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Weekend Favs May 21

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but I encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • Agorapulse – is a powerful, unified social media management tool that combines publishing and scheduling tools with insights and analytics all in one place. Agorapluse’s customer support, value for money, and ease of use make it a stellar option for any small business.
  • nTask – This project management software combines the power of collaborative planning with a range of powerful project, task, and time management functions. nTask’s use of Kanban boards and Gantt Charts creates an easy-to-reference visual for teams and managers alike.
  • Trainual – A new-age training manual for remote teams. This unique employee onboarding software turns every process, policy, and SOP for every role and responsibility into a simple, powerful playbook. 

These are my weekend favs; I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

Empowering Women And People Of Color In The Workplace

Marketing Podcast with Kimberly Brown

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Kimberly A. Brown. Kimberly is a career and leadership development expert a speaker and podcast host whose mission is to empower women and people of color in the workplace. Her personal and professional development company, Manifest Yourself, provides in-person and virtual workshops, training, and coaching to professionals looking to lead a dynamic career and life.

Key Takeaway:

Kimberly A. Brown’s mission is to empower women and people of color in the workplace. Her personal and professional development company provides in-person and virtual workshops, trainings, and coaching to professionals looking to lead a dynamic career and life.

In this episode, Kimberly shares how mentorships and sponsorships can help arm and propel women forward in a world full of challenges that women of color particularly face as they navigate their corporate careers and life.

Questions I ask Kimberly Brown:

  • [1:52] We’re finishing up the national mentoring month and getting ready to enter black history month as we’re recording this. Your work is focused on helping empower persons of color in the workplace – can you talk about the crossroad of these two monthly celebrations for you?
  • [2:57] What is inherently creating the disadvantage for both women and particularly women of color?
  • [4:22] Would you go as far as saying everyone needs a mentor?
  • [6:27] How do you identify a mentor?
  • [8:02] It’s become pretty popular in leadership circles to talk about coaching as a skill of a leader, how would you distinguish between mentoring and coaching?
  • [9:26] What are some tips for somebody to be successful as a mentor?
  • [11:35] Are there tangible benefits to being a mentor?
  • [12:53] Is there a mentorship format in a practical sense that you’ve seen work the best?
  • [16:00] Can your boss be your mentor?
  • [16:33] Do you think it is a necessity for black professionals particularly to have a mentor?
  • [17:27] Does the black professional have to navigate their career in a whole different way?
  • [19:37] Did you as a black professional feel an undue responsibility to help other black professionals?
  • [21:03] Where can people find out more about your work and perhaps pick up a copy of your book?

More About Kimberly Brown:

More About The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

John Jantsch (00:00): Today's episode is brought to you in part by Success Story, hosted by Scott D Clary and brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network. Success Story is one of the most successful, useful podcasts in the world. They feature Q and A sessions with successful business leaders, keynote presentations and conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups and entrepreneurship. A recent episode had Terry Jones, the CEO of Travelocity and the chairman of kayak.com. Talking all about disrupting existing industries with technologies so much for us to, to think about and learn in that episode. So listen to this Success Story podcast, wherever you get your podcast.

John Jantsch (00:54): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Kimberly A. Brown. She is a career in leadership development expert, a speaker and podcast host, whose mission is to empower women and people of color in the workplace. Her personal professional development company manifest yourself, provides in-person and virtual workshops, trainings, and coaching to professionals looking to lead a dynamic career and life. So Kimberly, welcome to the show.

Kimberly Brown (01:26): Thank you so much for having me.

John Jantsch (01:28): So we are just fi you and I are recording this in January of 2022. And upon when people listen, uh, to this, we are just finishing up national mentoring month and we are getting ready to enter black history months. So I feel like there's a bit of a, of crossroads for you for you because you do a lot of teaching around mentoring. And, and as I stated in your profile, you certainly, uh, work to help empower persons of color in the workplace. So maybe talk a little bit about kind of the crossroad of those crossroads of those two ideas or those two. No, definitely monthly celebrations.

Kimberly Brown (02:01): Yes. I'd even go as far as to say that, I feel like Q1, I think from mentoring month black history month and women's history month, they're probably some of my busiest month because when we think about when we take the intersection of mentoring studies show that women and people of color, one of the reasons why it's so hard for them to navigate the world of work sometimes is because lack of mentorship and sponsorship, not having those critical relationships in the place that help them move, how they need to move, whether it's having the knowledge of the particular industry or the insider information to help them move through or how to navigate tough conversations with their boss, or like Carla Harris says that person who's bringing their paper into the room when you're not invited to the room that you're eligible then for promotions or folks are having those conversations about you. I, I totally agree. There's so much intersection there with all three of these months in Q1. yeah. For a lot

John Jantsch (02:52): Of the work that I may be asking you a question that is obvious, but I'd love to hear your kind of take on it. Why do you, why do you suppose both women and persons of color, particularly women of color, you know, have that disadvantage? What, what, what what's sort of inherent in creating that disadvantage?

Kimberly Brown (03:08): So there are so many things I think we can obviously go down bias, unconscious and conscious bias in the workplace. We can talk about microaggressions. We can talk about racism. We can talk about out sexism. We can a hundred percent touch upon those things because those are all true and all valid. I think on the other side of that, I think that there's a notion, especially for people of color in the workplace, that you kind of, you put your head down and you just work hard and the opportunity will come. That's all you have to do in my book, I talk a lot about my father and he is a veteran. He worked his way up from a male sort all the way to postmaster general in the state of Connecticut. And he always told me, you know, Kimmy just like, put your head down, work hard and you'll get there.

Kimberly Brown (03:47): But there's an element of playing the game that I think is missing for a lot of women and people of color where they may not understand what is the game to be played and how do I play it in a way that is authentic and doesn feel, um, icky right in the workplace. Like sometimes you have to learn how to play those things. And especially if you are first gen or your parents haven't operated, or your cousins, your brothers, your sisters, haven't operated in some of these traditionally corporate atmospheres. You may have no idea. Yeah. How to play that game. And that's where mentorship and sponsorship is so crucial.

John Jantsch (04:20): So would you go as far as saying everyone needs a

Kimberly Brown (04:24): Mentor? Yes. A hundred per 110%. I think I break down four different key relationships that any professional needs in the workplace in my book. But when we talk about mentorship and I think I'm gonna touch on sponsorship too, because I think that sometimes people think that it's exactly the same thing, but it's a little D I think mentors of the folks who've been there done that they're able to help you in your role because they've most likely been in your role or they're in a role you'd like to be in. So they're literally showing you the ropes because it's what they've done. And that is crucial to anyone at all times, to have someone who's been there, done that who can show you the ropes, the next piece, I think that people also look for sponsors for is that connectivity connecting to different jobs, opportunities to people.

Kimberly Brown (05:07): And that's where the word sponsorships are to come into play and sponsors like Carla Harris says, she's a MD at, um, Morgan Stanley. That's the person who could bring your paper into the room. Or I explain to my clients and say, that is the person who can literally pick you up from where you are and bring you to where you rightfully belong, because they have power and influence. I separate those two things because not every mentor has power and influence. When you need to determine where power is. I ask my clients to think about, well, who makes the final decision? Who can you go to in your organization? And they get to say yes or no, and it's done. And if that person has to go to someone else or someone else or someone else, then they may have some power. But in an ideal world, you want the person who could say yes or no. If they say to hire you, they say to move you forward or to interview you, that person's influence is high enough where it's a no brainer.

John Jantsch (06:01): I think in some cases it's probably pretty easy to identify a sponsor in some organizations, but I would think harder to identify somebody who could actually truly be a mentor. So how do you, how do you advise people go about five? You know? Cause I, I think sometimes people will go, oh, this person has power. I'll just have them be my mentor. But there's a skillset probably that is involved in being a mentor that goes beyond, you know, the scope of your power. So how do you identify that mentor?

Kimberly Brown (06:31): So when you're thinking about finding a mentor, I think a there's finding someone who's doing something you'd like to do. Yeah. Where are they? Are they doing something that is of interest to you, a role that you'd like to have, but then I think you have to almost interview your mentors. Mm-hmm, not everyone is going to be a great fit for a multitude of reasons. When I'm coaching mentors on how to be great mentors. One of the things I say is like, you need to be accessible. How much time do you have, where you're able to give back to this person? What are you looking to help that person achieve to do? Are you open to holding them accountable for certain things? Or are you looking to kind of just, you know, have some good conversations, all of that is fine, but it's important for the mentor to understand what it is they want.

