025 | AgoraPulse on The #1 Proven Factor for Social Media Marketing Success

I'm Shaina. I love dogs. I trip a lot and I happen to have a knack for making pretty sleep videos for businesses. But the more videos we made, the more questions I got about how video and other content can be leveraged to make a bigger impact in their marketing. I mean, 44% of marketers say that producing content is their biggest challenge, yet content marketing is 62% less expensive than outbound and produces three times more leads. Now I know a lot, but I certainly don't know it all. So I made it my mission to talk with content, kings, Queens, and bosses to learn as much as I could about crushing content marketing. And I'm taking you along with me. Welcome to the content coalition. Hello again, content coalition family. I'm Shaina Weisinger of Repurpose House and today I have a super, super awesome guest coming all the way from France.

I have Emeric Ernoult of Agorapaulse, he's the co-founder and the CEO and I'm so excited, like a timing. Could it be more perfect on this because I literally just tested every single free trial of every single social media management platform that I could get my hands on. And the fact that I get to chat with him one on one is a really, really cool thing because I experience some amazing things with his platform and I know that we, all we do is give content for you to post on social and this is something managing all of that is such a pain point and I'm so excited to talk to him today. So thank you so much [inaudible] for being on the show.

We're excited to have you. No, thank you. It's all my pleasure. Awesome. Well, I mean, let's just get to the very beginning. Like how did Agorapulse happen? I know you've been in SaaS for like ever and ever. Amen. So let's hear that story. Yeah, well, I've been in SaaS when it was called ASP, application service provider in the early two thousands I was in social media before it was called social media.

It was called communities in the early 2000 as well. And, uh, yeah, I've always been building software with my, we've been my co founder and we've always been in the community, social media, people talking to people on the web kind of business. So it's funny. Um, I, you know, I like to say that I've failed much more often than I've succeeded, which is, um, quite with some great, the thing that most entrepreneurs go through at least once in their lifetime. And, um, the idea of Agorapulse came, uh, in 2010 when we basically were Facebook apps for clients because we had to make money because we couldn't make money with our, our existing SaaS product at the time. So we started building Facebook contest and promotion for clients and we hated it. It was an agency kind of work, which, you know, clients can be difficult to work with and there can be difficult to pay and it's hard.

It's a hard place to be. And, and we realize that, um, if we were to industrialized those contests and promotion into a platform and sell them on this with the Saas business model on the recurring basis with a recurring revenue model, that would be easier for us. So that, that's how it got started. We'd basically industrialized all these quizzes and sweepstakes and photo contest and video contest and you name it into a platform that instead of sending them for you then came a month, we were selling them for 29 bucks a month.

That's how it got started. But right then it was, and then it get pivoted and [inaudible]. Those would be live Facebook contest business models. So we wanted to be something people use every day and not twice a year. And we added Twitter and Instagram. Long story, a long story short really, I'm sure, but like the pivoting is something that I hear constantly with entrepreneur isn't, it's something that like either they feel like weird about while it's happening and then ultimately it ends up getting them to a really amazing platform or product or service that it's just been, I think pivoting is just honing it in honestly. Yeah. And it's pivoting is basically adapting, basically being constantly adapting because building a business is all about your initial idea will be shit and your second idea will be a little bit, yeah, better.

And your third id will be, and then you know, step-by-step, you'll eventually get somewhere something people want and are ready to pay for and something that's quality, quality enough hold it is to be to be creating a business. Very, very few people in there. Usually outliers get it right the first time. Very, very few if, if any. Absolutely. Even the ones who say that they got it right the first time, I'm like, well, we'll give you that one. But really? Um, okay, cool. So what, um, it obviously wasn't an overnight success, right? You're saying that you had some hit, it's, how was that first year for you? Oh, the first year was a horrible struggle because I, the first year was basically the year 2012 cause we, we, we really down at the end of 2011 so 2012 was very, very difficult because we've been at it trying to get a successful business, Paris cell, some kind of salary, we'll get some color. But, and I, and I think we were still minimum wage, minimum wage level.

