Marketing, Personal

What I Learned From Using Twitter Ads


I’ve recently begun searching for a job again.

On top of the usual job boards and applying directly at the companies’ sites, I took a more proactive way by putting ads on myself. Because in the tech startup industry, positions can be carved for the right person – it isn’t a must for me to wait for the right opportunity to show up.

Here’s a sample of the tweets, and they all go to a page with my resume.

Twitter Ad Screenshot

Twitter ads are a cheap way of getting traffic, I spent between $0.07 – $0.35 per link click. It’s definitely something a marketer should consider when it comes to paid traffic. In terms of results, I did get a few emails on potential career opportunities and some buzz from Twitter users.

If you do try Twitter ads for yourself, here are some lessons I’ve learned on using Twitter ads.

Optimize Your Landing Pages For Mobile

Twitter is available on web and mobile. However, a large percentage of my ads were clicked on by users on mobile, which caught me by surprised.

My landing page was initially not optimized for mobile and that probably costs me some leads. If you are going to put ads on Twitter, you definitely want to make sure your landing page looks good on mobile.

Add A CTA In Your Ad Copy

I’ve read it from somewhere that adding a CTA in your tweet improves its spreadability. This is also true for ads. Adding a CTA isn’t complicated – all you need to do is to put a “Please RT” or something similar. When I change my ad copy from this:

“I’m looking for a job! Let me help you get better deal flow, partners and reach a wider audience across Asia.”

to this:

“Hire me to help you get better deal flow, partners and reach a wider set of audience all across Asia. Click for more

My CTR increased by 10%. Although this increase isn’t fantastic, it was a good result considering that all it needs was a tiny tweak in my ad copy.

Create Different Ads For Different Countries

Some countries are more social than others, so their engagement rates are much higher than others. I’ve placed my ads for APAC countries and I observed that Indonesia gave me the highest retweet rates. That’s not too surprising, considering that Indonesia and Philippines are big on social media.

Interestingly, Indonesia didn’t give me much followers – I had more new followers from Malaysia. If I were to put Twitter ads again, I will craft ads with different CTAs to suit the user behavior of different countries.

Forget About Custom Audience

Facebook only requires a minimum of 20 people to create a custom audience, Twitter needs 500 – 660. This makes precise targeting extremely difficult if your audience pool isn’t big.

I had an idea of buying a list of male and female Twitter handles so I can create custom audiences and target the people I’m going after by specifying that my ads are only shown to a specific gender.

That means that if I have a list of 50 handles that I want to target and they are mostly males, I would create a custom audience with this 50 handles by including 450 handles of female users (which I don’t care about). I’ll just select to show the ads to males for this campaign.

I’ve tried buying a list of bots/fake Twitter accounts off Fiverr, unfortunately that didn’t work. :(

Will I Use Twitter Ads Again?

All in all, I think ads on Twitter are great for paid traffic, it’s affordable and you can seed the virality of your content with the right copy (after all, it only takes 2 clicks to retweet).

But I would think twice about using Twitter ads for getting leads or sales because of how complex it is to reach the right audience. Or maybe it’s just that I have not figured how to do it properly.

If you know of any tips on putting up Twitter ads, do leave a comment below!


Elisha Tan is the Founder of TechLadies. TechLadies is a community for women in Asia to connect, learn, and advance as programmers in the tech industry. Elisha is also the Developer Programs Regional Lead for Asia Pacific at Facebook.

Marketing, Starting up

4 Cheap and Quick Starting Up Tips for the Non-Tech Founder

Starting a tech startup without any technical skills is hard. Although it is getting easier to pick up programming skills via free platforms like Codecademy, Khan Academy and the likes, learning enough technical skills to be proficient for your product can still take a long time.

So what can you, the non-technical founder, do?

