
A more advanced one would look like the following:
Objective — what is the purpose of the experiment?
Hypothesis — what is the key hypothesis of a successful experiment
Experiment design — what steps do you envision the experiment going through?
Expected cost — monetary, marketing hours, product hours (important to determine whether you need to take time from developers and/or designers)
Expected results — your hypothesis on relevant metrics
Gut feeling score — on a 1 to 5 scale (with 5 being best), how much do you believe in this?
Results — actual results on relevant metrics
Insights — key insights in bullet points. Be specific.
Next steps — what new activities does the experiences lead to?
If a growth marketer has never used a growth framework, then you can’t expect them to prioritize their testing correctly. A growth framework should underlie everything a marketer does from start to finish.
17. Can you design a Facebook ad, board presentation, and landing page?
One of my pet peeves is a growth marketer who always needs to rely on a designer before they push marketing material live. You don’t need design by a world-renowned artist before you publish a Facebook ad or a landing page. The reason is the best design doesn’t always lead to the lowest cost-per-conversion.
Sometimes worst designs lead to better conversion costs – surprising, right? Knowing that fact and how to whip of an MVP design is key for any marketer to survive in a world with constant A/B and multivariate testing. For presentations, here’s an excellent example that a candidate submitted to us during her interview process. If a growth marketer can bypass a designer, then you’ll run more experiments which ideally equates to more traction.
Your Personalized Checklist
If you want to hire a growth marketer, then print this checklist and use it for interviews. On average, it takes us two to three months to find that exceptional candidate. It’s well worth it because one great hire can have the same impact as ten poor ones. What I’ve learned is the only thing that can destroy a startup faster than bad timing and lack of revenue are hires who you don’t learn anything from.
As the saying goes, “When it comes to hiring, you get what you pay for.”