Take a look at what I found and what I think of TopTal. Further down I’ll give my ideas on how to improve online presence and take advantage of each social media platform. So stay tuned. Put simply, I believe TopTal is way ahead of the majority of companies I’ve seen in terms of community building and engagement. A few months ago, I accidentally stumbled upon TopTal, which seems to be one of the hottest platforms to connect software development and design freelancers with prospective business.
The company’s unique selling proposition is that they offer access to the top 3% of the best software and design professionals. As far as I’ve read, the feedback on TopTal seem to be pretty good—if any devs or designers are reading this, I’d encourage them to give it a go.
TopTal’s offerings looked interesting and quite different from what majority of businesses are doing, so as the curious cat I am, I decided to check it out—take on the role of Social Media detective. (I guess I enjoyed being a SM detective—I’ll be starting a series of posts like this about other companies, so check back !)
As I mentioned, I believe TopTal is way ahead of the majority of companies I’ve seen in terms of community building and engagement.
Essentially, they are doing a few very very intelligent things.
TopTal speaks about their users, not about the platform itself. As I mentioned in an article a couple of days ago, in order to create a truly engaging content and build a loyal community, a brand needs to put its customers/users in the spotlight, give them recognition and allow them to tell their own stories. It’s a logical and genius move that many other companies haven’t realised yet. The content that TopTal produces is created by the devs from its own community, allowing them to show skills, receive recognition and get exposure. This is a great move, because of course company users will be more engaged with the type of content they themselves create. Of course they’ll share it more.Additionally, these articles show the high level of professionalism that business owners are looking for—hence it’s more probable that tech companies will use TopTal to hire the right developer.
A huge plus of TopTal is that the company is 100% distributed, and its devs live and work all around the world. TopTal has very smartly capitalised on that by encouraging its developers to participate in and organise local tech meet-ups and events to spread word about the platform, “recruit” more high quality programmers and grow the TopTal community.
After looking at social, these are what I think TopTal’s goals are:
The company currently has Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, Instagram, Stackoverflow and GitHub accounts.
On Facebook the brand is publishing mainly development-related content from company’s blog and photos from community events, which is actually pretty cool.
Oh well—the visual material is pretty good, at least.
Stackoverflow and GitHub
TopTal has very well-branded pages and active profiles on Stackoverflow and GitHub. I’m not a developer and don’t have a deep software knowledge, but I could see a lot of recent questions, contributions and activities on both accounts, which is a really good indicator (at least from my limited point of view).
The brand already has scholarship campaigns and is supporting talented software and design professionals from around the world. It’s an honourable cause and a smart strategy that allows them to grow locally and reach distant communities. Kudos for that!
Also, TopTal has teamed up with General Assembly (a pretty cool eLearning platform) on teaching development and design skills.
In my opinion, this is the right strategy to raise brands awareness in the right communities, while taking a leading role in solving social problems and helping talented young people have a better future. It’s smart because this strategy allows TopTal reach young, untapped talent before anybody else, have a positive impact on people’s lives, and position itself as a leader and innovator in the tech community.
Keep developing this strategy, raising awareness, and working on challenges in tech communities.
Here are some organisations TopTal can collaborate with:
www.yeswecode.org is teaching low-opportunity kids programming, designer and entrepreneurial skills and helping them build a better future for themselves.
Support the growth of women in technology. There are tons of organisations that work in that direction and probably would be happy to collaborate. Read more about these here and here.
Collaborate with other online learning platforms, such as Code Academy.
First I asked myself: How would a dev benefit from joining the company? Here are some possible answers I came up with:
The company is already giving developers the chance to showcase their knowledge and get recognition. I imagine that by working with clients obtained through TopTal, devs already receive good income.
I would suggest that the company use GitHub and Stackoverflow to create really interesting, current and technically-challenging projects and invite devs to collaborate on them. Set development problems and encourage people to contribute to solving them. It’s important that the projects are truly interesting and not just some marketing move, as good devs can smell bul***t from a long distance.
Active TopTal developers can use these platforms to create projects/problems that they themselves struggle with and ask for help, of course.
Another idea is to reach out to startups who are having tech problems and set them as a tasks to be solved. The devs who solve it gets prize $ and recognition on TopTal’s online platforms. Startups are happy, and developers will be happy and motivated!
Content marketing is something that would also attract good developers, if TopTal were to produce interesting articles about current technologies and issues. They could write about the most recent software issue developers are struggling with and TopTal devs’ efforts to solve them. There will be tons of other devs facing the same problems and looking for information, and they could just stumble upon TopTal (like I did!).
What initial value would entrepreneurs see in TopTal? How can they attract them to visit and stick around long enough to later convert? My guess is that biz owners would visit TopTal looking for:
The goal would be to set TopTal as the place to learn about good tech and design solutions and trends, and to position the company as the place where startups can get assistance with particular tech problems.
The entire strategy would rest on quality content and case studies focused on how TopTal developers have helped or can help businesses grow. The content should contain exact instructions, step by step tutorials, growth numbers, exact results and benefits from applying the knowledge and skills of TopTal developers.
Of course, the second step would be to distribute this content on all online platforms where entrepreneurs and business owners frequent—namely Growth Hackers, Medium, Hacker News, Entrepreneur, Tech Crunch, Mashable, TNW, INC.com and more.
In my opinion, TopTal’s social media profiles focus too much on developers and software content, which might not be very attractive for potential business clients. Maybe I’m wrong, and TopTal’s strategy now and in the future is to concentrate on attracting developers and designers, and therefore my suggestions make no sense. However, from my point of view, I think that the company should start putting efforts into attracting businesses and making them stick around:
The overall strategy on Facebook, in my opinion, should focus on creating a brand image and lead generation (via Facebook ads). It’s more of a personal and less of a professional network, so the content should be rather light and easy to consume.
On Twitter, both tech profiles and business profiles can be reached. It’s a good platform for TopTal to meet and engage both parties.
G+ might not be the most active social platform, but good software developers, designers and business owners can still be found.
Mainly oriented towards the business clients and not that much towards developers, LinkedIn is still a good platform to utilise.
In general, I see TopTal has a good strategy and active social accounts. If I have to guess, I would say that there is not only one person dedicated to social media, but rather the responsibilities are divided probably between the content, community, or marketing managers.
I hope my assumptions are not far from the truth and that this article gives you guidelines on how to perform a Social Media audit of a company.