I met all kinds of great people at the Social Media Marketing World event in San Diego last week, and I’m excited to share this interview with you. Emeric is the CEO and Co-Founder of Agora Pulse, an engagement dashboard tool for Facebook, Twitter, and soon Instagram as well. Agora Pulse allows you to track the most important fans and interactions on social, gathering data unlike any other tool. Lucky for us, Emeric is going to be joining us at the Social Tools Summit in Boston in May. Listen to learn more about this great tool, what inspired its creation, and other tools that Emeric loves.
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In This Episode:
- During my session at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego I talked about how to scale, and I talked about a company called Agora Pulse
- Platform specific tools are important: you can use one tool that skims the surface of many platforms, or you can use many tools that each delve in deep to one specific platform
- Agora Pulse is basically an engagement dashboard that does Facebook and Twitter in a unique way, providing unique value
- Agora Pulse is going to be at the Social Tools Summit 2015 in Boston; CEO Emeric Ernoult will be on the panel about the ROI of Social
- Agora Pulse allows you to focus on the people within your social networks that are the most important, saving you time by showing you the people who really matter to your business so you can engage directly with them
- Agora Pulse has done a lot of market research on the ground, asking people where pain points are, and people said: social is a necessary evil, it’s overwhelming, it takes time, it eats a lot of resources, it costs a lot of money, and so on
- It shouldn’t feel that way; It should feel like an asset, like there is an ROI
- The vision for Agora Pulse is that it has to be efficient, it has to help people save those hours and resources
- The tool should also help users visualize the value they’re creating
- Emeric doesn’t think social is the right channel to measure conversions, sales, dollar amount, or to be very direct response oriented
- It’s important to build the right relationships with the right people, so that when it comes time to renew or to choose another product, people don’t think twice
- The goal of Agora Pulse is to measure and attribute value to those relationships and those interactions
- The tools have to fit the strategy and the strategy has to fit the business objectives
- Do social not just to do it, but to fit it into the grand scheme of things and differentiate yourself
- Agora Pulse not only does Facebook, but they also do Twitter, and are in the process of launching Instagram
- The tool makes sure you don’t miss anything inbound, and that you can do your social media in 5-10 minutes a day
- Agora Pulse specializes in engagement monitoring; also does reporting, competitor analysis, and even Facebook contests and promotions
- They make sure it’s simple, and they make sure you know what you’re building as far as quality relationships with the right people
- Agora Pulse ranks your followers, those who are engaging, and syncs real time, even when you aren’t connected, and stores that data
- Other great tools that Emeric loves: CoSchedule, Post Planner, Canva, and more
Neal: Hey, everybody. This is Neal Schaffer. Welcome to another exciting episode of Maximize Your Social. I am back again at Social Media Marketing World San Diego. #SMMW15 Just an incredible amount of information. We have 2,500 people here. I don’t know how many I’ve been able to meet. It’s a lot. For those of you that missed my session yesterday, I talked about how to scale your social media operation. I talked about tools. One of the tools I introduced was a company called AgoraPulse. I talked about the importance of platform specific tools. You can use a general tool that covers a lot of dashboards.
Or you can go with tools that are very, very deep into those platforms. AgoraPulse, they don’t just do Facebook, but it’s an example of a tool that I introduced that does Facebook in a unique way that others don’t have providing unique value as a Facebook CRM. I had another slide, by the way, of AgoraPulse in the presentation of analytics, especially comparative analytics that I thought did a better job than Facebook Insights did, as an example. I’m really happy because AgoraPulse is going to be at the Social Tool Summit. Social Tools ’15 in Boston.
I’m sitting here next to the CEO of AgoraPulse who is going to be on the panel of the business value, the ROY of social and how tools can help you. So I’m really happy. I’m going to allow you to introduce yourself because I’m not going to pronounce your French names.
Emeric: I’m happy. Thank you, Neal. So I’m Emeric. I’m the founder of CRM and co-founder of AgoraPulse. I am 50 percent French and 50 percent American because I was born in New York, but I was raised and educated in France. So you’ll hear a little accent here and there. Just a little. Just a little. I’m thrilled to be coming to Boston on May 12th to be on the panel and meet all the people that will participate as sponsors and attendees.
