On this episode of Internet Marketing Insights, I am joined by Anne Cull President of Think Viral, to discuss social media.
DAVID: Welcome to Internet Marketing Insights. Each week on our program, we choose a theme related to internet marketing, bring you different guests to speak about and help you understand those themes, and this week on our show: social media. My guest this afternoon is Anne Cull, owner of Think Viral where her specialty is social media training and management. Anne, welcome. Please tell our listeners a little bit about how you got involved in social media and what you do for your clients.
ANNE: Thank you very much David. I am the president of Think Viral, which is basically a social media marketing and training firm and we help people find customers by building communities online. And I got into this because it was my way to avoid cold calling. And so truly I am coming from the sales side, not the advertising, PR, typical what you would think of we need to do marketing. I’m coming from it’s commission only sales, if I don’t get any customers I don’t get any sales and I don’t get to eat. It’s kind of a problem! So approaching social media I do things the same way. The bottom line is, are you going to get any sales out of it, are you going to get any customers, how is this gonna work or it really doesn’t matter.
DAVID: I so picked the right person for this. Alright. And I’m your host David McBee of DavidMcBee.com. I’ve been helping business owners with their internet marketing for several years and I write the educational blog Let’s Translate: Making Sense out of Internet Gobbledygook, where I do my best to simplify complex internet concepts for anyone to understand, very much like we do here on IMI. So Anne, before we get started, we like to start every show by defining the topic for those who are unfamiliar with it. So how would you describe, how would you define, social media?
ANNE: Word of mouth marketing. Very simple.
DAVID: That’s it?
ANNE: Truly. Word of mouth marketing, online referrals. It’s closer to customer servicing than it is advertising.
DAVID: So did we have social media ten years ago?
ANNE: Yes. Just not online.
DAVID: In what form?
ANNE: By going to networking events, by inviting people to parties, by doing live things where we could talk to people about the other businesses that we use, the other people that we’re doing business with. We just did this live.
DAVID: Alright. Okay. Well, how big a deal is social media? Are business owners who aren’t participating in it, are they missing out on something?
ANNE: They’re missing out in terms of; people are talking about their business regardless, whether they’re there or not. People are talking about their business. So if they’re smart they’d like to know what’s being said about their business.
DAVID: I’ve run into that myself. You’ll talk to a client, you’ll say “You need to set up a Twitter, a Facebook and all this” and they say “No, that will give people an opportunity to badmouth us. We’ve heard of all these terrible tweets, all this terrible stuff that goes on online and we don’t want to participate in that.” And we have to explain to them, it’s going to go on regardless of whether or not you’re there or not.
ANNE: Right. You don’t have to be there for me to decide I’m going to go ahead and say a nastygram about your business because I don’t like you and I’m in a bad mood and you really drew the last straw and so that nasty tweet is all about you. And you don’t even have to be there for me to tell all of my friends, all of my other business associates and every other single person I know that could be following me on Twitter how much I had a bad experience and don’t like you.
DAVID: But I’m just a small business. I mean, I get that social media is great for Southwest Airlines or the Hilton or whatever, but I’m just a guy who paints houses or I’m just a small business. Is it really for me?
ANNE: You have to think about how people buy, and people buy based on trust. And if they don’t trust you – even if they don’t know you, if their friend says they don’t trust you, they’re more likely to trust their friend than they are to trust your ad that says “Trust me”.
DAVID: Or by reverse, if their friend says they trust you –
ANNE: They should trust you, you should make sure you go here, then you’re more likely to make sure you go there than to go look at whatever the little ad you got in the mail or whatever comes across in the TV commercial.
DAVID: Great. And I know that one of the main social media channels that we’re going to talk about is Facebook, obviously. So I did a little digging, actually found a great little infographic actually put together by my last guest, Kyle of Optima Worldwide, on Facebook usage stats. I want to touch on a couple of these and get your reaction to them.
Number one: Facebook has over a billion users and that number is so big that “Oh, there’s a billion people on Facebook!” It’s hard to even imagine how many that really is. Psychologists have introduced a diagnosis called FAD which stands for Facebook Addiction Disorder. Which Emily, you know I’ve gotta shout out to you, my dear wife. I think we’ve gotta check you for FAD. And over 1.13 trillion “likes” since the launch of “likes” in 2009. 140.3 billion Friend connections. 2.3 billion photos. This one’s kind of cool.
If you were to take all the pictures that are on Facebook and turn them into 4×6 prints they would go around the earth 52,768,965 – 52 million times, basically. Over 17 billion locations have been tagged or included in checkins. And over 210,000 years of music has been played so far on Facebook. Deep breaths; okay, that sounds like a lot.
ANNE: It is a lot. So let me add a little statistic to that. About 28% of those 1 billion users check Facebook on their mobile phone before they get out of bed.
DAVID: Do you?
ANNE: I do that.
DAVID: Me too!
ANNE: That’s huge! I mean, for people – if that’s their first line of communication when they wake up you have to think about decision making for the day, what sets the tone. You’re a restaurant, you put out a little egg special. Wow! This could be huge, depending on what type of business you are.
DAVID: Isn’t that a similar number too for right before bed?
ANNE: Right before bed. Morning is peak. Many people – a lot of people sleep with their phones or use them as alarm clocks so it’s right there and that’s the first thing they do is they check that feed.
DAVID: So Facebook is where people are spending time whether they’re listening to music or posting pictures or being friends and this is a place where businesses can get in front of them.
ANNE: Yes. And it doesn’t mean this is a place you can get in front of them and spam your wares; it means that this is the place where you can get in front of them and be a part of their world. Because they’re on Facebook for personal reasons. You may be on Facebook for business reasons; people are on Facebook for people reasons. For friends, family, and maybe your business if you fit into the mix.
DAVID: Okay. You want to go into that a little more? That’s great.
ANNE: Well, yeah. Because you really have to think, is your audience there? Well, obviously they probably are since most people are; even if they don’t want to admit it, they are.
DAVID: And it’s not an age thing, right?
ANNE: It’s not an age thing. Typical – the biggest age is about 37 age range or senior. The senior demographic is huge, 55 plus. There are more grandparents on there. My dad has the nicest farm in Farmville; it’s ridiculous. No one can top his farm. And I don’t know how that happened! He’s 71 years old. But it doesn’t matter! He’s there because he wants to make sure he can see pictures of his grandkids. And since all of us live in different places that’s the best way he can connect.