Okay. And I told Ben when we launched Agorapulse, they said, you know, we, I want this to be much more successful than what we've been able to do in the past. So I, the goal I have and we need to set a goal or shut it down, the goal I have is we have to be at $49,000 of MRR in 12 months. So that means, you know, the average senate in price we're having now is 49 bucks a month. So we need a thousand clients in a year. You know, it shouldn't be that difficult. And if we don't reach that goal, I give up.

I just can't, I just can keep it, keep going, being, being myself, minimum wage. My wife is going to leave me here if I stay in that position. And funny enough, he took us three years to get to that 49 care month. Oh, not one year. So like it's, it's, you know, set goals but also be flexible on those goals. Sometimes they're not hard stop goals. You know, what I learned from that goal was as long as it's going up into the right, if it, if even if it's too slow, you're doing something right and pushing. So that's what I learned. Um, but that first year it was basically seeing that we wouldn't meet the goal, reached the goal and, and having to decide that I would be more patient than I promised myself. I would be. You auntie Lisa. Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing that because like, you know, you hear all the stories about like the Unicorns who in the first year they're doing, you know, a million MRR and like if you feel like you kind of have to live up to those crazy expectations and goals and like to know that you guys are just rocking it right now and it just, it took longer than anticipated or then at least the goal was to not be at minimum wage.

It's like three years instead of one and now and you guys are in great shape, you're doing awesome. Like that's something that not a lot of people share. So thank you for sharing that. Well, just to add a little bit more, um, um, a piece of context here that's, that will be interesting for interesting for the listeners. So it took us three years to get to $49,000 of MR as of today.

Took us a month and it takes us a month and a half to add $49,000. Okay. But even that throws probably a month in a week or something like that. So it just gives you the, um, you know that you could be in a point in your life when struggle is so hard that you want to give up and jump from the bridge, please don't do that. And then couple of years later things are completely different. So it's hard to keep that um, um, your, your, your feet on the ground and feel, I know it's not me, it's just the, it's just a business. It's okay to fail. It's okay for this to be hard.

It's, even though emotionally it's very difficult to stay calm and to stay focused and put while you're going through a struggle, but you should eventually, you should cause you'll get, things will get better. Eventually things will work out. Something will work out. Something will, we'll, if will emerge from all that chaos and mess you're going through right now That, I got goosebumps when you were like three years later you're going to have no problem with that same amount.

It's like an a B that you know, a month and a half is that 12 month goal. That's incredible. What was there like a pivot point for you when it just kind of like clicked or how did that, was it just a slow long growth? Yeah, it's a slow long growth. There is no, there's, there are a lot of different small pivot points. Um, it's, it's, it's the success is, is the addition of hundreds of different small things that you're doing rep. Okay. Yeah, yeah. You know, at one point, um, at one point you got, you got it right. It's, it's, it's really the addition of a lot of very small, good decisions. That's awesome. Okay. So with every one thing that we're implementing, that's just a little painstaking, but we know it's a good thing. We know we're just inching our way up. Cool. Awesome. Yeah. And each of those things are usually linked to very basic first principles as we call them, you know, build a product that will people, yeah.

It, it sounds very, yeah, of course. Well, yeah, of course. Look at many products you see out, you know, out there and not all of them are a level build something that's amazing and focus on that amazingness. And it, even if it takes a long time to get to the level of quality that you're aiming for, keep that in mind. That's what you want to be able to be there for your customers. Like be there for them. I mean for real. You care for them, you know, be [inaudible] that empathetic, whatever. Like make them feel like they're super important for you.

That's, that's also something that in the long run will pay off. Like those things are first principles. If you stick to them and you keep evolving and adapting, eventually something good will happen. That's awesome. Thank you for that. All right, well let's dive into content. How's that sound? I love hearing the stories so like I can't help myself living like five to 10 minutes on that. So thank you for sharing all of that.

But we are the content coalition so we may as well. Talk a little bit on that. So what role, like for those that don't know what Agorapulse is like can you give me just a brief rundown on like what you guys do, what your like unique? I'm selling point is and then how content plays a role in it. Of course. Um, so the, the name of the category, social media management tools, that's easy. I think most people know what that's about. Um, probably most people know the, the leading tool in that space, which is ootsuite. [inaudible] basically our unique value prop and what we think sets us apart is we really are turning social chaos into something easy to manage. That's, that's the main thing. So, and I'm mentioning hootsuite because I don't think hootsuite is doing a great job at that and I think that's a problem and that's motivating me to keep pushing with, with our project is who tweak is creating chaos out of chaos.