Neal: So, Emeric, I obviously brought up your tool as an example of a platform specific tool that offers a lot of value, the CRM or analytics or what have you. I know Ian Cleary also in his 12 must have social media tools also introduced AgoraPulse. So how did Ian introduce your tool? Does it align with the value you see in people using whether it’s your tool or a social media tool? Let’s talk about sort of the business value which is a preview of what we’re going to talk about in Boston.
Emeric: The way Ian introduced it was it allows you to focus on the people within your social media accounts, Facebook, or Twitter that are the most important. To basically save time by engaging with the people who really matter for your business and where the most important people for your business. That was the way. So like focus on the most important people. That’s my big vision. That’s my thing. We’ll talk about a bit more about that later. But the one thing I wanted to say is we’ve done a lot of market research on the ground talking to agencies and small businesses and asking what’s the pain? What’s the problem? Where’s the value?
The overwhelming feedback from everybody was like it’s kind of a necessary evil. Social is overwhelming. It’s taking me a lot of time. It’s eating a lot of resources. It’s costing a lot of money. I almost have a full-time person to respond to those tweets. I have to hire an agency. At the end of the day when I look at what I’ve created with social, I’m left with nothing. I’ve just created the feeling that I had to be there and I did my job. That’s it. We thought this is a big problem because it shouldn’t feel that way. It should feel like I’ve done something useful for my business. I’ve done something that is an asset that is a value.
It’s been social ROI, social media ROI has been the big boss for the last couple of years. A lot of people are looking at it in different ways. I have my own ways which will be the discussion of the panel in Boston. I’m not going to disclose too much of it but just a bit. Yeah, that’s the vision for the product as well. I think there has to be an asset. Number one, that time needs to be the most efficient possible. So a tool has to help you save those hours every week to do the same thing. If you save those couple of hours, at least you can use them to do something for your small business if you’re a small business or agency.
Do something else to get new clients. That’s the first thing a tool should be using people to do. That’s our obsession that we want to build the tool that helps them do it more quickly and more efficiently so they can save those hours every week. The second thing is a tool should help them visualize the value they’re creating. We have our own little way of doing it and working on it. It’s still work in progress. There is a lot R&D stuff, but we don’t think social is the right channel to measure conversions, sales, dollar amount, and kind of be very direct response oriented.
We don’t think social is a great channel for direct response. It may be for some, but of the majority it’s not.
Neal: One of your competitors, didn’t they release this application where all you need to do is put buy in a Facebook comment and it will actually purchase them a product?
Emeric: I’ll make some advertisement for my friend Nathan Latka and his Heyo cart. Heyo is a very smart and interesting product, but for me it won’t do a thing. I’m not selling something at $10.00. It’s good for a low priced product. I’m selling a subscriptions product. Everything I have to sell is subscribe to my product and pay $29.00 every month. So I can’t use Heyo cart. A lot of people I know in the B2B sector, we’re selling highly priced product. What they’re looking for with social is not to sell things at $10.00 apiece.
They’re looking for building the right relationships with the right people. That’s the key, with the right people, to make sure those right people get to consider what you’re doing. Or when those right people are your client and have to consider buying something else or another tool that they have the relationship in mind and think twice before leaving. They are more eager to talk to you and try your product if they’ve been engaging with you and having the right conversations. So that is impossible to measure. That’s the goal that we have. That’s the vision that we have, measuring and attributing value to this.
Neal: Really yesterday I was talking about how the tools have to fit the strategy. The strategy needs to fit the business objectives, right. A fascinating person I just met downstairs who just left. He talked about the business value of this. There are a lot of companies that have fallen into that trap. I need to do Twitter, Facebook. I’ve boosted posts. I’ve done ads. I’ve got all these fans. What business value do they have? Right? There is value because some of them have been more active and some are actual customers.
