Growth Hacking: using traditional channels in unconventional ways to boost engagement

 By Amol Ghemud, Chief Growth Officer, upGROWTH
January 5,2022: If you’ve been growing or running a business for a while, then you’re probably aware of the fact that consistency is an integral part of the content and social media marketing game. Regular posting helps you inform your audience — but are you really growing if no one is interacting and engaging with your content?
Engagement is THE buzzword in social media marketing and digital marketing. And it’s a metric that brands, consumers and creators follow closely, with reason. It tells you how your target audience is interacting with your brand and can nudge them to give you their business.
How does this tie into growth hacking? Growth hacking is about using existing resources and channels in unconventional ways to get the results you want. And, you can use traditional channels in unconventional ways to boost engagement and drive conversions for your brand.
TikTok, for example, began as a lip-syncing app (back then, it was called Users could create short videos, lip-syncing to their favourite songs or dialogues — and dance a little while at it.  
The app quickly gained a cult following, thanks to the addictive nature of short-form video content. And, smart brands were quick to cash in. When the pandemic hit, more and more people began cooking at home — and several food brands began creating quick, easy videos (using their products) and posting it to TikTok.
Oreo taught followers how to make deep-fried Oreo cookies and Oreo fudge. Food media company Food52 began sharing kitchen hacks and tips from their staff and contributors. Sweetener brand Splenda began sharing cocktail recipes using their product. All these brands have followers and likes that run into thousands and millions.
So you can take a “traditional” channel, use it to your advantage, and keep users engaged, not just informed.
Pre-TikTok and pandemic, we ran an interesting campaign for a food and hospitality client in our hometown. Our client was a seafood restaurant. Hospitality is a crowded space, and even within it, there are plenty of seafood restaurants jostling for space, claiming to serve the freshest, the most authentic, the tastiest, and the best-quality seafood in town.
Marketing and growing a food brand requires word of mouth — and strong imagery. Food styling and images of finished dishes can garner views and likes — but to get people to experience the restaurant, we needed more than just pretty plates.
After driving footfall to the restaurant via business listings and blogger partnerships, we decided to use image-centric social media platforms to create user generated content. Instead of going the tried-and-tested route of asking people to share photos of their food and drinks, our team brainstormed and came up with the #myfishface campaign.
We asked participants to upload fun photos using the hashtag #myfishface. People had to make a funny face, pose next to a fish poster, tag the restaurant, add the hashtag #myfishface, and post the image to social media. In return, the restaurant would offer participants a discount on their next meal. Within the next 5 days, 2000+ participants had posted their photos — creating a lot of ripples on social media which helped create lasting brand awareness.
And our client? Still one of the most popular seafood restaurants in town, going strong even after multiple lockdown restrictions.
Thinking like a growth hacker doesn’t necessarily mean you have to invent a new tool or methodology to drive engagement — it’s just as much about using traditional and existing channels and/or platforms unconventionally. Most of the time, your audience doesn’t need a new product announcement to engage with you — they’ll be happy to interact with you in a new way.
upGrowth is a growth hacking marketing company that enables fledgling, as well as, established businesses to achieve rapid and sustainable growth.
Growth Hacking is a broad term for strategies that primarily focus on expanding business and is a blend of product development, marketing, and analytics.