Saturday, September 28, 2013

Marketing at Borentra

The World

At Borentra, the move-fast-break-things mentality is deeply ingrained in our culture. We not only apply the same work ethic to engineering and product design but also in marketing. We've been able to achieve multiple weeks of over 70% growth (week over week) with The Art of the Grand Hustler.

I believe that the term marketing has evolved into a Grand Hustler role which spans a multitude of skills including copywriting, graphic design, blogging, event management, social media, and a bit of programming in HTML/CSS. I won't dive into what the skillset has become but more on the strategies and tactics that are required for Grand Hustlers to achieve growth at the level of YCombinator startups or better. That said, many startups like to think small and build up a tight community around specific cities on hyper-local platforms (so-lo-mo, aka, Social-Local-Mobile); however, we've taken the phrase, get big or die trying seriously.

User Growth month over month since we've launched

Item Growth month over month since we've launched

The screenshots above are from our administration console on the site -- this includes month over month reports for user growth and item growth with a few pretty graphs with day over day graphs using canvas/svg. That said, we take our traction metrics very seriously. If we're not growing every week, we're doing something wrong.

In order to achieve these numbers, we've employed a few strategies and we hope you find these useful.

Internet Memes

Using internet memes is a fantastic way of increasing engagement across your social media channels -- as long as they are funny or cute. We've learned that you can't make memes out of random topics because some memes have a framework for what response they should elicit. For example, the cat reading a newspaper should be related to some first world problem.

Social Media Automation

Always use HootSuite or Buffer -- these are great tools for saving you time on posting across multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter. HootSuite is especially awesome because you can queue a few days worth of news and interesting articles/videos/photos -- and then move on to something else.

Social Graph on Facebook

We've recently been started using the Social Graph queries on Facebook to help us expand across the globe. Below are a few screen shots of how we use the Social Graph queries to join groups and get feedback on Borentra

"Open Groups about Books" for Borentra's Book Borrowing Vertical


"Open Groups about Hiking" for Borentra's Hiking/Outdoor/Camping Vertical


"Open Groups about Fashion" for Borentra's Clothing Swaps Vertical


If you want to target specific countries, you can change the query to Open Groups with people living in Germany about Hiking. Additionally, we found that based on Top Countries Using Facebook -- we are able to convert users easily. If you're solely focused on Canada/US (which has users who aren't exactly easily converted due to the Facebook login), you should always focus on countries that have a more open-mind about signing up to new sites using Facebook login.

Global Marketing Initiatives Across Timezones

Timezone Dashboard of Jaime Bueza

Our work ethic when it comes to marketing and getting Borentra in front of as many people as possible to get more feedback requires that we have marketing pushes in different times of the day.

  • At 8am in Vancouver, we start talking to user groups in US/Canada.
  • At noon, we start talking to user groups in London and Germany (8pm their time),
  • At 6pm we start talking to user groups in Asia (Malaysia/Philippines/India) (9am their time)
  • At around 2am in Vancouver, we start talking with user groups in London or Germany when it is 10am their time.

With this level of hustle, we're able to get as much feedback as possible and acquire users across the world. The idea behind this is to ensure that we're able to evolve extremely quickly. Sometimes, users don't see value in a particular feature, so we do our best to get that feedback and quickly fix it.

What about KPIs?

Key performance indicators for marketers / platform growth specialists include users acquired per week, followers gained per week, user likes on the Facebook fan page per week. Since our primary platform we market on is Facebook, we put Facebook engagement at a higher priority than Google Plus or Twitter.