Ep. #1210 - Marketing on LinkedIn
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Matt Watson and Tom Jacquesson, Co-founder of Taplio, talk about Marketing on LinkedIn. Matt and Tom discuss how Tom and his co-founder built Tweet Hunter and Taplio by failing fast. Beyond that, Tom shares insights into the entrepreneurial landscape in France, navigating unexpected transitions, post-acquisition hurdles, and the significance of both company and personal branding.
Covered In This Episode
Forty percent of B2B marketers rate LinkedIn as the most effective channel for driving high-quality leads. However, Taplio can help ALL businesses build a thriving brand on LinkedIn.
Listen to Matt and Tom’s conversation on how Taplio came to be and the validation of Tweet Hunter. Tom also discusses adding Taplio for LinkedIn, its unique value proposition, and its target users and use cases.
Tom describes being an entrepreneur in France and selling Tweet Hunter and Taplio. They also exchange insights on business deals, burnout, and post-acquisition challenges. The conversation turns to using AI for social media content and lead generation, Twitter API changes, and company vs. personal branding.
Matt and Tom have very different experiences as founders. Gain some valuable insights in this Startup Hustle episode now.
- How Taplio came to be (1:20)
- Failing fast (4:55)
- Validating Tweet Hunter (7:35)
- Adding Taplio for LinkedIn (9:33)
- What made their products unique (10:38)
- Using AI for social media content and lead generation (12:16)
- Taplio’s target users and use cases (14:26)
- There are no easy buttons (18:16)
- Being an entrepreneur in France (20:41)
- Selling Tweet Hunter and Taplio (25:17)
- Business deals, burnout, and post-acquisition challenges (28:25)
- Twitter API changes and app development (34:24)
- Taplio’s blogs and content to help with LinkedIn marketing (42:11)
- Company Brand versus Personal Brand (45:03)
I want to provide an atmosphere and a culture where people are happy. They’re engaged, and we’re trying to do our best. How was it to build a startup in France? And I think, like, this country is just amazing. If you want to build a business, and few people realize it, because we have this image of France being like a country where everybody goes on strike and taxes are super high. But, like, the amount of help we get from our governments to be able to launch businesses is incredible. So it’s an amazing country to build a company, for sure.– Tom Jacquesson
It’s pretty easy to start a business, but it’s super hard to market it marketing is always very hard. And I definitely believe that for a lot of smaller companies like you are the brand, like as a founder, you know, you know, sort of self, you know, shameless self-promotion and self-branding and all that stuff is really important.– Matt Watson
Do not do the company page. Do not put all your energy into that. And there’s, there’s quite a bunch of reasons for it. People want to talk with people. If you want to start using LinkedIn or Twitter to get customers, you have to be a person, because like, people are gonna listen to other people. If they see a logo, and whatever, they’re just gonna get bored immediately.– Tom Jacquesson
A personal brand will always belong to you. A personal brand is your asset. It doesn’t belong to a company that you build a product that you build. You can always have it evolve over time. And when you start early, well, this is going to, like, you’re developing an audience that’s going to serve you for decades, potentially. Yeah, and so it’s a very long-term asset. So treat it as a long-term asset, be consistent, and ensure you own it.– Tom Jacquesson
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt Watson 0:00
And we’re back for another episode of the Startup Hustle. I am super excited today about our guests. I use his software every single day. I’m a huge fan of their software. And we’re gonna learn today more about marketing on LinkedIn and social media. And today we have with us Tom Jacquesson from Paris, which is also cool. He is one of the co-founders of Taplio and has a really cool product for posting on LinkedIn. Before we get started, I do wanna remind everybody that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by fullscale.io. If we can help you build a software team quickly and affordably, and we have all the tools to help you manage that team, please visit fullscale.io to learn more. Tom, welcome to the show, man. I am. I’m a fanboy. I’m so excited. So
Tom Jacquesson 0:48
thank you, Matt. Thanks for inviting me. I’m happy to be here.
Matt Watson 0:51
So I guess my first question for you is, how in the world did you get into this? Like, how did you so you also have a company called Tweet Hunter, which, I guess, is a weird name for it now, should it be like x Hunter or something?
Tom Jacquesson 1:04
But we’re, we’re debating about it.
Matt Watson 1:08
So I think 99% of the users still will always call it tweets and Twitter, though. But tell us, how did you get into this with both Twitter and LinkedIn?