Some might be influencers. Some might be real passionate brand advocates. We don’t know until we use a tool like yours. But this is a company that’s a B2B company. They sell flowers. They sell flowers to the largest grocery chains in the United States. I go so what are you doing social? He goes, well, we’re really big on Facebook. I’m like, hmm. But you’re B2B, right? Yeah, we’re B2B. I’m like why don’t you use B2B social media marketing? He goes, well, there’s only 15 key people in the industry. We know them all. We’re doing business with most of them.
So you’re a B2B company selling flowers that are white labeled. So what is the value of doing Facebook? What’s the business value? He said the business value is we can go in and have Facebook pages that just cover flower lifestyle for every major region in the United States. So we can create unique products and push consumer demand to go to the supermarkets. Now, it’s a value add. Now, in some cases, they have more Facebook fans for their flower page in a certain state than a national grocery chain has nationwide. So I’m like that’s brilliant. You found a unique case for social. You have found that business value.
Now, they can actually do … they can become an agency if they wanted to. There are so many things they can do, but they started with the right mentality which is not doing it for the sake of doing it but fitting it in with the grand scheme of things. Doing it to differentiate themselves and create additional value for their clients. I thought that was just a brilliant example. I don’t hear enough of these stories. So you don’t need to convince these people. They see the value of using. But for those that don’t, how do you begin? I had one client. We have 3,000 Facebook fans.
We did an IPad give away. So they got all the wrong fans for the wrong reasons. It’s like where do you start when people are looking at AgoraPulse and how are you going to help my company? Where do you start with that conversation?
Emeric: The first thing we’re going to help them with is to make sure that they’re not missing anything on the page. We talk about Facebook, but we also do Twitter and Instagram next week. So we’re releasing Instagram in a couple of days.
Emeric: So we make sure you’re not missing anything that’s inbound. Any message that’s being sent at you that’s very important. We make sure that you do it in like five to ten minutes a day. That’s it. Which is what I do with my own Twitter account and Facebook and Instagram as well.
Neal: So I don’t want to label your tool, but I just remembered that some of you may not be familiar or aren’t as familiar as you should be with AgoraPulse. In a nutshell, can you maybe describe? Would you say it’s an engagement dashboard? There’s obviously a lot more functionality than that.
Emeric: Yeah, it has a lot of functionality, but it’s not a very good marketing thing to say we do everything. So there is one thing we do very well. It’s the engagement monitoring. Yes, we do reporting and competitor analysis. We even do Facebook contest and quizzes and promotions.
Neal: Which is how I first found out about AgoraPulse.
Emeric: Historically, that’s what we were doing. That’s how we got known. As of today, we want to position ourselves as a social media management platform with a twist. The twist is that we make things simple. We make sure you know what you’re building in terms of quality relationships with the right people. Being simple, we’re 80 to 90 percent there. Identifying the right people you are building relationships with I’d say we’re 65 percent there. We still have a lot to build. As we’re the only one going in that direction because Hootsuite doesn’t do that. Sprout Social doesn’t do that.
Neal: I was going to ask you that. I’m a consumer facing brand. I can do Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram natively. I can use a Hootsuite or Sprout Social or an enterprise grade tool. So what you’re saying is that instead of these, instead of a Hootsuite, I can use AgoraPulse to achieve the same thing. So I want to hear –
Emeric: Personally, I’ve never enjoyed using Hootsuite. That’s a UX.
Neal: Me too. I don’t think in terms of columns.
Emeric: I don’t think in terms of columns either. I really didn’t like it.
Neal: A big fan of the product from the people. Personally, for me, it’s not my cup of tea.
Emeric: Me neither, but that’s very personal. So I’m not saying it’s not good. I’ve never been a fan of the way it works. I was a fan of Sprout, but Sprout was too expensive for us because we have five people internally. We’re using the social media. You know, $60.00 a month multiplied by five. Even for me, it’s too expensive to just respond to Tweets and Facebook posts.
Neal: I still love and use Sprout. It would be nice if they had grandfather discounts for their old customers. I digress.
Emeric: They do. I’m still on the $9.00 plan. They do.
Neal : Someone’s getting a phone call from me really soon!
