Ever wondered how to make your small or medium-sized business stand out in the crowded LinkedIn space? Tune in to our latest episode as we catch up with Jason Tan, the entrepreneur behind Engage AI. He's revolutionizing the way businesses engage on LinkedIn, utilizing a unique "commenting for attention" strategy. Using this innovative tool, you could save time and energy while building your personal brand, and Jason explains how. Get ready to catch those golden nuggets on how focusing solely on LinkedIn can transform your B2B journey.
Curious about AI and its role in your LinkedIn success? We've got you covered. Jason Tan takes us through the nitty-gritty of his platform, Engage AI, which remarkably tailors comments on social media posts. We discuss the indispensability of human involvement in the AI commenting process and how this tool can help you zero in on specific individuals on LinkedIn. Hear Jason's captivating entrepreneurial journey, the hurdles he conquered in building a global brand, and the marketing tactics that propelled his product onto the map. Prepare to be enlightened on the power of attention-grabbing commenting and strategic marketing that can catapult your brand to the top!
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The UnNoticed Entrepreneur is hosted & produced by Jim James.
Jim James (00:02.562)
Hello and welcome to this episode of The Unnoticed Entrepreneur with me in the UK, Jim James. And today we're going all the way to Brisbane, sunny Brisbane, and we're going to meet a man who's building a better second brain. Jason Tan is the founder of a company called Engage AI and Engage AI has managed to garner over 50,000 users in less than 12 months on less than a thousand dollars worth of advertising dollars.
So it's a brilliant product and it's helping people like you and me engage on LinkedIn. So if you're trying to engage and especially engage with personalization at scale, you know how much time that takes, just how difficult that is. And Jason Tan had that problem. He scratched the edge, he built the product himself. So Jason's going to tell us how he's done that and about Engage AI, but he's also going to tell us about some of the obstacles he's faced in getting to that 50,000 users, how he's solved those obstacles.
And he's going to give us his big mistake and also his top tip. Jason Tan. Welcome to the show.
Jason Tan (01:05.108)
Thank you so much Jim, has been a big fan for a long time. So thank you so, so much for having me this time and the opportunity to share what we do for helping the unnoticed SMB owner to get noticed.
Jim James (01:18.006)
Jason, wonderfully, I reached out to you because of Engage AI, which I have as a LinkedIn plugin myself. So I was really, really delighted when you accepted my invitation to come on the show because I'm a fan, I'm a user, as someone that has now 12,500 LinkedIn connections, it just becomes a bigger and bigger task managing those relationships. So tell us about Engage.
Jason Tan (01:43.922)
Jim James (01:47.355)
how it works and what problem it solves for people.
Jason Tan (01:50.608)
Absolutely. So the biggest problem that we are solving for is for the SMB owner from unnoticed to get noticed. And there are many channel SMB owner B2B SMB owner can go out there and market and advertise themselves. There are many channel. LinkedIn though is one of the very effective channel that SMB especially the B2B
SMB owner are using because it allows you to know exactly who the target audience is. And one of the very strategy that I and many of the SMB owner are using to get notice from our target audience, assisting client is commenting for attention. What does that mean? Commenting for attention. Basically, it means that when your prospect, when your assisting client are making posts
sharing content on the LinkedIn platform, you want to be there to say something insightful. You want to be there to support them because who doesn't want a bit of engagement when they spend all the time, the energy, and the money in creating a post, right? So you want to be there. That has been a proven strategy for decades in many, many platforms. The challenges, however, in doing those things is,
is time consuming, is energy taxing, especially if you want to say much, much more than just thank you for sharing or great post. I love it. I mean, who is going to look at Jason Dan if he just keeps saying, I mean, Jim, would you look at me, my profile if I continue to say thank you for sharing or great post. I mean, you wouldn't care, right? But imagine if you were making post and I add a...
some extra poi, help you echoing your message, I support you in whatever way. If I do that five or 10 times, you're gonna pay attention. You say, who is this Jason Tan? Who has always been supporting me whenever I make a post. You're gonna have a look at me, and that is what the so-called comment being for attention. We are here to help people to get noticed. We help them to break the ice. We help them to start conversation.
Jason Tan (04:15.912)
And effectively, that is what we do for Engage AI.
Jim James (04:19.658)
Jason Tan, it sounds like this show is built for you and Engage AI is built for the show, for my fellow unnoticed entrepreneurs, because most of us are really using LinkedIn solely and not relying on other platforms. Engage AI, is it working on LinkedIn alone or is it also helping on Facebook or X as it's now called or Insta, any of the other platforms?