Demonstrate Value To Bring A Technical Person On Board

As a non-tech founder, you need a technical person (whether as a co-founder or a founding member) in a tech startup. And the best way to attract a smart technical person to join you is by demonstrating that

  1. Your business has value and
  2. You are the best person to run this.

Here are four ways that you can go about doing that.

1. Test Value Proposition

What is the biggest pain point that your startup is solving, and how do you communicate that to your target audience?

That may be one of the most important question a founder must answer. Fortunately, you can find the answer without having any technical skills. There are a couple of ways you can find out what message and value proposition resonates best with your target audience.

1. Facebook Ads or Google Adwords
Test value propositions by creating a different ad for each proposition. Run these ads on Facebook or Google Adwords (or even both, if your budget allows it) and track which value proposition gets the most clicked. This will be the proposition that best resonate with your target audience.

If you’re not sure who exactly is your target audience, which isn’t an uncommon problem when you just started out, you can also test that with ads. Just target different value propositions with different set of audience and track which audience/value-proposition set gave you the best returns.

2. Landing Pages
If an ad (usually limited to 70 – 90 characters) cannot fully encapsulate the value you are creating, test it with landing pages instead. There are plenty of tools out there to help you create landing pages without needing you to know how to code. Here are some of them:


2. Start Making Money

Nothing validates your idea better than people putting their money on it. You can do that on your landing page, or you can leverage on existing platforms for that.

If you’re starting a hardware company, you can test it out by running crowdfunding campaigns on sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

If you’re starting a software company, you can test it out on Fiverr. Fiverr is a marketplace where you can find people to do tasks (or called ‘gigs’ on the site) online for $5. Since an algorithm is just automated human intelligence, you can start testing your idea by providing a service manually.

Here are some examples of different kinds of software businesses, and how it can be converted into gigs on Fiverr.

  • Homejoy (Marketplace) – “I will find and validate qualified home cleaners in your vicinity who fit your schedule.”
  • Moz (Saas) – “I will analyze your website and give you ideas on how to improve your site’s SEO.”
  • Groupon (E-commerce) – “I will bring you hundreds of new customers to your offline store.”


3. Gather Your Community

If for some reason (say, your idea is much more complicated) making money isn’t possible without a product, at least start by building your community. Start a blog, start getting email addresses of your potential users, bring on some possible partners, mentors and potential investors.

Doing this does two things:

  1. Prove that there is possible demand for your product and
  2. Prove that you can gather the right resources for your product.

There are plenty of free blogging services such as Blogger and Medium, but I strongly recommend WordPress simply because of the comprehensive range of free plugins that the WordPress community has created.

On my other blog, I used WordPress, SumoMe (for a pop-out to collect email addresses, in exchange for an ebook), and Mailchimp (an email marketing campaign tool I use to send out the said ebook automatically).

4. Design And Test Your Product

As the visionary of your product, you can start designing how your product should look like. The most basic way of creating a prototype is to draw it on paper. Otherwise, there are free or cheap tools that can help you create a clickable prototype:

Once you have a prototype or mock-up of your product, talk to your users to find out what they want and what they like and don’t like about your product. The best way to do that is to meet your users and watch them ‘use’ your prototype.

If meeting your users isn’t possible, another alternative is to install a live chat tool, such as Olark or Zopim (both have free plans), on your landing page or existing website. Otherwise, you can create short usability tests on UsabilityHub.

Make something people want

“Make something people want” is the startup mantra of many accelerators, founders and mentors. I agree with it, but somehow I feel that the part, “people want” is so much underrated and overshadowed by the former “make something”.

(If you have noticed, the 4 tips above all seek to help you address what people want.)

There are simply too many products out there without a clear understanding what problem they are solving, much less having a clear view of who their target audience is. And no, “everyone” is not a target audience.

As a non-tech founder, knowing what people want presents a very compelling reason for a technical person to join in, which is just what you need to kick-start your product!


Elisha Tan is the Founder of TechLadies. TechLadies is a community for women in Asia to connect, learn, and advance as programmers in the tech industry. Elisha is also the Developer Programs Regional Lead for Asia Pacific at Facebook.