Tom Jacquesson 1:20
Yeah. So actually, Twitter came first. What happened was I left my job. And I wanted to build a startup, again, with my former co-founder because we had built a business together a few years back, like, now, it’s nearly ten years back, which is astonishing. And so I left my job in 2021, like early 2021, and we started working on, like, we wanted to focus on how founders, entrepreneurs can get more clients, basically, because we were seeing, like, the barrier to build a product had decreased significantly with no code and whatever, like, all these texts, and so we thought, okay, well, there’s going to be a surge in products. There’s not going to be a surge in consumers. So how do we help founders and entrepreneurs alike actually market their product and find customers? And so we built, like, our approach was, like, that’s like the problem, the problem we wanted to solve, and the approach was, we want to, like, basically, create as many products as we can validate them, or not as fast as we can. And, and finally, find one that sticks, you know, so I don’t know what the saying is in English, like, you know, throw ten things at the wall, and one is gonna stick or something. Yeah, that’s, that was, like, most definitely what we set out to do. And it turns out that, as we were creating products, my co-founder had, like, I don’t know, maybe three or 4000 Twitter followers, okay. And every single time we released a new product, he managed to get, like, a couple of sales, like maybe three, four or five sales from his Twitter account. And that was astonishing to me. And so I thought, Okay, well, I have to build a Twitter following too. And I sucked at it, I was very bad at it. And, at that time, my co-founder was playing around with, like, basically, a tweet database he had made, trying to build products using that database. And I don’t know who exactly got the idea. But basically, we thought, okay, well, we could use that database to analyze what’s working on Twitter and show the appropriate tweets for just about any topic to our users. So like, if your issue, like, like, you want to post about marketing, just like it was kind of a Google for tweets. You would just type in marketing, and you would get a bunch of viral tweets about marketing, basically. And so that’s what we did. It turns out that this was the product that stuck. It did solve a real problem. And then, it evolved into a more complex problem product that contains scheduling, AI, some automation, etc. And then that became like we create later on, we created a LinkedIn version, which is called Taplio. And because, like, it’s basically the same exact problem with a different audience, a different, different platform. And yeah, that’s how everything came to be.
Matt Watson 4:55
So you had a lot of success with Tweet Hunter, but I’m, I’m really interested about some of the other things that you tried that didn’t work like before Tweet Hunter through this process. So did you guys create three or four other things? What how did that go?
Tom Jacquesson 5:07
Yeah, I can’t remember the exact number. But it was a lot, I would say maybe more than four or five, my like maybe our approach was basically like one week. In one week, we have to build and start distributing the product. Oh, wow. After a week, we’re not making any sales, we dump it and move on to something else.
Matt Watson 5:29
That doesn’t seem long enough, though, to really accomplish anything.
Tom Jacquesson 5:32
I think we did. Like we didn’t like hard mode on you know. And I think it came from our previous experience where we had built a startup, we were like, in stealth mode for six months, right? We released then we raise funds, and we rebuilt the entire thing. And it ended up being a failure. Like, we’ve learned a lot from it, etc. But it did fail after a couple of years. And we thought, well, this is never going to happen to us ever again. And and so yeah, we did it. Like we were very intense about it, to be honest. I don’t know if it comes with being two founders as well, like one who knows how to market when he knows how to code. Yeah, that helps in going faster.
Matt Watson 6:18
So you guys took the fail fast to the extreme. Any concerns that some of those other ideas might have been great, but you just didn’t give them quite enough, enough time to breathe and come to fruition?
Tom Jacquesson 6:32
I’m sure we made that mistake. Like I’m sure that like, at least half of the projects we abandoned, could have been great companies, great products, etc. It wasn’t really, but I haven’t like, well, I have no regrets, in part because it the ones we picked ended up working. But, but like, I really think it was still the right approach for us. I don’t know like if you It’s tough enough to launch a business. So you want to see those great things happening right from the start, like you need these like positive things as quickly as you can. And so we really didn’t want to be like working on for several months on something that might fail. And yeah, so yeah, yeah. No regrets. But yeah, you’re right. Like, there’s definitely a few of these ideas that probably could have been great products.
Matt Watson 7:35
So on the on the Tweet Hunter side, you talked before about, it helps people figure out like what content to write. It helps them with, with scheduling and all this kind of stuff, which is really great. But how did you how did you figure out like quickly that that was going to be successful? You know, you it was your your co founder posting about it on Twitter, and just a lot of people clamored for it. What, how did how did you quickly kind of validate that.