Emeric: Yeah, someone. Maybe you unsubscribed and re-subscribed after the pricing increased or something. I kept my account because I’m still using their mobile app.
Neal: Yeah, I still get tremendous ROI. I do have a VA in the Philippines. So I know for each additional person, it tacks on a pretty hefty fee especially compared to a Hootsuite or buffer.
Emeric: It does. Ours is one price unlimited admin. So it makes a big difference if you have a team. Yeah, I like the design of Sprout much more. So we’ve done something that’s a combination of the design of Sprout and the flexibility of Hootsuite that we have one unified inbox. We have one per account. So if you have a Facebook page, you have in inbox with your private messages. Your comments replies to comments and posts and shares and page mentions and all that stuff. On Twitter, you’ll have your re-tweets. You’ll have your mentions. You’ll have your direct messages.
But it’s per account. So it’s easy. Sometimes when I was looking at my Sprout … we have three Twitter accounts, one Facebook page – they don’t do Instagram – that is something we do and they don’t. At least for now, I know it’s coming. It was quite overwhelming to have everything in one feed. I kept thinking on this filter. I only want to see this. So it was better, but it was not the way I wanted it. When I’m managing our accounts, I’m doing account by account because I want to see the context around the comment, around the Tweet, and around everything.
Neal: Do you do that historical tweets that I was showing yesterday about Sprout social which is my favorite feature?
Emeric: No. More than that. We do the historical Facebook which Sprout doesn’t do. There’s a big difference. That’s an important difference when you mention platform specific stuff. Historically, we’re from Facebook. Historically, Sprout and Hootsuite are from Twitter. Twitter is much easier than Facebook. With my CTO, we counted for the number of items you have to take into account when you do Twitter. It’s four. It’s mention, re-tweets, whatever keyword to plug into the keyword search, and the last one is direct messages. That’s four types of items. With Facebook, you have 47 types of items.
Emeric: Yeah. Like unpublished posts is one type of item. Does Sprout manages comments on a dark post or unpublished post?
Neal: I’m not sure.
Emeric: No, they don’t. We do. I can give you the list –
Neal: So if someone unlikes your page after seeing a post or hides a post in the feed, is that one of the 47?
Emeric: No. Unliking a page will never go through the API. You will never know. Not on Facebook nor on any third party tool, but if you do an ad on Facebook as a post but you don’t publish the post on the page, it’s what we call an unpublished post or dark post which John Lummer is a big fan of. You’ll have comments on these. I have comments on all my dark posts, unpublished posts, all of them. Before, I couldn’t see them. So they were either unanswered or if it was a bad comment like you spammy. I hate you. I couldn’t see it. They don’t show up in the notifications. They don’t show up in the notifications.
Neal: I didn’t realize that.
Emeric: You have to go into Power Editor. It’s super complicated. Jon Loomer says it’s a mess. It’s chaos. If you can fix that for me, I’ll use your tool. So now he’s using it.
Neal: Well, that’s a thumb’s up. If there’s anyone savvy at advanced Facebook, it’s Jon.
Emeric: Yeah, it’s true. When John told me that, I went to see my CTO. I said you get that tonight. I want that today.
Neal: So if you have any Facebook feature requests that are missing out of tools, you know the guy to call.
Emeric: You call me or call John. It’s just one example, but again, I’m working on a blogpost to give precise detail of those 47 items and a comparison sheet about who is doing it and who is not doing it. That’s going to be interesting.
Neal: So I was building out my own tool which I’ve never commercialized. This is my developer from the Ukraine. So I know you do Facebook. I want to ask about Twitter and Instagram. So I just want to know over the course of a month, I post on Instagram and get an average of 150 to 200 likes and a few thousand fans. Some of the people who like me might be followers. Some may not. I just want to get a glimpse at the end of the month who’s liked my content more than others. I know like for Facebook … are you doing that same thing for Twitter and Instagram? Am I going to be able to access that data?
