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75 Comments

Can you build in public without Twitter?

Most founders utilize Twitter to build in public. I try my best to stay off of social media. Is it possible to build in public without using Twitter? If so, how? Writing blog articles and submitting them to different sources?

  1. 36

    I've been building in public on LinkedIn for 24 months. I've gone from 2,000 followers to over 61,000 followers and generated around 30M content impressions.

    No tricks, no hacks, no gimmicks. Just consistency and patience.

    I don't use blogs, simply short, pithy posts each morning. I feel like organic reach is at an all-time high there.

    I would consider leveraging it if Twitter seems to slow for growth (it does for me).

    Hope that helps.

    1. 6

      That is great to hear! Do you have any advice for sharing our project paperless.io on LinkedIn?

      1. 14

        Hi Jonathan - My best advice is to create daily content that's hyper-focused on the ICP for paperless.io

        I've found that sharing content that gets people to think about the problem you are solving (not content selling your product) and doing so with strong opinions, over time, will help you build a very loyal audience.

        Then, I use the Pareto principle. 80% of the time I add value, 20% of the time, I ask for something (a sale, email address, etc.)

        1. 5

          Curious what is ICP?

          1. 6

            Ideal Customer Profile

        2. 3

          This is really useful advice. Selling the solution to the problem works better than directly selling the product.

        3. 2

          "I've found that sharing content that gets people to think about the problem you are solving (not content selling your product) and doing so with strong opinions, over time, will help you build a very loyal audience."

          This makes so much sense to me! Thanks for sharing your views Justin!

        4. 1

          Thanks for the help! I really like the Content you are creating.

      2. 5

        Hey, very nice animations!

        But what are legal strength of these docs? What courts will honour them for sure? Any cases?.. Gotta answer that, i believe)

        1. 1

          The documentation is legally compliant through our audit trail. We have already had one case where this was applied and passed in front of a judge. 🎉

          1. 3

            Nice! I believe many customers. will be happy to read that in detail at landing :)

            1. 1

              Okay that is a good point. We have it on our landing page but maybe it is not eye-catching enough 🤔

              1. 3

                Yep. I skimmed through, not catched my eye. Maybe promote to header / section

                1. 2

                  Great feedback, thanks! We will work on that.

    2. 1

      Great idea! How can I read your posts on Linkedin?

    3. 1

      Yes, Thank for sharing this amazing. Helps a lot. We just start a LinkedIn.
      Now we focus also on LinkedIn too for our Geeks UI.

      Thank you.

    4. 1

      Wow. Good work Justin. I don't log into LinkedIn much because of all the inbox spam, but I know I'm throwing the baby out with the bath water.

      1. 2

        Thanks, Andy. It can be a great platform to grow on if you can ignore the noise and curate an effective network.

    5. 1

      Hey Justin,

      I would love to know how you manage to do it. I was looking for a place to promote my program and i don't think Facebook suits me very well. It's for non-tech entrepreneurs who want to build an app. Can you give me some advices on how I could use LinkedIn to promote it?

      Cheers

  2. 14

    Yes you can.

    The idea is to build in front of your audience, so if your audience is on a forum somewhere, then that's your "public".

    But you will be limited to only those forums that allow you to post regular updates of what you're up to, e.g. IndieHackers. Some forums may see this as self-promoting.

    The way to get around this is to start a newsletter and then post updates in that newsletter. Then you will need to help people in forums and create content online in order to help drive traffic to your newsletter.

    It is a lot easier on social media because you can just post whatever you want, which is why I think a lot of people use social media to build in public. And it's not that bad - there are tools to help you focus on social media, and not get sucked in to all the other distractions.

    Farez

    1. 4

      Came here to say this!

      Build, then talk where ur audience is.

  3. 7

    Yes, possible.

    • Product milestones in Indie Hackers
    • Product Hunt Maker
    • Makerlog
    • Indielog (video based)
    • wip.chat (paid)
    • dev.to
    • Many more communities have project updates
    • I plan to do project updates and management for members of my private community join.coulf.com in the future too

    I felt the same way you feel with Twitter and stopped updating a few things there. When you build in public in front of a community you can say a lot more than you could on Twitter.

    1. 1

      I totally forgot about dev.to. Have you seen decent engagement there for building in public?

      1. 2

        I personally have an account there and occasionally visit. I have got some of my contacts saying they got decent results by simply sharing helpful content and advice there.