Tom Jacquesson 8:01
So in terms of distribution, it was mainly my co founders, Twitter, and Reddit. Like we use the few like sub Reddits posted in them in these sub subgroups. And like, we had these definitely very ugly videos to showcase in those groups. But they did pretty well. So we managed to get traffic on the website pretty quickly. But to be honest, that was also the case for the previous products, we were launching we. We found these scrappy ways of bringing traffic to the website. And the way we validated Tweet Hunter over all the other ones is that we just made a bunch more sales than we did with the previous ones. So like the first few was like, like, over the course of two to three, four days, we were making like three to five sales. And this one we made like 30. And so we’re like, Okay, this is going well. And after a month, like maybe a bit less, we were at 1k recurring revenue. Monthly. So that was already like amazing. Like, the feeling you get from having like being able to pay your server bills and like a couple. Yeah. So yeah, it just it just felt like obvious it was going to work like there were no doubt in our mind that it wasn’t.
Matt Watson 9:33
So how long did you continue down the path for Tweet Hunter? Because before you guys decided to add basically a whole second product on the Taplio side for LinkedIn. How long did you wait to do that?
Tom Jacquesson 9:48
So not not very long. Like I think that three or four months in my co founders started to have a LinkedIn version. But it was a very, like, it was filled with bugs. It wasn’t like we didn’t have a name for it. We didn’t have a distribution child for it. We weren’t sure what to do with it. He just like coded that on the weekends, basically. And I think we really launched it in May 2022. Or April, maybe so yeah. So overall, a year, more or less between the first product and the second one being launched, but we actually started, started developing it pretty fast. After a few weeks, a couple of months. Okay.
Matt Watson 10:38
Did you did you show on the on the Twitter side? I mean, there are a lot of different Twitter tools out there, right, that post stuff to Twitter. So when you guys started this, what what was it that you were doing that made your product unique versus using, you know, Tweet Deck? And like there’s obviously 1000 is not 1000. But it seems like 1000 Other Twitter related tools? Well, what was so unique?
Tom Jacquesson 11:05
Now, because now you have to pay 40k a month to Twitter to be part of their part API partners. But yeah, so what made us different was we, we never set out to build a tweet scheduler, basically. The the idea of adding that feature came from our users who are asking for it. But initially, we were just like an inspiration engine kind of. So we weren’t like any other tool. There weren’t other tools actually, like there were these people who shared, like tweet collections, or swipe files or stuff like that. They were ghost writer that ghost writers, there were people selling resources to learn how to tweet. But there were no tool. There wasn’t any tool. So this is what made us different from all the others right from the start is that we actually set out to, to tackle the problem quite differently. Some people just wanted to schedule tweets, and there were 10s or hundreds of tools for that. Nobody was doing content inspiration, basically.
Matt Watson 12:16
Yeah. Well, so. So were you guys were using AI to do to help do this before ChatGPT became available, right?
Tom Jacquesson 12:24
Yeah, like, over a year before. So
Matt Watson 12:31
and so you in from the Taplio side? I don’t use tweet Hunter. Honestly, I use Taplio. But on the tableau side, you have you now use ChatGPT. Right. So as soon as Chad GPT came out, did you guys kind of immediately jump on that and kind of go through like a several week or month process of trying to figure out how to switch things around?
Tom Jacquesson 12:51
Yeah, that’s basically it. So there was kind of a, like the legislation thing, like something about the terms of services that we had to tackle, which was that initially, we built our AI features on GPT. Three, so the previous version. And one day, we discovered that in their terms and conditions, they did not authorize social media contents, products. And so we had to switch to something else. And it was pretty good, actually, because we were able to like feed it, a lot of post examples. And so the AI wasn’t bad. But it was definitely less good than GPT4, which came out like, what, less than a year ago, like maybe January of last year, or somewhere around that. But not like last year, I mean, like end of 2020 22, beginning of 2023. And yeah, when it came out, it became obvious that if we wanted to stay relevant, we needed to make the switch. And in the meantime, everything related to social media content had disappeared from the terms of services. So we were allowed to do it. And we thought, well, this is great. Let’s go. And it took us it took us like maybe I don’t know, maybe six weeks to move from the previous tech to the new one. But we did it progressively. So like after a week, we had one feature using the yes for etc. We rolled it out for like progressively.
