4chan Stories: Marketers can Adopt the 4chan Growth Hacks

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“Who is this hacker guy, 4chan?” This phrase is often repeated on News stations across the country for the past few years. The infamous 4chan has definitely mastered the ability to get content to spread across the world. Widely considered to be the cultural leaders of the Internet, they have given back power to the masses. From the sharing of popular internet memes to the waging of online crusades, few have been able to do this as successfully or efficiently as the 4chan community. The site offers all online users free access to their image boards and giving anyone the ability to share content, memes and the like from anywhere without the need to sign up or register.

The 4chan Stories are True.

Here are the Growth Hacks behind 4chan’s online brigades and meme warfare:

1. The Robot Legion of 4chan.

Despite what most people think of Twitter and the businesses and celebrities that accompany it, almost 40% of the volume of Twitter users are robots controlled remotely by 4chan users to help Retweet and Like their content. This allows them to say something or share something that gets hundreds of Retweets and Likes, thus pushing it to the top of the Trending Hashtags.

They either use black-hat software to build their own army over time, which requires extensive technology like VPSs, Phone Verification APIs, and the actual script to run that will create, verify, and engage with the community.

They use services like Devumi’s auto-engagements to deliver automatic retweets and likes, or Twitterboost’s auto-retweets service to do the same.

Either way, these retweets will push their tweets to the top of each trending hashtags.

The fact that these guys look so convincingly good – it’s almost impossible to distinguish between the a real account and a bot account.

Twitter and every other social media platform have taken to the rise of “trending” algorithms to detect what is happening in the world, and then relaying that information on the front page for all of its users to see. This way, social media platforms like Twitter can keep its users right where they are and continue to engage in conversation.

The 4chan users employ vast armies of fake and troll accounts and with the power of viral social engineering at their fingertips. If they see something they don’t like, often political corruption, they will simply copy/paste the URL of the news or information and share that with an agreed upon #hashtag.

The hashtag is what will show up in the Twitter Trending section, and everyone on Twitter will see it trending, click on it, then be exposed to the often elusive data 4chan is releasing upon the world.

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2. Simplify Your Message into a Single Picture(or Meme).

The huge notoriety of memes do not take into account the fact that internet users find these images, text, GIFs and videos brutally honest, funny, relevant and applicable to their daily lives. It is no wonder that memes often visualize a popular concept or idea that can be replicated, edited and combined with other memes and images. By always having great content that any average person can relate to, you systematically get people the right meme to spread and share your idea at an exponential rate. This has made it easy for users to share 4chan’s content throughout their own social media platforms which can easily get shared by other users as well.

2. Give Users Unlimited Access to Free Content.

The beauty of 4chan is that it is completely free. This means anyone from anywhere can create and submit content and share their ideas online. Unlike most online communities, there is no pressure to sign up in order to gain full entry to their services and registration is not a requirement. Offering full range access to create and share content gives your users the freedom to take part in a massive and responsive online community. This wide scale exposure draws users to create as much content as they can so they can take part in the process of getting content viral.

3. The Power of Anonymity.

Nothing unleashes the power of creativity and imagination when you have the veil of anonymity in creating and uploading content. By allowing users to stay anonymous, content stays upbeat, creative and original. Uploaders will not be afraid to speak the truth and share content that may not always voice the popular consensus. This gives your sharing platform some credibility among those readers who are always wary about filtered content. However, their creativity can often result in deliberately shocking and offensive pranks. Here are the top 10 Pranks 4chan has done:

4. Every Story is a 4chan Story.

Since anyone and everyone can contribute, 4chan ensures content is always far reaching and spontaneous. This is probably why they are looked at as cultural leaders in the modern times as their content can range from the latest fads, gossip, music, fashion, news and tech trends. Anyone regardless of age and background is given the power to speak their mind and spread ideas or even culture references to the Internet. Everyone is welcome to share his or her piece which makes for a mixture of funny and interesting content that almost anyone can respond to. For example, they are well known for their pursuit of animal abusers online, often going to extreme computer-hacks and genius feats of research to find out where these people are located to be reported by the police.