Kimberly Brown (07:13): And it's important for the mentee to ask for what they need. So when you have these coffee chat conversations, invite a few people to have a brief coffee, 15 to 20 minutes to get to know them and see if they even have the time. Now you don't necessarily have to say, will you be my mentor? Cause that sometimes can feel a little heavy, but you can ask, like, would you mind if I follow up with you periodically about my own career and ask for some insights and advice and do they have the time? And do you feel like it's that fit for you? The relationship should feel, I don't wanna use the word safe, but it should feel comfortable, yet challenging, comfortable, where you're open to really sharing whatever it is you need to share. But challenging in that they are open to challenging the ways that you look at things, how you wanna do things and you feel that those are beneficial to your own growth.

John Jantsch (08:04): It it's become pretty popular in leadership circles to talk about coaching as a skill of a leader, uh, how would you dis between mentoring and coaching?

Kimberly Brown (08:15): So coaching, the big difference is that it's teaching you a fundamental skill mentoring sometimes could be more advice. It could be just like having conversations that make you feel better, helping you navigate and make some quick decisions. But coaching is physically teaching you how to do something. A tangible example I'd give to someone is when I was in higher education. So I was in higher ed for almost 10 years. In the final stage of interviews, you always had to do a presentation. Once you got to more senior roles, I had mentors who would be able to coach me and literally have me walk through that presentation. Give me feedback, review my deck in the workplace. I'm someone who always struggles with Excel. I don't care how many YouTube videos you tell me to watch. I have people who will help me do that pivot table, help me look at the data and put it into a presentation that is tangible. Teaching me how to do something versus a mentor. You may call them more to talk about like talk you down off the cliff. When you feel like you've got all the nerves or they help you identify roles, but it's not super tangible. Now a mentor can be a coach, but not every coach can be a mentor in the same way the sponsorship goes too. Yeah.

John Jantsch (09:24): All right. So let's uh, flip the role to the mentor. We've been talking mostly about the mentee. I think I, I, what, what are some tips for somebody to be successful as a mentor, particularly? I'm sure there are a lot of people that are out there saying, I know I should do this. I know I can do this, but you know, it's like, I've never done it before.

Kimberly Brown (09:41): So I would challenge people to think that you may be doing it already. Right? Many people in the workplace place feel that their manager is their mentor. And that may be the case for some, as much as it may not be for some others. But if you're looking to be a mentor toward, as someone, I would first start to seek out opportunities where you are. So are you involved in professional associations? Are there any rising stars that you see in your workplace? That's something I always tell people to look for. Is there someone in your workplace where you're like, Ooh, I know that they will be the next me where I know that with a little, little tweaking here, I know I can help them. You can identify those folks that reach out and say, would you be open to me helping you in any way, shape or form?

Kimberly Brown (10:23): When I worked in corporate America, I was big on doing that. I just love to help people not make the mistakes that I did in all honesty. And if I saw someone who I knew I could help a little bit, I would just reach out and say, Hey, would you be willing to having some conversations? Is there any way I can help you in your career? But I think the biggest thing that I would share is that accessibility is that you need to make sure that your mentee has access to you in whatever medium feels great. Some people are good for a text or a phone call, some want to have a quarterly chat, but they need to have that access us in order to learn from you. So if you don't have the bandwidth to give access, it's a little bit harder to mentor.

Kimberly Brown (11:02): And then I would probably recommend that if your company has fireside chats or they have great employee resource groups where you're able to do a, a talk that may be a great way to give back, you may not be open to or have the accessibility to have a whole bunch of mentees and try to make sure you don't take on too many. I think when you're in certain roles, especially I've seen so frequently women of color, if there's not many women of color at certain levels in the organization, there's one of you in how many people who want access, determine what is the best way for you to be able to give back in a way that feels good for you, but isn't too overwhelming.

John Jantsch (11:38): So we've been talking about a lot of the benefits to the mentee. I mean, do you find that there are tangible benefits, particularly that person is thinking, oh, do I really have time to to devote to this, that mentor that might be thinking of that? Do you find that there are tangible benefits back to the mentor?

Kimberly Brown (11:54): I think we'd have to like clarify tangible, but I'd say that it's always great to get back in an organization. Sure. It's, it's a great way to get back to younger talent. It's a great way to pipeline talent. Great. For succession planning from an organization standpoint, you could say that, but I'd also just say in all honesty, it feels really good. Yeah. I tell my mentees, the only thing they have to give back to me is their success. Like, and not in a, like, you need to say that Kimberly Brown helped you get here. but in a you listened to the advice that I gave, you took the feedback and you executed at a high level and it helped you make your next move. That's honestly, the reason why I'm in career leadership, the first time I saw someone get a job as a direct result of my coaching, I was hooked absolutely positively hooked.

John Jantsch (12:40): Yeah. I guess, I guess one of the benefits that I'm just using my personal experience is that particularly when you get in a leadership role and people keep telling you that, like you're a big deal. , you know, sometimes you lose empathy for what it was like. Yes. You know, when you were trying to keeps you grounded. It does. It does. I really think that's one of the, probably one of the benefits that I've seen. Is there a format I know you've talked about, do you have the time, what does the person need, but is there a format for doing this on a practical sense that you've seen, worked about? So meeting like monthly meetings or just very informal, or just call me when you need, I mean, is there a format that I I'm sure differs with every person, but is there a format you've seen that kind of seems to work pretty well?

Kimberly Brown (13:21): That's a really, really great question. And I think it also differs between every single mentee and what their actual needs are. So I could see someone who is gunning for a promotion, right? They know that this is their year. They need to, to put all this work in to make sure they get promoted in the end of the year. It probably would be beneficial for that person to check in once a month, probably once a month, if there is a goal in mind. But I think the mentee and the mentor need to just really work out what that looks like, whether it's quarterly meetings, monthly meetings, depending upon the goals, making sure that there's a little bit of access. If there's something really timely, I know I've called of my mentors. Like, Hey, I just got this opportunity. I have no idea what to do.

Kimberly Brown (14:00): Can you hop on a call this week? So I think it's just having a little bit of flexibility, just defining what that means. If you're fortunate enough, some companies, um, or organizations have formal mentoring programs. So they might outline that for you, that you talk once a month, you have a private community where you can with each other. But if you are just, I'm kind of developing your own mentoring relationship, it's just figure out what works for you. But I would just say consistent cadence of meetings. So you know that you can hold the person accountable.

John Jantsch (14:28): And now a word from our sponsor confessions of a social media manager presented by a Gora pulse is a weekly interview show where they talk to social media managers across the globe about what it's really like to do social media for the world's biggest brands. It promises expert knowledge, mortifying mistakes, and raw insight into one of the fastest moving industries on the planet. It's an essential for any current or aspiring social media managers. A Agora pulse is a social media scheduling tool that allows you to take control of your social media. Stay organized, save time and easily manage your social media with a Agora pulses inbox, publishing, reporting monitoring, and team collaboration tool. Listen now on Spotify, apple, and wherever else you like to listen to your podcast, just search confessions of a social media manager.

John Jantsch (15:21): And now word from our sponsor Wix E-commerce the industry leading e-commerce platform with future ready, customizable robust solutions for, for merchants who mean business. Wix e-commerce is the complete solution for entrepreneurs, omnichannel, retailers, and brands who wish to launch, run and scale their online stores successfully go to wix.com/ecommerce today and join over 700,000 active stores selling worldwide with Wix e-commerce.

John Jantsch (15:55): trick question, direct report. Be your mentor.

Kimberly Brown (15:58): Can your direct report? You mean like reverse mentoring?

John Jantsch (16:01): No, no, I, I guess I said that the wrong way. Can your boss be your mentor? I think so.

Kimberly Brown (16:05): yeah. I hundred percent think so. I think sometimes it can get a little bit tricky because one of the things, when I talk about the key relationships that you need in my book, I always say that you need internal and external to your company. Right? Right. So there's a level of vulnerability that may not be appropriate for your boss, because remember your boss is doing your performance, appraisal. They all those salary decisions. There may be some things there that it may be better for you to have an external mentor or at least someone who's external to your immediate team or department.

John Jantsch (16:36): All right. So you basically, we started out saying that everyone should have a mentor, but I suspect you have an opinion on the necessity, particularly for black professionals.