Matt Watson 14:26
So I tell me a little more about who your guyses target users are. And and let’s talk about using the tool and the value of the tool a little more because so I guess first let me say how I use it. So I have, like 27,000 followers on LinkedIn. I post on LinkedIn almost every day. And you know, I kind of have we started the conversation. It’s pretty easy to start a business but it’s super hard to market it marketing is always very hard. And I definitely believe that for a lot of smaller companies like you are the brand, like as a founder, you know, you know, sort of self, you know, shameless self promotion and self branding and all that stuff is really important. And I’ve had a lot of success on LinkedIn myself from from using LinkedIn and stuff. But I’m curious, you know, how do you see your your guys’s users using it and the success they have, you know, case studies and that kind of stuff. Love to hear your your side of it.
Tom Jacquesson 15:25
Yeah. So I would say like, I don’t have any definitive stats, but from what I can see, overall, when I do tickets, or when I go into the database, most of our users, I would call them prosumers. For the most part, they are solo business people. So they are freelancers, founders, solopreneurs, whatever creators, whatever you want to call them, they’re a one person business, basically. Okay, and that’s for, like, 90% of them are like this. A few are agencies doing that kind of work for solopreneurs. And a few are SMBs. So yeah, like, people, like the sales guy in the company is using Taplio, or stuff like that, in terms of how they use it, it’s they use it for two things, mainly, one is like, creating content and scheduling it, which is pretty, I mean, of course, this, this is what we sell. The other way they use it is for engaging with other accounts. So that’s something especially at the beginning, I think someone on your podcast talked about it as well, they have a kind of a different tool that allows that as well. Yes, and it, like basically engaging with other people on LinkedIn is crucial. When you just post at the beginning, it’s like the you’re not gonna get many impressions, like, even if the post is great. And so we help you do that, as well as identify the right people, and, like, fetch their posts and reply to their posts. And the last way people are, I would say, unfortunately, not really using the product, despite what it can do, is the whole lead generation aspect of the product. So this is something that like, if you were to ask me, What are my challenges for the next few months, you know, like this would be it would be to better explain the value of our lead identification and nurturing features and position Taplio was more of an all-in-one tool, and not just something for content and engaging. But also, we’re not a fully-automated tool, like we don’t do automated invites or stuff like that. And we do have some pretty original ways of identifying people who might be interested in your products and reaching out to them. And this is something that I think is being like, not used enough by our users. They don’t see us as that type of product, even though we we are.
Matt Watson 18:13
Well, I think as other as other entrepreneurs, and I think humans in general, we’re always looking for the easy button, right? We think there’s some automated magical system that just works and then money rains down, right? But it doesn’t really work that way. And the more you’re in business, you actually come to appreciate like simple things that if you do them every single day become kind of fundamental, and you get good at doing those simple things that yield results, right? And I think LinkedIn is absolutely one of those things. If you spend, you know, 10, 20, 30 minutes a day, whatever it is, posting content, commenting on other people’s content, and just do a little bit of every day. It absolutely works. And I’ve been doing it almost every day for the last year. So and, and I get people all the time that will tell me like Matt, I like your content been following you for a long time, blah, blah, blah, like, I hear that a lot, which is always great and reassuring to the to the work that goes into it. But it’s also helped grow our business. It’s helped grow our business. I mean, we get leads from it, and it absolutely works. And but the point is there’s like there’s no easy button, you have to do the work and your guys’ tool helps a lot of making it easier to do the work.
Tom Jacquesson 19:24
And I mean, what you’re saying is only logical like, like if you put yourself in LinkedIn, like LinkedIn shoes, or Twitter’s shoes, what do they want? They want people who are active on the platform. So they’re going to be there algorithm is obviously going to reward people who have been at it for a while. And they’re going to push your content more as you become predominant contributor to the platform. So, if you’re going to do it for a week, and you see no results, well that’s actually like normal. Uh, you should at least give it a few months before before you see like, really tangible results. And there are always exceptions, like we have users that came from 1000 followers and grew to hundreds of 1000s. Yeah. But these are exceptions, like, it’s not what everybody’s gonna get. Our product is not the only factor that is going to turn you from 1000 to 100,000, basically. And yeah, basically, I just wanted to stress the point that platforms want to be consistent. Basically, that’s what they want. And they’ll reward you for for it.
Matt Watson 20:41
Well, how I’m curious, what is it like having a startup in Paris? What is it like being an entrepreneur in Paris?