But it's still a bit chaotic. Um, where we really, really are trying to make social, which is chaotic. And then we all agree on that. Um, easy to read, easy to manage, easy to reply to is easy to measure, easy to everything. There are a lot more we can do or not there yet. We're not perfect, but I think we've done a pretty good job at being ahead of the curve at delivering on that value. Awesome. Great. So then, um, when it comes to content marketing, what make, what to you, especially on social, obviously since that's the space you guys plan, what makes a successful content marketer? Like what, obviously there's so many aspects that go down when it comes to content, but specifically for social, what do you think is helpful in people's success? Okay.

What makes a content marketer be be successful on social? Like what do you think about, yeah, what do you think about their social media strategy or their content is like the driving indicator of whether they're going to be successful. I mean, honestly I think what makes content successful generally also works for in what makes content successful on social. Um, it is, it's just a matter of formatting and, and it's just a different format to different types of pictures, different types of, you know, shorter videos, shorter amount of texts, whatever.

But at the end of the day, what makes content successful? It when people stumble upon it on their, on their feeds, because that's how it works. Like fees are moving very, very fast. They're like, oh, interesting, what is this? And then how many times a day do you look at your feeds on Social [inaudible] and stumble upon something that it comes from him business and you're like, oh, interesting.

What is this? How many times a day? Not Often. Right? And that's success. So it's hard. That's a very high bar. It is a very high bar. But I keep telling my team, this is the event we were aiming for. And obviously not everything that we're going to produce is going to be that at that level. But this is the level we're aiming for. And once they have that in mind, you know, they know they have the high bar and they're thinking harder and they're, and they're thinking more about, okay, how can we make that piece of content at that level? How can we make it that people want to stop doing what they're doing and spend five minutes reading it to watching it or listening to it and, and, and yeah. And that that's, that's my level of expectation. So it's pretty high. There's no pressure to the team. Right. And it was mine when I was creating the content myself as well.

I love creating content. I unfortunately I can't do it anymore because being a CEO, which is a, an awful job for those who knows what it is, it's a very difficult job. Few Fun things to do and a lot of not fun things to do. Um, but when I was creating the content and doing support and doing sales and when I was doing everything in the early days of the, the content creation part, it was really something I enjoyed doing.

What would you say the right type of content? Um, I, I like writing more than anything else. I don't think I'm a good person on video really. I mean, I know people that are much better than I am on video. And so like I didn't feel comfortable enough to do video. And at the time it was 2012 remember that was seven years ago. So at the time, you know, like video was not as big as it is today. Um, I, I have someone in my team who's amazing at podcasting because it's voices out of this world. I'm not so I wouldn't do that either, but I, I used to be a business lawyer. [inaudible] say that in the introduction. But um, so writing was part of my craft, you know, like writing and convincing and articulating. Yeah. [inaudible] stuff. It's something I enjoyed doing. So, um, yeah. And I started, I started their blog, which was probably the only reason why we went from zero to 1 million euros or dollars of Ar.

That was the blog. That was our right, our first content marketing initiative. And obviously I did a lot of promotion, a lot of sharing. I did a lot of 'em, um, sharing it with influencers in the space who, who then shared it and you know, day after day, after month to month, it became incredible blog in the, in the ecosystem. And it worked. You work well for a long time. Um, and then it, it kind of stalled.

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It kind of flattened in terms of um, no traffic and then clicks and conversion, do free trials and so on and so forth. Okay. And it slots in for a long time. So it was doing its job and it was so just so people know he was really work in 2012 and between 2012 and [inaudible] Yeah. How to blog blog, you know, how to kind of content, you know, how do you do this? How do you do that? How do you get more followers on Instagram? How do you use hashtags on Instagram or all that kind of content, which, which became very, very common and very, very competitive. There were a ton of blogs doing that. So one day I came to the office and I said, okay, this blog is fine. We're going to maintain it and keep it because it's doing its job.