Well, guess what else he found there? Lionel trains! Well, if Lionel Trains is smart they’re interacting with their customers like my father who is 71 years old and will order from them but not if they never post or interact with them. Not if they’re just there and say “We’re on Facebook.” Not if they just spam discounts at him. He really needs to interact with them as in whose behind this company, who are these people, why do they care about me, is there plenty of stuff about trains; can they entertain me in some way? And then he’s more likely to be loyal.
DAVID: Okay. I want to talk more about Facebook but let’s just talk quickly about; there are a ton of social channels out there. Maybe we’ll do a whole podcast about just Facebook sometime, but I wanna talk about Facebook and Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, maybe touch on Instagram. I don’t know much about Instagram but I know my 12-year-old son is – that’s the only place he’ll play because he says all the grownups are on Facebook. And then of course YouTube and if you have thoughts on any others. So let’s talk about how they are similar to one another, some of the pros and cons, and which channel is right for which person.
ANNE: Well, one of the things that you just said is huge. So many people think it’s kids on Facebook, and kids are leaving Facebook in droves because of all of us; their parents are there! Well, now, this is a nightmare. They’ve gotta get out of Facebook; this is not cool anymore. So a lot of kids love Twitter, a lot of kids love Instagram. So if that’s your audience – kids – then those are your places.
But it doesn’t matter which channel you decide to be on. The bottom line is deciding where are your audience, where are your customers. If your customers – none of your customers tweet then you tweeting may not be the best place to spend your time. If all of your customers are tweeting? Wow! You need to be at that party and you need to be tweeting. And so that’s really the deal; first find out where your customers are. Well, we all know that probably most of your customers are on Facebook.
But then you have to understand, your fear of Facebook needs to be put in perspective. There’s two sides. There’s the business side of Facebook and there’s a personal side of Facebook and if you’re a business, you’re going to be living on the business side, interacting with the personal side. And so if you’re a retail establishment, if you’re a restaurant, even if you’re a service – I don’t know too many industries that do really, really poorly on Facebook if they do it right. But it’s heavily dependent on being able to interact in the personal world with someone.
So if you really are just planning to spam your wares and you have a discount every hour, that’s really more a Twitter thing. That’s not a Facebook thing. People will block you out of their newsfeed and they will get irritated. So you have to really think about the purpose that you’re doing it for. Facebook, you’re going to build a community and you’re going to consistently talk with your customers and with their friends. And this could be going on infinity.
Okay, Twitter? Twitter, you wanna be able to jump in and out of conversations. You wanna be able to jump in with popular kids, you wanna be able to jump in with the not so popular kids, you wanna be able to go out there and start your own conversation that other people can jump on. But Twitter, in my opinion, is the greatest for being able to jump in and out of conversations when you’ve not been invited and you don’t have anybody’s email address. You just have a hashtag and you’re there. Okay, so that’s Twitter. But that’s just tweeting.
DAVID: It is. I’ll tell you my love of Twitter. I kind of hate it for most of my –
ANNE: I hate it too.
DAVID: Clients that I work with but if I’m watching American Idol, I love Twitter.
ANNE: Because you can jump into the conversation with all of the other people in the world that you don’t have their email address.
DAVID: That’s right. You can say “Oh my God, did you hear that blond? She was fantastic!” Or “That guy with the glasses; what a joke!” It’s like a giant chat room!
ANNE: That’s right. And you’ll notice, a lot of these TV shows when they come on – and mine is Criminal Minds – and the show comes on and at the bottom they kind of lightly fade in the hashtag and the name of the show, Criminal Minds. And then they fade it out. Well, if you jump on Twitter right then you can have a conversation. “Oh look, he just killed two girls” or whatever and everybody is having the same conversation about that show right then. Anywhere in the world.
And so you think, “Why do I care about Criminal Minds? I’m just a business.” Well, what if that’s your business, what if you’re having an event and you can only afford to invite fifty people to your event because you wanna have a really nice event. Well, you can do that. But then you can also invite the whole world online to join your event!
DAVID: So, Apple’s going to do this in a few days. The Worldwide Developer Conference. And they’ll have all their developers there and that’s more than fifty people, obviously.
ANNE: But I can’t go to this!
DAVID: Right, I’m not invited either. But there’ll be millions of people who will be using the WWDC13 – for 2013 – hashtag and they’ll all be able to comment on the new IOS or the new Mac Book or whatever and Apple gets all that feedback, right there in writing.
ANNE: Yes. So another example of that is a local event right here in Kansas City. The city invited fifty mayors from all over the country to come to this huge CityAge event. And Sly James hosted this and was asking all the other mayors, “What are you guys doing in your cities that’s working, how can we make our cities better?” Well, this was like a $700 ticket. Who in Kansas City that’s an entrepreneur is really like “I’m gonna spend $700 today to go listen to the mayors of other cities.” A lot of us can’t afford to do that and a lot of us can’t afford to take the day. But a lot of us jumped on the CityAge hashtag and were present at that entire event. We were able to interact with all the other mayors. We were able to make an impact, and so now later, after the event is long gone and over, I’m still interacting with the Chicago people, the Florida people, the New York people, because they were at the CityAge event on Twitter.
DAVID: And you guys connected.
ANNE: We connected.
DAVID: That’s brilliant.
ANNE: And so that’s just a way to broaden your circle in terms of what you’re trying to do in business. You’re not trying to go after the masses. But for that particular customer I was trying to go after these specific officials and so to be able to connect with them and then connect them to the customer was huge.
DAVID: But how does that apply to small business, or does it? Most of the folks who are solopreneurs or have a small business with ten employees, is Twitter really the right place for them?
ANNE: I’m gonna say if that’s their only avenue, no. It’s not. Because unless you just have a lot of time to spend there. Because if Twitter is your avenue for social media to talk with your customers, how are you going to do your business, because it’s real time. You’re going to be talking to them all the time, day and night. Unless you’re prepared for that, you can’t answer all that flood of customer service calls.
