What is Growth Hacking and How to grow on LinkedIn- in conversation with Vaibhav Sisinty

Vaibhav Sisinty shares everything you need to know about Growth hacking and Linkedin



3 years ago | 9 min read

What is Growth Hacking?

Do you need to be a marketer to be a growth hacker?

How to know it’s the right time to hire a growth hacker?

How to growth hack on LinkedIn?

Vaibhav Sisinty, a growth hacker at heart and ex-Head of Marketing at Klook India, talks about everything you need to know about growth hacking and growing on LinkedIn!

Continue reading to find out more!

Q. Growth hacking has become a buzzword in marketing circles, but many still don't know what growth hacking is or why it works. What does it mean to hack growth?

There are two ways of looking at growth hacking.

To many outsiders, who are still unaware of this concept, growth hacking seems synonymous with a magic wand. These people believe that all that is there to growth hacking is twisting your magic wand and waiting for magical results.

However, according to me, it is quite the opposite. Growth hacking is a data-driven approach that involves extensive experimentation.

"If explained in a nutshell, growth hacking is all about running small experiments to see what aids an organisation in growing. After this, the experiments that work are scaled and the ones that don't are discarded."

These experiments are known as growth experiments and the ones that scale are called scalable growth experiments. These experiments eventually become growth hacks.

The primary reason why 'growth hacking' has become a buzzword is that several people are confusing it to be synonymous with marketing and marketers when that is not the case.

Furthermore, it is essential to note that growth hacking is vastly different from performance marketing and traditional marketing.

Q. Who is a growth hacker? Does he/she need to be a marketer?

A growth hacker is someone who has a mixed knowledge of marketing as well as product. In several cases, a product in itself is a growth hack.

To further explain this concept, let us take the example of the 'give get' option available on Uber. This is an example of a referral campaign. However, several organisations have taken up this route over the years, and thus, it no longer remains a 'hack'. When it was initially started by 'Dropbox' who grew by 3900% through this scheme, it was considered one of the most successful growth hacks.

To execute a successful growth hack such as this one, an individual need not be a marketer but a person who has complete knowledge of the product.

A true growth hacker as one whose primary goal is the north star. Someone whose true north is growth can be qualified as a growth hacker, regardless of their profession or designation. Thus, a growth hacker need not essentially be a marketer.

However, whenever an organisation wants to execute something new, the primary purpose is to reach a large number of people. Thus, marketing becomes pivotal to the process of growth hacking.

Nowadays, most startups use 'growth teams' wherein the growth hacker is simply required to strategise the hack and the team that consists of people from the marketing and performance departments, carry out the final hack.

However, in a smaller startup which does not have the financial resources to hire a team of people for this purpose, the employees are expected to be the jack of all trades. In such a case, one must be privy to knowledge relating to several fields.

Q. Can you share some examples of successful growth hacking strategies used by well-known organisations?

Every company runs growth hacks in their own ways. Let‘s take the example Airbnb's popular growth hack whereby they scraped craigslist to build their pipeline. However, despite this being a largely successful growth hack, it can't be used in today's date.

Most growth hacks have a time stand to it and what works today may not work tomorrow. Thus one must leverage the maximum output from a growth hack on that specific day itself.

The growth hacks used by Dropbox, RobinHood and Uber are some of the most successful growth hacking strategies I have seen. I implemented a successful growth hack strategy, where without spending a single penny in promotions, I ran a massive LinkedIn giveaway.

The giveaway had a simple requirement- to participate and win in it, one must refer it to more people. For this purpose, I reached out to several software developers, and software owners who he believed would be interested in collaborating for the same. In about 3 weeks, we had more than 45000 people participating in the giveaway.

Q. With the evolution of the digital world, how has the relevance of growth hacking increased in the last few years?

With the evolution of the digital world, the relevance of growth hacking has increased at least ten folds in the last few years.

About 10-15 years ago, marketing was all about billboards, newspaper advertisements and television advertisements. With the entrance and development of giants such as Facebook and Google, advertising has mainly become digital in the last five-six years, and performance marketing is the go-to.

Though this type of advertising has reduced the barrier of entering advertising for several brands, it still remains relatively expensive for several brands.

Thus, in today's world, where the number of startups is ever-increasing, growth hacking has become the most affordable and relevant concept. Growth hacking is all about the mindset. In today's date, every organisation requires employees who have a growth mindset and a focused approach to succeed.

However, many organisations tend to confuse growth with the acquisition of people. But growth, in its truest sense, refers to retention.

Several applications exist on the internet, and as first-world users, we are constantly downloading new applications. However, very few applications end up staying on our gadgets for a long time, and even fewer are actually put to use, regularly. Thus, it has become imperative to be able to retain the user's attention.

For this reason, an intensely data-driven marketing approach is required, and this is the very purpose of growth hacking. Growth hacking achieves this by focusing on user behaviour, segmentation of users, pushing offers to the users based on their reactions.

Thus, it can be concluded that there is no doubt that this is a concept that is here to stay!

Q. Is growth hacking going to replace digital marketing? What are some common misconceptions people have about growth hacking?