Jason Tan (04:45.236)
Well, it is only working on LinkedIn at the moment. I believe the key target audience that we are helping is the B2B SMB owner. So LinkedIn is all by focus. And rather than splitting our focus to get onto other platform, we continue to innovate. We continue to improve ourselves to make it working better and make it work for the SMB owner. And that comes
with other few feature and how we are thinking about it and how we have other feature that continue to save time, continue to make it easier, continue to make the SMB owner to get notice. So it works on LinkedIn only, but it's beyond that, there's a Chrome extension of making a few comments. We have a lot of things to help people to get notice in a fraction of time.
Jim James (05:37.718)
Jason, I think that's a brilliant strategy and more and more people are focusing in fact on one platform and that being LinkedIn if they're doing B2B. Tell us, how does it work from a practical point of view? Because many people are either outsourcing to a VA, I tried that, and then I worked with Simon Chappuzeau who's a LinkedIn expert and he said, you know, let's look at that and I was posting too frequently using a VA.
Jason Tan (05:47.496)
Jim James (06:05.67)
And actually my engagement levels were terrible because I was kind of in effect asking someone to speak on my behalf. So we cut it right back to me posting only. And Simon has this strategy called a sandwich where you comment and like on two or three other people before you post your own post and then you again post comments and likes and shares on other people's sort of way of engaging.
Tell us from a practical point of view with Engage AI, what work would I still need to do but using Engage AI instead of spending what could be an hour of expensive time actually trawling through a feed. Sometimes I miss the people I actually want to comment on. I just kind of see who's most recent in my feed. Take us through the workflow of how you solve that problem.
Jason Tan (07:02.756)
Yeah, well there are so many things that can pack for what you have to say. They you literally touch on three different things and these three different things are number one posting content. Posting content itself is a different strategy. Number two using a VA to make your comment. A lot of people do that. I myself do that okay as well and then finally
using the strategy of commenting first before posting. So we will talk very quickly in detail on how those three different strategy but there are literally three things that you just unpack. So the first thing first is posting content and getting engagement and also getting traction, getting views is almost like advertising right. So I often say in the old world
You know we advertise on newspaper, you will know that certain number of people look at it because that is this volume of newspaper that they sell. In the new world of the online platform there's no guarantee because they got millions and millions of free content created for them. They are not going to sell it to all of them, to everyone. Instead they rely on the algorithm to be able to sell that.
Now to get eyeball for your pose really comes down to have a punchy head line, have a clickbait title like it or not. It is a world that we live in because there are just so many free content we need to be able to draw people in. Tell a good story, make use of different format. I really think that is really one of the key points of getting eyeball.
So good content, good title, good starting point, using format is the only way to get eyeball. You probably want to work with some of the people to get a little bit more eyeball. That is really the first point. Your second point in hiring VA or getting our own team member to manage our LinkedIn account to do that. That is actually one of the problem that many of our this...
Jason Tan (09:26.9)
this user are solving with our tool now. Now, hiring a VA, whether they're onshore or they're offshore it doesn't matter. The biggest problem of having a VA is they don't necessarily have the diversified knowledges on different topics. They are not necessarily going to speak in your tone. While they speak perfect English,
Jason Tan (09:58.718)
with a lot of vocabulary, the biggest problem is how do they, how do you get them to speak in the way that it sounds like an expert but not going overkill? And that is where Engage AI is coming into the picture. And the very first screen that you were showing is when using Engage AI, the first thing Engage AI does is it analyzes what exactly is the...
is about, then it choose the tone that you use, the tone that you choose that we pre-configure or you can write your own custom prompt to build your own custom tone. So that being said, whether it's VA doing it now who can now speak in a very diverse topic or equally even when you are using it yourself, sometimes you've got the writer's block or sometimes you're not familiar with the topic,
you can still very quickly come up with something that is relevant to say. And that is the power of Engage AI, that is the power of using AI, that will take over the challenges that you have with the VA. Coming back to the last point before we go on to the workflow, I think we can talk a bit about the workflow shortly, but commenting as a strategy to get your post
I have read that before. I think I have tried that before. I'm not too sure if that is a very effective strategy. I know that myself and many of our users are not really using that strategy. I think really is about that engagement that you can do to get more view to your post. I think if you do it enough in your other time, that will accumulate anyway. But...
to get view to the post, it really comes out to the content, the way of structure and the way of writing. So that is my three thing that I have to say. Content, first one, good content, good starting point, make people want to click to read to see more. The second one is how NGAI is solving the problem when you are outsourcing the work to VA when they cannot speak in a diverse topic like an expert.