Kimberly Brown (16:47): I think it is more than mandatory. You need a mentor and you need a sponsor. Um, you need to have these Q relationships to help you navigate the world of work, to help you see blind spots. I, every professional you need insider information and by insider information, I mean the things that are happening behind the scenes in the workplace that you may not be privy to. And that's where mentorship and sponsorship and just good relationships in general really helps you. It's not enough to just do great work and put your head down the way we think it may be, but you, you gotta do a little, you gotta play the game, you gotta play the game. You need to have people in different places to give you all of the information that's needed so that you can have a much smoother process as you're navigating your career.

John Jantsch (17:29): Do you? And this is a tough question for me to, as an old white person to, to ask. So hopefully take it in the right, uh, spirit, but is, does the black professional have to navigate in a whole different way? I mean, do they, do they need to have a different plan?

John Jantsch (17:50): I think there needs to be a different level of awareness. And I first, let me just commend you. I appreciate you asking the question, asking the hard questions. Cause I think as non people of color in the workplace, we know that it's the majority, right? So we need people to be self aware and ask the right questions. I think that, yes, I think there are a hundred percent, some nuances, a hundred percent things that will come up in the workplace because microaggressions bias. Those things happen every day. I wish I could look at my own career and say that things have never happened, but it a hundred percent has, and it impacts how you navigate the world of work. So I think it's really crucial, um, that you have some of these things in place, but I think I'll take your question one step further and just also add that as we're talking about mentorship and sponsorship, not all of your mentors have to look like you. Yeah. I think there's a misconception sometimes that, okay, I'm a black woman. I need to have black women mentors. Yeah. That mentor who I talked about earlier, who also coached me for my deck. That was a white male. Yeah. Um, an older white male. Mind you, I think he's at least 30, 30 plus years older than me. Oh, I thought you were gonna say, I thought you were gonna call 30 older no, no, no, no.

Kimberly Brown (18:54): no, no, no. He was at least 30 plus years older than me and I credit my success in almost all of my interviews to that man to this day because he grilled me and fine tuned my decks and helped me almost more than any other person and then higher education as I was building my career. So I don't think all of your mentors have to look like you. I think it's great to have a well-rounded network, whether that's race, ethnicity, gender levels, even seniority levels of seniority you need at all to make sure that you have connections where they need to be, and you don't have as many blind spots.

John Jantsch (19:28): Well, I think we all benefit from diversity. I mean that really what you're kind of talking about. I mean that, that, yes, actually seeing people outside of your industry completely can have a whole different view of yes of now. Now having said that, did you, as a black professional feel an undue responsibility to help other black

Kimberly Brown (19:44): Professionals a hundred percent? Yeah. A hundred percent. When I think about myself navigate the world of work, I think, well, me back up a little bit more. So I am born and raised in a very small town in Connecticut where I was the only minority K through 12. There were no other black people ever in my grade and barely a handful in my town. So I'm very used to being the only in many situations. And I know that's not the case for everyone. I literally was raised that way for 18 plus years of my life. So it's, I'm used to that, but for many professionals they may not be. So I definitely feel a sense of responsibility to give back and to assist and to help people not fall into any pitfalls that happen. I think making the transition into the world of work we're talking about from college into you, your first job is one major transition where there's so many things, but then all there are, is a bunch of transitions after that.

Kimberly Brown (20:39): Like your first leadership role, your first C-suite role, moving to a new industry, all of these first, it's always great to mean. I'm someone where I'm always looking to see if I can help. I love finding those rising stars. And I know maybe some of my, my mentees are listening when I share this podcast, when it goes live, they know, and they'll be able to say like, yeah, Kimberly saw me at a call and heard me say something and immediately slacked me and said, Hey, we should have a coffee chat. I wanna know how I can support you. I've always been that person.

John Jantsch (21:02): Awesome. Well, Kimberly, thanks so much for stopping by the duct tape marketing podcast. You wanna tell people where they can find out more about your work and uh, perhaps pick up a copy of your book.

Kimberly Brown (21:12): Yes. So you can go to Kimberly B online.com. My name is also Kimberly B online of every single social media platform. You can find me and the name of my book is next move, best move, transitioning into a career love available, wherever books are sold.

John Jantsch (21:27): Awesome. Well again, uh, thanks for stopping by was such, uh, great to chat with you and hopefully we'll run into you one of these days when we're back out there on the road again. Yes, please.

John Jantsch (21:36): All right. So that wraps up another episode. I wanna thank you so much for tuning in and you know, we love those reviews and comments. And just generally tell me what you think also did you know that you could for the duct tape marketing system, our system to your clients, and build a complete marketing consulting coaching business, or maybe level up an agency with some additional services. That's right. Check out the duct tape marketing consultant network. You can find it at ducttapemarketing.com and just scroll down a little and find that offer our system to your client's tab.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast NetworkWix, and AgoraPulse.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

Wix is the industry-leading eCommerce platform with a  future-ready, customizable robust solution for merchants who mean business. Wix eCommerce is the complete solution for entrepreneurs, omnichannel retailers, and brands who wish to launch, run and scale their online stores successfully. Go to Wix.com/ecommerce today and join over 700,000 active stores selling worldwide with Wix eCommerce.

 

The show’s brought to you by Confessions of a Social Media Manager presented by Agorapulse. It’s a weekly interview show where they talk to social media managers across the globe about what it’s really like to do social media for the world’s biggest brands. It promises expert knowledge, reveals a few mistakes, and raw insights into one of the fastest-growing, moving industries on the planet. Listen now on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts.

 

 

 

Standing Out In A Crowded Market

Marketing Podcast with Mike Michalowicz

Mike MichalowiczIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Mike Michalowicz. Mike is a speaker and bestselling author, the creator of Profit First – which is used by hundreds of thousands of companies across the globe to drive profit. And we’re talking about his latest book called – Get Different: Marketing That Can’t Be Ignored!

Key Takeaway:

Many business owners are frustrated because they feel invisible in a crowded marketplace. They know they are better than their competitors, but when they focus on that fact, they get little in return. That’s because, to customers, better is not actually better. Different is better. And those who market differently, win.

In this episode, I talk with Mike about his latest marketing book, Get Different, where he offers a proven, method to position your business, service, or brand to get noticed, attract the best prospects, and convert those opportunities into sales.

Questions I ask Mike Michalowicz:

  • [2:52] Do all of your books tie together?
  • [4:57] Why’d you write this book?
  • [6:19] Can you describe the research that led you to some of the conclusions in this book?
  • [9:44] It’s always fun for consultants and authors to come up with acronyms for things – can you unpack and apply the D.A.D. acronym from your book?
  • [14:55] What’s the filter for different that matters?
  • [18:53] Can you tell people all about what you’ve got prepared for them if they get a copy of Get Different?

More About Mike Michalowicz:

More About The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

John Jantsch (00:01): Hey duct tape marketing listener. We know you're always on the lookout for ways to more efficiently scale your business. That's why I'm so excited to chat about. I digress another show on the HubSpot podcast network. Troy Sandra is the host of I digress, talks all about how you can eliminate complexity, complications and confusion from your business equation and create clarity to streamline strategy solutions that achieve scalable and sustainable success. Check out episode 24, start there 14 minutes or so strategy is power. You know, I love that idea. So listen, learn and grow with I digress on the HubSpot podcast network at hubspot.com/podcast network. Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Mike Michalowicz He's a speaker and bestselling author, the creator of profit first, which is used by hundreds of thousands of companies across the globe to drive profit. And he's got a new book today called get different marketing that can't be ignored. So Mike, welcome to the show,

Mike Michalowicz (01:22): John, as always, is this cool hanging out with you? Thank you for having,

John Jantsch (01:26): I tell people this all the time, Mike, you and I have known each other a long time. You're like a little brother who has far surpassed me in terms of your impact.

Mike Michalowicz (01:33): I think the little brother part, for sure impact a question. I I'll never listen to you. And I know this story, but I don't know if listening to you. And I met for the first time face to face during a speaking tour with who knows, right? He may live and we did tour together and there was one day it was a professionally, perhaps one of the most impactful changing moments of my life was you said, you'd meet with me after one of the events, I was just talking about starting a membership organization. And it was the old pen and cocktail napkin paper, just writing down your thoughts. And I took it and earned it. I applied exactly what you told me and we grew proffers professionals. It was formed after the prototype. You laid out for duct tape, marketing and organization. You created

John Jantsch (02:22): Thank you. You took it and ran with it. You did a great job, obviously, and I admire your work. Do you talk about an arc of your books? Toilet paper entrepreneur was kind of like your first book to get out there, to write about what you'd been doing and your experience, but then it feels like you went on a pumpkin plan, profit first clockwork now even, you know, get different. Is there obviously I think you're targeting the same market, but are you saying, okay, for this book, I'm going to take on this aspect of business. Now, this aspect, and now this, and really tie do these all kind of tie together in that fashion.