So, whereas a Facebook page you can post, they can comment, you can come back and forth at your leisure. Twitter, you kind of need to be there. You need to answer, you need to respond, or you need to be at the event that everyone’s at with the same hashtag. So it’s much more of a real time, you kind of need to pay attention a lot, and if you’re by yourself, that’s a lot of time.
DAVID: Right. So I couldn’t go back in time to this mayor thing. I could – I could search it, I could find the hashtag and connect with those folks, but it wouldn’t be the live experience that you had.
ANNE: No. But you can still reference – okay, in sales. I immediately go back to my sales brain. That’s a way warmer lead. Hey, I saw on the CityAge conference that you’re referencing something that person’s already familiar with? That’s a huge door opener.
DAVID: Okay. So, should we put a social tag out there, or a hashtag, for this podcast?
DAVID: Okay. How about #IMIsocialmedia?
ANNE: I had #InternetMarketingInsight. I actually gave credit to the whole name.
DAVID: Oh, I like that.
ANNE: And then I took it off but I can put it back up. But I think you should because those are all – those are two, maybe three good keywords.
DAVID: So we’ll use #internetmarketinginsights and if you’re listening to this right now, feel free to tweet about it and hopefully you’ll meet some other folks there on Twitter who are also IMI fans.
ANNE: Yes. And if you have questions that way you can also communicate via that hashtag and say “I didn’t know what to do about this” and either David or I can look at that hashtag and answer questions.
DAVID: Perfect. And we’ll also have our contact information at the end of the podcast too.
ANNE: Okay, so we should also talk a little bit about Google+.
ANNE: Which is a newer boy on the block.
DAVID: Which I think you already kind of hate for some reasons?
ANNE: Yeah, I have some issues. But, because they’re the new kid on the block and I don’t know too much about them yet, I can’t completely dismiss them. What I have seen is that almost every single time we post stuff there, Google likes their own stuff so much that they show it in places where we can’t seem to get our other content shown.
DAVID: So let’s talk about Google+ from a social perspective. It has not done what they had hoped; I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. There’s a whole infographic out there about Google+ being a ghost town. And it talks about how millions and millions of people flocked to Google+ because they knew they just had to, and then nobody said anything. It’s like crickets. Right? It’s not that bad now. It’s almost a year later, it’s getting better, it’s getting some traction, but it’s still not Facebook.
If you were to go to your 300 friends on Facebook and say “Hey, come over here to Google+” 90% of them are going to be like “Why? I already have Facebook? I don’t need that! I already have FAD!” But from an SEO point of view, from the perspective of getting your content out there, there are a couple of things that Google+ is really good at.
Number one is, whenever a person was to post new content on their website, they would kind of cross their fingers and hope that Google spiders would crawl their website and index that new content, and it could be a week, it could be two weeks, it could be a long time depending on how big a deal your website is. If you’re the Wall Street Journal you don’t have to worry about it. Right? They’re gonna crawl your site constantly.
If you’re a small business owner they may not come to your website for a month. But now if you were to write an article on your website or put up a new product or service, and then go over to Google+ and put a link to that content on Google+, it’s like waving a giant red flag at Google and saying “Hey, look, I have new content! Come over here and check it out!” I have literally had some content posted within five minutes. Five minutes later I will Google my content and find it in the index.
ANNE: Or for me the next morning I will get a Google alert. Whereas it used to take a week or more for that Google alert that they finally picked up that content. And this time usually it’s at least by the next day.
DAVID: Okay, so from that perspective, anyone who is adding fresh content to the web needs to participate in Google+. The other thing that does is that if anyone is familiar with the Panda algorithm update, what Panda looked at was who had duplicate content. Because people would consistently go find content from somebody else’s website, steal it, and put it on their own site.
Now, if you do gutters in California and you go and find a great gutters website in Oklahoma City and you steal his content and put it on your website, you’re not really hurting anybody. You’re not stealing his customers. But that’s duplicate content and Google is not a fan of that. So whenever you put content up and you put it on Google+, Google will stamp you as the creator of that. You’re the author; you get credit for that information first. That way if anybody ever takes it, they get hit with the duplicate content penalty and not you. So from an SEO perspective alone, you kind of have to play at Google+.
DAVID: Now, that said, I think Google+ does certain things better than Facebook. I like circles, I like hangouts, I like all those things. But trying to move from Facebook to Google+ is just too much work.
ANNE: There are no people there.
DAVID: But if I had my way, I’d just take all of my friends and say “Stop Facebooking and let’s just go to Google+ and live there” except for my fear of Google being the next Skynet and how they’re gonna be our android overlords. It’s nice to have Facebook from that point of view. But those are my two cents on Google+ at least.
ANNE: Well, and that is why we participate, purely for the SEO. Very few people add you in their circles because there just aren’t very many people to add. I can go and add everyone in town and it’s maybe twenty people. So I mean, if you’re a local small business and you’re looking for local people to connect with, it’s a challenge. Unless you’re in IT. Because there’s a lot of IT people there. And SEO people.
DAVID: So what is your prediction for Google+, because they made it kind of mandatory for us to be there?
ANNE: I feel like they can’t go away because they’re forcing this.
DAVID: Yeah, they have a bit of an upper hand.
ANNE: And we know they’re forcing this and we’re submitting, but that doesn’t mean that we’re gonna allow them to take our friends. And so I don’t know that they’ll ever truly be social. But I think they may add in enough tools like hangout – specific things can bring people over. And if they had another thing that’s kind of like a hangout you know, people might wanna go just to try it and now they’re there. And if people try it and they’re there they’ll say “Oh, so and so’s here, and so and so” this will be a gradual process. But it could happen.
DAVID: Plus, how many people have you friended on Facebook that you wish you’d never friended?
ANNE: Oh yeah, absolutely! So people go to Google and think “Here’s my second chance to do this right! Make sure I don’t go and create my whole entire high school reunion!”
DAVID: Or create a circle that says “High School Reunion” and never really –
ANNE: Yeah. Be a little more organized about it.
DAVID: And with the creation of Android phones I think that Google+ is gonna make it.
ANNE: I do too because I hate to say because I really don’t like it.
DAVID: For us it just meant more work.
ANNE: Because I had to learn more stuff and they keep changing what they make. They make something and they decide “We made this and not enough people liked it” so they pull it. “And now we have this cool new tool” and so I have customers calling, “How do I work the new cool tool?” I don’t really know; I just learned five minutes ago as well! It makes it really challenging then to try and keep up.