It would be wrong for one to assume that growth hacking is gradually becoming a way to replace digital marketing. Both growth hacking and digital marketing go hand in hand.

When running a growth hack, such as a giveaway, the growth hacker must derive traffic and test the retention loop. In such a case, performance acts as a vital lever and for this very reason, a digital marketer is required.

There are several misconceptions attached to growth hacking, but the most common misconception is the belief that growth hacking is synonymous to a magic wand. This misconception of most organisations leads to them setting extremely unrealistic goals which are impossible to meet.

Furthermore, several brands believe that if a growth hack worked for another brand, it would work for them as well. However, this is not the case.

Growth hacking is a gradual process that requires an extensive amount of experimentation, for a brand to figure out what truly works best for them, specifically. After this, it's about how the organisation scales that specific growth hack.

Q. How can a startup/organisation know that this is the right time to hire a growth hacker? Can you provide some tips on how to employ the right person for the job?

One of the most challenging decisions a startup/organisation has to take is hiring the right growth hacker. Though several people, these days, claim to be growth hackers, most of them are still not aware of the true meaning behind the term, and this is precisely what makes the process of hiring a growth hacker difficult.

A growth approach to running an organisation is still somewhat missing in India. Though the field is gradually evolving as the Indian market is getting inspired by the success stories of the famous Silicon Valley-based organisations, there is still a lack of excellent and affordable resources in India, for the same.

However, this can be changed by training people and encouraging them to continue experimenting.

Q. Growth hacking is not practical to implement in all industries. How much do you agree with this statement?

Growth hacking is not dependent on the industry but rather the product. It‘s not even required for growth hacking to take place solely on an online platform. Growth hacking can also be performed entirely offline.

Let‘s take the example of a billboard put up by 'Subway' that attracts attention to itself by enlarging and capitalising the word 'sex'. The tagline below says, "Now that I got your attention, your Subway is 2kms away from here." The billboard's main goal was to get people's attention, and it succeeded in doing so in an unorthodox and different way. Thus, this can be considered as a successful growth hack.

There are definitely some industries where growth hacking becomes almost an impossible phenomenon. However, they cannot be separately classified. This is because many times, all that is lacking is the right approach and mindset, and for an individual to reach that approach, they should be very well versed with the specific industry.

Q. You have been teaching people ways to get the maximum out of LinkedIn. How can LinkedIn help in hacking the growth of a business?

There is a common assumption that LinkedIn is solely a platform to find jobs. LinkedIn is a diverse and vast platform that can be used by businesses, freelancers, individuals, lead generation, to get investors, to build a personal brand etc.

In my opinion, what truly makes LinkedIn unique is that it is a one-stop platform where most millionaires, C.E.Os, and household names actively create content and engage in it. It also allows people to reach out and network with various people, including the industry's well-known people.

LinkedIn's role in aiding the growth of a business solely depends on how one leverages the platform. My workshop related to LinkedIn focuses mainly on changng people's mindsets regarding LinkedIn by showing them its reality and help them effectively use the platform.

Q9. What're some of the best hacks while using LinkedIn?

There's no simple hack to growing on LinkedIn. However, it is of utmost importance, for users, to make an attempt at understanding the algorithm of the platform.

So one example of the LinkedIn Algorithm which indicates how much time a user spends on a post. The more time a user spends on a post, the greater will be the post's reach. This is because LinkedIn then treats such a post as a good quality post.

Thus, one must write good quality content and optimise it to ensure that more people spend more time reading and engaging in that post.

Furthermore, a post containing a link of a third party website is unlikely to do well on the platform. This is because no platform would want its users' attention to be diverted to a different platform.

Thus, the biggest hack to growing on LinkedIn is to understand the nitty-gritty details of the platform.

Q. What are some of the most common mistakes people make on LinkedIn?

One of the common mistakes made by people on LinkedIn is joining the platform with the wrong mindset. People think of LinkedIn as a platform that merely aids job prospects, and for this reason, do not create content on the platform.

However, creating content in itself is the most significant growth hack for succeeding on LinkedIn.

Furthermore, several people send out connection requests to unknown people without even adding a personalised message. This is one of the biggest mistakes one can make on LinkedIn.

Doing this is like entering an unknown person's house, without even introducing yourself. However, one must feel free to make mistakes because this is how one learns.

Q12. Do you think posting on certain days at a certain time is better than the others? Why? When?

There is a positive correlation between the engagement of a post and the time and day it is posted. However, to understand this correlation, one must make a sincere attempt at understanding the platform on which they are posting.

Where most people tend to use platforms like Instagram in their free time like after a hectic day at work, during their break or on the weekends, platforms like LinkedIn are used more actively on business days and during work hours.

It is essential to take such minute details into consideration because though every platform has a unique algorithm, one thing that remains common, across all platforms, is that they look at the amount of engagement a post gets in the first few hours.

Based on this observation, the algorithm further extrapolates the views.

Q. What would you like to advise someone who's trying to crack the LinkedIn code to fantastic engagement?

My simple advice to everyone who is trying to crack the LinkedIn code to exceptional engagement - "Just keep churning content, observing what is working and what isn't and scale the content that works!"


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