Mike Michalowicz (02:55): They do. And they're all 30, the kind of formula behind it. So the overarching goal is to have a compendium of books for small business. I want to be the champion for, I call them the underdog entrepreneur, but the micro enterprise is a sub million dollar company. Like that's my piece. So I want to, when you're that size, it's very hard to get professional consultants to come in and invest in the amount of time and effort necessary to move that business forward. We just can't afford them. So I want to have the compendium of winning that business. One may have a marketing challenge. Business two may have a financial challenge. Maybe it's an efficiency challenge. So I'm trying to write all these books. The sequence they come out is based upon two things. First and foremost is reader impact. I'm blessed to be in contact with readers regularly.

Mike Michalowicz (03:43): Now it wasn't that way with my first couple of books, but now there's regular stream. So I can ask and survey and see, you know, what do people need now? And one of the common themes was I was hearing from people I depend on my clients refer me business. And actually they're mostly saying that a hundred percent of my leads come from client referrals, which is great. They recognize how good you are, but you can't throttle that you don't have control. How do you deliberately facilitate lead flow? So that was one thing. And the other thing is for me, is behind each book from your tutelage, I build an organization behind it. We found is that maybe 90% of the readers may 95% or the do it yourself, or if they want to read it and do it. But there is the faction that say, now that I know how to do it, I want to find the company that has this competency. So build the business. So I look for a partner early on now, and his name is Justin Wise. They have a marketing agency called the different company that they renamed a different company. And we've been working together on this project for two years. It's culminating a book and all the insights and practical applications of this process. And I also know that a portion of readers will say, I want to go a step further and work with the different company and this company that I co-created

John Jantsch (04:53): Awesome. So I guess that's some of the big idea. Why'd you write this book or this topic, and I know, and I also want to get into the research you did, but let's start with,

Mike Michalowicz (05:04): Yeah, I think there are extraordinary books out there. Duct tape marketing being one of the defining books, my opinion that show you the how to, and the marketing plans, the strategy, like here's what you do. And we need that. What I didn't find is many books focusing on the milliseconds of marketing, the cognitive behavior that happens from the prospect's standpoint. And so this book, one of the titles actually was going to be called the marketing milliseconds of how marketing happens in these fractional seconds. There's three key elements that happen within literally one 10th of a second. First is recognition of something, most stuff, the vast jury jury's ignored. So how do you get a ten second and retain attention? So we are subconsciously asking ourselves, should I stay engaged in this? Should I keep listening to podcasts? We just keep on asking ourselves as subconscious level and certain not serving. You're losing, you're dropping off. The last thing is subconsciously, should I take action with this? This is all happening in a flash of seconds. So this book is around managing those elements of mark.

John Jantsch (06:07): So I know that you are a bit of a, not necessarily scientific researcher, but you talked about, or you engaged a lot of people. You have a lot of conversations, you bring people in to try stuff in your laboratory, so to speak. Yeah. So what's the, describe the research that led you to some of the conclusions in this book.

Mike Michalowicz (06:23): Yeah. We, we have a room here at our office. Actually, when you come, maybe if we can spend a little time, I'll take you for a little tour, but we have a room. We call it the mad lab. It's our version of a lab. And what we do is we take existing marketing and we'll run tests on it against survey groups and audiences that don't, they're not told, you know, you're being tested. We're just asking, what do you, how do you respond to this and monitoring their behavior and looking for trends? And I'll give you one example. I like to pick on large companies, we were talking about that off-air arch company called Arthur Anderson, Arthur Anderson. There is one there's one called Anderson windows. It's also an Arthur Anderson Anderson window, which is pretty big. It's a pretty big franchise. And we had a marketing piece. We tested theirs and it failed the three key elements that identifying the book, differentiate to get attention, attract, to get engagement direct, to compel, to tell you when to do something and what this, this marketing was different.

Mike Michalowicz (07:19): They were sending out letters, handwritten letters saying, Hey, I'm your local rep or I'm the local business, or I'd love to do your windows. It was unique and different from the standard mail you get, but it didn't fail to attract because the owner was a guy named or is named Larry someone. But the hand script was a female's writing. It was very loopy. It was very clear. It wasn't him. It lost the authenticity. So we're read this and be like, this is a lie. This guy is marketing a lie. It's a shame that, that when we do marketing, many companies only do one element and they don't nail all of them. So our research of testing out other marketing, and then testing our own marketing techniques through our company, we had businesses do this. We found there's three kind of check boxes. You need to nail each time for marketing.

John Jantsch (08:06): So you use those terms of differentiated attract direct, uh, which conveniently spells out the dad method. And so should we take a few minutes and tell some dad jokes? It was, What did the fish say when he ran into a concrete wall?

Mike Michalowicz (08:22): Y, ah, okay. That's a good dad. Joke I got for you. When do you know a joke becomes a dad joke? I don't know when it becomes a parent.

John Jantsch (08:36): All right, there, you have it. Folks we're done here. And now let's hear a word from our sponsor. HubSpot CRM platform is easy to adopt and there are really two reasons. Two features that make this possible, that contact timeline and the mobile app and mobile keyboard HubSpot's timeline gives you the historical context. You need to get the work done and connect with customers because all of your customer data is in one place. It can serve as a single source of truth. In HubSpot, you can take an action, right from the contact timeline, make a call and roll a contact in the sequence, schedule a meeting. You've got it. And if you're on the go, you just use the mobile app to make it all happen and keep everything up to date. You don't have to spend a lot of time training your team. You can be sure that all the contact information is going into one system, making your team more efficient, look better adoption with a CRM leads to better data, richer insights, and a bigger impact on your customer experience. Learn more about how you can scale your company without scaling [email protected] All right. So obviously it's always fun for consultants and authors to come up with acronyms for things, but maybe unpack those a little bit. You balloon it to them in your story about the research, but just to make, maybe apply.

Mike Michalowicz (09:56): Yeah. So the three applications, first of all, most marketing fails because we are copying the behavior or the marketing method of our contemporaries, or

John Jantsch (10:08): This is what everybody in our industry, whenever else talks,

Mike Michalowicz (10:11): Right? But the consumer mind has this thing called the reticular formation. It's a part of our brain that achieves what's called habituation. Habituation is a way to avoid stimuli. That's not relevant. There's a reason. Sirens have changed on a police cars and ambulances. They used to be high, low, high, low. Now they chirp and they beep they do that because we've become so habituated. So familiar with it. We ignore it. People walked in front of a speeding. Ambulance had been killed by an ambulance. So what we need to do with our marketing is realize that consumers become habituated. And the only way to get recognized is to change the chirps and beeps when everyone else is going high, low classic mark example, you forgot the email that starts off with Hey friend. I don't know, John, if you got one of those in the first one I got, I was like, what is this?

Mike Michalowicz (10:56): I have a friend. That's call me a friend. Like this is so friendly. This friend, I actually read it. The second one, I was like, okay, the last one was actually smarmy marketing. Yeah. So this next one I skim through. I was like, I was marketing. I've never read a Hey friend since, cause I know it's marketing. I've become habituated to it. I don't put conscious thought to it. So the only way to break this pattern is to do what the people are doing because that will get past this gatekeeper to the mind. And I think that

John Jantsch (11:23): That really today, one of the key ingredients for getting kind of through the clutter is we have to do something that makes people talk about us. And you're right. That's the differentiator. A mutual friend, Jay Baer has a great book called talk triggers. That's really all about that idea of what can you do to get people talking? Everything else you do might be the same as everybody else. But you do this one thing,

Mike Michalowicz (11:45): One thing, it doesn't in some people get confused with outrageous, oh, I have to wear a clown costume. A clown costume will work. But if it's not congruent with your brand or who you are, it actually hurts you. So the next component, right? My,

John Jantsch (12:00): My attorney, my attorney shouldn't wear a clown suit. Is that what you're saying? Yeah.