DAVID: You’re looking at it all wrong Anne. It’s job security. That’s what it is.
ANNE: Of course, of course.
DAVID: Let’s move on to LinkedIn.
ANNE: LinkedIn is one of my absolute favorites, how I got started in the whole biz!
DAVID: It is. I think that’s the very first place you and I ever connected on social media.
ANNE: And you are actually the one who brought it to the place where I was doing sales training at the time.
DAVID: Well, go back a little. Give us some history on your introduction to LinkedIn, including my important role in it.
ANNE: Well, I can recall a day where I was at my previous employment and I heard my then boss become enraged because “Who is this David McBee, who’s coming up ahead of us under sales training Kansas City” and it was LinkedIn, LinkedIn, it kept coming up, LinkedIn. And we clicked on and it was your LinkedIn profile and he was like “Get this guy in here!” It was like great, we’re gonna do something new!
And because it’s such a fit for sales training on how to prospect and how to be in front of the right people, yes, we brought you in so you could train some of our trainees on how to do it. And it also helped me to further delve into it and really understand the value in terms of sales and you know, people, since they do buy from who they trust, in your LinkedIn network you better know who you’re connected to so you can then refer and buy from who you trust.
DAVID: So is that what LinkedIn is, all about referrals and buying?
ANNE: Yes. LinkedIn is a referral network. A lot of people don’t know this but you can be kicked out of LinkedIn. It’s not a place where you can go and blindly solicit people. You can send someone an invitation that you know or that you just met. You can’t just blindly solicit them with a cold call invitation of “I’d like to add you to my network”. If you do this more than five times and all five of those people click “I don’t know you”, then LinkedIn will remove your account. So you can’t be a spammer on there and just be blindly soliciting people.
It’s supposed to be meant for get introduced, or did you know this person, or did you meet this person? So it’s all about who knows who. So the people who are trying to do the numbers – “I’ve got 500 connections because I’m so popular and cool!” Do any of those people know you? Because if they don’t know you they cannot refer you. They don’t even know what your business is, so you’re not even on top of lines, so how does this help you having this huge number of people in your network that you don’t know or that don’t know you?
DAVID: Well, don’t they think that the newsfeed works just like Facebook?
ANNE: The good majority of people that are on LinkedIn are not posting anything, unfortunately. So no, in that respect it doesn’t work like Facebook.
DAVID: But there is a newsfeed. I see your stuff in there all the time.
ANNE: There is a newsfeed. There is a percentage of people who are posting there. But a good majority of people went to LinkedIn because they thought they were supposed to go set up a professional profile because they’re having a professional position somewhere and they go to LinkedIn and they put in all this information that looks like a resume, and now they look like they need a job because they filled out this resume.
Then now they’re on LinkedIn; let’s go start gathering people. And so then they go on this gathering thing of gathering people and now they’re gonna be connected to the world. Well, how does this help your business? You really have to think about what is the purpose of what you’re doing, and if the purpose of what you’re doing is to get others to essentially free sell for you – I call them my free sales people. These are people that are gonna refer you, talk about you, send your links to people.
DAVID: Can you give us a real life example? Maybe not by name but an example of a business that you’re working with that uses LinkedIn effectively? I didn’t mean to put you on the spot.
ANNE: Actually, yes. We’re working with an accounting firm who are in a service business and they do outsourced accounting for small businesses – small to medium sized businesses.
DAVID: That sounds like the right kind of business for LinkedIn.
ANNE: Yes. And so for the president of that company, he himself is participating by posting in groups, his blog posts and joining conversations, just as if he were attending a chamber event, he’s going to the event to talk and meet with people. And then he also posts on a company page. LinkedIn has company pages much like Facebook has business pages, and that’s a newer feature that many people don’t know about. But it can be huge in terms of SEO as well, since LinkedIn is such a huge conglomerate social network, it’s more likely to be picked up by the activity in a search. So if you have a company page on LinkedIn where you’re posting all your company updates, you’re getting a lot of keywords.
DAVID: That’s really good for reputation management as well, because when people Google you by name – actually, my next show is on online reputation management and we’re gonna talk about owning as much of that search page as you can when somebody searches you by name. And a LinkedIn profile for your business is definitely one of the ways to do that.
And personally, I wanted to make sure that if somebody Googled David McBee my LinkedIn was one of the first things that came up. That was one of my main motivations for participating. Like if people look for me, I want them to be able to find me, and LinkedIn seems to be the authoritative site for finding people.
ANNE: Yes, for business. LinkedIn is your business card. You have to think in terms of being old school, you had a Rolodex and you started a business and you had a Rolodex of people that you’re now gonna spam because you’ve got to have customers somehow, and you probably joined the Chamber because you’ve got to get in front of people somehow. So you have to think of LinkedIn as just a more technological way to do the same thing.
Your Rolodex are your connections. Who do you know, who do they know, who knows you, so that you can all refer each other. Then you have to think about the LinkedIn groups in terms of like going to a Chamber event. You have to schedule time, not as a marketing/advertising deal, but you have to schedule time on your calendar to go to the LinkedIn events, just like you’d schedule time on your calendar to attend a Chamber event, and you’re gonna spend an hour and a half networking. Well, you’re gonna go into the group and you’re gonna spend an hour and a half networking. Now, you may think that’s a lot but there’s a lot of groups, and there’s a lot of spam in a lot of groups.
You may join a group and find that it’s a lot of crap. Leave the group, go find another group. It’s crap too, leave the group. Until you find facilitated groups where it looks like, there’s some decent conversations going on here, I could really participate here. And it looks like in the member’s tab, hmm; a lot of my prospects and customers are here. This would be a really good group for you to participate in. One of the biggest mistakes I see is lawyers. Lawyers join all the groups where other lawyers are. This does not help you get customers. Just like on Facebook and Twitter you have to think “Where are my customers? What events are they at?”
DAVID: Where would lawyers go? The drunks’ page? Hey, are you trying the party page?
ANNE: Could be something like that!
DAVID: I mean, I’m being a little flippant but –
ANNE: It’s true. You have to think of where your customers – so, if your customers are a bunch of bachelorettes or they need a party bus or something like that, that may be your audience if you are a lawyer and you’re looking for “Where’s the drunks?”