Emeric: We do that. That’s one of our unique features. We do that. Again, Sprout and Hootsuite don’t do that. We rank your users. We give you the list of your users by latest activity. We store everything. That’s a big difference between our platform and the other guy’s platform. We sync real time even when you’re not connected. Hootsuite will not do that. So you have to be connected on Hootsuite to see what’s going on. You don’t have to be connected on AgoraPulse. We’ll send you alerts once a day or more if you want about this is what has been happening on your accounts. Go check it out and respond to people, first thing.
Second thing is we sync everything and we store everything. If you want to send alerts once a day, you have to sync and store even while the user is not connected. Because we store, we can give you all the history of engagement and conversation you’ve had with everyone. We can tell you how many times this guy has liked you over the last six months or nine months or whatever. You have to use us. So we will go the last 30 days when you start. Then, it will add up. At the end of the day, we can rank your users. We can score your users. User scoring is really one thing we’re working on very hard and doing a lot of R&D.
That’s where the identifying the most important user for your business will come into the picture.
Neal: It’s fascinating. Is this the functionality that tried to build out for them. It’s more than that. Why doesn’t this exist in the marketplace? I’m really glad.
Emeric: Because it’s tough.
Neal: I’m really glad that you’ve taken the lead on it. I’m really excited to see that. I mean, if you’re listening to this, you’re probably already going over to AgoraPulse.com right now to do a trial. Tell me about your current business model. For those that are listening, how do you structure your plans?
Emeric: The plan starts at $29.00 per month.
Neal: Very reasonable.
Emeric: We want to stick with reasonable. That’s the goal. We don’t want to be the free stuff and very cheap stuff because everything is value based pricing. We think if the value we want to offer is understood, then it does cost more than $10.00.
Neal: So what do you get for that $29.99 plan?
Emeric: You get one Facebook page and one Twitter account, you know, reasonable size. I think it’s like 6,000 fans for the page. The Tweets, it’s kind of unlimited. So we don’t really have to worry about that. For $49.00 you get two pages and two Twitter accounts and two Instagram. So that’s six accounts if you have Instagram as well. $99.00, it’s like five pages, five Twitter accounts, five Instagram and you have up to 150,000 fans. So you have some room, some buffer. The big, big brands with millions of fans, they’re not the ideal target for us. They’ll probably buy the enterprise stuff for $1,000.00.
Neal: So just SMB?
Emeric: Small and medium businesses and small and medium agencies, yes. That’s the target.
Neal: Great. Hey, it’s been great really catching up with you. I’m really excited to continue the conversation. This is what Social Tools Summit is going to be about. It’s going to be about these types of conversations. Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall here at Social Media Marketing World listening to all these conversations? That’s what we’re going to be bringing to Boston. So I really hope to see you there. Any closing notes on not just your tool but tools in general that you want to leave the audience with?
Emeric: The first thing I want to say is come to Boston on May 12th. No question, you don’t have a choice. We’ll be waiting for you. About tools, you mean the tools we love and use?
Neal: Sure. You want to give a shout out to some of the companies that you have a lot of respect for and use that you want to introduce to others, that would be great. As I mentioned, Social Tools Summit is about the industry. We want to support, you know, every tool deserves a look. There are so many great companies and tools that just never get found or people don’t even know the functionality. I still was categorizing AgoraPulse as a Facebook campaign platform. But I know I’m going to be trying you out now after hearing this. I mean, it’s great. It’s what I’ve wanted to do. Any other tools you want to bring up, that’s great.
Emeric: Of course. We use and love CoSchedule on our blog.
Neal: Me too. Did you meet Garrett Moon?
Emeric: Yeah, I did.
Neal: What a great company and great product. I’m really excited to see where they take it.
Emeric: It’s incredible that no one else has done what they’ve done which is basically what we all need, right. If you need a calendar for WordPress.
Neal: If you use WordPress and have multiple authors, you need CoSchedule. Maximize Social business uses it. I manage 25 bloggers using it. It’s awesome.
Emeric: It is. Absolutely. It’s affordable too which is great. I like Post Planner very much.
Neal: Me too. Josh Parkinson. Great guy.
Emeric: Josh is a very good friend.
Neal: Now, they created a web app and doing more than just Facebook. Is there a little bit of overlap now do you think?
Emeric: I love all my competitors. That’s number one.
