One surefire way to get your startup noticed through social media.

Being a startup is much like playing a game of Snakes and Ladders – you can progress on your way, step by painful step, or you can jump a few levels with a good ladder. Of course there are snakes to watch out for too but that’s not an issue when you are starting at the bottom.

One amazing ‘ladder’ I discovered as a social media marketer quite by accident. I was starting up a new business in a new sector to be known as ‘gamification’, the use of games at work. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if everyone who was involved in that sector came and visited my blog.

So I started with the usual approach, I created interesting articles and thought pieces (content), I commented on other people’s content (conversation) and even resorted to the odd bit of paid media (okay so Branded Mugs was an awful idea for a digital startup but there’s only one way to learn…).

Then, one day, I created a leaderboard – a Top 10 list of the most influential people in my sector and posted it on my blog. The reaction was astounding, within hours my site traffic had more than quadrupled. People from across my sector came to see who was in the top 10 and where they stood.

So far so good you say, content marketers have been using Top 10 lists right from Moses and the Ten Commandments to the present day. But I then did something really interesting, I created the leaderboard again a week or so later. Bam! The same rush of traffic. Turns out that people are not just interested in the top ten, but they are also interested in how it changes over time, what they can do to manipulate their rank and climb the table. And so the concept of a Power Leaderboard was born.

A Power 100 Leaderboard is a leaderboard of the top 100 companies or individuals in your sector based on their social media ‘influence’ score.

Plucky startup companies like Zoopla  and MyCurrencyTransfer have all created Power 100 Leaderboards to drive awareness and it really works.  You only need to see how many times their pages have been shared, and the conversation generated on their twitter hashtag, to understand that a leaderboard really does reach the places other marketing techniques do not.

It’s a simple technique that any startup business can use to get attention from any audience in any sector.

But what if you wanted to mirror their success and create your own Power 100 among top people in your niche of the market?

Here’s how to get started:

  1. First decide on your niche. Are you working with Google Glass? Why not create a weekly Power 100 of Google Glass Users?  Are you doing something normal in a new area? What about a Power 100 of Liverpool Heating Engineers (or even a Power 20 if your sector isn’t that social media savvy).
  2. Seed your list with your first 100 (or 20 or 50). Search Twitter and find people talking on a popular industry term (Google Glass Users could be found just by searching on #throughglass for example)
  3. Create a twitter list of those people. A twitter list, whether public or private, is an easy way to make a collection of people you’re tracking, right within Twitter itself.
  4. Create a Power Leaderboard based on your Twitter list. Login to Leaderboarded and click on Create Power Leaderboard.
  5. Embed the leaderboard on your site – perhaps as a page, or blog post. By embedding the leaderboard you’ve created some content for others to talk about.
  6. Tweet out to the top 20 players on your leaderboard. Leaderboarded even has a Twitter ‘mail merge’ feature which will help compose those 20 tweets for you.

Then repeat step 6 every week and you’ll soon gain new influential followers and quickly become a ‘voice’ in your sector. Although the leaderboarded technology does cost money to run (Big data is never cheap) it’s worth trying because its a proven marketing technique that really delivers great bang for buck.


Marketme is a leading small business to small business news, marketing advice and product review website. Supporting business across the UK with sponsored article submissions and promotions to a community of over 50,000 on Twitter.