DAVID: But if they’re on a party bus they’re not drinking and driving. I’m just being ornery, sorry!
ANNE: But there’s potential there, because they’re talking about partying.
DAVID: They’re drinking and driving the next day!
ANNE: I mean, you just have to really think about where your customers are and what are they doing and so people who drink, what do they do? They go out. They probably go out to specific restaurants. Well, you might want to be connected to those restaurants. You might want to be connected to where those people go. There’s so many ways to be connected because that’s the way the internet works anyway, it’s all one big giant connection. Everything is connected to something else. If you look hard enough you’ll find the right place where your people are.
DAVID: Alright. Anything else you want to add on LinkedIn?
ANNE: Not really. It’s just the professional network, the professional, professional network. This is not where you post your “I just had something for breakfast”, “This is the family picture at the wedding”, none of this crap. We don’t really wanna deal with this.
DAVID: I know you teased about people putting their resumes up there but honestly, if you are looking for a job this is one of the –
ANNE: If you’re looking for a job LinkedIn is really a great place. It’s gained a reputation for being the place to find a job but the reality is for sales, oh no. Oh no, no, no. This is your sell sheet and you need to write your profile up to talk to your customers. Your summary should be talking to your customers. “Hey, is this your issue? Do you guys deal with this, do you guys deal with that? We might have a solution for you!” That’s what your summary should be, not “I’ve been doing this for ten years and I was fabulous and before this I was even more fabulous at this other company and before that I was even more fabulous!” Who cares?
And so they don’t know what to do with that, so they click back because they’re like “Okay, great. So David did this for so long and he was fabulous.” But if it speaks to you right there like “Hey, is nobody finding your stuff online? Are you spending a lot of money and still nobody’s finding you online?” I feel like, maybe I need to talk to him. So then I self-discover that I need to talk to you instead of you having to reach out and tell me “Hey, I’m selling my wares; are you interested?” That completely eliminates that process just by setting up your summary in a way that actually talks to your customer instead of talking about yourself.
DAVID: Good advice. Okay, let’s move on to Pinterest. For those of you that don’t know, Pinterest is that place where people collect lots of pictures. That’s really what it is.
ANNE: That is what it is. Pinterest, the first thing people think is “Oh, that’s the women’s place.”
ANNE: There is a giant bulletin board, yes. If you have a visual business, you need to be there. And it’s not about being local, it’s just about being found, and pins get found. Okay? I didn’t realize this until recently and we have two customers who are getting the heaviest traffic on their site directly from Pinterest. One is a landscape business and one is a dating site. And the visuals on Pinterest that send people to the dating site are funny things. Date pictures, humorous things, cartoons, sexy pictures. But not over the top. If you show too much cleavage they’ll take your picture off. So I mean, you have to be clean about it but there’s ways that people want to be interactive with that and so they repin it on their bulletin boards.
So I always think back to the teacher school days because my mom was a teacher. And every year before the school year would start she would always have to go in a week early and set up her bulletin boards, and put all the stuff up for the third graders, all the stuff they would be doing. Well, Pinterest is the same thing, except you get your own bulletin board so you can take stuff off other peoples’ boards and put it on your own board, and this is fabulous.
Well, guess what? If your board is the board that someone took something off of and pinned it on their board, they also took your link and that is big. So in terms of your link being spread around, those again are free sales people and those pinners are free selling your wares over on their bulletin boards. And so people collect followers here in terms of – one of the biggest categories here is recipes.
Women follow recipes, men follow recipes, chefs follow recipes, news media follows recipes. There’s a lot of people there. It’s definitely a time waster if you’re not careful. And you can quickly feel like “What is the purpose of this?” But you can quickly realize that, as a business, once you set it up, you’re gonna have to set up a strategy around “Oh, I’m gonna do this weekly” or “I’m gonna do this three times a week” or whatever, to where you have new pins or you’re sharing other peoples’ pins. Remember you need to free sell for other people too. So you need to share and repin other content.
DAVID: I have a quick Pinterest story. I have a page, it’s a board and it’s called awesome Jeeps. It’s just all these amazing Jeeps, I’m a Jeep guy, so I put all these pictures of Jeeps on there. And this is actually how I found the new wheels I wanted to buy, by looking around other peoples’ Jeep pages, Jeep wheels, 4×4 wheels, back and forth, and I found, I was like “Those are the ones!” On Pinterest. And I ended up going and spending a lot of money on those wheels. And I can’t imagine a world where an article on wheels would have possibly sold me, or a product description of wheels. It had to be an image.
ANNE: Right. And so you also have to think about another place where people search is Google images. So if your images are all tagged in Pinterest to your stuff and people are in Google images Googling stuff that will bring up your stuff, you will be found. So it’s another way to be found. If by tagging your images in Pinterest, associated to the name of your business, all your keywords, all that other good stuff, it’s a way to be found on Google images.
DAVID: One more thing I want to add to Pinterest, it’s a great place for infographics, and a shout out to our last show on infographics. I was working with a client who did an infographic about how to prepare – a bride’s guide to preparing for an outdoor wedding. And the particular product they sold was outdoor tents. But the infographic was all the things a bride would need to know like average cost of a dress, what season’s the best to do it in, great locations for an outdoor wedding. I mean, it was just a blueprint.
If you were a bride and you were having an outdoor wedding, you needed to see this infographic. And it got pinned, literally, over 2000 times. So these crazy brides just finding this and repinning it to their created bridal board, right, with the cake that they want and the dress that they want, and this infographic is finding its way there. And I’m pretty sure if anyone Googles “Brides guide to an outdoor wedding” they’re gonna find that infographic without even me having to say what it is, because it’s the authority on that particular topic now.
ANNE: Awesome! And we like pictures anyway.
ANNE: And so when brides are looking, they’re looking for the visuals. And so if you can incorporate your business in any way visually, it’s huge.
DAVID: Now, I’m gonna tell you something is, you can go back to Google+, there’s a feature on Google+ that’s just like Pinterest. It’s like a channel of Google+. If Pinterest didn’t exist Google+ could go back and capture that exact same business. There’s boards that they have.
ANNE: Wow, I’ll have to look into that.
