Wordsmith turned tech junkie, Joshua Parkinson, has a passion for conversation and content that led him around the world, and eventually to bootstrap Facebook content manager, Post Planner.
Post Planner is a Facebook app that saves businesses at least 2 hours daily on Facebook. It’s like having an entire Facebook marketing team on demand. The app helps businesses find and post awesome content to their fan pages and groups (including their own content) so they can consistently boost engagement and send traffic back to their website.
BusinessInterviews.com: How has the decision to be bootstrapped and not seek funding helped influence the vision and direction of the company?
Josh: Being fully bootstrapped from day one has required us to concentrate on sales from day one. That meant building a product that people would pay money for on day one. In other words, we couldn’t spend months working on something “huge” or “game-changing”. We had to build a product that we know people were already paying for (from our competitors), get the product to market quickly, and then beat our competition on customer service, user experience and iteration of new features.
Not seeking outside funding also meant we had a lot more man hours to devote to the business. Getting funding is a full-time job, with all the meetings, deliverables, follow-up, etc. I didn’t want to have anything to do with that. I wanted to spend my time building a product, not a pitchdeck.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some ways that Post Planner can help “kill customer pain?”
Josh: One of the biggest pain points businesses have on Facebook is finding great content to post. To be successful with a Facebook page, businesses need to post a variety of content, including text-only updates, photos, links to 3rd party websites/blogs, and links to their own website. They need to make sure they’re posting both engaging content and promotional content. Post Planner helps them do this.
For example, our app offers a massive database of pre-written status ideas, categorized into categories like “Questions” and “Fill-in-the-blanks”, as well as a “Content Engine” that delivers the hottest trending articles or blog posts on any keyword you can think of. Businesses can use these features together with the app’s powerhouse post scheduler to queue up posts for publishing throughout the day, at times when their fans are most active. The result is more Likes, comments and clicks by fans.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some tips you can provide when it comes to developing a Facebook marketing strategy? Additionally, what are some of the most common mistakes you see companies making and how can they be avoided?
Josh: On Facebook, businesses need to both “chum the waters” and add “baited hooks” – which means they need to post both engaging content and links to their website. Because of the Facebook news feed algorithm, the more clicks you get today on your engaging posts (questions, fill-in-the-blanks, photos, etc.), the more clicks you will get tomorrow on your website links (blogposts, landing pages, ebooks, promo vids, etc.). So you need to “chum the waters” with engaging content to get your fans clicking, and then drop in your website links to hook fans and get them back to your website, so you can turn them into customers.
The common mistakes I see businesses making are not doing the above in one way or another. Businesses who only post engaging content may get a lot of action on their posts, but to what end? If you’re not using Facebook as distribution for your website (where sales are made), then you won’t get any ROI from Facebook. On the other hand, if businesses only post promotional content all the time, their fans will stop clicking and eventually stop seeing the business’s posts.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you elaborate on how you’ve managed to increase the unique hits on your blog by over 100,000 in the last year?
Josh: First of all, I hired a full-time blogger to push out 3-4 posts a week, every week. I made sure his posts were edited for readability and scanability and optimized for SEO. Every time a blog post was published, I would share it on Facebook in the next early morning slot (7-8am) and then add it (and the other 2-3 posts that week) to a newsletter that was sent to users on Sunday morning. Consistent blogging, sharing on Facebook, and sharing via a weekly email newsletter: those were the 3 principal drivers of our blog’s 15x growth in traffic in 2013.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends in your industry that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?
Josh: I’m most excited about the new Facebook news feed, which constitutes a whole new user experience – one that is more consistent with a mobile UX. I think the new news feed design, once it’s launches for everyone, will be cleaner and nicer for regular Facebook users – but also deliver better results on fan page posts.
The most important trend on Facebook I see is the continued focus on the power of the news feed. The news feed is where all the action happens on Facebook, and I think Facebook will continue to focus its efforts on improving the user experience and content there (including ads).
BusinessInterviews.com: It’s important to listen to you customer. However, what are some ways that you try and practice the fine art of giving them what they don’t even realize what they want? As a product developer how do you anticipate the needs of your clients before they even materialize?
Josh: I eat the dogfood! I use our Post Planner app to manage our Post Planner fan page. So I experience the app as an actual user – and then I build features that solve my own pain points as a user. If I never actually used my own product to deal with current real world problems, then I wouldn’t be able to anticipate the kinds of features that could deal with future problems and pain points.
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