  4. 6

    No one's mentioned GitHub! Open source is the ultimate way to build projects in public as well as crowdsource help doing it. All my personal side projects are open source for exactly this reason.

  5. 4

    If I have to get rid of twitter. I’d build in public on LinkedIn which I’m already do it.

    Apart from social media, engaging platform like IH would be a good place to start. I usually publish on a weekly basis. Not only I get more traction but also helping myself to be more disciplined.

    1. 3

      I haven't been a huge fan of Linkedin but I'm coming around as it being another option. The community there seems to be changing in the last year in being more engaging with in development projects.

      1. 1

        I share your opinion, the community is getting more engaging, but linkedin seems very "glossy" and shiny from my perspective (maybe my bubble). I have gotten to value twitter more for direct feedback

  6. 2

    I'm so conflicted about this as well. I hate social media. But I love the idea of sharing my progress. So many amazing stories to tell. I relented and created an IG account for my product but I'm not creating in public on there. I feel like only a small subset of my audience creates about "how the sausage is made".

  7. 2

    I'm trying to test this idea right now.

    I launched this in the form of a mailing to the substack and yesterday released the first issue:
    https://leits.substack.com/p/leits-makes-stuff-1

    So far things are going well: 15 subscribers and 120 views.

    To promote it a bit, I shared it on Twitter, but I only have 71 followers there.
    Then I shared a link here, on a few subreddits, and published a copy with the link on dev.to.

    And yet, I left links in my public profiles where possible.
    I'm not a very public person, so I hope for organic growth.

    1. 1

      Hi Leits, do you have any tips for how I can share my substack on reddit, without it being reported for self-promo?

      1. 1

        Many subreddits allow self promos if you do not abuse them.
        Subreddits on a relevant topic are usually very loyal to people who want to share their knowledge through the newsletter.

  8. 2

    https://Micro.blog/w4rner has a decent community, but also ability to syndicate out to Twitter if you later chose.

  9. 2

    If you want to be off social media I'd recommend sites and communities like here on Indie Hackers. Twitter is a great place to build an audience though.

  10. 1

    This is a much smaller forum that Twitter but I would definitely consider posts here to be building in public — though likely insufficient. I found Makerlog pretty nice for just listing off things I'm working on daily, but imagine the interactions happen more on Twitter than there.

  11. 1

    Yes. I made a site called Make.rs https://make.rs where makers show what they are working on.

  12. 1

    Audio Interviews are also really great. This one lets you make pretty cool audio updates and it's got a nice audience in the bay area tech scene. https://listenepic.com/

  13. 1

    I use micro.blog :) I just wrote an update about the platform & building publicly

  14. 1

    How should I use LinkedIn to build in public if I don't want my coworkers and bosses to know about it? Should I create a project's profile?
    In case I'm starting from scratch and don't have "connections" with my audience in LinkedIn yet (different industries), should Twitter be easier?

  15. 1

    I find Twitter exhausting but it’s definitely our most common channel for signups. I think part of the reason is on Twitter people are moving quickly - on Reddit, Discord, IndieHackers, more thoughtful, and maybe less impulsive :)

    I would also check out wip.co!

  16. 1

    I mean you can build in public on Indie Hackers, right? :). But blog would be great, too.

  17. 1

    Agree with previous posters, it really depends on the niche you are working on.

    LinkedIn is also a great source to connect with necessary people and distribute posts.

    Moreover, journalists and media people can be easily reached out there as well.

    Our company uses Twitter just to enrich media presence, however most leads and engagement we get from LinkedIn.

  18. 1

    Haha this is a great question. We split our engagement this month between Twitter and Reddit and saw less traction with less time on Twitter. Twitter is pretty powerful because the emotional state of its users is biased towards impulsivity. I like people's suggestion of trying LinkedIn too - a lot of this depends on your user and their problem.

  19. 1

    Guys, I'm building something for the build in public enthusiasts out there. It's a tool, where you can create a page for your product and start publishing your product development there. Think the "Build in public" wordpress. With tools and widgets to help you better test, validate ideas, share insights etc. My idea is to streamline the process, because right now it's all over the place. Like twitter, reddit, blogs, communities, etc.etc. Curious what do you guys think. Are you interested in such a product? Here it is - https://haptic.so

    1. 1

      I like the streamlined nature of this but how does it compare to Twitter/LinkedIn's appeal of discoverability?