DAVID: So Google+ really –
ANNE: That’s just it. The more features that come out on there, the more people are gonna go experiment.
DAVID: But, I don’t wanna move my thirty Jeeps.
ANNE: Well, that’s just it; you’re already kind of in your place.
ANNE: And Instagram, kind of similar except that it’s mobile. And because mobile is so huge that it’s an easier way to do some quick editing and some fun stuff and bam! Send it into my newsfeed. I mean, how easy is that. So ease of use, I think it’s a lot of young people there. Just mobile users I think is the biggest demographic, just anyone who’s a mobile user who has that app, it’s free.
DAVID: And I started using it just for the filters. I love the way this makes this image look. And then you have to share it.
ANNE: Well, once you do the work, you’ve made this visual coolness, you can’t just save. You have to share it!
DAVID: Someone told me they were following my Instagram feed, I was like “What are you talking about?”
ANNE: Cause it’s interesting.
DAVID: I was like “Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize I was posting those all somewhere!” And I’m not a total idiot but it says “Do you want to post this to Twitter or Facebook” and I always said no, so I didn’t realize I was posting it somewhere. Duh! My son is the big Instagram guy. He doesn’t want to use Facebook anymore because – well, he says his friends aren’t there but they are. What he really hates is when his mom tags him in a picture.
DAVID: And he’s told her “Mom, don’t tag me in a picture!” And he turns 13 this week and she just posted a picture of him when he was five and of course she tagged him. And so he doesn’t want to live in that world, so he goes over to Instagram. But you can’t just post a status update in Instagram; you HAVE to take a picture! So if you’re hanging out with your buddies skating and you want to say that on Instagram you have to take a picture of that and put it up.
ANNE: But that’s how they are communicating. It’s all visual communication.
ANNE: It’s just a different way to communicate.
DAVID: And there’s gonna be 200 different pictures of his girlfriends, you know, taking pictures of themselves.
ANNE: Which further eliminates the need for males to use verbal language. I’m not sure! I don’t know if that’s a good thing!
DAVID: I have on my list here YouTube, would you consider YouTube a social network?
ANNE: Uh, to some extent, yeah. I think more people are there, as far as subscribers and all of that, in terms of people trying to make money on YouTube. People trying to publish their videos and get ads placed on them, it’s more of that community. I think YouTube is hugely valuable as a tool to upload and use as a place to put your videos so you don’t have to use your bandwidth. I think it’s a great place for sharing. I don’t necessarily think it’s a place to be its own social network unless you’re in the network of trying to get ads on your video.
DAVID: So what you’re saying is put the video of your outdoor wedding on YouTube but then use Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook to point to that link.
ANNE: It just gives you additional link space. You have to think about your out at the business networking event and you’ve got the mayor in one corner and you’ve got Jim Bob from Jim’s Towing in the other corner. Well, how many people are trying to swarm around the mayor because he’s more important and so and so, and Jim Bob over here is just eating the turkey at the buffet; nobody’s paying him any attention.
Okay, well the same thing happens online. LinkedIn is really popular, YouTube is really popular, Facebook is really popular, and so if you’re attaching yourself to those really popular, already established reputations online, you kind of really bump yourself up in the ranks too by being associated. So by being associated with YouTube, having your stuff on YouTube, you’re essentially being associated with the popular person in the room.
DAVID: It’s a big brand. It’s the number two search engine.
ANNE: And it’s free, so why not?
DAVID: I wanted to come up with some real life examples of how a social media campaign can result in a real life customer. Do you want to cover one of yours first or should I talk about this one?
ANNE: You can go ahead and talk about yours first. I would love to hear about them.
DAVID: It’s Dreams Cancun Resort. And basically what happened is my wife with her Facebook addiction has stopped Googling things when she wants them. Instead she goes to Facebook and says “Hey, we’re planning our family vacation; ideas?” And she’ll get thirty responses, people saying “Do this, do this, do this, do this, do this!” And Dreams Cancun Resort was one that her friend put on that list.
So of course, Dreams Cancun Resort had a beautiful Facebook page, it was a click away, and of course Emily liked everything that was there, lots of cool images and people saying they loved it, and she hit “Like” on the page. And that was months before we were actually going on vacation. But what happened was, by hitting that “Like” button, she gave Dreams Cancun Resort permission to show up in her newsfeed. So now everyday when she checked Facebook first thing in the morning, right before bed, stoplight, in line at the grocery store, wherever she’s at she’s checking Facebook, every once in a while Dreams Cancun would show up and –
ANNE: A mini-vacation coming across my newsfeed! I wanna go here!
DAVID: Pictures of the food, pictures of the beach, pictures of the dolphins and she’s imaging our vacation.
ANNE: And they’re not selling her, they’re not telling her every freaking sale they have on the block. They’re showing her the experience.
DAVID: In fact, a lot of it wasn’t even them showing, it was other customers.
ANNE: Other customers, free sales people!
DAVID: So when the time came for us to decide where we’re going, Dreams had a leg up on everything else. Nobody else even compared, it was pretty much the decision was already made. The funny thing is, people always wanna know what’s the ROI on FACEBOOK and social media, what’s the ROI? If I spend an hour on this, if I post all this stuff, how many customers am I gonna get?
They wanna know that, but the truth is they will never know, unless they listen to this podcast, that their efforts into social media resulted in us spending a lot of money at Dreams Cancun Resort. And we did. But we didn’t go to the management and say “Hey, the reason we’re here is because of your FACEBOOK page.” Even if they had asked “How did you find out about us?” I’m sure Emily would have just said “On the internet”.
ANNE: If it would have been me, I would have had to say “Because you have such a rockin’ FACEBOOK page! Who does your stuff?”
DAVID: But we’re out of the ordinary, right?
ANNE: But the normal person, yeah, they would have been like “I don’t know!” I had a good experience so I didn’t think about it. I only think about it when I had a bad experience; then I’m gonna go talk all about you online. But since I had a good experience I might remember that – I might pipe on you online.
DAVID: I just bought a new pair of boots for camp, and it was because two weeks ago I said “Hey, looking for new boots” and I got all kinds of recommendations from my friends. So when I went into the physical location, it was R.E.I., I guess, and I bought the boots, they would never make that connection, ever. It was word-of-mouth. But it took place online just like you said thirty minutes ago when we started.