Neal: Embrace them.
Emeric: I invite them to come and have a beer with me and chat about our metrics and how we’re doing, how they’re doing, and exchange advice and tips and share experiences. Yeah, there is some kind of an overlap, but their key strand is really on content discovery. We’re absolutely not doing this. We’ll never do that. Our key strand is for the engagement and the reporting and all that stuff. They’ll never do that either. So it’s kind of where they’re good at we’re not good at and vice versa.
Neal: I mean, as the conversations of you need a toolbox of 10 to 20 tools. Unfortunately, companies are trying to integrate them all and buy out other companies. But I don’t think it’s going to happen.
Emeric: I have more. We use more than 20 tools. As a startup, we used tools for everything. It’s like it’s crazy.
Neal: Yeah, I’ve used every tool we’ve talked about so far. I mean, I have a Hootsuite account, Sprout social, CoSchedule, Post Planner. Let’s keep going. What else?
Emeric: What else? You mean social media related or content? Content, I use BuzzSumo.
Neal: I use BuzzSumo too.
Emeric: Steve Reyson, the founder, is a good friend. I invited him to San Diego. I don’t know if you saw him.
Neal: Great guy. Yeah, we had a talk yesterday. He showed me their new trending topic stuff.
Emeric: Yes, very interesting. So it’s one of them. I use Canva. I love Canva.
Neal: I use Canva too. We are going to have a company called Post Create. That’s one of the sponsors of Social Tool Summit that’s going to talk about their tool which is a little bit different than Canva. One thing about Canva is it’s seemingly simple, but it has its own layer of complexity. Buffer has released Pablo. Love the name. Although it’s limited, it’s very easy to use. So that’s an interesting market. I think before Canva and PicMonkey, they’re still a great company. But, yeah, there are other choices out there as well that I wanted to
Emeric: And the last one.
Neal: Let’s see if I use it. Drum roll, please.
Emeric:We’re not going to give the 50 tools that we’re using. I don’t even know how many tools are on the tech side, but it’s a lot too. The last one is a discovery I did recently. So we’re a SAS company. We have a lot of support, a lot of support tickets.
Emeric: No. Service that connects to Zendesk. That’s your help center within your app, within your website. It provides you with insights as to how people search your knowledge base. When they don’t find their answer, they end up sending you a ticket. It tells you these are the keywords that they search for. This is a ticket that they sent. That gives you everything you need to upgrade or add content into your existing help center.
Neal: So it’s like a user management. It’s tracking each individual login user.
Emeric: Yeah. It’s really they say the SEO for support content. It’s really what it is. It’s called Support Hero, supporthero.io. Easy to remember. Since we’ve started using this, we’ve reduced the number of inbound tickets by 50 percent of the support tickets that we used to have. Just to give an example, people were searching to cancel their subscription. They were searching for unsubscribe. None of our support content about how do I cancel my subscription contained that word.
We were getting a couple of tickets per day. At the end of the week, like 10 to 20 tickets per week or whatever. Boom. Add unsubscribe in the article, you know now. Those tickets are not coming to you anymore. So it was a great discovery.
Neal: That’s great. This is an example. At Social Tool Summit, we have sessions like marketing automation. You have a sucido which is doing the social media market automation. Social media replace nothing but complements everything. So when we do it in the Bay area, we’re going to do it two days in the fall. We’re probably going to have social media for customer service. This will be a tool that complements everything else, right. That just bears mentioning in the conversation. It’s not just about social. It’s about business.
I think that’s obviously going to be the panel you’re on, the business value of social. So it’s a good lead into that. Thank you so much for your time today. This has been great. Needless to say, I know if you’re listening to this and you haven’t checked out AgoraPulse recently or you never checked them out, you will. I look forward to continuing the conversation in Boston on May 12th. Socialtoolssummit.com.
Emeric: Me too. Thank you, Neal.
Neal: Merci beaucoup.
Neal: That’s it for another episode of Maximize Your Social. Wherever you are in the world, make it a great social day. Bye-bye, everybody.
Transcript provided courtesy of GMR Transcription Services, Inc.