Tom Jacquesson 20:48
So actually, it’s funny, because you said I was from Paris, but I actually live in Boulder, which is in the SouthWest of France, our company got acquired by a startup, which is based in Paris, okay, and my, my co-founder was living in Bali first, then in the Alps, and then in Paris now. So we’re kind of like spread all around the world, like not only surance, basically, like the team is kind of everywhere. But to tell you what it’s like. There’s two kind of sub questions. One is, like, how is it to have a remote team, which is spread out everywhere. And personally, I love it. It’s, it’s zero meetings, basically, like I do maybe one meeting per week. I talked to my co founder live, maybe once every other week. And that’s how we like to function with the we’re very into being operational and executing what we what we want to be doing. And we’re not that much into reporting, measuring, strategizing, as you can tell by how we actually started our business, which is we went head on towards the, towards the problem and like, that’s just how we operate. And then there’s like, how was it to build a startup in France. And I think, like, this country is just amazing. If you want to build a business, and few people realize it, because we have this image of France being like a country where everybody goes on strike and taxes are super high. But like, the amount of help we get from our governments to be able to launch businesses is incredible. Like we have unemployment benefits, that are that last a long time, and that are decent enough to be able to pay your bills, basically, you’ve got all kinds of subsidies and, and ways to have like free money, which is not something that we leverage this time. But it still exists for those who have, like, I would say, more complicated projects to build. So it’s an amazing country to build a company, for sure.
Matt Watson 23:08
So when you guys started this, your co-founder was the main software developer, did you guys use other local software developers in France, or had it?
Tom Jacquesson 23:19
So we saw he was like, not even in French, but he was in Bali, basically, or Thailand was it I can’t remember. And, and like she, I don’t know, after six months, we had the money to pay an extra engineer. But we didn’t have enough money to pay someone from the US or even from France. So we hired someone from India, who’s super competent. He’s still with us today. He’s, he’s amazing. And we, like over time, we’ve added people to our team who are some of them are also based in India, and some of them are based in France now. But we, like everybody works in English, everybody understands themselves. It’s very smooth. And, yeah, that’s great.
Matt Watson 24:15
And that’s, that’s very similar to what we do at Full Scale. You know, we have 300 employees in the Philippines to do software development for other people. That’s that’s what my business is. And that’s what I use LinkedIn to talk about every day. Is our is our company Full Scale? That’s what we do. We do software development for other people. So you know, there’s amazing talent everywhere. And that’s the problem is, is software development can be incredibly expensive. But 90% of software developers are not in the United States and, you know, to to your own testament, it’s it’s like you know, you have to find the talent where you can afford it and there there’s a lot of talent everywhere that is potentially, you know, more affordable that still still can get the work done and so good Good for you guys are figuring it out. And so speaking of that, I forgot about this. You guys already sold this thing. So how when did you start this? And then you sold it just a couple months ago or something? A bit more than to tell it. Tell us more about that.
Tom Jacquesson 25:17
Yeah. So we we launched Tweet Hunter, our first product, let’s say in May 2021. And we sold it about 18 months later, basically. So and 2022. So it took a little over a year. And yeah, that was quite, that was like that was super fast, just as fast as we developed products, we sell them. And, yeah, so basically, we said, we sold through a company that’s called Lempire, they’re most known for being the people who built LEM lists, which is a outreach cold, cold email outreach tool. And so it makes kind of a lot of sense because we come before people start using their software, you know, we’re there when people want to build up a following, build up leads, basically. And they come in at the second step, which is, well, how do you contact those leads? How do you nurture them? How do you convert them to clients? So, so it made a lot of sense. And, and I think they also saw in us, like, they were seeing that AI was going to be, like, probably a bigger thing than NFT’s, you know. So they, they wanted to have people who had the experience of building products that contain AI. And yeah, so and plus, it’s a French company. So it might not sound like a very big deal. But it actually kind of is both in terms of culture fits. I would say like, we’re very much, I don’t know if I should say this, but like American in our way of thinking about business, which is that we’re doing this to grow, to make money, to be fast and efficient. But being being French, and being able to have, like, to be very precise, when you’re talking to someone you work closely with is still a huge asset, like having all this culture. Cultural fit is really important. And it’s also important, like, tax wise because if you get bought by a company, like let’s say, an American company, and you’re based in Europe, they’re only going to want to buy your assets, and not the company itself because they’re going to be super scared of having to deal with the French administration. Because there’s, like, you know, all these stereotypes that, yeah, and so tax wise, that actually changes a lot of things, because it’s not you that’s making the money, it’s your company. And then the company gives you that money. I mean, there’s a whole tax process in between, which is that you first have to pay your company’s taxes, and then your own taxes. Whereas if you sell in the same country, well, at least if you sell the actual company, then you get the money directly. Okay, so one thing but yeah,
Matt Watson 28:23
What led you guys to sell so fast? I mean, sounds like you were a year into this several months into this and already talking to them potentially about selling like, like you were able to maximize the value out of it, or you kind of kind of sold it too soon, like, what what was the thought?