Mike Michalowicz (12:05): With a squirting Daisy in your eye, Hey, sorry. Hey Joe, walk on the, because that attorney is not attractive. So the next component is this speaking to a need. I have a desire. Does it invoke curiosity? Does it entertain me? A clown actually could be perceived as a threat for some of us in this scenario. This is like a murderer. This is what a whack job does. So it has to be congruent with what your audience expects and needs. So what's attractive to them. And they're going to measure that very quickly. Differentiation gets attention, attraction, retains it. The last D stands for direct is to tell the audience now what to do with this knowledge and the key here is it needs to be reasonable. I think this is often overlooked. We have to give him specific, but it needs to be reasonable. If I'm selling a car as an example, and you're looking for a new car, I say, Hey, John, give me a hundred thousand dollars deposit.

Mike Michalowicz (12:51): We're gonna find your dream car like who are, you know, it's unreasonable. But if you walk on the lot and I say, Hey, John, would you give me my, your me, your cell number. I love to text you pictures of our inventory so you can find, and we can hone in on your dream car. That sounds reasonable. Also though, we've had our first transaction and now I can move us for the ultimate transaction, which is you buying a car and me collecting a commission. So the direct is to give a specific and explicit direction, but a reasonable and safe one for the customer. Okay.

John Jantsch (13:22): So I have heard you saying, of course this is in the book and this is not going to be good news for some people, but that better is not better. So that's going to be hard for some people swallow because I want to be the best at what I do and in my industry. And I think that you're going to say what's not bad to be better, but it's better to be different.

Mike Michalowicz (13:41): Yeah, it is very different and better is invisible. When you think about say, we have businesses that compete directly with each other, we both have cleaning companies and my clean company, I say, we will always answer the phone on two rings. You say our company will always answer the phone in one ring. You are unequivocably better. But the question is, does the customer care even notice most betters are actually invisible to the customer. It's the difference that get noticed if you're the only cleaning company that shows up in full bio hazard gear, that will be remarkable. And that's not a joke. That's what happened in the computer industry. My first business was doing computer systems and I was better than the competition. I had the certification to prove it. I had the response times to prove it. Then the company came in and they kicked my till Sunday. It was geek squad who dressed as geeks with the tape on their glasses, the flood pants. And because they were willing to put themselves out in a new and different light and they were talk worthy as Joe bear and Brinks too. They were remarkable. They dominate the industry. By the way, Robert Stevens founded a company. I believe now after their sale to best buy, they are at a $1 billion collective valuation, 1 billion. My company didn't sell for way less than that. I'll say it's sold for way less than that. So

John Jantsch (14:56): How do you, and you alluded to this, but I want to touch on it directly. I think when some people hear that we're different, they're like, okay, I'm going to be different for different sake. We're going to be the guys that wear purple shirts or to drive purple cars or something. And I think you address it with attractive. Does that matter? Yes. Okay. Somebody looks at it and goes, that's different. How do you, what's the filter for different? That matters.

Mike Michalowicz (15:19): Yeah. So if you are the business owner, the great thing is you are the filter. It's an amplification of who you naturally are. I'm a silly person. I like to be goofy. So you'll see my websites and all the work I do every time puts me out there. There's a silly component that is attractive, but I've got to be a little asterisk next to it. Next to that, to certain people, other people is repelling. They're like, who is this goofball or idiot, but it does magnetize a certain audience. So the truth is we gotta be true to ourselves. If I love, you know, purple rain I played every morning. When I start my day, I'm the purple guy lean into that because there's a community that is going to get you because you get it. It's the artificial difference that don't work. And I've had people that look at my website and said, wow, this was so different. As an example, I love it. I'm going to copy it. Is that okay? I'm going to go for it. It's who you are. It's not going to be attractive because there's going to be in congruency. You'll find who you are. You're the most professional, be more professional. If you're the most serious, be more serious, they'll be the more of you.

John Jantsch (16:21): You, you made a point that I don't think enough people, um, maybe would, would get just on what you said is it's actually okay to be polarizing. In fact, it might actually be a good thing. I'm not saying you want to go out there and be a jerk and have a whole bunch of people hate you. But the fact that you are very much upfront about here's who we are. And if that doesn't work for you, that's okay too, because we know there's people out there that this does work for. And I think probably the worst thing is just being as vanilla as possible and trying to appeal to Everett.

Mike Michalowicz (16:47): Oh, it's the worst. Yeah, don't be a jerk, but some people see you as a jerk, even though you're not being a jerk because you're being, you, you look at any presidential candidate. Any president has been an absolute jerk to 50% of the popular nation. Okay. Are you aware? And it's true for any organization. There's a community that is going to rail against you. I actually argue to leverage this, how it can be an ideology, some of your willingness, or it could be another represent representative in this community that just has a different ideology themselves and puts it out there. So I very much have a nemesis. And what this does is it rallies me to be more outspoken and more of myself to attract more of my audience, that the conflict between the two different approaches. And even though there's no overt conflict that this person does not know my name, I know their name, but it's not where we're in conflict. Our ideologies conflict, our Mar communities then are in conflict. This ideology is very light cigars with hundred dollar bills, make money and crush people. And my belief is embrace the community and use profits to be more an amplification and serve more. And those are different ideologies. And by having that conflict, both kind of fight each other and they both rally there's reasons why when presidents have very different opinions, approaches, there's more votes than ever the same can happen for our business.

John Jantsch (18:10): So you and I are in a growing club of authors putting out their books on September 21st, 2021. I've had you on, I've had Dory on, I've had chef hiking on the chefs, chefs releasing a book. The 21st Jonathan Fields is releasing a book on the 12th. And I think I'm trying to do my best to get everybody in the club on a, the, the podcast. So I think you've, you've checked you and I are recording this on the 20th. The book comes out on the 21st, but obviously go get it whenever you happen to listen to this. So tell people I know Mike, you always do on top of building campaign sites and communities. Quite frankly, you always tucked lots of goodies and extras and like behind the scenes stuff in your books too. So you want to tell people all about what you've got prepared for them. If they get a copy of get different. Thank you, John.

Mike Michalowicz (18:58): The site to go to is go get different.com. That's the site specific for this book? I think what's unique about it is I put resources on there that are all independent of book, including a hundred ways to immediately market your business differently. That costs nothing or cost very little, and you don't need the book to do it. You can get started so that go get different.com I'll show you you'll find case studies, stuff that we've done with other businesses that maybe you can interpret and using your own.

John Jantsch (19:23): You do also a great job with the audio book to, uh, to add some different content to that. One of the things that I've started doing recently, and I'll wrap this up, but is getting the audio book of a book I really get into. And I think, yeah, I really, I want to consume this book. I want to internalize it. I'll get the audio book and the print book. And sometimes I will actually listen and read at the same time. And I feel first off, I feel like I can go a lot faster, but I also feel like it just drives the point home. So that's my pitch. Go get Mike. So audio book and print book of get different, but it's go get different.com. So you and I are swapping a, I'm going to speak at your conference. You're going to speak at my conference coming up here this fall. And I had somebody actually asked me that they were like, why are we doing w I spoke at Ryan dices conference. So recently digital marketer and people are like, why don't you guys competitors? And I sometimes don't know how to respond because I'm on top of being friends, the world, the need for what we do is so immense that I can't imagine thinking of each other as competitors. And I think that's a lot of industries that are that way.

Mike Michalowicz (20:27): I love that because to me, I had a revelation. When I became an author. When I had a computer company, there was multiple people bidding. There was one person awarded the bid and you got it four years or sometimes a lifetime. It was very competitive. I wanted to destroy the competition as an author. There's no competition. It's contemporary. If someone discovers your book, John, your new one coming out, you know, directly marketing, I'm going to, if someone reads that and loves that book, what are they gonna do? They're gonna explore more books on marketing and it will only facilitate more reading. Yeah, it's the strangest environment for me at least. But the more successful your books are, the more successful my books are because all books get elevated. It really is the tide rising. All books go with the tide. Yeah. You find somebody who's got a shelf or two of marketing books and there'll be the easiest sale in the world for a marketing book, Zack, because they're constantly consuming. Mike, always great catching up with you. And I've been telling a lot of guests as I sign off. We'll hopefully we'll see each other in real life when we start getting back out there on the road. But you and I are going to do that soon. So I appreciate your friendship and support and congrats. So with another great book, I'll see you soon. My brother, my slightly older brother.

