Social media marketing is now probably the most important online marketing channel. Having a ton of fans and followers who instantly share everything you post and make it go viral is arguably more important than SEO and all the traffic you get from search engines.
So how would you like some social media marketing tips from a startup founder whose social media following began at 0 and has quickly ballooned to more than 6 million – 3 million each on Twitter (@DailyHealthTips) and Facebook.
The company in question is HealthcareMagic (acquired by Atlanta, GA-based Ebix), and the cofounder sharing their SMM tips and secrets is Shekhar Sahu. The video below is from a Sales for Startups event organized jointly by Lucep (@lucepteam) and the BHIVE workspace.
Here’s a summary of the transcript highlights from the video, in which Shekhar describes HealthCareMagic’s immensely successful social media marketing strategy.
Vijetha Shastry, BHIVE – Something amazing that you have done is about your social media following, it’s apparently 6+ million users, that’s like… really, really mad, okay? So I think what the audience would love to understand is, you grew this from zero, so there is some magic, some growth hacks that you’ve used. Please tell us more about it, Sir.
Shekhar Sahu, HealthcareMagic – “So we opened HealthcareMagic in 2008 – me, Kunal and Nithesh. And in 2009, we raised funding from Accel – $2.5 million. In those days, 2008-09, social media was at a very nascent stage and even Facebook and twitter were just catching up, actually. So what we did at HealthcareMagic was, in the first year – HealthcareMagic as a company is basically a ‘Ask a doctor’ or ‘Ask a specialist service’ where you go online and you can connect with doctors and you can subscribe to our packages, and you can get your health questions answered. This is what we do.
So initially, what we did is that we built a medical team which wrote around 20,000+ hand-written articles by doctors. Within 6 months, that drew us a good amount of organic traffic in the beginning. And in the same time, when social media was catching up, I’m talking in 2008, we happened to ask a lot of our customers what they want in terms of health in social media. So we thought that people will be more interested in asking or connecting with the doctor through social media, but that backfired actually.
People don’t want to go to facebook or twitter and ask a question about their health problem. Then I started asking many of my friends what they want in health, in terms of health on social media. So, the conclusion was… I happened to ask around 300+ friends of mine – the conclusion was people were interested in a very small set of information, which is very..which should be very interesting, very engaging and which should be, once you read it, you should remember it or you can share it, you have an interest to share it.
So then we came up with something called “Daily Health Tips” that was a total different theme of HealthcareMagic. Daily Health Tips was just a plain 140 character, because twitter allows 140 characters. So we started posting small tips, like…tips like which many people don’t know, for example, after having your banana, if you peel…rub the banana leaf on your teeth, it will whiten your teeth. So this kind of tips which is interesting to people. So we started sharing this kind of feedback on social media and people liked it actually. This is what people were interested, in social media. Then over time, many people started retweeting it, and within 3 months we were around 100,000+ on FB and twitter as well.
And, what we learnt over time was that, once you start posting your content on a regular basis, then people will start, if your content is engaging, or if it is worth sharing, if it is…or you can say, if it is generating any interest among people, then people will definitely share it or retweet it or reshare it. And over time it took us around 2…2 and a half years to cross the 1 million mark, and today we have following of 3 million plus on FB and 3 million plus on twitter.
SMM Success Factors – Content and Frequency
So, in the meantime, what we learnt is that if you want to increase your startup’s space on social media…most important thing is content and it is always going to be that. So, if you have good content which is relevant to your audience or relevant to your customers, if you are able to share it on a regular basis, then second thing after your content is your frequency. All this 6 million following that HealthcareMagic has was achieved without spending a single dollar on marketing – it was purely organic.
There are many tools, like there is a tool called Buffer which we use at HealthcareMagic, we will automate it completely, all the postings and everything, and it should be on a very regular basis. Means your audience should be updated on a regular basis, whatever is your…whether you are a consumer business startup or you are a Enterprise or you are a SaaS or whatever.
How to Get Boosts From Facebook and Twitter
And, the third thing which comes after frequency is you have to study your audience actually. Means what kind of reactions they are giving…giving to your posts, what kind of engagement they are having, what is the reach per page, and you have to be updated on Facebook’s algo as well, whatever they are doing on pages, newsfeed, pages…postings, so there is one small trick which we learnt over time was, for example…
If you post, let’s say you are posting a couple of media posts, like images or videos, which are giving you a lot of reach over facebook, depending on whatever is your page strength and page audience. So if you want to promote your product or brand in between…in between, for example, first top two posts are boosted because it’s a media post on facebook. Then you’re…definitely if you post two more media posts after that, whether it is image or video, it is going to get boosted by facebook, because facebook is thinking that it is getting that much reach, so in between if you post a URL post, which will directly go to your landing page or anything, facebook will automatically assume that that is also going to get boosted and facebook will boost it along with your image posts.
So this is the trick which we learnt in facebook, and the same thing happens in twitter as well. Means we have a large page so we can actually figure out what is boosting and what is not boosting, and what kind of traction we got on this url posting. So if you’re, for example, if you have some conversion pages or landing pages which, and if you do have decent following on social media, then this is one trick we learnt. That in between some media posts, if you post one URL post it will definitely get boosted, and it will get you lot of organic following as well as lot of landings on your conversion pages.
And after this… so first thing is content, second thing is your frequency, third thing is you have to learn through your audience as well as kind of the posts which you are posting, how they are getting…getting boost, what kind of traction, what kind of landing they are getting, and you have to track everything.
So, still today when with 6 million following, we still get around 300 to 350 payments through twitter and facebook, organically without doing anything, on HealthcareMagic. So this is what we are doing at HealthcareMagic, for…so because converting social is a very different thing when you can…you can easily convert all the SEO traffic as well as all your…by spending some money on facebook, but converting social traffic is still actually one of the challenging things.”
Social Media Marketing Tips
These are social media marketing tips based on a conversation with HealthcareMagic cofounder Shekhar Sahu. These tips have helped the company gain 6 million followers – 3M each on Twitter and Facebook.
- Post useful and interesting shareable tips, with the text inside an image or small infographic.
- Start posting regularly, and schedule and automate it using SMM tools like Buffer or Hootsuite.
- Post landing page or promotional links in between several media (image or video) posts to get a boost from Facebook and Twitter.
- Track everything and make adjustments to convert more social traffic.