Tom Jacquesson 28:40
So I don’t know. I don’t think we maximize the value, but also, due to how the economy is right now. I’m not sure that we would have gotten that much more for it, if we had sold later on. So like, I mean, by that, I mean that I don’t really regret it. And there’s another thing, which is that neither my co founder or me consider ourselves to be people who are going to build like, a 50 or 100 or 1000 person company. I’m not a manager. I’m a very poor manager. I don’t want to be one. And I have like no interest in acquiring the skills to become a good manager and a good like CEO, etc. So, I think selling was, like selling it particularly to them, who had done the work of scaling their company to 10 than 20 million arr. We were we were giving our baby to people who know what they’re doing basically. And they’re like, I don’t know if we would have managed to scale it to 20 million ARR ourselves, you know, I’m not sure we have the skill set for that. So yeah, I’m we’re very happy to have sold on. I think everybody wins.
Matt Watson 30:04
So what are what are you doing now? Are you still with Limpire as part of the team? Or did you move on to do something else?
Tom Jacquesson 30:11
No, I am still very much with Empire, I’m still working on Taplio and Tweet Hunter full time. And yeah, we have a contract basically with an earn out clause, etc. And so I know that I’m going to be there at least until August of next year. And if we can find a deal to to make it go even further than that’s great. If and if not, then I’ll probably create something else.
Matt Watson 30:41
I went, I went through that process myself and my first company sold like we had an earn out until the end of the year, the end of December. And so I went and talked to my business partner after Thanksgiving, and told him it’s like, well, if we sign up any new account, we don’t see the revenue till January. If somebody cancels, we don’t lose revenue till January. So it’s like, our earn out is up, like, what are we doing next? And at that time, I had the idea to start another company. I told him, like, I didn’t know how long do I have to stay here, like, they gave us a ton of money to do this. And whatever I got to do, I’ll do it. And I’ll never forget, he just looked at me, it’s like Matt, they abolished slavery a long time ago, if you don’t want to be here, you don’t have to be. And they don’t want you walking around like a zombie every day, they know they handed you a big pile of cash. If you want to leave, you can leave. And so I was out of there. I left immediately. I was ready to do, I was ready to do something different. And for me, it had been like eight, eight or nine years of doing the same thing. So that was my burnout story.
Tom Jacquesson 31:48
Yeah, for me, it’s a bit different. Like one, I haven’t been working on this that long, so I’m not tired of it yet. And also, like, to be honest, the relationship we have with them is pretty great. Like we, we get help when we want to be helped. And we get freedom and, and yeah, like space, when we need space and freedom. So it’s, it’s a pretty sweet deal. They’ve been very respectful of the deal we had. And also of the overall idea of the deal, even though we can put it in legal terms, like, you’re gonna get freedom to do what you want. It was kind of like, it was a discussion we had before the deal. And they’ve been very respectful of it. So for now, everything’s going pretty sweet.
Matt Watson 32:39
A lot of times those deals don’t go very smoothly. You know, my, I’ve sold a couple different companies, and neither one of them went super smooth after acquisition, you know, as far as getting the support you needed and, and they all of a sudden want to distract you with all sorts of bullshit that didn’t matter and not you know, all the different things like, has or has there been been some things you didn’t expect? As far as like post post acquisition, you’re like, now I gotta do all these things, or that, you know, things they didn’t do. They promised to do. Like, what, you know, what, how does that really work out for you?
Tom Jacquesson 33:14
Like, all promises that were made were held, that’s for sure. Awesome. And what I something that, like I mentioned that earlier, like, I’m not someone who likes meetings and reportings and stuff like that. So for that we, we kind of found a balance, like over time. We, so I’m not part of most meetings, but I’m part of like the regular important ones. And I give the important news about what we’re doing. But there’s no like, hardcore reporting dashboard. Like five meetings a week, etc. So we Yeah, in an ideal world, I wouldn’t be doing none of that. And maybe they will have me do more reporting and more meetings. But we found a I think, what’s a good balance and what’s fair to everyone, which is, well, that’s, that’s the company, I want them to succeed. So I’m part of it. But also, I’m not part of it, like 24 hours a day, seven days a week into meetings, and like, having half my salary go into me spending times time in meetings.