John Jantsch (21:39): All right. That wraps up another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. I want to thank you so much for tuning in. Feel free to share this show. Feel free to give us reviews. You know, we love those things. Also, did you know that we had created training, marketing training for your team? If you've got employees, if you've got a staff member that wants to learn a marketing system, how to install that marketing system in your business, check it out. It's called the certified marketing manager program from duct tape marketing. You can find it at duct tape, marketing.com and just scroll down a little and find that tab that says training for your team.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast NetworkWix, and AgoraPulse.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

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The show’s brought to you by Confessions of a Social Media Manager presented by Agorapulse. It’s a weekly interview show where they talk to social media managers across the globe about what it’s really like to do social media for the world’s biggest brands. It promises expert knowledge, reveals a few mistakes, and raw insights into one of the fastest-growing, moving industries on the planet. Listen now on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts.

 

The Content Strategy That Works

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

john-jantschIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I’m doing a solo show where I’m going to introduce one of my favorite strategy topics around content. Strategy is the most important element when it comes to building a long-term, sustainable marketing system – and content is the voice of your marketing strategy.

Key Takeaway:

The beginning of the year is a great time to rethink or reevaluate your marketing strategy. The common thread in almost every element of delivering on strategy is your content. Content is how you move people from know to like to trust. Content is how you give your marketing strategy a voice and, because of that, you must take a strategic and systematic approach to how your content is developed.

In this episode, I’m diving into why content is the voice of your marketing strategy, and how to effectively create and use content that gets people to know, like, and trust your brand.

Topics I cover:

  • [1:24] Using content as the voice of strategy
  • [2:19] Strategically structuring your content by creating content hubs
  • [2:48] Why blogging alone isn’t enough
  • [3:25] What hub pages are
  • [5:15] An example scenario of a hub page and the type of content to include on it
  • [9:33] A mini-workshop on how to create a hub page for your business
  • [10:54] Coming up with sub topics
  • [12:13] Why you’ll need to refresh and update content on your hub pages
  • [13:16] How Google views hub pages and what it can do for your rank

More About The Certified Marketing Manager Program Powered By Duct Tape Marketing:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

John Jantsch (00:00): Today's episode is brought to you in part by Success Story, hosted by Scott D. Clary and brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network. Success Story is one of the most successful, useful podcasts in the world. They feature Q and a sessions with successful business leaders, keynote presentations and conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups and entrepreneurship. A recent episode had Terry Jones, the CEO of Travelosity and the chairman of Kayak.com. Talking all about disrupting existing industries with technologies so much for us to, to think about and learn in that episode. So listen to the, a Success Story podcast, wherever you get your podcast.

John Jantsch (00:55): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jansen. I'm cut. I'm gonna at you with a solo show this month. I'm recording this in the month of January of 2022. All this month, I'm doing shows or at least trying to do shows along the theme of strategy. I think first of the year is a great time to rethink or re reevaluate at least your marketing strategy. So I'm gonna introduce today one of my favorite strategy topics around content, and the reason I call this a strategy topic. I mean, a lot of people will look at content and think, well, that's really a tactic , but if you approach it strategically, it really becomes a big part of how you get your strategy communicated. I often talk about content as the voice of strategy. And I think that if you have a strategy in mind, what you're trying to accomplish a strategy is not just a tagline.

John Jantsch (01:56): I mean, it's, it's how you wanna be seen. It's how you want to be evaluated. It's what your brand stands for. And so then it's the things that you can get, you know, that kind of leadership. So what I wanna talk about is something that I have talked about before. Maybe you've, uh, seen me write about it or talk about it before, but it is a, a topic I call content hubs. So in effect, what I'm talking about is strategically choosing, structuring your or content optimizing it really for your ideal customers in a way that's not just the one off blog post. I mean, for many years, I extol the virtues, frankly like many marketers of, of blogging, you know, as a great content and SEO con tactic, really, you had to have it, but then everybody caught on and it kind of ruined a good thing.

John Jantsch (02:46): So now you still need content, but blogging really isn't enough to get your content seen. In fact, what I'm gonna suggest is you, you forget about blogging as a concept altogether. Yes. That's what people call it, but we're, we're really talking about content management so what if instead of creating blog posts, you used the blogging tool. I mean, I'm, you know, I'm a big fan of WordPress. You used that tool to create and manage content that benefits your prospects and customers. So tools like word spray, WordPress, and maybe Squarespace, uh, Wix. I mean, they're, they're all out there. Now. There are many, many tools now that you can, that, that you can use that are really referred to as content management systems or CMS. So the idea behind a hub page or hub content is that instead of just waking up and saying, uh, let's write a post about this or a post about that, that, that you curate a group of blog posts and structure them around a broad, but, but kind of singular topic.

John Jantsch (03:53): So in other words, you create a whole collection of information. That is the broad topic that has a lot to do with obviously your, your products and services, your, you know, your expertise. So the idea behind this is that you end up creating a page that it's almost like a table of contents for like a big guide, you know, or, or maybe an ebook, but what you're really doing is connecting blog posts together. Now, the first step really is to, is to think in terms of, you know, if you've been blogging, if you've been writing content, this is really not gonna be that tough. And in fact, you know, if you have been doing that, you know, this is, this is really a great way. Might have hundreds of blog posts, webinars, podcasts. You've shared lots of useful information, but now it's just kind of out there that, you know, that it's in the ether, but you know, what, if you took it all and organized it in a way that you could create a very useful relevant group of article.

John Jantsch (05:01): So you're really just bringing, in some ways you really might just be bringing order to the content chaos that you've created. So you help kind of create something that guides your visitor's experience. Let me give you an example. Now let's say you own a yoga studio. You could create a HubPage around various topics, such as, as nutrition for yoga dealing with, and recovering from injuries, pre and postnatal, yoga information, all different forms of yoga. I mean, these would all then be kind of organized so that somebody who's out there looking for topics or looking for information on yoga in this would actually come to this page because by the way, Google will like this page. Google will find it very relevant because what you've done is you've structured it. And the way that the web's actually supposed to work, that all of this useful content is, is all brought to one page, referenced at least on one page.

John Jantsch (06:01): And essentially what we're talking about is, is, you know, a major topic, some subtopics, and then a list of blog posts under each subtopic. So all of these individual links would link out to individual pages. So if you've written all these blog posts, in some cases, it's just a matter of, of organizing it. This is such a great way to, you may have to write new content, but this is such a great way to give old content a second life. I mean, if you put a lot of time and effort into creating content, that's meaningful and useful, but then you're just posting it. And it just goes into, you know, the, the sort of chronological order. It, it really gets buried. I mean, in the, in the archives and nobody sees it, but HubPages give you the opportunity to highlight your evergreen in content, the oldies, but goodies.

John Jantsch (06:54): I mean, most, most content that I've written about marketing still relevant today. But if I just leave it for people to find it, they're gonna find that one off post. But if they're finding my guides, my hub pages around topics that I know are of interest, all of a sudden they're gonna find an entire library of content. And this is really going to, it's gonna do a lot for you to, to gonna raise your status as an industry, uh, leader. It doesn't really matter what you do. If, if you know, we create these for remodeling, contractors and accountants alike. If people are looking today for your business, they're not just looking for a phone number. They're, they're really I, if, if you sell anything that is of any consequence of any, you know, dollar amount that is going to take a serious consideration by a prospect, then they're gonna want to dig in and find out what, you know, they're going to want to begin to develop a relationship and start to trust you because you're not only teaching them what to look for.

John Jantsch (07:55): You're teaching them what not to look for. You're teaching them perhaps where the pitfalls are and what they're looking for. And so you're really becoming a trusted guide in their eyes before they ever really pick up the phone and call you and Al word from our sponsor, w eCommerce, the industry leading eCommerce platform with future ready, customizable, robust solutions for merchants who mean Wix eCommerce is the complete solution for entrepreneurs, omnichannel, retailers, and brands who wish to launch, run and scale their online stores successfully go to wix.com/ecommerce today and join over 700,000 active stores selling worldwide with eCommerce,

John Jantsch (08:41): And now a word from our sponsor confessions of a social media manager presented by AgoraPulse is a weekly interview show where they talk to social media managers across the globe about what it's really like to do social media for the world's biggest brand.

John Jantsch (08:56): It promises expert knowledge, mortifying mistakes, and raw insight into one of the fastest moving industries on the planet. It's an essential for any current or aspiring social media managers. AgoraPulse is a social media scheduling tool that allows you to take control of your social media, stay organized, save time and easily manage your social media with AgoraPulses inbox, publishing, reporting monitoring, and team collaboration tools. Listen now on Spotify, apple, and wherever else you like to listen to your podcast, just search confessions of a social media manager.