Marketing, Starting up

Bits and pieces

My delegate pass to the recent BlueSky festival by ACE, mad props to Kel for the free ticket! Speaking of the name, I was battling between Learnary and Learnemy when I was registering myself, and I really couldn’t remember what name I put down when I was at the door. Pretty amazing that I settled on this name after all.
And yes, my notebook is so inspirational that sometimes, it encourages me to procrastinate more. :D
My director letter from ACRA a few days after incorporation. I realized that in the end with the extended deadline and the discovery of hidden cost, I could have save about $50 more on incorporation. :(
Anyway, my dad thought I struck rich when he saw this letter. I had no heart to tell him that this company is an empty shell still. But hey, I’m a director! You’re still an executive! HAHAHAHAHAHA! :X

P.S: You will get a similar letter (for shareholder) too if you have help build Learnemy in any way.

Was chosen to pitch for the investor session at Founder Institute last week. But because the boyfriend just finished his exams the weekend before the session, I didn’t have time to sit down and scare myself about the impending doom of pitching. So I thought I should try to convince myself that the mentors/investor are all in love with me, they can’t wait to hear what story I’m going to tell them, and nobody can be un-nice to me when I look at them with my big eyes. To further calm my nerves, I wrote keywords as hints on my palm. 
In the end, I did pretty well actually! Even show-off my palm to Jeff during the break. :D 

Early Christmas gift from the team behind the World’s Coolest Intern competition! Saw this brown box on my desk which I ripped it open expecting a mobile phone, but I found this small box staring at me instead. Actually, the box was wrapped in place with a plastic wrap. Just that I was too excited to see what it was that I didn’t bother to snap a picture before that. I thought I was going to get some ear rings instead…
But it was an Ipod shuffle! 
Came with a congratulatory card too. 

 Hmmm. Awkward ending to this post.


Elisha Tan is the Founder of TechLadies. TechLadies is a community for women in Asia to connect, learn, and advance as programmers in the tech industry. Elisha is also the Developer Programs Regional Lead for Asia Pacific at Facebook.


4 Things Your Social Media Voice Can Learn From Raps (Part 2)

This is the part 2 of the 4 things that your social media voice can learn from raps. I must say, I have so much fun in researching and blogging about this topic. It’s kind of like a marriage between my topics of interest. :)

“Where all my dogs at…Randy/ Get off my dick, bitch…Andy/…Go against me now, I dare you…Bambi” – Nicki Minaj’s “Blazin” (Feat. Kanye West)

Whaaaaat is going on? Minaj probably has some authenticity and style in her delivery, but seriously, do you understand what’s going on?

Take a look at these two songs.

Map the Soul tells three stories about what the artists can’t live without. The first verse is about love, the second is probably talking about God and the third verse is talking about God. Even if you’re never in love or are an atheist, you probably can relate to the stories told in this song. Honestly, Map the Soul is the most lyrically beautiful rap song I’ve ever heard. It’s really, really beautiful. What makes it more awesome is how the artists are able to succinctly tell their stories when they only have one verse each, unlike all other songs which gives the artist 3 -4 mins to express themselves.

Then we have Eminem’s When I’m Gone, which in my opinion, is about the balance that all career parents have to make. Out of love, he was busy making money in order to give his kids a better life but he ended up neglecting them, which is the anti-thesis of love. It was particularly heart-wrenching during the part where the little pile up boxes to stop her dad from leaving and how the little girl commented that her father chose his work over his family. Makes me wanna tear even though I don’t have a kid.

Food for Thought
A question to think about is on how you can share your story in your style while keeping it relatable to your audience. It sounds hard but I think it merely looks harder than it is. You’ll probably be able to relate if you can type in a style that does not resemble Minaj’s lyrics, I mean, I don’t do anything special in my writing (except that I minimize my use of Singlish here) and my 10+ loyal readers still get what I mean. ;)

There’s a playlist in my Ipod Touch that’s filled with what I called Motivational Raps. While I haven’t seen any companies who can inspire by their social media efforts, I sure have heard many inspirational raps, those that makes you feel really pumped up for whatever life throws at you next.