Matt Watson 34:24
So you guys have have what so let me ask you this. I really want to ask you about Elon Musk, Twitter, the API. How much did you guys know about him like shutting down the API and charging these crazy fees, like walk us through how that happened from your guys’s perspective, because obviously, that had to be like a major, you know, punch in the gut to you guys.
Tom Jacquesson 34:49
So I think it was early April of this year. We woke up one morning. We had heard rumors about the API becoming are very expensive. But we weren’t contacted by anyone at Twitter to tell us like we didn’t receive any official email telling us well, we’re going to switch, go on to this forum to sign up or whatever. Or actually, maybe we even know actually, like now that I remember, we did get an email. And we did sign up on a weird, like, it felt like web 1.0 form where we just said, Well, this is us we want access. One day, yeah. One day we woke up and like, like I woke up, I looked at my phone saw the slight notifications from some of our teammates in India, who were up for a while. And it turns out that at 5am, in the morning, we had gotten an email telling us our app was suspended from using the API. That’s how it went. So
Matt Watson 35:57
at that moment, you guys are are basically out of business, right? I mean, at that moment,
Tom Jacquesson 36:02
Like, at that moment, that’s like three quarters of our business that’s going away. Yeah. So so that was nice. We saw what happened next. First of all, we we panicked, then we tried to reach people at Twitter within within a message to get anyone. Then we started building other apps, like, like, a second and a third app, that to access the API, which we were able to do. So we had all our users switch to a new app. And like, you know, the authorization process, etc, that kind of stuff. And then we’ve had one of our competitors, who for an unknown reason, was still working properly, they started advertising to our users that they should come in use them, they will get a discount, etc. And there was this on Twitter. And then we, like my co founder, I think, like, had someone who knew someone at Twitter. And so we got put into contact and our app was backup within, like 24 hours have taken down. So it only lasted 24 Or maybe 48 hours. But it was super intense. And you know, like, it’s those times, you’re kind of happy that you sold? Because like That was one time I was pretty happy too. Because like, not that I want anything bad to happen to 300 now, but at least I had a part of the check. Yeah. And so So I wasn’t left with nothing. I think if we hadn’t sold, I would probably have gone to therapy after after.
Matt Watson 38:03
Well, so. But so you guys are back online. 48 hours later, but you still gotta pay $40,000 a month, right? Like, yeah, I’m gonna guess that something. You know, you don’t go back to like Lempire and like hell, by the way. 40 grand like,
Tom Jacquesson 38:22
Well, the thing is, you kind of have to and like, we were lucky enough that our business like Tweet Hunter’s making significantly more than that amount. So we can afford it. But yeah, it’s still kind of a dent in the p&l, you know, it’s crazy. Basically, you just get half a million dollars a year from your p&l. That’s crazy.
Matt Watson 38:50
So has it changed?
Tom Jacquesson 38:54
No, it’s still the same. For me, what’s changed? And what I find is really unfair, is that we were so lucky to be able to build our company, when the API was free, or almost free, like 50 bucks. Yeah. And now like, that’s, that’s kind of what I’m worried about for Twitter is that there’s there’s not going to be that developer community building products around Twitter anymore. And the only ones that remain are the ones who existed and we’re already making good money. It could sound like, in a way, it’s kind of a good thing for us because there’s less competition. But also, it makes Twitter a slightly less vibrant space to operate. Like there’s less innovation. There’s less like it’s being compensated by the fact that Elon Musk is and the Twitter team are adding a lot of features compared to what was being done before. But in terms of like people building on top of Twitter, it’s kind of Yeah, it’s going away. So I don’t know. I don’t know. Like, I wonder sometimes about the future of Twitter. I’m not so sure.
Matt Watson 40:07
So tell me what what are your guys’s thoughts about other social networks? So you have like threads for man meta now and you have Mastodon, you have all these other things. Do you guys have plans to support other other platforms too?
Tom Jacquesson 40:21
I don’t think so. I don’t see like, unless we see a particularly robust tool with a large user base, I don’t think we’re going to be developing anything for those tools. So when it comes to Threads, I tried it, I was actually pretty excited about it. because Twitter is, it’s kind of weird. It’s a weird platform. Like there’s all kinds of people on Twitter. And I thought Threads was maybe a good opportunity to build something like Twitter, but for for, I don’t know, less controversial or confrontational people. And it turns out that without that controversy, and without that, honesty, and freedom of speech, it’s it’s quite lame, like the content on it is, I find it extremely bad. Extremely hard to say. Like, I can’t remember the name, but basically, like, it’s very
Matt Watson 41:34
generic, very generic,
Tom Jacquesson 41:36
basic and boring. And, and so I’m not I don’t feel threatened, like, I don’t think Twitter is at all threatened by Threads. And Mastodon, I haven’t really like given much attention, because I find it’s still complicated for a regular person to join the platform. And like, there’s this whole server thing. And yeah, for now, I don’t think it’s a threat either. Like, I think the only threat to Twitter is LinkedIn and vice versa.