John Jantsch (09:33): All right. So how would you go about doing one of these hub pages? So here's the process think of this as kind of a mini workshop in creating hub pages? The very first thing is you're gonna pick a couple themes. And for example, I'm somebody who offers marketing consulting to small businesses, midsize businesses, right?

John Jantsch (09:53): So my ideal customers are attracted to really two big themes. Generally, they wanna learn how to market their business, but different market segments need different approaches. So we might create the ultimate guide to marketing your professional services business. And we might also create the ultimate guide to marketing your local business. Now, let me give you another example of how this type of, of approach works both from a usefulness standpoint and from an SEO standpoint, let's say I'm a painting contractor in Denver, Colorado. So I might create the ultimate guide to exterior painting in Denver. I mean, this is obviously gonna be something that, that somebody who owns a home in Denver might be looking for. So I'm going, I'm going to basically say, that's my, that's my broad theme for, or title, if you will, for the HubPage. And so now I'm just gonna say, okay, what would be good sub topics?

John Jantsch (10:59): So subtopics might be things like signs, your home needs, paint, exterior paint, make maintenance tips, how to prepare surfaces, common, exterior repairs, and so on. So you get the idea, you know, you almost create a table of contents. If you're thinking about, if it's called the ultimate guide, I do exterior painting. I might create a table of contents around that idea of different topics, like color trends, you know, how to find the best painting contractor. And then each of these subtopics might then have two or three blog posts. So the most popular paint colors in Denver or the Mac most popular stain colors in Denver might be topics that would go under my exterior color. Trans for example, now, as I said, you may actually have all of this content, or at least some of this content that that would allow you to start out with a broad topic, break it down into four or five, good subtopics, and then look for content, just audit all the content you've written and see if you actually have some content that would be suitable and useful for, uh, a page like this.

John Jantsch (12:13): Now, in many cases you will want to, um, quite likely update that content. So in, in some cases you may find that you've written something a number of years ago and that it needs refreshing. It needs updating, it needs some links change. So find the kind content, organize it for your HubPage, refresh it a little bit. Maybe you need some new pictures, some new links, and then make a list of the new content that you think you're going to need. So think of this like chapters and a table of com content a for, for a book or an ebook, but it's all going to live on one page age, and then it's going to link out to your 10, 12, 15, 20. It doesn't matter how many HubPage or I'm sorry, individual blog posts. And then all of those individual blog posts are going to link back to the guide as well.

John Jantsch (13:07): So this is really one of the keys that makes this idea. So potent is that, that you are structuring links that, that Google and the search engines follow. So they land on this HubPage and they instantly see that it links off to 20 other of your internal pages. And by the way, the, the, you can also link off to great other external resources. So like that painting contractor might, might link to, uh, some great articles on, uh, a page eight suppliers, uh, website as well. So all of a sudden, uh, Google's looking at this and it's clear that this is about painting in Denver. I mean, because there's so many references to it. There's so many co so many internal what blog posts that link back just to this page. And so that whole interlinking structure really gives this idea tons and tons of, of, of, of power.

John Jantsch (13:59): Now, uh, you might try this out for yourself, Google the term guide to the ultimate guide, to small, or to local marketing, the ultimate guide to local marketing. I think it is. And you'll find that a page that, that I have created under this structure, we'll sh generally show up in the couple of results. So, you know, it really give, it will give you a pretty good idea of how potent this idea or how potent this, um, concept is because, you know, that's a really, really sought after search term. And so to be able to show up high for that, I think really kind of gives some credence to this idea, but regardless of the industry that you are in this concept of the hub page, organizing your content around something that that's going to make a page that's very useful for a visitor, it's gonna make a page that Google loves.

John Jantsch (14:48): It's gonna make a page that people actually will share in bookmark. If they're doing deep research is really how you will, you know, just kind of destroy your competition when it comes to search engines. All right, that's it for today. I appreciate, uh, you tuning in, look for more shows around strategy. So this is a strategy that obviously unfold a lot of tactics, of course, but it's the ultimate planning that makes this happen. And the nice thing is once you do one of these, once you get the hang of doing one of these, there's nothing that, that says you can't do 2, 3, 4, and five of these. You know, if you have specific services that you offer that go to different target markets in particular, definitely are going to want to create one that supports all of your core, uh, service offerings. All right, that's it for hopefully, uh, you've enjoyed this show, please.

John Jantsch (15:41): Anytime. Write to me, John at duct tape, marketing.com. Love to hear your suggestions, ideas, and feedback.

John Jantsch (15:47): All right. That wraps up another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. I wanna thank you so much for tuning in, feel free to share this show. Feel free to give us reviews. You know, we love those things. Also, did you know that we had created training, marketing training for your team? If you've got employees, if you've got a staff member that wants to learn a marketing system, how to install that marketing system in your business, check it, it out it's called the certified marketing manager program from duct tape marketing. You can find it at ducttapemarketing.com and just scroll down a little and find that tab that says training for your team.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, Wix, and AgoraPulse.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

Wix is the industry-leading eCommerce platform with a  future-ready, customizable robust solution for merchants who mean business. Wix eCommerce is the complete solution for entrepreneurs, omnichannel retailers, and brands who wish to launch, run and scale their online stores successfully. Go to Wix.com/ecommerce today and join over 700,000 active stores selling worldwide with Wix eCommerce.

 

The show’s brought to you by Confessions of a Social Media Manager presented by Agorapulse. It’s a weekly interview show where they talk to social media managers across the globe about what it’s really like to do social media for the world’s biggest brands. It promises expert knowledge, reveals a few mistakes, and raw insights into one of the fastest-growing, moving industries on the planet. Listen now on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts.

Transcript of Putting Social Media Myths to the Test

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Transcript

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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Opteo. That’s O-P-T-E-O, dot com, slash ducttape. And if you go to that link, you’re going to find out how you can get a six week extended trial of this Google Ads optimization software.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Scott Ayres. He is a content scientist at AgoraPulse, and he’s also a contributor to the Social Media Lab at AgoraPulse, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So Scott, thanks for joining me.

Scott Ayres: Hey, appreciate you having me on. I’ve listened and followed you for, well, over a decade now probably. So it’s great to get to talk to you for the first time ever. Yeah.

John Jantsch: Well, I’ve been a fan of what you guys are doing there at the lab. I think everybody really likes to see … Experts like me can pontificate about stuff all day long, but I think people like to see results, don’t they?

Scott Ayres:  Yeah. I was part of the problem for a very long time. I was telling somebody other day, for eight, nine years I’ve blogged and written about social media, but it was usually that opinion type stuff. “Here’s what I think should work,” or the top five things to post to Instagram. But there’s no data behind it. It was just off the top of your head. And so I think we, as experts, have unfortunately fed that too much. So I love that we’re running these long form experiments and really just testing weird little things to see if they really work or not.

John Jantsch: Well, and I think the right answer to a lot of people’s questions is, “Who knows?” I mean, because, I get asked all the time, “How often should I blog? How length should a blog post be?” And really, my best consultant answer is it depends. And I think that that’s probably what the data is actually proving out to be. So explain an experiment. I mean, how do you pick it? What does it look like? What do you hope to gain? Just kind of go through the process of an experiment that you perform.

Scott Ayres: Yeah. So basically what we do is we actually do follow as close as we can the scientific method. You remember that ninth grade biology. So what we do is we kind of go out there and see what people are talking about or see what people have posed questions to us. “Hey, what is this? Can you do this?” Or, “Is this better than that?” And then we looked through what everybody said and see if we can test it first, because there’s some things we just simply can’t test. If someone comes to me and says, “What content works best for the 50 and over crowd?” Well, unless I have a bunch of pages and accounts targeted towards that demographic, I really can’t test it because the product may not fit them.

Scott Ayres: And  then we form some hypothesis based on all of that research that we’ve done from experts, if we can find anything. A lot of times I’ll find stuff, it’s just opinions. There’s no data on it. And then we go through the process. We do the hypothesis. We start the test and run it. Typically, most of our tests are going to run from anywhere from 10 to 30 days, just depending on what it is that we’re testing. Paid ads tend to be about 10 to 14 days, just based on the ads typically. And then we pull the data and I spend an enormous amount of time in spreadsheets because I’m the type where even though I can go to tools, even like Agora Pulse or whatever else out there and pull data, I like to go straight to the source just to make sure that everything’s legit and it’s 100%, nobody can question what the data says.

