A micro viral tweet and a marketing fail

With a single tweet and single IndieHackers post, I went "micro viral". This is the breakdown of how I failed at marketing.

A micro viral tweet and a marketing fail

So here is the gist:

  • I posted a tweet
  • it got way more views/interactions than I normally get (around 15k total)
  • I also posted the same tweet to IndieHackers (read it here)
  • it got ~600 views and ~100 comments in a day

From this "micro viral" experience of mine, I gained a very rapid boost in new twitter friends, growing from ~300 to 450 in a little over 24 hours.

50% gain, not bad right?

So how did I "fail at marketing"? Well, more on that below...


What the heck is "micro viral"?

Honestly, it's a term I decided to make up for this blog post. Why?

I have a small twitter account, at the time of writing this < 500 follower friends, with my usual tweets getting a few hundred impression and maybe a click or two. Like I said, small time.

But this one tweet got loads more than my normal. A little over 15k impressions. That not "look at me, I am super famous" viral, more to the scale of "hey I did a thing" viral.

(Also making up fancy terms to for common things is "good marketing" right?)


The tweet

As part of my goal to #buildinpublic, I have been more active on twitter. Posting more regularly, including use "tweet scheduler" tools like TweetDeck to queue up some posts to automatically send out when I am at my day job. Nothing too extravagant, just 1 post a day.

This micro viral tweet that I had was one of these such queued tweets.

The tweet was simple, saying "Hi" and asking what others are working on. No links, just a question. With an emoji and 2 hashtags 👍

The tweet analytics

The tweet surprisingly well, way more views and clicks than any others of mine in the past.

  • 16,828 impressions
  • 1,322 engagements
  • 518 detail expands
  • 524 profile visits
  • 133 hearts
  • 62 comments
  • 7 retweets
  • 0 new followers (but more on this below too...)

screenshot of the twitter analytics from my micro viral tweet

I had some great conversations from my fellow builds, coders, and entrepreneurs. Both them asking me questions, and me asking them. Most of whom had never heard of me before or been a follower. But there were a few familiar faces in the bunch.

I even continued our conversations in the DMs, starting about 8 new conversations that are still going a few days later, and picking back up one with @noahwbragg (who I finally got the follow back from 😜)

The IndieHackers post

There was also another portion to this adventure.

The IndieHackers post stats

Not only did my tweet of basically the same question do pretty well, but so did the IH post too! It was on the front page of IH for almost a whole day, which was super cool for me 😊 (In fact, it was one of my new twitter friends @maximehugodupre that pointed it out to me. He was also trending on IndieHackers too)

screenshot of the IndieHacker's post stats

  • 811 views
  • 140 comments
  • 20 votes
  • 0 followers

I have been a semi-active member of the IndieHacker's community for close to 2 years now (I think?), and this post was the most response that I have gotten to date. Even topping my previous best of my "I work on nuclear submarine AMA"

The followers

I told you I would get back to the "0 follower" stat from the screenshot.

After all of this new people "discovering" me, and striking up conversations, I got a huge boost in my follower count.

my twitter profile analytics from this whole thing

  • Starting follower count: ~300
  • Ending follower found: ~450

Not the "holy crap I just landed on the moon" level of followers, at least not for some people. But it was a 50% boost in the number of twitter friends I have now! And I think that is pretty cool! 😎

As far as the tweet stats screenshot from above saying "0 followers", I assume that Twitter has some weird way they are counting the new follows. My guess is that lots of people clicked to view my profile, then followed from their. But were no longer viewing the tweet when they followed, so it didn't count them on the tweet? idk. Pure speculation.

The website visits

As an IndieHacker, building in public, I have a few different websites for my different SaaS projects I am building. And this site here, my personal blog.

Surprisingly, one of my projects that I did NOT share any links to, boomerang.link, got a boost in traffic to it.

Even though I did not "directly share" the link for Boomerang, it was in my Twitter and IndieHacker's bio.

traffic stats for boomerang.link

  • ~200 unique visitors
  • ~2.5k "total requests" (which I think is page views and image/assets loaded? idk. its from cloudflare analytics)
  • 7 waitlist signups (+2 new twitter friends asking to be notified when it's open for use)

Am I failing at marketing yet? just wait...

Again, I never directly shared the link for my personal site, frostbutter.com, but I also got a boost in traffic to it.

traffic stats for frostbutter.com

I is a little harder to see the direct spike on the graph above, but their is a noticeable inflection point on in the "unique visitors" and "total requests". This basic view of my site's traffic seem to have an upward trend!

So am I failing at marketing yet? but wait, there's more...

The actual link I shared did also get some traffic. Weird right?

In the IndieHacker's post, I linked to one of the SaaS projects I am working on, other.link, (it's a basically fancy url shortener). But, at the time, other.link was not listed in my bio for IndieHacker's or Twitter. (but it is now!)

And because I linked to the site, I got a very nice bit of traffic to it.

traffic stats for other.link

You can see in the graph, I had a nice boost in overall traffic to the site:

  • ~250 unique visitors
  • 3k "total requests" (which I think is page views and image/assets loaded? idk. its from cloudflare analytics)

Remember how I said I "failed at marketing", yeah.... that was with this site...

Me failing at marketing

The current project I am working on is other.link. The site I was listing my "weekly task list" for in the IH post. My main focus.

But....

This "marketing site", aka "barely functional landing page", had no way to collect emails for any of the people checking out my product. No waitlist form, no call to action to join.

In fact, all but 3 of the links on the page would give a "404 not found" error.

Why?

This "marketing site" is very much a work in progress. I had actually just published it the day before, just to setup all the connections on the server/hosting end.

I was NOT expecting at ALL to get this much visibility to the product. I figured maybe 1-5 people would look at it. Not a few hundred.

My big take aways from this?

"Past market performance is not indicative of future market gains" -- Abraham Lincoln (probably)

❤ I love the internet. People are wonderful and community is wonderful.

But, you can't always predict what will happen.

You might not be ready to "seize the moment". You might not be ready to launch your thing, or write that post. But that's okay.

Be as ready as you can, be helpful to others, and eventually it will all work out for the better.

Is all of this repeatable?

Absolutely. There is nothing really super special that I did other than post a question.

The last several months, I have been paying more attention to the "trends" I am seeing others do. The marketing events/tasks they are taking to help build their following online or their business' bottom line.

For these "marketing efforts", a few things have stood out to me:

  • people want to share their product with others
  • it's some quick marketing for them, and gives them the change to get more exposure.
  • people will often answer simple questions posted on twitter or other social platforms
  • make your content bite sized and short
  • people on social will often scroll past long content, especially if it is not from someone they are not familiar with

and (sadly) 😢

Some people will try to force their product in your face. unsolicited.

(don't be this person. nobody likes them.)

How to do it?

The classic response of "be genuine" stands out as a reasonable answer to this question. But how?

Ask questions to strike a conversation. Make an attempt to really connect with people.

Nobody likes it when you send a cold hearted message trying to force a product or service into their face. Especially if you are a complete stranger.

Bottom line

The important thing is to just show up every day. Make progress everyday. Connect with people.

Bye for now 👋


If you want to share your thoughts with me about any of this, then you can find me on Twitter @nickfrosty, my DMs are always open.

PS: The stats and analytics from this blog post were taken directly from their source (either Twitter analytics or my Cloudflare dashboard) a few days after this "event". So they might be a little off from the complete "just this one thing" stats. But that's okay 👍


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