Jason Tan (12:17.596)
including you can use it for yourself. And then finally commenting to get more views for the post. I am not 100% sure. We will talk about the workflow in a second, but did that resonate? Let's look at that.
Jim James (12:30.389)
Yeah, and I apologize. I apologize. I'm just so excited by what it does that I've been bundled in. But also, as we know, managing your LinkedIn is such a big part of people's jobs. So just to be clear, if I use Engage AI, I'm training it in, if you like, my vernacular, my tone. So for example, English or...
Jason Tan (12:35.724)
Ha ha ha!
Jim James (12:56.11)
American English or Southeast Asian English. Does it also work across different languages?
Jason Tan (13:06.324)
Yes, it works in multiple languages and the best thing about it is it automatically figures out what the native language of the post is and then it just writes out in that language so I have seen like how people were writing in French and Hebrew it's just amazing that how it figure that out and then it just write in whatever the structure at this stage it doesn't train on your personal tone
Training on your personal tone is in our product roadmap, is the thing that we will be doing. But you have the ability to write your own custom prompt. So rather than just choose the prompt that we have already pre-configured, you could tell it to say, here is the way that I want you to say it. I don't want you to say over three sentences, and I want you to edit by asking a question. So that can be done in a custom prompt.
Jim James (13:58.526)
Okay, that's really nice. And then would it reference the content from the post that I'm commenting on? So would I say interrogate the post that's been, uh, just being posted. I'd like you to reference that post and add a comment of no more than three sentences with a question like, how do you feel about that? Is that right?
Jason Tan (14:06.197)
Jason Tan (14:20.976)
Exactly, exactly. So it will always speak in the occasionally you make mistakes but otherwise it will always reference to that pose and that is the thing and the beauty about it. It doesn't speak nonsense, it doesn't hallucinate as much. I think partly I would say that it doesn't hallucinate much is because if you think about commenting, commenting is actually very short.
or maybe maximum 4 to 5 sentences. So the very fact that it will hallucinate, the chances has always been decreased dramatically. So it doesn't hallucinate much. Yeah.
Jim James (15:02.922)
That makes a lot of sense Jason, because the context of the content it's commenting on is much more limited, isn't it? It has its parameters as opposed to an open general search. And do you set it and forget it or do you have it there and you need to go in and if you like choose the post that you want to comment on and that is the piece that then you could outsource to the VA, isn't it? Because it's not a, it's not a sort of an auto generate across all.
Jason Tan (15:09.096)
Jason Tan (15:24.189)
Jason Tan (15:27.869)
Jim James (15:32.627)
Is that right? Tell us about how you can track certain people, Jason, that you might want to come in and
Jason Tan (15:38.112)
That is a great question and there are two parts to answer that. In terms of the philosophy, what we were thinking about the engagement, that is very, very important. But let's address the biggest elephant in the room first. You have 13,000 LinkedIn connections. I have about 10 and a half. The truth is I probably do not know 95% of those people. As a B2B business owner, I only
care about 50 to 100 people at any given time. The very fact is, if I have 100 B2B business client, enterprise client, I would be very, very happy already. However, when I go to LinkedIn, LinkedIn doesn't sell me those 100 people that I care about. They sell me whatever that they want to sell me.
And for me, just to find those hundred people that I really tried, that I care, that I want to sell my service, where I want to provide expertise. I need to find them. I need to go to their profile. I need to check whether they post or not. And all of those things is time consuming. It's tedious work, manual work that I don't really want to do. So Engage AI have this platform
where if you tell me exactly who they are and I will monitor for you. In other words, when you log in to log in to NGHAI on our website, which is not on the LinkedIn, you will be able to see that a list of the people that you want me to monitor. You will be able to see that who has posted, what that post is exactly about in summary. And when you click on the link,
it will take you directly back to LinkedIn and you can engage. That way, if you just saw that 100 people, your VA can take care from it right from there. And then finally, so in that sense, you sort of like set and forget, you monitor, rather than having to remember to go and visit each of the profile. However, the actual commenting itself, we...
Jim James (17:41.067)
Jason Tan (17:56.5)
want to have human in the loop. So we are not automating that. It's not going to automatically comment for you. It's not. And then press the button of posting because we believe that you should always have the chance to have the final say. We want to have human in the loop. We don't want to build another bot to spam everyone on LinkedIn. That is our principle.
Jim James (18:20.082)
I think that is Jason, I think it's great. And at the end of the show, we're going to give people a coupon code so that they can try engage-ai.co is the website. We're going to give people a coupon code to stay around, listen to Jason Tan, explain a bit more. Jason, we could have a whole show about Engage AI, but this is also a show about entrepreneurs and you are an entrepreneur. You built an amazing customer base of 50,000 users
in less than a year with only a thousand dollars. Um, what obstacle have you faced and overcome in building out from Brisbane, a global brand?
