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TWITTER'S GROWTH HACKING STORY



The micro-blogging site Twitter is a good example of perfect market fit, coming along at a time when society as a whole completely embraced rapid exchanges of bursts of information. This allowed Twitter to grow 1400% from February 2008 to February 2009.

  The numbers of actual users acquired in this period are not precise, but in September 2009, Twitter was getting 58.4 million visitors both inside and outside the United States.

  Almost all of the company’s tactics were copied from the Facebook example, especially as they related to developing a simple interface that encouraged link sharing and social interaction.

   Twitter, however, was specifically tailored for a mobile world where smartphones were rapidly gaining ascendancy. With a limit of just 140 characters, “tweets” inspired a new kind of expression that users found compelling.

It also gave celebrities a low-commitment venue to connect more personally with their fans. These famous adaptors were hugely instrumental in Twitter’s growth. Millions of users followed Ashton Kutcher, Oprah Winfrey, and an up-and-coming U.S. senator named Barack Obama.

Other social media platforms and even television programs and news broadcasts began to incorporate tweets for the succinct pithiness of the individual updates. In 2012, more than 1.1 million new accounts were being opened each day on Twitter and it remains one of the most growth-oriented of all the online member communities.

There are many things that drive the compelling nature of Twitter. It is a constant flow of updates. Users can dip it at any point and be entertained or engaged. There is no beginning or ending.

“Mutuality is not required. One user can follow another independently with no reciprocal action needed. At sign-up, following suggested accounts is encouraged, and enhances new user engagement by giving them something to read immediately.

Even more importantly, the Twitter API was made easily available to developers so that there are more than 100,000 companion apps for the service from client readers to photo sharing services that enhance the user experience.

A tweet can be sent from a 20-year-old cell phone as a text message. There is no need to sit down at a computer. For this reason, Twitter seems to readily turn members into citizen journalists during news events and natural disasters.

This lends an unusual degree of social relevance to the community that has made it even more acceptable in the eyes of mainstream culture. For instance, much of the information that reached the west from the Arab Spring democracy movement (2010-2013) did so via Twitter.

Much of Twitter’s success stems from the sweet spot of having found a perfect product idea for the time that paired exceptional built-in virality with high social relevance. Couple that with ease of use, and growth was all but guaranteed.


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