5. Siphoning Relevant Culture.

4chan’s popularity comes from its rampant use and proliferation of pop culture references to their site. People always respond to fads and trends and this has definitely given them an edge over other sites looking to accomplish more of the same. Like Facebook, 4chan ensures the latest posts and trending content stay on top which instantly gives its community a guide to what people respond to best. This system ensures contributors are aware of what works and what doesn’t so only quality content with better and proven response rates from audiences are the only ones that make it viral.

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7. Keeping Content Fresh and Relevant.

In social media, people are often easily compelled to share content that they feel is vital to everyday life. From gossips to jokes, 4chan has a wide selection of content to choose from. 4chan uses this best through social media with many users hungry for likes and the novelty of being the source of funny and trending content from the Internet. Understanding this need is probably what 4chan is so successful at. It is a well-oiled system that spurns out fun and new content daily to feed to hungry social media users and groups. There was even a thread about using their technology to spike computerized trading algorithms into pushing a penny stocks in certain directions.

8. Promoting Brands through Trends.

One can say that even brands can benefit from 4chan’s marketability. Their strong popularity in social media has allowed them to transcend beyond small website’s sphere of influence, and give the mainstream media a run for their money. Brands can learn from the experiments that have been done by and on 4chan. For example, what happened to Time Reader’s Person of the Year award after they were socially engineered to have Kim Jong Un be voted as the #1 winner? What if a company were to willingly subject themselves to the “terrible idea” of allowing the public to vote to name a new flavor? They must be willing to accept that something along the lines of “Hitler” will win, but once that headline makes the news, the company will get real headlines. Here is the infamous case of what happened when Mountain Dew decided to allow the public name their new flavor:

9. Hyper-Reinforced Evolution of memes.

In 4chan, content and the entertainment that goes with it never stays passive. Users share content so much that it evolves as it is being remixed and combined to integrate new information, jokes, and sources. This way only the spiciest memes gets the most traction with traffic and visitors. There is an old Rule: 11 that says – “You must have pictures to prove your statement.” They are the embodiment of the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

10. The 4chan Religion of Custom Memes & Repeating Digits for Warfare.

The use of “meme warfare” is in reference to the information-war that they feel the United States is losing. By using the combinations of growth hacking both on-site and off-site, they are able to quickly form a social engineering plan, and see it’s action unfold in real life. Their power is demonstrated in the form of great “happenings”, and they can unleash themselves on victims both guilty and innocent.

Creating custom memes, especially ones that convey a very specific argument, idea, or message then using the retweets and likes can cause a powerful disruption to the current state of events. It’s often rumored that 4chan is actually the powerhouse behind Trump’s recent success, and they even have a 4chan God that they “praise” for their success. The god shows himself in the form of highly unlikely repeating digits.

Even further, the numbers themselves can indicate different things, with 7 being the most lucky and more impressive number. When a post gets repeating digits, the text that was posted is said to either be true or come true.

A full five months before the election, one lucky user posted this and got the full “77777777”. This has never happened before, as the numbers continually post up, but the odds of getting this are literally 1 in 100,000,000. Thus, the statement that the user name MUST come true, according to the 4chan religion. Oddly enough, it actually did come true.

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The prevalence of 4chan’s popular content has quickly grown beyond their image board. By allowing the distribution of free-form content ranging from text, GIFs, images, and WebMs, 4chan is able to successfully engage their audience’s changing needs and tastes with a huge selection of content that can be shared throughout numerous platforms afterwards. This versatility in media creation and distribution has opened a new world of content sharing.

About This Author

Certified Social Engineering Prevention Specialist(CSEPS) - Read my experiments on Social Media platforms, people, and security.

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