Jason Tan (19:04.672)
I would probably say there are primary two big obstacles. Number one is the transition of running a consulting business to build a product business. So I have to pick up a lot of things that I never really understood. So I have to pick up a lot of new skill set and then equally finding the people who build the product. That is for global audience
from the very day one. So that is probably the very first obstacle. Number two is about like many other entrepreneur or SMB owner thinking outside the box how to get notice with limited budget and get all those 50,000 people. I think that was a challenge, but I'm glad that we solved that. But otherwise,
transition of the consulting user to a product user, and equally how to get notice, how to acquire user at a fraction of the cost without break.
Jim James (20:13.5)
And how did you do that, Jason? What was to be in the secret sauce?
Jason Tan (20:16.736)
Well, the secret sauce is what I call eating our own dog food. So in the very first one or two months when we first launched, literally we were using Engage AI to go out commenting. Now, the differences of the strategy that we were using back then, though, is because I recognized that my product is a $30 monthly subscription. So
I don't comment on my target audience directly.
Instead, I comment on their target audience. My target audience is the B2B SMB owner. But if I were to acquire a thousand of them, I need to comment on a thousand of them. And then the ROI is only $30 if they subscribe. It makes no sense. Now, if I flip the table the other way around,
The S&B to be S&B owner, their target audience is the CEO of the M&C. Their target audience is the senior vice president of the M&C. They are trying to sell to those big corporate. So what we did is whenever those SVP C-level of these M&C, they make a post,
have a LinkedIn profile to go on and comment on it. So that so all of those SMB owner, when they comment on it, they see us. And then when they see us, I make sure that I have a profile title. I have something that is interesting on the profile to make them to say, who is this person, number one, who is this person making this really good comment? I have to check it out. When they visit the profile, that is an offer
Jason Tan (22:19.732)
that entice them to go to our website to try it out. That is interesting, that is eye-catching. So that is actually how we got started, that we acquired the very first 3,000 to 5,000 user in the first and the second one.
Jim James (22:36.362)
Jason, that is absolutely brilliant using sort of, if you like, the go to the honeypot, which as you say, the MNCs and the CFOs, CEOs, those people. And you're kind of in the crowd with the people that are also trying to gain the attention, but actually you're then getting the attention of those people you're standing next to. What a break. Now, you're a smart man and I know you've got postgraduate degrees in AI as well. So, we haven't had a chance to go into your background, but you understand AI, but plainly you also understand
Jason Tan (22:45.948)
Jim James (23:06.346)
marketing are very, very astute, especially making the transition from selling high value, low volume consultancy. You've completely flipped that on its head to high volume, low value or rather low price, but high value AI. Is there a mistake, Jason, that you've made in the last couple of years as an entrepreneur on the marketing and getting noticed front that you'd suggest people
don't try it at home, my fellow unnoticed entrepreneurs. Something to avoid doing.
Jason Tan (23:40.692)
I probably would say switching from the selling to B2B for a large ticket item to a small ticket item as a product is a completely change of the mindset. I think that is probably number one. Number two that I would say the bigger mistake I would probably try to avoid that I did it myself as well, especially for Engage AI.
But I'm glad that we managed to control the damage. So the spending was not crazy, which is about the advertising. I really think that advertising is getting really, really expensive these days. And while we are still in the early stage, it's better off to speak with users, try to think outside the box, rather than spending all the money on the PPC, whether it's from Google or it's rather from Facebook.
If you are not 100% clear about how you are serving your customer, how you are solving your customer, and if you are not a funded company, PPC is best to avoid until you figure out your final, your key messages, your USP and exactly you will be able to retain the client. So I think we spent about couple hundred dollars in the PPC
we probably got less than five clicks so I said you know what we gotta stop that we tried something else
Jim James (25:09.742)
Isn't that interesting? Because one would have thought that a product like yours would be eminently PPC-able, but you're not the first person to say that the advertising on LinkedIn, Facebook, X as it is now, has yielded almost no ROI for them. So that's very, very interesting. Jason Tan is the CEO and founder of Engage-co.ai.
Jason Tan (25:28.651)
Jim James (25:38.838)
which is a brilliant, brilliant product for those SMEs and those entrepreneurs working to get leads and generate demand out of LinkedIn and also avoiding the just the generic spam of inbox, which is actually getting more and more people to just feel abused, right? And I now just mark, you know, block, right? So, so that's a very smart strategy. If there's one thing that you've done, um, that you say really doesn't
Jason Tan (25:54.121)
Jim James (26:08.758)
move the needle as an entrepreneur. What would that be?
