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Tips for Building in Public as A Founder From Europe Eu by@vascoabm
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Tips for Building in Public as A Founder From Europe Eu

by Vasco MonteiroOctober 27th, 2022
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A year of building in public is challenging, but it's an extremely powerful marketing strategy to get ANY startup off the ground. Building in public builds trust, transparency, and authenticity, and attracts talent & customers to your business. Don't focus on more than 2 social media platforms, just pick two and go for it. TikTok's organic reach can be insane, but there's a downside to it. If you want to reach an audience other than the people in your country, it's impossible to change this.

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Building in public is challenging, but it's an extremely powerful marketing strategy to get ANY startup off the ground.


Here's what I've learned from a year of building in public 👇


But first, who am I?

Here's me, I'm 24yo from Portugal 🇵🇹


Me

I'm the founder of Vettted.com, which it's not just another marketplace 😎


The quick rundown:

  • Started doing SEO in 2015 (still do it)

  • Created a multi-6 figure SEO brand

  • Launched a SMMA agency

  • Started offering productized services on freelance marketplaces

  • Realised there was a need in the market for something different....spent the last year building my own 👨‍💻


And that brings us to today!


So, what did I learn from all of this time #buildginginpublic?


Why you NEED to "build in public"

Things get easier when you show the world what you're creating.

  • You get to create your OWN narrative that an audience can follow & get behind.
  • Putting yourself out there builds trust, transparency, and authenticity
  • Immediate feedback from people following YOUR journey
  • Attracts talent & customers to your business

Putting yourself out there and showing what you're building, will make people connect with you.

Those connections will turn into supporters, which later on can turn into customers.


Where to build in public?

Literally anywhere.


Here are a couple sites:

  • IndieHackers (+1 for supportive community)
  • Twitter (+1 for a lot of makers)
  • TikTok (+1 for the crazy organic reach)
  • Reddit (+1 for a super loyal community)

Don't focus on more than 2.


You don't have time to learn the algorithm of more than 2 social media platforms. Just pick two and go for it.


I chose Twitter and TikTok.

  • Twitter because I could just snap a picture of whatever it was I was working on (i.e. my desktop setup, a Figma mockup, grabbing a coffee, a pic of my do) and at the same time write a funny or insightful caption.
  • TikTok because of its orgnaic reach..which I later learned that for EU base founders looking to reach a worldwide audience, might not be the best idea.


To get the most out of the content you're producing, make sure to syndicate it.


I would syndicate my TikToks to Reels (Instagram's version of TikTok), IndieHackers, and YouTube.


Since February 2021, I've been documenting my startup journey on a weekly basis on tiktok 👈


The issue with TikTok 🤨

Even though the organic reach can be insane, there's a downside to it.

If you're in Portugal like me (or in any other European country), and want to reach the US, it's virtually impossible.


TikTok's algorithm shows your videos to people that live in YOUR country.

And it's impossible to change this. tried (and failed).

You can try using a VPN, changing the location on the Appstore, removing your SIM, and still, it won't work.


So if you want to reach an audience other than the people in your country, please note that with TikTok, it'll be difficult.


The reach, however, is crazy, but the value of each view is much less than a view on YouTube.

On TikTok, people scroll, watch a 20-second clip, and then forget you ever existed.


TikTok vs Instagram 🤜💥🤛

As a European founder trying to reach broader audiences while #buildinginpublic, TikTok was clearly NOT the right choice.


The exact same content on Instagram had 20x the views and was shown to a worldwide audience, not just to a Portuguese one, like on TikTok.


TikTok shows your videos to the country you're based in.


Here's the difference between TikTok and Instagram:

My dog

After a full year of posting, this happens over and over again.

Instagram consistently gets more views and reaches a broader audience (not just PT).


Twitter 🐦

Twitter is a great place to #buildinpublic


People are super supportive on there.


Just look at the organic reach I was able to get in such a short amount of time:

My dog

And that's ALL ORGANIC 🥬🥕🍅


Twitter was/is definitely a great source for organic traffic.


Launch, then think about it

I regret not doing this...I delayed the launch by wanting to add more and more features.

This was me...in hindsight, this hurt us a lot.

My dog

Eventually, we just decided to launch with an unfinished product, which was the right thing to do.


Tips for building in public

I'm not by any way the most successful person building in public, but I do have some tips, as a European founder 🇪🇺


Assuming you want to reach a global audience with your startup, you'll be speaking in English.


Tip #1: Embrace it

Embrace your accent.


The first thing you need to know is that (most times) English won't be your main language, and people will judge you for that.


But you just need to keep pushing through.


Tip #2: Face, face, face 🌝

Make sure to show your face.

People connect with people.


And while building in public YOU are the face of the business.

Don't be afraid to be on camera.


If you want to be in the 1%, you need to be willing to do what the other 99% aren't doing 👇

do it

Tip #3: Consistency


You absolutely NEED to be consistent.

🔑 I know it sounds clichê, but consistency truly is the key to success.

That's it. You can spin it however you like it, but at the end of the day, if you're consistent at anything you do, eventually you'll get it.

This isn't just for European founders of course.


Here's my "consistently schedule":

  • 1 video per week
  • 1 tweet per day


Simple as that.


Tip #4: Knowing WHAT to post

Your goal is to document the process.


Share WINS, LOSSES & all the boring stuff.


Every little small thing, from registering your company, buying your domain to setting up an SSL - All that matters when you're building in public.


You might think that posting about installing an SSL or about buying the domain is boring...and it is boring, but that doesn't matter.


You need to look at the content you post as a whole, not just at the single pieces of content.

Because all those loose pieces will create a narrative and build a story around you (as founder) and your business.


If you step back, you'll see a clear trend. And this is what people see as well.


Like this...here's the narrative these "boring" posts create: My dog

As you can see, none of these are that interesting on their own...but together, they tell a story.


And THAT is what you're looking for.


And that's an example for Twitter, here's one for TikTok: tiktok

So again, just documenting the process doesn't matter how boring it seems, when you put it all together, that's when ✨the magic happens✨


Tip #5: The basics

Reply to every comment. Like every comment.


Here's how:

Someone: "Great work, can't wait for the launch! Good luck."

❌ Thanks! ✅ Thank you [name], I appreciate the support. We can't wait to get this going too! I'll let you know as soon as we're live :)


Try not to use low effort replies.


If people take time out of their day to leave a comment, make sure you also take time off yours to properly address them.


The people who interact are your most valuable followers. Make sure not to let that go to waste.


Tip #6: Tie it all up

Leverage everything you've been posting and make a long-form piece of content.

You can just compile all you've been posting and launch a mini-docu series while you narrate over it.

I uploaded mine to YouTube, you can see it 👈

Closing thoughts

None. Just get started!


If you're currently building a startup, go to your camera roll and post something on Twitter.


Open Instagram and record a video update (do it every week, be consistent)

Just get started <3


Also published here.