Guillaume: from 34 to 10K followers in a week
Today I'm pleased to talk to Guillaume I met on Twitter. It is the person whom I bookmark the most on Twitter (french content, but worth to read with a translator), then I hope you will appreciate the content.
Hello Guillaume! Thank you for your participation to AboutStartup! Can you introduce yourself?
Hi i’m Guillaume, I'm a fullstack developer for a little over a year after a professional retraining because before I was a financial analyst! I now work for a fintech company in Paris and in my free time I develop all kinds of applications that I share on twitter!
You built Youlearn and a free LinkedIn tool to write answers with AI, can you tell us the story behind?
To become a dev I did an intensive 6-month bootcamp but at the same time I always learned dev with tutorials available for free on YouTube! The problem with YouTube is that the platform is entertaining and not educational, so you can quickly get distracted and have trouble concentrating for hours on a more or less complex subject! So I created YouLearn which allows you to transform a YouTube video into an e-learning platform. I first kept it for myself then shared it with my bootcamp colleagues! they were all seduced by the idea so I decided to launch the project in #buildinpublic on twitter! The project has been live since mid-December and counts more than 600 users with 0 marketing only word of mouth!
I loved this experience of developing and sharing what I was doing! Even if I have a junior level it allows me to progress enormously at the level of the dev! So I reiterated by developing Linkedia which is a chrome extension that uses the OpenAI API to generate automatic responses on linkedin based on a feeling (negative, questioning, positive etc)!
Then I created many other projects such as an open source script that allows you to display your last 3 subscribers on your twitter banner, a library to easily customize the cursor on your site, another linkedin extension to improve the interface for bookmark posts more easily, and many other small projects!
And it’s all free?
Completely ! all the projects I released so far are completely free and very often open source!
Even if my code level is very correct, making my projects open source also allows me to learn from more experienced people!
The other interest of making a project free allows me to give a lot to my community in order to thank them for following me! it allows me to have a certain credibility on what I develop the day when I will propose a paying tool!
Do you have plans to monetize a project later?
As I said, the purpose of all my previous projects and to bring credibility for a future project! Currently I'm working on an event tracking project on any website, just put in the code a POST request to an event to be notified in real time and get data that will generate statistics ! There can be lots of uses for this project, from the most basic such as registering a user or paying on a site to the most complicated for tracking bugs or others. This project will be a freemium project!
I do not exclude that if my current projects count enough traffic to remunerate the latter by the sale of advertising for example (but always keeping a fluid navigation for the user!)
You have a large audience on Twitter (>20k) and you went from hundreds to 10k followers in a few days. What is your secret?
This period was quite incredible, I went from 34 followers to +10,000 people in just over a week! Basically I was tweeting on an open source project that I was setting up which allowed you to display your last 3 followers on your twitter banner every 60 seconds automatically! I started by asking if some people wanted to subscribe so that I could see if it worked, then people got into the game and wanted to see themselves on my banner!
Coupled with that I had decided to deliver more value in my tweets so I was doing threads with lots of unknown but extremely useful tools and the added value combo of tweets + people who stay on my profile to see their image on my banner has a lot more to the algorithm which pushed my tweets in a spectacular way despite the size of my audience and that for 2 weeks which allowed me to gain on average more than 1000 subscribers per day!
(I only tweet in French so I can't even imagine if my tweets would have been in English the results I would have obtained with the same enthusiasm!)
I think that for small accounts that want to grow on twitter, you have to specialize in a theme and bring a lot of value to it without expecting anything in return and interact a lot with comments and followers! There is no secret even if it doesn't break through immediately one day or another, patience always pays off!
Do you use other channels than Twitter to inform people about your projects?
Currently no and I think it was a mistake on my part! tomorrow the platform loses its attractiveness or closes, I would be totally dependent on it!
In the short term I will condense my content into a weekly newsletter and I am thinking about getting started on twitch (given that I spend a lot of time coding so live coding can be interesting) and more traditional formats like Youtube for example!
What are the main issues you encountered ?
With the explosion of my followers on my twitter account, I also had the right to the wrong side of the platform. That is to say people who are negative without being constructive! everyone has the right to have their opinion but an opinion that has the sole purpose of being mean is not necessarily useful especially when it is published for this purpose
I wasn't necessarily prepared for this and I took a step back with the platform, which obviously stopped the enthusiasm for the algorithm on my behalf! But since I continue to post and I have a healthier growth which allows me to avoid this kind of unnecessary wave of jealousy..
What are your tips for people who want to develop projects too?
I think the best advice I could give would be to not give up! I see too many people who develop projects but never finish them! the buildinpublic on twitter is a good way not to give up because even if no one likes or comments on your posts personally, I use the buildinpublic as a logbook to remind me of where I come from and all that I have accomplished!
And there is nothing more motivating to see the progress made!
For those who want to make a living from it or earn extra income with their projects, the advice I will give is to quickly pivot! there's no point in making a perfect MVP with a dark theme on a project that won't have a user! Instead, you have to launch a landing page, ask your targets if they are interested and develop a first version as simple as possible as quickly as possible! and if from there it takes then you have to iterate on it! if not, you have to change plans!
Final words, do you have a fun fact that happened to you?
Twitter is full of amazing people! and when you receive a DM bring interest to it because sometimes there are incredible encounters to be made! Recently I replied to someone who sent me a simple "hi", this person had 3 subscribers and an anime profile picture but it turns out that the person behind this account is someone very well placed in a very well-known company (thank you Linkedin) and frankly I learned a lot from our discussion!
So give importance to the people who give it to you, you will be surprised to see the number of positive things that can happen to you!