Yik Yak’s Crowdsourced Social Media Marketing Genius
Posted at 17th of Dec, 05:55

“There's a kid in the library using Christmas Lights as an extension cord.”


“I have so much debt, I could start a government..”


“So for my FWS we had to read the first 6 chapters. Shoutout to the kid ripping off the shrink wrap off of his book during class.”


Such witty quips and observations flood the Yik Yak stream of many a university in the United States.


Social media has always gained momentum among college twenty-somethings, Facebook being a prime example of a platform that started as a university-only application and soon expanded to integrate the entire world.


Yik Yak is also an app that is seeing its rise in popularity among college students, and harbors the potential to expand its reach. However, what is most impressive about the app isn’t its exponential growth, but rather its genius approach to content marketing via crowdsourcing and user engagement.


First Things First, What is Yik Yak?


Yik Yak is a social media app that allows people to make anonymous status posts called Yaks.


See an example yak.


"He's such a hipster he burns his lips on his coffee because he drinks it before it's cool." — Harvard


Yik Yak allows users to up and down vote yaks, earn reputation points creatively called “yakarma”, and grant people access to conversations going on within a 1.5 mile radius of the user.


The idea is to provide a sense of what a community is feeling, but without any specificity when it comes to identification (think something like a glimpse into the collective conscience).


So what’s so genius about Yik Yak’s content marketing?


Crowdsourced Content


Any content creator will tell you that the key to content marketing is understanding your target audience. To be heard in the overflooded online stream you need to speak to your followers in a language that they can understand. It’s the best way to establish loyalty and eventually transform your followers into customers.


As was mentioned earlier, Yik Yak is primarily used by university students who post updates about the quirks, challenges and absurdities of college life. Yik Yak knows its audience and has crafted a social media strategy that is engaging, colorful and highly appealing to the twenty-somethings that they want to get aboard the Yik Yak Sherpa (the name they’ve given to the company’s tour bus--yes, they have a tour bus).


About 95% of Yik Yaks’ content is simply popular Yaks from various college campuses. The Yik Yak team chooses the best Yaks and transforms them into beautifully designed memes that can be shared via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


What’s brilliant about this content marketing strategy is that the app is obviously talking to its audience in a language they can understand, because its giving them their own words in a redesigned, shareable form. This kind of content harbors the potential to go viral, and often does.


Just take a look at Yik Yak’s Facebook page. Their tone is brilliantly youthful and fun and their user engagement is consequently through the roof. Moreover, their content marketing is getting them real business results. In April of this year Yik Yak announced a 1.5 million dollar investment in the company and this December, it was confirmed that the app raised a whopping 61 million in their Series B funding round (talk about growth!).


So What’s the Takeaway Here?


Well, the key is to develop a content marketing strategy that is designed for your audience. With the advent of the Internet and social media, marketing has changed and continues to develop and take on new forms. Every company has to adapt and part of that adaptation means incorporating effective content creation into your online marketing strategy.


Clearly Yik Yak has catered its content to a very specific “tribe”, and you’ll have to do the same for your own following. The only advice we can give you on that head is to do a lot of research and dedicate a healthy amount of time (probably more than you’d think) to developing content that will make your company stand out.


People always think content marketing is easy. It’s not, and you do have to put in significant effort. But if you look at social media marketing successes like Yik Yak, you’ll see that the somewhat difficult means are most definitely worth the fantastic ends.

Raffi Keuhnelian

Raffi Keuhnelian is an entrepreneur and an accomplished digital marketing professional from Montreal, Quebec. He successfully co-founded iNexxus, TikTakTo, and MusicPromoToday, and works with over 5000 independent artists, as well as Fortune 500 companies, such as Ford Motor Company, Corona, and SONY.

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