As a so-so programmer, I recently looked up how to create a Facebook messenger bot that could automatically share new posts from my blog (as an alternative to someone subscribing via email or RSS). Normally, if I can find a suitable Github library or clear enough tutorial, and the app isn’t too complicated, I can hack it and get it working. What I was surprised to find is the social media bot ecosystem has already evolved so quickly that you can build your own Facebook messenger bot in a few minutes without writing a single line of code. Even better, you can do it completely free. So I thought I’d share a quick tutorial on how to make your own marketing or customer service bot (or just something to impress your friends).
Want to see my messenger bot in action? Click the button below to chat with the (simple AI version) of me [note: this may launch the messenger conversation on your phone if you have the app open there but not in your browser].
As you can see, it’s a pretty simple, but there are a lot of different possibilities if you take the time to invest in your bot’s communication logic. So let’s get into the tutorial.
Growth hacking is currently going through a turbulent adolescence. After being thrust into the public spotlight by opportunistic media pundits and loosely-correlated startup success stories, the innovation community has struggled to define and defend growth hacking as a practice or designation with substance. To borrow from a thoughtful, recent article by Lincoln Murphy, the growth hacker community has been heavily compromised and co-opted by “…linkbait [name-dropping] people use to get traffic while they rehash the Hotmail and AirBnB ‘hacks’ or talk about SEO or Copywriting or [any generic marketing tactic] and tag it #growthhacking.”
Today, we seem to be past the point of no return, and stuck at two opposite extremes. At one end, doing anything successful at a startup that required more technical acumen than opening a web browser is heralded as “growth hacking.” Yet, at the same time, growth hacking is being increasingly lumped in with spammy, smarmy and coercive promotional tactics used by over-eager startup marketers to try to get an edge.
Can growth hacking rise above all this self-induced backlash? Does growth hacking still have a reputable professional identity that gives it legs to stand on? Am I a growth hacker? Are you? Growth hacking feels like it needs a clearer, nobler definition, and here’s my first attempt to suggest one. Growth hacking achieves a business vision using digital resources (code, content, data) to capitalize on economic or technical opportunities in order to produce sustainable yet rapid growthfor a company or cause. If a strategy or tactic doesn’t have a technology-enabled vision, doesn’t identify and expose a market opportunity, isn’t sustainable and/or secure and doesn’t result in helping a company grow faster, bigger or both, it’s not growth hacking.
How is this different from, well, digital marketing? Let’s take search engine optimization (SEO) as an example and break it down: Continue reading →
If you scan the volumes of growth hacking literature on the web, there’s a lot of gooddata and post-mortemanalysis on how startups like Dropbox, Paypal and Uber used referral marketing programs to accelerate early user adoption and brand-building. As a result, I’m assuming if you’re here reading this, as a baseline, you agree: IF you have a good product, a customer referral program is an effective way to incentivize your existing user community to do some of your marketing for you.
But this post isn’t about repeating why customer referral programs are a tasty growth hacking recipe: instead, we’re going to walk through how to bake the cake, structure and implement one. Continue reading →
A common question I see asked a lot by first-time startup founders and marketers on sites like Quora and Reddit Startups is “How do I drive traffic to my startup’s new website or landing page?”
In the interest of sharing some of my favorites, here’s a quick list of some of the channels I’ve found to be most effective for growth-hacking (particularly when you’re working with a limited marketing budget): Continue reading →
Quibb is a startup-centric web community for reading and sharing links, created at a time when the last thing the internet needs is another place to read and share startup links. Or, rather, you might think that, right up until the point where it becomes clear that Quibb got its launch strategy exactly right. Unwilling to be overshadowed by Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn and Quora’s titanic content feeds (as well as the lively, focused dialogue emanating from incumbent communities like Hacker News), Quibb is consistently carving out enviable bandwidth among entrepreneurs and the early-adopter technorati.
What did Quibb do that was so spot on? In my view there are at least ten things, and they’re a textbook case study about the right ways to launch a modern web application: Continue reading →