Growth hacking and coworking spaces

The term "growth hacker" was first used in 2010 by Sean Ellis to describe a professional whose main objective is to make a given product or service grow. Andrew Chen popularised the term in his article Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing, where he explains the case of Airbnb. For Chen, a growth hacker is a hybrid of a marketing professional and a programmer. In 2013, Sean Ellis created the GrowthHackers community where members share knowledge, techniques and experience. 

Examples of growth hacking are usually related to startups that experience exponential growth, obtaining millions of users, such as the cases of Facebook, Airbnb, Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram. Although there may be big differences between their models, many of their techniques can be applied to the growth of any business and can help answer the question "how do I get consumers for my product?"

It's all about being creative, looking for new techniques, trying again and improving processes, while keeping costs down.

We've picked out some growth hacking experiences and techniques that could be or have already been applied to the coworking movement:
  • Product/market fit. “Make something people want” (P. Graham) In this sense, it's important to be aware of local conditions, understand the existing demand, and if there isn't one, try to create it. Studying factors such as location, size, professional profiles in the city, etc. is important so your project can take shape.
  • Early adopters. Getting someone who doesn't know your product or service to trust it is a challenge. You have to put out a red carpet for the first users and pull out all the stops to make sure they have a positive experience, which in turn boosts word of mouth. One of the most important words of advice would be to start building a community long before opening your doors.
  • Fake users. We're not saying to make cardboard cutouts of coworkers, but it's not going to help promote the space if there aren't any people in photos of events or the space is empty when you show it to potential coworkers. If this is the case, invite friends, family, neighbours, even enemies to use in the space as you're starting out. 
  • Let them love you. Apart from having a good product, one of the tools that helped Slack grow has been its eye for detail. An example of such is its “Customer Wall of Love” where it invites users to leave feedback. Making coworker feedback visible in your coworking space can really help attract new members. You could have a "wall of love" on your website or even on one of the walls in your coworking space. Or why not invite your coworkers to share their experience on your blog? Another great example is how Nextspace creatively shared the love this Valentine's Day.
Examples of feedback left by coworkers on their coworking spaces. 
Maybe you've used one of these techniques already, or maybe there are others that may not be suitable for your model. There's no magic wand, the key is to keep trying and fine tune your model until you get the product/model fit that will make your community grow more quickly. 
How do you help your coworking space community grow? We would love to know your personal experience. 

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