And I think it's worth maintaining, but we need to create something that when we create the content, we feel so proud of the content we created that we want to tell all our friends. And that's, that's, let's be honest here, when we look at our blog, we wouldn't tell all our friends about each blog posts that we're publishing. Publishing there. It's good content, but it's not great enough for us to feel like I have to share that we all, all my friends. And that's how we came up with, um, the second blog that we launched in at the end of 2016, which is the social media lab. Okay. And the social media lab came out of that idea that it has to be amazing. It has to be unique. Nobody else should have done that. And that's to bring so much value that, you know, even to the people are you ready to pay for a subscription to get the value that they're getting out of the content.

Okay. And, and we completely change the change. The, the came, we were playing out because I think the cost per blog post on the, on the initial blog was around 300 and $350 per blog post. And the cost per blog post on the lab was around $4,000. Like not the kind of thing you can do when you start or, or you have to do it yourself as a founder and that's very, very time consuming. And so people, so people can understand what it is. We're basically running test ab test on social media. Um, you know, do you get better results when you use 10 hashtags on Instagram or 30 hashtags? This is probably a question nobody care about apart from social media managers and people doing a lot of Instagram, but a lot of people are saying here and there that hashtags are very important.

Instagram hosts, should I use them? How many of them have, I don't know. And then people start claiming things, but there, there is no data, there's nothing backing it up. So that we said, okay, we have to back date things up with data. And that's tremendously time consuming to do. Absolutely. But for me it's like when I find articles that are like, oh, we think that it should be this way. It's like I don't see any data on an article or on a blog post. It's like, it's irrelevant to me because where are you getting the information? You know what I mean? So to me that is like, you are like, oh we do, everything's Ab tested on or we're testing everything on the hashtags.

I was nerding out while you were talking that. So like it's amazing that every single post on your lab is all data-driven. That yeah, it's been real exciting. but it's very hard to create. So it's really, it's really another level of commitment to content basically. And it has to be included and embedded in an overall strategy. So, and the overall strategy we have for this, obviously there is the podcast as you know, uh, we also have a live video on youtube and Facebook once a week. We've owned CDO and Scott. So it's, it's, you know, we're trying to go through all the different channels and, and you, you, you repurpose content.

So, you know what I mean? Like there are these people who love video. I'm more of a podcast person and there are these people like to read. So we're trying to a, to appeal to each of the, each and every one of them. Um, and the main, the main, so you're, we're talking, we were talking about success for content markets are the main element of success. And it's hard because it's very subjective and hard to measure. It's like we want to be, um, a thought leader recognized by our peers. I mean the, the, the people who are also thought leaders in the social media management space. So once someone like Michael Stelzner, who was the founder of social media examiner, writes to Scott and say, I love what you're doing.

I listen to every episode. We, that's a win. How do you quantify that when or, or put a dollar amount behind it? It's impossible. But for me, that was the, that was the goal. The goal was people or matter in this, in this ecosystem. I want that. I want them to enjoy that content and be willing, basically willing to subscribe to the newsletter or the podcast that will be the wind. And then we're also repurposing that content in conferences. So we have Scott and Richard going to every conference, social media conferences they can go to and speak and speak about the most incredible tests that we've run.

So there is basically a strategy to repurpose or you know, cut this content into pieces and redistribute that content into as many formats as we can to eventually build the awareness about this is who we are and you know, we start that first contact by giving you something for free that we think is amazing and we hope is going to be helpful. And that helped creates that first point of contact with potential clients and prospects and people are getting interested in, in our brands and what we do as a company. Yeah, absolutely. One thing that I find interesting is that people are afraid to like really dive into content sometimes because it's not an immediate return, like it's a longterm game and you have to consistently be putting out quality content in order to see return. And one thing that you said that was really important about it is that it has to be a part of an overall strategy. Like you can't just throw content out there and hope that it's going to bring in revenue. There has to be [inaudible] intention with everything, like a start point and where you lead them to and how you end up turning them into a client that's excited about what you're doing and the content you're putting out there.