ANNE: Yes. So I don’t go to dentists.com to find a dentist this morning. I emailed Dr. Cobb and said “Who should I go to” and he told me to go next door. And I went next door because I trust Dr. Cobb. I didn’t go to Dr. Cobb because Dr. Cobb will not see people who are over twelve-years-old and I’m a little too old for his supplies. But I’m a big baby so I still wanted pediatric care. But that’s not allowed so I went next door. But because I trusted him more than I trust the phone book or dentists.com or any of that other stuff –
ANNE: Google. I trusted that Dr. Cobb would know me enough when I say “I’m really a weenie; what I need is drugs. Send me to who?” He sends me immediately to the person who’s gonna be best in that and I trust that he told me truth and so I went. And so you know, that’s the type of referral you can get. But the big example that I wanted to share was Morgan Miller Plumbing, this is my all time favorite. Have you heard of them?
DAVID: Tell us. Tell us all.
ANNE: Morgan Miller Plumbing, just Morgan started Morgan Miller Plumbing probably twenty years ago but until social media came into the mix and he started doing a Facebook page, did his company really start blowing up. And so now he’s become this great advocate for social media, which is awesome. But basically they have a plumbing company in Grand View and people are like “What are they gonna put on a Facebook page, they’re plumbers? Pipes? Sales? This is crazy!”
Well, they decided they’re going to showcase their culture, what it is like to be at Morgan Miller Plumbing and what their people are like, and they’re a huge fun crew. So they started posting fun stuff, like decorated toilets, different kinds of water fixtures, stuff they’ve rigged up. It was fun, it was entertaining, and it made you feel like “I just need to hit the ‘Like’ button so I can continue following this entertainment. This is fun!” Well, over time, they started little by little sticking stuff in there; it was an eight-to-one ratio, which is my favorite ratio. Eight times you post something out there that you really like that would help your audience, that was fun, that was funny, whatever. And one time you can say something about yourself, and then go back to eight times helping.
And so they did this and they would put out all this great stuff and then they’d put out “Hey, we’re doing this!” And then they’d go back to helping, helping, helping and then they’d be like “Hey! By the way, we also offer this!” And then they threw in this whole pink unicorns thing, which made the brand even more fun, because all of a sudden they now have water fixtures, toilets and pink unicorns. This really kind of picked up for whatever reason; people loved the pink unicorn posts! So then they were like “Well, let’s put the pink unicorns in water features” and a large variety of things that people would not expect from plumbers. But every time you go to that page there’s water. So it’s helping plumbing.
So anyway, over time they have built up such a huge fan base that this last year when KCSourcelink did their Battle of the Brands, the two top people that got to the top were the Roastery and Morgan Miller Plumbing. Okay, Roastery has a huge budget. They have huge advertising dollars. They have a social media presence everywhere. But Morgan Miller Plumbing has more loyal Facebook fans and those people blew out the Roastery like crazy. And so now they have all this huge exposure, they’ve hired a whole bunch of additional staff, they’ve gotten all these city contracts, they’re doing business like they would have never done before had they not participated in a way that was with their audience and not selling to their audience.
DAVID: That’s a good story.
ANNE: And they’re so grateful, that’s even better. They’re so humbled and excited and they post this stuff on Facebook like “Oh my gosh, look who visited us today! The mayor!” or “Look who did this!” And they’re so excited that it makes you excited for them, that you wanna get behind them and make them successful. And I certainly know who I’m calling when I need a plumber. And so it just makes them they’re a part of my life even though they’re really not a part of my life. But they are because they’re on my Facebook feed and so I feel like I’m a part of this company.
DAVID: So now if you need a plumber you have a friend.
ANNE: I have a friend. And I trust them, and yes, if I hear a friend say “I need a plumber”, I’m the first to jump and say “Here’s who you need to call!”
DAVID: Have you ever gotten any returns for you?
ANNE: I’ve done that repeatedly. Not for me personally, but I’ve referred them a million times to businesses. And I continue to use them as an example in my training of how to do it right, and how to engage. And so they have a free salesperson in me. Well, what if they had twenty of me? Would you really need a paid sales staff? Hello? Free salespeople!
DAVID: Social media is.
ANNE: Social media is sharers. Stop focusing on how many people like my page, I need thousands! No you don’t. You need sharers. You need people who will click the share button and share your stuff with their people. Those are free salespeople.
DAVID: That’s a perfect transition. I wanted to talk about my son’s scout troop. I take care of his Facebook page for him, and there’s only like 66 likes or something like that on the page, because the troop’s not that big. That’s almost like all the boys and all the parents. But we’ll post things like Dutch oven recipes, or what to take to camp, or mountain men. So we post all this stuff that’s camping related, scout related, outdoor related, and it gets reposted on peoples’ personal pages, it gets shared, it gets liked, and at the end of the day we might get in front of a thousand people! I’m looking at those analytics and I’m going “How did this little Boy Scout troop with 66 likes get in front of a thousand people?” And that is a beautiful way to show how exponentially the shares and likes can get out there in the world. Now, our goal isn’t to recruit more scouts – I mean, that’s obviously one of our goals. But we built the page for internal –
DAVID: Community, exactly. But if someone happens to Google Boy Scout Troops in Olathe and finds us because of that Facebook page, they’re gonna see this thriving fun, they’re gonna see all our pictures, and it probably will result in more –
ANNE: I wanna be a part of that.
DAVID: Right. I wouldn’t call it a sale, but more new members.
ANNE: And that’s what happens is, they wanna become a part of your community. So if you don’t create a community and all you have is a sales page, it’s kind of lame. I don’t know how to be a part of that. But if you have community like Morgan Miller Plumbing, where I feel like “Oh, I’ve gotta be a part of this pink unicorn thing, this is just too much fun!”
DAVID: I know; I’m gonna go like it.
ANNE: Then you feel like you’re just compelled. That’s the thing. They didn’t make me; they didn’t have to tell me “Like our page”. That’s so lame. You shouldn’t have to be doing that. Maybe in the beginning, “Hey people, we just set this up, I need my first thirty ‘Likes’, come on friends, I know you’re gonna help me out here, right?” But once you get past that you should be able to elicit the right fans.