      1. 1

        Thanks for your question, @uzoma.

        The same way a mac store compares to a huge mall if you want to buy a mac :)

  20. 1

    I've been building in public in my little paid Substack newsletter.

  21. 1

    There's whole subforums of "progress threads" in business forums.

    For example: https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/forums/entrepreneurial-execution/

  22. 1

    I was just joking with someone that Twitter is one of the essential tools of a startup founder.

    But...I love how @farez puts it. Build in front of YOUR audience.

    I am building a tech-ed startup for senior citizens and so a lot of my stakeholders in the agetech and older adults space are on LinkedIn - definitely not on Twitter.

    I do love using Twitter as a form of sharing my initial thoughts but I've yet to really reap the benefits.

    My tips on making sure Social Media doesn't run your life:

    1. Set your self goals. What do you want to accomplish while you're on social media?

    2. Prepare times of the day to get on You can choose which time of the day you want to share your ideas/startup..try to make a routine

    3. Have fun with it When you are building don't be caught up in what people might think about it.

    I hope this helps someone :)

    Always open to learning from others!

    1. 2

      Nicely put! #1 is spot on. Decide on what you want out of it and then dig in.

    2. 1

      I would add "set an alarm" :D

  23. 1

    I sure hope so because I would rather give up than use Twitter ;-)

    I have a love-hate relationship with Linkedin, but with 12k followers many of whom are my target for my new idea, I realise it will be a good platform to sell on.

    Some really great advice in this thread about talking about the problem rather than your product, using the 80-20 rule, etc. So as I start to role out I will go for Linkedin and leave Twitter in the dust.

    One thing I've been doing recently on Linkedin is unfollowing the dross that distract me - you know, the cat pictures, etc. So I can now go to my home feed and see useful posts by people I want to follow back or chat to.

    1. 1

      hundred % - smaller set of people you want to see in your feed. No need to be all things to all people. That just takes away from your sanity (and focus)

  24. 1

    I've been building Limelite in public on Linkedin. At ~16k followers now after posting at least 1x Mon-Fri for the past year! We are at 1000 installs on the app right now.

    My audience is on LinkedIn so it makes it easy to build there. I'm thinking of moving to twitter soon as well, however, I want to stay focused because I think there is still a ton of potential on LinkedIn.

    Hope this helps!

    1. 2

      What kind of things are you sharing on there?

  25. 1

    linkedin can be other option but as you want to stay away from social media then seems tricky I would suggest at least having one or else go with email newsletter or medium or there are many other niche specific communities websites which you can explore

    1. 1

      Do you have a tip for a medium communty?

      1. 1

        as such currently, I don't know any tips for the medium community you will definitely find it on google but one tip which kind of works everywhere is to be consistent and sincere. best wishes buddy:)

  26. 1

    Social media sucks. I hate it. BUT I have accepted that it’s the biggest way to advertise yourself and your product. It’s the necessary revolution everyone should use. Possible without? Of course but you’re missing opportunities if you’re not on social media.

  27. 1

    Yeap for sure!

    I do it via email and share my posts here on IH https://www.indiehackers.com/post/week-25-of-52-to-indie-hacking-behind-the-scenes-8f9eb0f18f

    Twitter is a great tool to connect with people on a more personal level, so I think it's always good to use it as a platform. But not necessary in any case.

  28. 1

    How do you feel about Twitch?

    1. 1

      @alchemist have you seen any founders doing this?

    1. 1

      How exactly? Because there it's mostly about sharing programming knowledge not really business stuff.

      Asking because I am new to dev.to and I probably miss something :)

      1. 1

        The same as Twitter bit bringing Value to your posts.

        I have done it with colorsandfonts.com and I got to 4k followers

  29. 1

    @Pharlap I think you can surely build such a product, but Twitter is an essential tool that will help you scale the brand awareness of the product in the long run.

  30. 1

    Personally I couldn't. But good luck!

  31. 1

    For sure:

    • blogging
    • makerlog
    • wip.chat
    1. 1

      This comment was deleted a year ago.

  32. 1

    I was hesitant to use Twitter but I’m already getting good traction on the platform. Just started a few weeks ago.

    It’s worth checking out. Especially if your audience is developers.

    1. 1

      Kenneth can you share your twitter handle?

        1. 1

          Will take a look.Thanks

  33. 1

    This comment was deleted 3 months ago.

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