So was that, is that something that you seem missing in people's strategies or is it something that pre people were pretty consistent with when they do it? Well, It's so hard to think long term. It is so and that and at the same time it's the only thing that matters. Short term doesn't exist. Short term is, oh that's good. And short term it's finished. It's already already gone. It's already behind us. If you think short term, you're missing on, on the real, on the real thing. On the big picture, the big picture is you want to build something that people care about and people [inaudible] Okay. It's hard because as an entrepreneur you're struggling. It's difficult. You need to make money. You want to see money coming tomorrow and next week and next month, then you wanted deeply deep inside. That's what you want.

And your team wants that and everybody wants that and they want their KPI go and go up and stuff. But as a founder and an entrepreneur, it is, it is your duty to tell people we invest in the long term. We are, we're in this game for the next five to 10 years. This is what really matters is not what's going to happen next month is what's gonna happen next year and the following year and so on and so forth. And to get where we want to get into years, this is what we want to do, what we need to do now and next month. And we noticed not going to pay off now in next month, but in two years, this is, this is the goal we have with these things.

Yeah. So yeah, it's, it's the hardest thing to do. I'm playing long term and, and, and, and realizing that, you know, closing your eyes and say it's okay. It's okay. I know it's not gonna work now, but it's, I know it's gonna work in two years. Just closing your eyes and rocking in the corner running that it's the right thing to do. And if you're convinced that it's the right thing to do, and obviously, you know, don't be stupid and convince yourself with things that are not the right thing to do because you're good at convincing yourself. But if you're really deeply convinced that this is the right thing to do, um, keep doing it and doing it consistently and eventually something will happen. How big will it be? You'd never know. But if it is deeply the right thing to do, good things will happen out of that.

Good. A good content strategy. Absolutely. I mean, and offering value in general is always the right thing to do. Always works out eventually. It's hard because it's super hard to track. It's the almost impossible. It's close to impossible to track. But think about your own experiences when you're buying things or you're recommending a brand or a tool and think about all these times and it happens to me a lot where you were coming something because you love what they put out in terms of blog post and how they tell their story and how you relate to the people and you like you like the podcast that I recommend a ton of products.

I don't even use that. I love what they do on their, on their podcasts, on there blog and on their videos. And I relate to the people behind the story and I want to say, hey, you know what, I use intercom but check out this one because I like their podcasts. They look like a great company. And I like everything they say and their product looks cool from the outside. I'm not using it, but you should check it out. And again, this is untrackable. I remember meeting um, uh, the CMO of drifts, um, at a conference in Dublin and telling him, you know, we're a client of drift because of your podcast. It's a $1,000 a month product. And so he did a video. I have to share that with my team. It goes, you know, they don't trust me. Then when I tell them we make clients doing a podcast, but it works.

But it's untrackable. So Yeah. Well it's funny because one of our clients, he's actually a good friend of mine. He's always like the first client in anything that I do, which is he's the one of the best. We did a case study with him because he uses hubspot to track everything. So he was actually able, because imagine how hard it was for us to be like how can we even get like real data on a content strategy of working, you know? So he was able to pull real real data from one campaign about one piece of long form content he creates and like befores and afters on it.

Like granted it was specific to repurposing content. So there's that. But also he has all the data on all of his long form content and how it actually converts and it's, it was pretty cool to see. But that's so hard to find. I mean, unless you have massive systems in place to track everything and he's a huge systems nerd, but um, it's, it's like you're saying it's next to impossible to know. That's what I wanted the audience to think that it cannot be tracked. It can be tracked. But um, well we have a full time data scientist here. It's 75, 75,000 a year. Um, and we, we hired him like a year ago or a year and a half ago. So before him we had nothing. Um, now we have a system, we have a data warehouse where we're probably spending seven, eight, 10 months to get data, well organized and put, pushed into the right system. So it is, it is incredibly expensive to be able to track these things.