Food for thought
How can you be inspirational over social media? Perhaps some call-to-actions for good deeds, or giving users who are underprivileged or discriminated some voice and support? I have no answers for this. Comment below on your thoughts about inspiring over social media and if you know of any campaigns/events/blogs that inspires using social media!


Elisha Tan is the Founder of TechLadies. TechLadies is a community for women in Asia to connect, learn, and advance as programmers in the tech industry. Elisha is also the Developer Programs Regional Lead for Asia Pacific at Facebook.


4 Things Your Social Media Voice Can Learn From Raps (Part 1)

To be more specific, this post will explore 4 things your social media voice can learn from good raps. That means raps that only talks about fame, money and specific female body parts will not be considered. Seeing that good raps usually are not mainstream music, I’ll load up this post with many Youtube clips on raps so you’ll understand what I’m blabbing about. Due to the length of my entire blabbing, I’m cutting this into two parts, with 2 learning points per post.

Come on and join me as I bring you through this musical journey! *tap dances around the room* lol


In this song, Yoon Mi Rae sings about the discrimination and insecurities she faced in her life prior to becoming a famous singer due of her father’s race (her mum’s Korean while her dad’s black). The song also brings out encouragements to listeners to ‘hold on and love yourself’. Btw, Mi Rae is one of the best in her field in Korean hip hop, highly respected by mainstream Korean music as well.

Similarly, ‘Believe’ by Epik High is a song that talks about the struggles Epik High faced with censorship and other hardships before they got recognised in a relatively conserved Korea when they debuted. This song, although in Korean and I’m unable to find subtitles for it, mainly has the gist of spreading the message, “if I can do it, so can you”.

Both songs talk about their journeys of entering the industry and add in some form of encouragements to their listeners, but they presented their songs with such authenticity that it feels weird for anyone else to sing their songs. I mean, I can pick any song off the pop songs chart and sing it like I wrote it, but the same cannot be done for these two songs.

Food for Thought
Can someone else use your social media voice as though as they owned it? If they can, you’re not bringing enough of yourself onto the table. Think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Both of them are university drop-outs and started the company from home, but these two names invoke different imagery in your mind. I believe that everyone and every successful company is unique (if your company is not unique, you’ll probably be replaced pretty soon), so bring out your personality to your social media platforms!

Style of delivery
You have your unique story to tell, how should you tell it?

Both Kero One’s ‘Missing you’ and Eminem’s ‘You’re never over’ talk, or rather sing, about their loss of a loved one. But as you can hear, their delivery is complete opposite of each other. Eminem’s style is rougher, vulgar while Kero One’s style is more classy and mild. This doesn’t mean that one style can deliver better than the other or that one style is more supreme than the other. (Although if you were to count views, Eminem beats Kero One hands down, but hey, Kero One is not signed. )

Food for Thought
What is your brand personality? Corporate speak does not apply to all kinds of businesses, so figure out if you’re going to be a pirate, girl-next-door, nerd or that cool kid and talk like that personality of your choice. Make sure you appear at the correct social media platforms too. If you’re going with the cool kid personality, I don’t think you’ll fit in well with LinkedIn. You see, social media tools are like different social settings.

For example, LinkedIn is a professional site while Facebook is a casual informal site. So for each tool, a company needs to be able to present itself appropriately while maintaining consistency in its corporate image.

Part 2 will be up in a couple of days! Let me know what you think about this post in the comments below!


Elisha Tan is the Founder of TechLadies. TechLadies is a community for women in Asia to connect, learn, and advance as programmers in the tech industry. Elisha is also the Developer Programs Regional Lead for Asia Pacific at Facebook.