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Entrepreneur Office Hours: Issue #186
Pitch deck mistakes, management lessons, and LinkedIn marketing strategies
This past week, I got to enjoy one of my favorite past times: judging pitches. Yay!
I write that with only a small amount of sarcasm. At this point in my career, I’ve probably seen thousands of pitches. Despite that, every time I see another one, I feel like I learn new things about what works and what doesn’t work, and I love sharing those lessons with all of you. So that’s what I’ve got in this issue.
As you read, you’ll also find an article with some lessons about management. If you’ve been following my newsletter for a while, you already know that “management” is one of my achilles heels as an entrepreneur. But I’m not alone. It’s the achilles heel for lots of great entrepreneurs because successful entrepreneurs have to become managers, and being a manager isn’t particularly fun for them. Still, it’s work that needs to be done, and I hope some of the advice I share can be helpful.
The last bit of advice in this issue is about a topic you I genuinely love: social media marketing. Specifically, I received a question that prompted some thoughts on LinkedIn marketing. LinkedIn is a personal branding tool I’d encourage everyone reading this to seriously consider. Whether you’re a founder, a CEO, an employee, or even unemployed, LinkedIn is the best place to build your brand as a professional. However, it’s not a great place to promote a products. You’ll find out why if you keep reading….
The quickest way to get rejected by investors is to make these kinds of stupid mistakes in your pitch.
Startup founders have to become great startup CEOs if they want their companies to thrive. Are you an effective manager?
Office Hours Q&A
Have you tried reposting your content to LinkedIn? That might be a better spot for B2B SaaS.
The above message/suggestion came in response to this week’s journey log about marketing Autopest using TikTok. There’s some interesting nuance to the point Adriana is making about LinkedIn, and I wanted to share some thoughts on the subject.
I agree that, on its surface, LinkedIn seems like a better place to be marketing B2B SaaS products. The challenge with LinkedIn as a content marketing platform (for Autopest or any other product) is its enormous lack of built-discoverability. Simply put, LinkedIn just isn’t built to push content out to the world in the same way TikTok is (and, to a lesser extent, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter).
A platform’s level of discoverability relates to how likely a piece of content will get pushed to other people who don’t already know or follow its creator. On one end of the spectrum is something like a blog. If I post an article on my personal blog hosted on my own website, it has zero discoverability, and the likelihood of anyone ever organically seeing it is basically nill.
On the other end of the spectrum is TikTok. If I post a quality piece of content on TikTok, I could have a few dozen followers and that piece of content might still get seen by 50 million people. (For the record, I literally had this happen to one of my students this past semester.)
On the discoverability spectrum, LinkedIn sits closer to blogs than TikTok. It’s not terrible, but it doesn’t have the same kind of “suggestion” algorithm as TikTok or other major social media platforms. Instead, LinkedIn’s primary mechanism of discoverability is commenting and likes. For example, if you comment on or like a post, LinkedIn is likely to show that action in the feeds of other people connected with you. As a result, the best way for hypothetical LinkedIn content about Autopest to get traction would be if you all comment on it. I’m sure some of you might do that, but not at the scale a TikTok can reach. Plus… how many times can I promote Autopest to the same people before they stop following me?
In contrast, I can market the heck out of Autopest on a platform like TikTok, doing so won’t bug my followers, and, if it’s successful, it could reach all sorts of other people way beyond my immediate network. So that, in a nutshell, is my rationale for TikTok over LinkedIn.
I’m sharing this info because you all should be considering the same factors in your content creation strategy. Specifically, you need to think carefully about what you’re marketing. For example, if you’re trying to market yourself as a thought leader amongst peers and colleagues, then a platform like LinkedIn can be a great place because your network can promote you. Conversely, if you’re trying to promote a product, LinkedIN likely isn’t going to get you much traction because you’ll mostly be reaching a bunch of people who already know you and might not be particularly keen on you constantly trying to sell them stuff.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!