Nothing comes easy for a new company, especially social outreach. From networking in person to cold emailing to just getting someone to open a LinkedIn message, the growing pains for gaining visibility and developing a brand are very real.
A few months ago I became the Head of Partner Marketing for Material, a software startup that focuses on letting people create affordable ecommerce websites. We had lofty outreach goals, and we were launching from square one. We wanted to make sure we were starting out strong from the get-go, which is why we decided to use BuzzStream to help us build our brand from the ground up.
Here are five ways BuzzStream has helped us expand our reach:
1. It helps us find the “ins” in our industry
I’m a networking pro, but there’s always someone you haven’t talked to, or even encountered. This is especially true in the world of entrepreneurship, where there are new, valuable influencers popping up on a daily basis. This is why BuzzStream’s Discovery tool is so magical for us. All I need to do is enter in the term we want to network for, and voila: I have an entire list of influencers in front of me.
I’ve only been using BuzzStream for a few weeks, and have already locked down several amazing bloggers to collaborate with. With the Discovery product, it was easy to enter a specific topic I was seeking guest writers for, and quickly have a list of candidates right in front of me. In the past, finding a credible guest blogger took hours of Google searching and LinkedIn digging. With BuzzStream, I’ve been able to contact credible writers within minutes, and often receive responses within a day or two.
Additionally, many of these writers are people we wouldn’t have found without Discovery.
For example, I wanted to find someone to compose a guest post about how entrepreneurs can use Kickstarter to raise money. Discovery helped me find a board game company that used Kickstarter to fund their projects, and I was able to reach out to them about composing a piece for us about their experience. Pre-Discovery, I would have never thought to tap the board game community for guest content! It’s definitely a tool that’s opened doors and expanded our contributor base.
2. It shows us which leads are worth pursuing
SEO has been an important part of our strategy since Day 1, but it’s a challenge to manage the organic presence of a new brand. Not only is your site’s authority important, but you also want to be reaching out to other sites with high levels of trustworthiness.
Initially, this was hard to gauge; I’d find sites that looked professional and established, only to find out later that Google was not a fan of them, and that they shouldn’t have been our partners in the first place. (Another thing about SEO: Once you get bad links, they’re really, really hard to remove.)
With BuzzStream I can see which connections are worth pursuing at a glance, which makes Google (and us) very happy campers. All I have to do is import a list of websites, and boom: there’s a tidy lineup of each one’s domain authority. Not only does this make it simple to know which leads to first contact, but it’s also helpful in culling sites that have low DAs. Nowadays I can easily see where my efforts are best spent! (And — perhaps more importantly — where not to waste time.)
3. It helps us keep a dialogue going
One of the most difficult parts of networking is juggling a ton of contacts at once. At any given moment, I’m usually batting emails back and forth with at least 30 people, not to mention reaching out to dozens of leads outside the digital space. Even the most savvy PR person can let contacts slip through the cracks, and it’s easy to lose track of the folks who still haven’t responded, or who want to talk at a later date.
In the past, I used to track my contacts with a spreadsheet. But that soon turned into a many-headed monster with an unruly amount of tabs and columns, not to mention atrocious navigability. I would have to go in and meticulously log each interaction with people I’d reached out to, and squeeze in conversation notes next to their names. It became tedious and time consuming to track down people I’d spoken with, and all too often I would lose crucial information in a sea of cells.
BuzzStream helps me keep an eye on contacts that may not always be at the front of my radar, and I can keep easy track of progress with a quick glance at the (delightfully color-coded) Relationship Stage column. Additionally, I can add nifty little notes within a contact’s page, and easily search for anyone I previously emailed. Now I even have a weekly ritual where I just sort my list by people I’m attempting to reach, and drop them a line again. It’s been a great way to stay on people’s radars and be persistent about outreach!
4. It lets us (quickly) know if our efforts are working
I like to find tools that are going to do the more detailed legwork of networking for me. Know what I really hate to do? Manually check partner websites to make sure that they’re actually linking back to us. It’s a time consuming task, and building an ecommerce company doesn’t leave room for slow networking. Which is why BuzzStream gets to be my loyal grunt work minion who will track linkbacks (and email them to me!) with just the click of a button.
We’ve also gathered great insights from our BuzzStream reports, which have incredible built-in features that make reporting ultra-customizable. We’re able to build reports with any number of widgets that provide detailed insights, which range from seeing how our contacts are progressing to tracking the overall authority of the links we’re building. There’s even a widget for determining which email subject lines are working (and which ones aren’t), which makes high-volume outreach projects more effective. What’s the point in emailing 1,500 people if no one is going to open your message? BuzzStream helps us not only avoid this problem, but also improve the overall quality of our contact methods.
5. It makes life easier
The Buzzmarker tool is the fastest and easiest method I’ve found for collecting outreach data. Not only does it uncover contact information that can otherwise be tough to find, but it also helps me easily add a site’s/person’s info to our account without having to manually retype everything.
If I find a website I’m interested in, the Buzzmarker wrangles important contact information, social handles and other data with the click of a button. This has made gathering contact details for massive numbers of sites much more easy, fast and efficient. (And gives me more time to actually be doing outreach.) It’s only been a short amount of time, but BuzzStream and the Buzzmarker have already helped us make some great connections in our industry.