Guest post by AJ Segal of Appenue, branding and growth hacking expert

As a startup, you need to find new creative ways to gain more clients for your business, a known fact among the ones with very tight budgets.

A startup has artistic freedom – a privilege most businesses lack.

Being dynamic as a company that has yet to solidify any corporate culture or a set marketing strategy, you need to invent the wheel on a daily basis to grow your business exponentially, before your funds are exhausted.

You need to understand how you should utilize different platforms to your advantage and create a perfect product or service that offers value, over another copycat that on first sight shows no signs of innovity.

You should learn what your competitors use – Start asking questions on Growth Hacking forums if needed – don’t be shy, someone might offer you a different angle or something you never thought about before.

Just because there’s a manual saying you should have a website first and that adwords is the best solution to acquire new clients, doesn’t mean it is so.

But, let us focus on something that works incredibly well for startups that we recommend using 99% of the time – Social Media.

Social Media as a marketing channel

Facebook ads and Linkedin ads didn’t necessarily do the trick for us, but different posts and virality of others can create a trend with which social media could carry your message without you spending a dime.

Great examples of growth hacking from experts could be posts by giants such as Buzzfeed or Insider, that offer viral content being shared by users without the need of any sponsored ads.

Here’s a good example from 5-Minute Crafts:

The brilliance here is that this video wasn’t necessarily boosted, it has been shared by tens of thousands of people, which means the brand didn’t need any boosting to begin with.

This could be done for a smaller brand naturally, but I wanted you to see the impact.

Another way for one to grow one’s business is by posting, just posting engaging content as to be approached by possible prospects.

Here is an example from a post I posted, looking for new prospects:

Growth Hacking New Prospects

This was posted on a to-hire group.

The impact of the post could not be seen on the post itself, but because people engaged with it, I was approached by 3 prospects through it.

Some of them asked about other services we offer that weren’t listed at all but this is growth hacking – no spending a dime but get people interested in your services.

The impact of sharing

Another way is by being tagged by a friend or partner who just happens to mention your name or your company, this is called “referral” and it works perfectly for the ones who lack a serious budget to market themselves.

Another brilliant way is to have a public account on Instagram. Up until a week or so, my account was a private account and I hardly had any followers.

Ever since I opened it up, I have tripled my followers and some even trickled down to Appenue’s business account on Instagram, doubling our follower base there.

In conclusion, you should use all the free tools that exist, (see ZEFO’s blog post about Google My Business listing) from Facebook, to Instagram to Snapchat, Linkedin and Quora – If it’s free and people use it, you should be using it as well.

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