Jason Tan (26:13.948)
Ooh, what is one thing that I do that doesn't move the needle?
Jim James (26:21.078)
No, that does move the needle. Yeah, it does. Does, yeah, no, not, doesn't move. Well, one thing that, one thing that moves the needle that you go, okay, if you've got, you know, as an entrepreneur and you need to get noticed and you're down to your last few dollars, um, what would be the one thing you do recommend?
Jason Tan (26:23.108)
Oh, that moves the needle. Hahahaha
Jason Tan (26:38.828)
I would highly say market positioning and I would give a lot of credit to the market positioning. I must say, I must admit that to a lot of extent we were lucky we got into the this AI hype because of the chat GPT. There's no doubt about it, we're part of that cycle. But market positioning I think is why we got to where we are today.
The very reason why I'm saying that is because before we released the NJJR, I was absolutely clear that
I would not be another AI copywriting tool. Because before we launched, there were literally already hundreds and thousands of the AI copywriting tool already. So I know if I just position myself as another AI marketing tool, I would go nowhere. There's no way I would be able to compete with the well-funded Silicon Valley company. So what I say is, you know what? We know
commenting as a false attention is a proven strategy. We all use that. We know a lot of people are using that. Equally, we know that is a pain that a lot of people are facing. So our market position is we are the LinkedIn AI commenting or we are the chat GPT for LinkedIn commenting. And it is what we are and that is all we do. So because of that,
as a first mover, the market positioning was very clear. And because of that, a lot of people can quickly understand that. A lot of people can quickly relate that to that. A lot of people are trialing that out. And equally, it gives us all the exposure that the organic and the earned exposure, the earned media that we don't have to go out and earn myself.
Jason Tan (28:43.432)
Lots of blog, lots of influencer, lots of LinkedIn posts, lots of Instagram, all of them, when they want to say top 52, top 10, blah, we were always there. So market positioning is really the one that I would say think about it yourself. To make that clear, it will move a needle like crazy.
Jim James (28:56.159)
Jim James (29:06.87)
Jason Tan, you've moved the needle and you won number one on Product Hunt. I can see there, for example, by being laser focused. Jason Tan, you mentioned a coupon, something for listeners to have, take us to where people can get a trial for Engage AI.
Jason Tan (29:20.169)
Jason Tan (29:24.444)
Absolutely. So they can always start it for free. They can even sign up a pro account for free, get a few. They will get a full access to all the premium features at zero cost for two weeks. And should they decide to go for it, to decide this is really the right tool for them. And also we are building more and more features.
If they want to be the early adopters supporting us like many of our existing early supporters use the coupon code of BF23 So I repeat, it's for character, B for boy, F for friends and then character 2 and then numeric 3, BF33 to get $23 off and try it for $7 in the first month
Jim James (30:04.59)
Friend? Yeah, my best friend. Yeah.
Jason Tan (30:18.473)
no contract, no long term commitment, they can cancel at any time.
Jim James (30:24.354)
Jason Tan, I wouldn't want to cancel you at any time. It's been a wonderful, wonderful conversation. Thank you so much, Jason Tan. If you want to find out and find you, where can they do that?
Jason Tan (30:35.048)
Well, LinkedIn on our website, engage-ai.co. But otherwise, I spent a lot of time on LinkedIn to be helpful to people, but I equally understand how the platform works so we can continue to improve Engage AI for SMB owners.
Jim James (30:53.218)
Jason Tan, thank you so much for joining me today on the show.
Jason Tan (30:57.492)
Thank you so much, a pleasure in mind. Thank you so much for having me.
Jim James (31:00.618)
Well, hasn't it been wonderful? Jason, thank you for coming. And you know, we met on LinkedIn and I saw Engage and I saw the difference between what you're doing with Engage AI and all the other writing tools. Credit to them for what they're doing, but your application is unique and special. So for those of us that are listening, if you've got a desire, go to
Jim James (31:29.986)
for the first couple of weeks and then money off. Best Friend 23 is your coupon for us at the Unnoticed Entrepreneur. If you've enjoyed this, please do rate the show on your player and follow the show because I wouldn't want you to miss another great tool and another great entrepreneur story like we've heard today from Jason. We've run over a little bit. Normally the show is at 20 to 25 minutes, but we kind of got a bit deep because loving what Jason's doing. I think it's so useful for you to understand what tools are available.
So I'll rush off now. Thank you for joining me, Jim James. And until we meet again, keep on communicating and with Engage AI, you can keep on commenting too. Cheers.
Jason Tan (32:11.372)