Australian social media startup Linktree was created as a way for its founders to share multiple links in their Instagram biography, through the one URL.
The founders created something that internet users around the world desperately needed, and have been validated with six years of hyper-growth.
Jessica Box joined Linktree at the start of the global pandemic and has overseen the company’s user base explode from four million to 24+ million in two years as head of growth.
And as of March, Linktree is a unicorn — with a capital raise giving the company an evaluation of $1.7 billion.
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But things have had to change as the team has scaled rapidly, and now her eyes are turned towards building a platform and organisational structure that can maximise long-term product-led growth.
“Instead of seeing growth as just one isolated team or function, we’ve built cross-functional teams with individuals spanning product, engineering, design, data, brand and strategy,” explains Box.
“We’ve also embedded growth team members across all departments, and also utilise company OKRs to ensure that building a platform that meets the growing needs of creators is everyone’s responsibility and focus.”
She says that while having more capital sounds great (and is), in reality you have to figure out where, why, and how you spend it.
“Given we raised money to grow faster, a lot of the investment went into my team or acquiring customers, so having the team think bigger with capital was a big cultural shift,” says Box.
The company used to have to rely on organic channels for marketing while it was being bootstrapped, but with investment came the ability to partner with some of the biggest social media stars in the world, like Charli D’Amelio on TikTok (141 million followers, 10.9 billion likes).
It’s still a matter of balance, according to Box.
“Changing the focus on being scrappy only might not always be right either, I’d encourage you to ensure you know your unit economics well first and build from there,” she says.
And of course, you need to make the right tech choices to help push you forward, instead of hindering you.
For example, when Box joined, the company’s CRM platform was at breaking point with how fast it was scaling.
“It was one of the first things I saw needing a longer term view as we were adding 20K sign ups per day back then,” said Box.
They settled on Braze, as it could handle the volume and scale they needed, while keeping an eye on their next move — an app.
“I would encourage teams and leaders to reach out to peers, they’ve done the work already so you may as well cut corners where you can,” adds Box.
A greater positive impact
For social-minded businesses, growing your user base directly translates into how much of an impact you can make.
At Linktree, a focus on social activism online has helped connect people across the globe with important causes, like #BlackLivesMatter and #StandWithUkraine, according to Box.
In 2020, it created an anti-racism action banner, which was visited 4.4 million times, with 260,000+ users added it to their own Linktree pages in 12 months.
And it wasn’t just enabling important social justice causes to be shared and proliferated, it was having a direct financial impact on them.
“We also saw a 460% increase in users visiting GoFundMe to donate and raise awareness for racial equality initiatives in the same year,” said Box.
Part of why Linktree continues to keep growing and growing is its ability to make adjustments and give its users what they need as other social media platforms change, rise and fall.
Linktree is now used in place of websites, as a QR code on business cards, and on resumes, beyond Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.
For Box, it’s not just about leaning on data, but ensuring the team dips into customer service roles regularly to be in touch with users and understand how they can genuinely grow their passions, and businesses.
As she puts it, “Fundamentally, it’s just not enough to design a product and tell people how to use it; long-term success comes from understanding the changing needs of those users and continually addressing their needs.”
You can watch the full webinar, Nailing Growth: Ambitious leaders reflect on their journey from purpose to impact, for even more insights.
MYOB is a leading business platform with a core purpose of helping more businesses in Australia and New Zealand start, survive and succeed. At the heart of MYOB is a customer base of 1.2 million businesses and a network of more than 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and consultants, for whom MYOB delivers end-to-end business and accounting solutions. MYOB operates across four key segments: Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), Enterprise, Financial Services and Practice.