Matt Watson 42:11
Well, so tell me this, I am. I don’t want to call myself an expert on LinkedIn marketing. But you know, I’ve been doing it for a while. And I felt like I I know what I’m I’m doing. But for those who are listening that want to do it, obviously, a tool like Taplio is very helpful, not only from a scheduling perspective, which is what I use it for the most, but also for getting ideas, suggested topics, all this kind of stuff is really great. But do you guys have like a lot of blog content or resources for people to learn about, like how to do this kind of stuff, as well as your website, like a really good resource for that, that people should check out?
Tom Jacquesson 42:49
So yeah, we have our slash resources and our slash blog URLs, basically. And there’s a lot of content on it. We are currently restructuring the way we want to present those pages because it doesn’t really feel like a content hub for now. It feels more like a succession of blog posts. Like sorted by published dates, you know, and so it’s not extremely helpful currently. However, we do send a lot of emails upon signing up to Taplio. Like, like, very, like in-depth emails about LinkedIn. We have a newsletter, which goes out every week, which is written by Rukhsana, who’s a head of marketing at London Higher. And she’s she’s got like, I don’t know, 3040 50k followers, I can’t remember exactly. But she’s got a good following. And she’s got really good tips. So yeah, I think we teach our users and our website visitors how to do it. And, of course, it’s always evolving. And that’s what’s most interesting about is there’s always this new thing, this new trick, or there’s this new tactic that you can exploit, but they’re always temporary. And so what I try to do in the emails we send out is to be very evergreen in terms of the advice we give. And then, we try to stay up to date in terms of the short-term tactics that people can leverage.
Matt Watson 44:23
Awesome. Well, I do remind everybody if you need to hire software engineers, Full Scale can help. We have the people and the platform to help you manage and find a team of experts. We specialize in building a long-term team that works only for you. We have over 300 employees, and I use LinkedIn every day to talk about that. And I really appreciate you so much for being on the podcast today for like a little bit of a fanboy because I use your guys’ tool every day. So it’s been fun. As we round out the show, do you have any other tips for other entrepreneurs out there about, you know, using LinkedIn or just starting a business or any kind of tip?
Tom Jacquesson 45:03
Yeah, I think one of the questions I get asked the most is personal brand versus company brand or personal page profile versus company page. Do not do the company page. Do not put all your energy in that. And there’s, there’s quite a bunch of reasons for it. But I think there are two main ones. One is people want to talk with people. So if you want to start using LinkedIn or Twitter, or whatever platform, to get customers, you have to be a person, because like, people are gonna listen to other people, they, if they see a logo, and whatever, they’re just gonna get bored immediately, even even though it might be like a very similar content. The second reason is a personal brand is always going to belong to you. A personal brand is your asset. It doesn’t belong to a company that you build a product that you build. You can always have it evolve over time. And when you start early, during maybe your first business or even as an employee or a freelancer, to build a personal brand, well, this is going to, like you’re developing an audience that’s going to serve you for decades, potentially. Yeah, and so it’s a very long-term asset. So treat it as a long-term asset, be consistent, and make sure you own it. And I think those are the best tips for, like, why you should build a personal brand and less focus on company brands.
Matt Watson 46:37
That’s fantastic advice. And one day, I was watching a TikTok video, and I don’t remember where it came from. But somebody said that you need to focus on being the best known for what you do and not the best at what you do. And goes right back to that, right? It’s being best known and having that brand even if you’re not the best there is or whatever it is that people are the most successful or the best known. Like you have to, people have to know who you are. And that’s super important. And tools like yours are critical for helping people achieve that.
Tom Jacquesson 47:06
So, thanks, Matt.
Matt Watson 47:09
Well, Tom, thank you so much for being on the show. Again, this was Tom Jacquesson with Taplio part of Lempire and Tweet Hunter and a whole suite of things that they do. You can definitely find more about them online at tablio.com, Tweet Hunter, and lempire.com. Tom, thank you so much for being on the show today. I really, really appreciate it. And this was a super fun episode.
Tom Jacquesson 47:30
Thank you, Matt. I had a good time as well.
Matt Watson 47:33