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Social Pros Podcast with Gabriel Weinberg

Gabriel Weinberg, Founder of DuckDuckGo, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss the importance of experimentation for startups, the main lessons from his upcoming book Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers, and how skepticism is a necessary tool for every social pro.

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Full Episode Details

Playing with Experimentation

Most people wouldn’t create a company that essential takes Google head-on, but Gabriel Weinberg is not most people. In 2007, when he was dissatisfied with Google’s search results, he started building his own solution, and DuckDuckGo was born. Today, their main differentiator (other than the different search mechanism) is that, unlike Google, DuckDuckGo doesn’t track you.

“I wasn’t thinking at the beginning, ‘I’m going to take away from Google,'” Gabriel says. “I was thinking more, ‘How can I get some people interested in what I’m doing?’ It’s a slightly different way to look at it.”

Perhaps the most valuable lesson Gabriel took away from his experience of growing DuckDuckGo so far is how valuable it is to take the experimental approach. He initially approached growing his new company through SEO because it was what he knew, but this turned out to be the wrong tactic. Through trying out lots of different strategies (SEO and SEM, social and content marketing, traditional marketing, events, public relations), Gabriel was able to find the recipe that worked best for his business.

“You have to run the test, because you really don’t know ahead of time which is going to succeed and which isn’t.”

Finding Traction

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting CustomersGabriel’s inspiration for talking to founders of other startups was that he wanted to unpack “the miracle function.” That is, successful startups tend to tell the story, “Yeah, I came up with this idea, a miracle happened, and we were successful.”

Gabriel wanted to know what that miracle was, and this became his new book Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers, co-authored with Justin Mares.

As a social media pro, it’s important to stay on top of the evolving industry at all times. But that doesn’t mean jumping into every new platform or fad head first. It means trying new strategies and carefully measuring the results.

“You should be on top of it, but that doesn’t mean you should use everything. You’ve got to have some skepticism.”

Social Media Number of the Week: 23

There are 4.7 million 23-year-olds in the United States today, and that makes them the most populous age, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The next most populous ages? 22 and 24.

Increasingly, marketers are carefully measuring millennials’ behavior. The millennial generation will soon comprise more than 1/3 of the adult population. Even companies that don’t focus on the millennial age range (currently late teens through early 30s) will have to study this generation eventually. Mathematically, they will at some time be the majority of your population.

Holy Social!

Newcastle Ale has been doing what it calls a “lazy branded content” campaign this summer: they asked fans to submit photos with the hashtag #NewcastleAdAid and promised to turn some of them into shoddy-looking branded content.

By creating content and engaging with their followers in real time, Newcastle is having fun with the traditional idea of content marketing (by creating silly-looking content) while simultaneously executing it expertly.

See you next week!

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