Photo: Sam Yagan
OkCupid has become incredibly popular in recent years, as online dating has shaken its stigma.The tipping point was in 2009, when a strong social media strategy helped it gain traction, says CEO and Co-Founder Sam Yagan.
We recently caught up with Yagan, who tells us that its blog—not Twitter or Facebook—helped launch the site from underdog to leader.
Every customer counts
One of the best ways to grow a business is to expand the possible user base—and the broader the better. Yagan explains how it’s just as important to target people who would never use a dating service, people who are nearing 80 years old, or those who are already dating someone, as it is to attract singles on the prowl.
“We target people between the ages of 18 and 80 on OkCupid,” he tells us. “Because dating is an inherently social process, it’s very important to also influence the influencers. So if you’re single you might talk to your co-workers, you might talk to your family, or your other friends who aren’t single about your dating situation. That’s why it turned out to be a really great thing for our blog to not just target the single people but also the single people’s friends and families.”
Make great, shareable content
OkCupid tries to reach a broad audience with its blog by choosing interesting topics and great graphs that provide information as well as entertainment. Its headlines include: The Best Questions For a First Date, 10 Charts About Sex, The Mathematics of Beauty.
“In our case it was by producing content that was widely, broadly interesting. So if you read any of our blog posts you’ll see almost immediately why this concept would be interesting not just to a single person but really to anyone,” says Yagan.
Content before tweets
OkCupid only has 18,083 Twitter followers and 12,860 Facebook page likes, which is nothing compared to how many people comment on its blog. Yagan told us when the OkTrend program first began, each of its blog posts would get upwards of 10,000, and sometimes over 100,000 likes or shares on Facebook. But Yagan says OkCupid does not calculate its follower statistics or have a set goal.
“We don’t really look at it like that—a really sort of big company corporate approach—we want this many Twitter followers, how do we do it? We do it from the bottom up. We want to create content that people are going to fall in love with. And the Twitter followers and the Facebook likes, that will all take care of itself.”
Social media is just one piece of the puzzle
Social media can only bring you so far. Instead of viewing the concept in isolation, it’s a combination of factors that will pull clients in and eventually cause them to view a site or service.
“There’s a rule of thumb in marketing that you have to have seven ad impressions before someone actually takes an action,” says Yagan. “I think that in this case, it’s reading that article on Facebook; it’s hearing that story on the news; it’s hearing from one of your friends who’s using OkCupid.”
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