DAVID: But we have a little game, you and I, where we see these pages that make you like them just to see the feeds. I’ll take a screen caption and send it to Anne and say “You have to like us before I’ll show you ANYTHING!”
ANNE: Yes! And that’s really crazy!
ANNE: And another thing, in the analytics, when you’re looking at your Facebook analytics and you have like these four major categories. Here’s the fans who like your page, and here’s the friends of fans – which is always like huge – that you could potentially get to, and here’s this little number that freaks people out cause they’re like “What’s that really low number?” That’s the number you care about because that’s how many free salespeople you have.
ANNE: It says “How many people are talking about you.”
ANNE: Okay, that number is typically low because people are focused on likes. Well, you also need to focus on who’s free selling for you. And free salespeople is that smaller number and you can build that up by your existing fans doing more sharing for you. Not if you don’t give them anything to share.
DAVID: I’m gonna do a tiny little self promo thing here. I wrote an article about a year ago about EdgeRank.
ANNE: I remember that.
DAVID: And it talks about how you should do your posts in Facebook to get more traction out of them, to get more engagement. I’ll put a link to that on the IMI page because we don’t have time to get into that. But before we wrap things up I wanna talk about outsourcing social media, because I know that’s one of the things that your company does. I know that you would prefer to train someone to do it themselves; am I right?
ANNE: Not necessarily. We do it either way.
DAVID: Okay, you do both.
ANNE: I do think people benefit more when they understand how it works rather than “Okay, here’s how, just do it!” But that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s not a lot of companies that don’t need the service of “Here, just do it.”
DAVID: Alright, tell us about that. Tell us about the guy who says “I’ve listened to your podcast, I get that I should do this, but I just don’t want to.” How can he participate in social media if he doesn’t want to do it himself? And I’m asking you a little bit for a commercial here, how you do it and how it’s done.
ANNE: He can outsource it. It just really depends on your budget is what it comes down to. You’re going to spend money either way, in terms of your own time that you’re gonna put in or your own cash dollars that you’re gonna put in to get someone else to do it for you. So it’s just a matter of how much you wanna invest to have someone else do it for you, and typically having someone else do it for you can range anywhere from $500 a month to $4000 a month depending on what you’re really trying to do.
But I strongly advise against “I’m gonna hire my 16-year-old and they’re just gonna post some stuff on Facebook” because they may know Facebook really well or they may know whatever social network really well but you also have to think about the business acumen behind it and if they cannot have professional conversations with your customers then they are not a fit to be your social media person. And so the free, or the student, way is not always necessarily the way to get it off your plate.
DAVID: But how can a third-party business be social for my business?
ANNE: Because we’re not trying to be you; we’re trying to understand your customer. So we would spend a lot of time for you on the front end trying to understand your customer and a lot of the time it’s really eye opening for you as well again to revisit to who is our customer, and who are we trying to sell to, and how do they buy?
So a lot of companies get locked in their own selves of what we do and here’s what we offer and here’s what we have, and all this we, we, we, and we typically go in and help them focus on “Okay, what does your customer really care about, because they don’t really care about any of those things unless they have a problem that can be fixed with one of those things! Otherwise, they don’t really care about you.” So we can do it on behalf of a company in terms of, we really get to know their customer and basically create communities around what their customers want.
DAVID: Very similar to the pink unicorns.
ANNE: Exactly. So it’s about what’s your culture, what are you guys trying to do here and really get to know what their customers really want. Because a lot of them, they may have three people that work there and they’re like “We don’t really know!” “Well, what do your customers like?” Well, sometimes they don’t know, and we have to go out and find out. But social network’s the greatest place to go and find out. “Hey, do you guys like this kind of food? No? Okay!”
I’ll give you a great example of one I screwed up on. Volleyball Beach. I’m from LA and when I first moved here and we went down to Volleyball Beach, it’s not the beach volleyball that I had experienced in Venice Beach in California. They’re like serious out there about their volleyball, right? With their protein shakes and all that. Here, on their FACEBOOK page, I’m trying to put “Here, make sure you have your protein shake before you go out and play!” And they’re like “Yeah, spike it with vodka!” I mean, like, every other kind of liquor you can imagine to spike it with. And there were comments left and right like “Who the hell is posting on here?” Whatever. Okay, day one, we immediately learned, wow. They like to talk about beer, they don’t wanna talk about nutrition, where are the onion rings?
DAVID: This is Kansas, Anne!
ANNE: They showed us immediately though “Oh no, we don’t like that!” And it was like, okay, here’s what they do like! And we rock and roll now because it’s all about “Get your pitcher of beer on, grab you a couple of balls” and we just make jokes and they love it. And we have a huge community. But the whole protein shake never would have flown. So you really have to think about “Who’s the customer, who goes there, who are we talking to on their behalf?” And they’ll usually let you know if you’re not on target.
DAVID: So you have to listen.
ANNE: You have to listen.
DAVID: That’s the number one thing we should take away from this is social media, you have to listen.
ANNE: You do.
DAVID: Okay. Anything else you wanna add?
ANNE: I’m good.
DAVID: Because we are about out of time. I wanna thank my guest Anne Cull of ThinkViralKC.com for joining me. Thank you very much Anne.
ANNE: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me!
DAVID: You’re welcome. Internet Marketing Insights is distributed by AMDG Radio. Check out some of the other shows they broadcast, including their brand new shows “Aspiring Entrepreneurs”, “The Culture of Comics” where they discuss Marvel, DC, and the comic book universe, and also “Swords and Space”, where they talk about everything from the Hobbit to the Star Wars universe. You can find out more at blogtalkradio.com/AMDG. Music for my podcast is composed and performed by my brilliant cousin Scotty McBee, his debut album is available on iTunes; check it out. And please visit DavidMcBee.com/IMI where you’ll be able to replay and share – please share – this episode, get a recap and some links to some relevant articles, and some visual aids. My guest, Anne, and my contact information and our links to our social media profiles will all be there at DavidMcBee.com/IMI. And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll be informed of future episodes, and much more. Next week, my guest will be Matt Brandenburg of PopClickle.com and we will be discussing online reputation management, so if you have negative reviews or not enough reviews, that will be a great show for you. Until our next show, thanks for listening. Now go do something awesome!
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