And even when you have all these incredibly expensive systems, you cannot track everything like me listening to their podcast and telling a friend at a dinner that you should does this product because I like those guys. This whatever system you have in place will not work. I remember running a Facebook ad campaign targeting Mexico and looking at the Pixel conversion and revenue conversion and seeing nothing and then looking at my monthly recurring revenue, having think right after I started the campaign and so I said, okay, so the Pixel cannot track conversion that tell me this is working. But when I look at the, because I'm only targeting Mexico, so it's very, very constrained in terms of territory. So when I look at my, my general monthly recurring revenue, it's kind of the same. And when I just focused on Mexico or there is a spike in the spike for two months. For the two months of the campaign I was running. [inaudible] said, okay, something is going on. People are talking to their colleagues at the office because they saw the ad in the bus or I mean there is something untrackable that's happening behind the scene that might peak my Facebook pixel cannot track, but it's happening anyhow.

So it taught me not everything can be tracked or it may be tracked, but then you have to, you know, okay, let's do friends on the friends is, is called going, he's doing in terms of revenue next month or, or that kind of stuff. So it is not impossible, but it's hard and it's expensive. Well, right. And I mean a testament to how well it works is that you're willing to put the budget into the data guy who's running all of it and all of the testing and all of the monthly costs, like the fact that you're willing to put that much into it means that you're already seeing unproven results that matter. So then now it's just attaching as many numbers as you can, which we're still kind of fluid. Yeah. Yeah. And in the early days you don't have that money, so you have to go well, yeah. And I mean that we're in year one, so I get that. That's exactly where we're in a lot of it, you know, for us as relationships do.

Right. So like I get to talk with awesome people like you and I get to still give value to people. So like there's, you know, I'm assuming and I am hoping and I believe truly that this, like this conversation will help people in their lives and in their marketing, not just, I mean for me, we talked a lot about business in general and like the entrepreneurial journey. And it's not like I, based on this conversation, I don't want to now be like, okay, what's a great social media calendar strategy, like go to the social media lab that they are spending all this money to create, to learn, you know, all of those types of strategies. But like these types of conversations to me are so valuable and not just to me, but like to anybody who, who is going through the same thing.

He wants to listen. And I see that as a long term win because I get to know a lot of these and the volts of forever for everybody they listen to and share. True. Yup. So, um, one thing that we always ask everybody at the very end is in 48 hours, what is one thing that somebody who's listening or watching can implement in there strategy in their lives, in their business? I mean, I know we kind of went all over the place, so just something that they can do without a team in the next 48 hours. Okay? So let's stick to exam two, two situations. Situation Number one. Um, you have content out there, you have a content strategy, you're producing content. So what you can do in the next 48 hours, review everything you've produced in the last 30 days and ask yourself where each piece, is it something I'm so proud about that will, I would be willing to send it to all my best friends and tell them, you really have to check this out.

If the answer is no, I wouldn't do that. You have to. You have to spend the next two months. We thinking, what should you be doing? So the next time you do that audit of your own content, you can, you can genuinely say, yes, I am very proud of what I've produced or my team has produced and I would send it to all my friends. So that's if I was producing content, that's the test I used to call it the Margaret test. Would you, would you send that to your mother? Maybe your mother is not interested in into content or social media. So your best friends is from [inaudible] right now. If you don't have any of that, so you're, you're, you have not yet started to create contents. Um, what you can do for the next 48 hours.

Talk to four or five people who are in your target audience who are obviously, if you are in your target audience, ask yourself the question, what, what are the things that you would like to learn and you would like to know in to, to, to progress as a professional or in your business that you have a hard time finding those things, those unique things that only come from experience or experimentation or you know, stuff. Things that are not easy to, you know, five Instagram account you should follow if you're like fashion, like this is not something that's going to change your life. So try to discover and uncover by talking to your people who are in your target audience. What would be those things that you could be writing, speaking, talking, videoing, whatever about so you could make it then and a difference into the target audience you're going after. Awesome. I love those. I love that. It's one for, you know, each side of the road there. That's perfect. Thank you. Well thank you so much for spending time chatting with me. I'm guys with the content coalition.

I hope that you got some awesome value out of this episode and um, Emeric thank you so much. We really, really appreciate you being here. I had a little fun. Thank you for letting me of course. Of course. And guys, we will see ya next week. Thank you so much for checking out this episode of the content coalition. Now, whether you're listening or watching, make sure that you subscribe to the Youtube Channel and to whatever platform you're listening to at on because you're not going to want to miss out on the incredible things that I'm learning with these amazing content marketing pros.

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