How to save yourself a ton on community management: Q&A with Beatrix founder Jon Yongfook Cockle

Beatrix

Beatrix

Move over Buffer, Beatrix is a small startup with big ambitions that could upset the content world. Not only are they tackling a difficult and changing problem but they are launching in a complex and highly misunderstood market – content.

While purists will no doubt ball and holler that curation is nothing new and amazing content creation and management is difficult/art/science/holy grail (and to varying degrees they are right), Beatrix doesn’t claim too much right now it simply does what it says on the tin. It recommends high quality content from multiple reputable sources and schedules it to go out at the best times for your target groups.

You alter these tweets (and Facebook posts) and add in your own then sit back wait for them to post and you get a report of activity surrounding the content. Simple, fast and cheap. Could it really be the trifecta? It’s not perfect by any stretch but it’s got real potential and from $20 a month – it’s pretty affordable and time-saving. I spoke with CEO, Jon Yongfook Cockle about where he sees Beatrix going next.

Fast cheap Good

Paul Armstrong: There’s lots of competition out there — who are you direct competitors (I want at least two names) and how have you differentiated?

John Yongfook Cockle: Actually we are tackling a pretty difficult problem – content creation – and there’s not a lot of other folks doing the same thing. There’s *lots* of social media management tools out there, I agree, but that’s really only a small part of what we do. Our main mission is to help people create great content for their social channels. When you think of a “perfect” social media account, it needs to contain interesting links, photos, maybe some interactive stuff like questions or polls, and it all needs to be relevant to the industry of the account owner. But for many business owners, creating a rich social account like that can take way more time than they have, or maybe they just don’t really know where to start in the first place. That’s where we come in.

PA: Why did you start Beatrix?

JYC: I’ve seen a couple of other companies with some overlap, but not direct competitors. There’s Percolate who are tackling the same problem, but their target market is bigger companies and brands, who need team collaboration / approval processes in order to push things to social. For us, we are aimed more at individuals – either social media managers, or business owners who want to do it themselves.

There’s another company called Swayy and they seem to be more aimed at consumers who need to easily find interesting stuff to share. Obviously there’s some overlap with each of these tools but I think our targets are slightly different and obviously our execution is very different in each case.

I’ve used tools like Buffer to schedule posts for my social accounts, or accounts that I’m responsible for (e.g. previous company I worked for) but eventually I just forget to buffer things and the accounts go quiet. That’s not good. With social, just contributing stuff consistently is half the challenge. So I thought about maybe hiring someone to help me out with my social accounts, but I couldn’t really justify the cost – it fell into that grey area where it was kind of too much for me to do by myself, but not enough to have a whole other person doing it for me. So I thought “maybe I can build a system for this…”. Then I got talking to some companies as potential customers, and they loved the idea, so soon after that Beatrix Version 1 was launched 🙂 We are now on Version 5.

Beatrix screen grab

PA : How do you find the content you recommend? What’s the algorithm weights for “good” content?

JYC: That’s all based on a proprietary engine / algorithm. I can’t give too much away but in a nutshell we import tens of thousands of feeds daily. Then from that data, we filter out a lot of it; I’d say around 60 or 70% gets filtered out. The things we filter out are articles that are too “newsy” (like a sports match score, or a new product launch, or a review) since they lose their relevance too quickly.

We focus on bubbling “evergreen” content to the top – content that stays relevant regardless of the date it was created – since this type of content gets great results on social for our customers. In addition to our filters we look for other signals too, we use external social rankings (e.g. if a post has been retweeted many times) as well as internal rankings (e.g. have other Beatrix users shared this post) to rank and weight content.

But in the end, the user is in control — Beatrix’ job is just to suggest things to the user, and the user can say yes or no. Kind of like working with an intern, but a very fast one who lives in your browser 🙂

PA: What aren’t brands getting about social / content that a) you fix and b) you wish they would?

JYC: Our target isn’t brands really. Our target is SMEs. Brands get plenty of help already on social – there are lots of agencies out there wanting to work with brands to help them with social. For SMEs I think the thing that they get wrong is just general participation. Either they don’t know how to participate in social (“what do I post?”) or they don’t do it regularly enough.

PA: How do you help brands be better? You could argue this simply is filler content…

JYC: Beatrix is engineered in a way where a human being reviews every post that goes out, and if they don’t like a post, they replace it with another one that they do like. I’d hardly call this “filler” content, this is helping people to create content that they like – and hopefully their audience enjoys.

PA: There is no “why” (content works/doesn’t work) with the service simply doing. Why did you leave this part out?

JYC: We certainly don’t guarantee any kind of result. That’s not our value proposition. But we do have pretty neat reports that tell you how you’re doing. [Brands and people] should have a sense of what [their] audience likes, so when Beatrix suggests things [they] can use [their] instincts and choose the right things. Naturally, you can’t really replace that kind of instinct with a machine.

PA: What’s the future of the service?

JYC: We definitely want to branch out into more types of content. The Beatrix of the future will be able to suggest images, links, texts and more – and also be more country and date aware, for example suggesting more Valentine’s content around Valentine’s Day.

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