Scott Ayres: So we take all that data and then try to draw a conclusion on it. And what we do is we use a a thing called a statistical significance calculator, which is a phrase I couldn’t say two and a half years ago because it’s like a tongue twister. But basically what that does is you put all the numbers into this formula and it puts out what’s called a P value. And if the P value’s at least 95% or higher, it means you have at least 95 to 100% certainty that if I run this test again or if you, John, ran this test, you should get the same results. And as far as the data science geeks are concerned, 95% is the minimum, where you and I probably would have said, “Hey, 50% is pretty darn good,” but we had to have that 95% before we can say, “Yes, this is statistically significant.”

Scott Ayres: And a lot of times we find out, like you were saying in the beginning, sometimes we found out it didn’t really matter. So if one of them was easier to do than the other, you might as well do that, or if you prefer it better, you might as well do that. And so sometimes we come up and our results just don’t show us anything. What it does show is that, hey, that effort that took you 30 hours a week is a lot. You shouldn’t do that when you can do 10 hours a week. So that’s kind of how we go through the process in a quick nutshell there.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I kind of live by the motto that 50% of the time, 90% of the statistics are made up to prove the results that you want, right?

Scott Ayres: Right, right.

John Jantsch: So how do you, though, account, and I know that the calculator and the P score is trying to say, “Yeah, plus or minus so much,” but how do you in social media account for … There’s so many variables that come into play in a lot of the experience. On a Tuesday in Texas, if the wind’s blowing, Facebook’s going to show something else.

Scott Ayres: Yeah. I mean, we try to do our best anyway, and sometimes we just simply can’t. And we’ve gotten better as we get older here, but we try to do it across a couple of different accounts depending on whatever it is that we’re testing.

John Jantsch: Well, I got to stop you. You said you’re getting better as you get older?

Scott Ayres: Well, as the lab gets older, and I’m getting older too. I’m in my 40s now, so I’m a little less stubborn. I’m getting more stubborn actually probably, but I’m actually learning, which is hard for you when you’re a guy in your 40s. But yeah. So I mean, what we’re trying to do now is we try to test across multiple accounts and multiple industries, because if you just test, the bad thing about a lot of us in social media marketing … You can probably attest to this … We say, “Hey, go do this.” Say back when Periscope started. I started a Periscope account and got 10,000 followers watching it. Well, you have 100,000 followers. Yeah, sure. You probably did get 10,000 people to watch it. But Bob’s Shoe Shack has 10 Twitter followers, no one’s going to watch his Periscope.

Scott Ayres: So I think in the social media marketing world, we’re guilty of that too much, just kind of pontificating what worked really well for us we assume will work well for everybody else and it doesn’t. So I like testing on small business accounts and local accounts. Right now on Instagram, I’ve got like eight or nine accounts I’ve been working on for months that are just, they’re entertainment pages, if you will. They’re about animals or about cars, motorcycles, fitness industry, that sort of stuff. But they’re all different niches that are very targeted to getting their followers and being engaged. That way, now I can test on them and kind of get an average across the board. That really helps, because what would happen a lot of times is you have two accounts in the same niche and you tested on it. Well, it just may work for that niche. It may not work for the other one.

John Jantsch: Yeah. And I think that’s the caveat with all of this. What you’re in some ways doing I think is providing people maybe a shortcut but they’ve still got to do their own testing, don’t they?

Scott Ayres: Well, yeah. I think everybody should always test no matter what it is. A lot of stuff we put out there just kind of gives you a guide. This did work. You go try it and see. If you’re someone out there who has a business and you’re just listening 100% of what somebody says and doing it and never testing, then you don’t know. You may be missing out on something that could have been working for you just because you read the blog on it. So I think you should always test stuff and change up what you’re posting constantly because like you said earlier, social media changes so quickly that on Tuesday, the wind blowing across here in Texas, the algorithm changes. And so you’ve got to constantly move around. But I do think our goal is just to kind of help you, if you’re starting out at square one, maybe we can help you get to square two or three a little bit faster. That’s really our main goal.

John Jantsch: So let’s talk about a couple of the experiments and you can expand on it, but I’ll start by kind of what you were trying to test. So one of the more recent ones and a lot of people in Facebook, they’ve given you lots of options. Now you can have a video carousel image ad, a single image ad. So you were trying to get trial signups and you were testing the carousel. The hypothesis was the carousel ad will outperform the single image ad and generate more free trial signups. And I guess it’s worth noting that you were hypothesizing a result. You weren’t just saying, “Let’s test these two things.” You were actually suggesting that you thought a carousel ad would outperform a single image ad, and I would be behind that. What’d you find out?

Scott Ayres: Well, we initially did an experiment we had done by a guy named Charlie Lawrence. Give Charlie a shout out. He’s the guy over in the UK. Love Charlie the death. Sometimes we have guest bloggers do stuff for us, which is kind of fun, because they have a different set of accounts than we have. And so it’s always nice. We’re doing a test right now with a couple of other companies. I won’t name them here just in case you have competing sponsors. But we love when we get other people to get on there.

Scott Ayres: So Charlie ran this experiment trying to see if you can get trials over to Agora Pulse. And in the end, he didn’t really find out much. It was almost a wash. The clicks on, let’s say the free trial [inaudible 00:09:19]. Let’s look at that number because that was the one we focused on. The carousel ad format got 51 free trials. The single ad image got 50 free trials, so basically the same. We spent the same exact amount of money on it. The reach was almost identical. The link clicks were almost identical. And so what I found on the end is neither one of them generated more signups. Neither one of them outperformed better than the other one.

Scott Ayres: So kind of what that tells me and tells us is, while it might look a little bit better to have the multiple carousels, you don’t necessarily need to do it and take the time to do it, because there’s a lot of people who don’t have that option. Maybe they don’t have enough images to do it, especially I’m thinking about a small business or something didn’t have it set up. So in our case, it doesn’t matter if we did it either way. Now, the caveat there, we did it on one account and we just did it to our free trial signup. So obviously, you’ve got to know that when you’re reading this and it may not apply to you if you’re trying to get foot traffic into your store or something like that.

John Jantsch: Well, and just to put out another shout out for testing, I mean, you theoretically could have changed out that single image and maybe it would have bombed or you could have changed so many variables.

Scott Ayres: I know, especially on the paid ads. I’m doing a lot of our paid ads right now. I just started doing them a lot for the lab now and the stuff you can do, I will say the cool thing in Facebook ads manager that I’m just in love with is the ability to AB test in the ads without having to … It used to be, remember, you had to run two separate ads your own and set them up? Now it’s just like, “Boom, I want to test two different images,” and now you can just test two different images. I’m in love with ads manager right now because of that.

John Jantsch: To the same audience. That’s what was always a killer. You had to create separate audiences and everything. So even then you created your own variables.

Scott Ayres: Yeah, and then the ads were running at different times. The worst thing you can do when you’re running an ad experiment is accidentally let it go to a different placement than the other one. I just set up one here recently testing an image that was our graphic from our blog to drive traffic versus a graphic with me. We’re on a podcast so you can’t see us, but normally I’ll wear this big orange wig and a lab coat when I’m in our live show, we’re doing presentations. So the other one is that image of me with my hands up in there or something like that. So I’m going to be kind of curious to see if people click based on an actual photo versus the typical featured animated image we use for our blog. But it took like two seconds to set it up in ads manager and we were done.

John Jantsch: One thing that I’ve learned over the years is there’s a lot of times when … I mean, it just makes me hooked on testing. There’s so many times when I’ll go, “Well, look at this image. It’s awesome. It’s going to kick butt.” Never does. I’m always wrong. And so there’s no accounting for taste.

Scott Ayres: Yeah, I think that’s true. And it’s times, it’s what’s going on in the world on that day that you tested. There’s so many variables that pop in and you may post something that … like our guys had tested for Agora Pulse, and this wasn’t part of the lab, but they were testing images of people versus this goofy animated bear jumping out of the bushes, and the stupid bear outperformed the regular image. It didn’t make any sense. We’re like, “This shouldn’t work,” but people were signing up for free trials like crazy with it. So they use it all over the place. Just, hey, why not? If people are going to sign up, might as well.

John Jantsch: Well, I see a lot of people actually advocate that idea of all you’re really trying to do with the image is get somebody to stop.

Scott Ayres: Yeah, stop the thumb. You got to stop the thumb.

John Jantsch: Yeah. So that could be what’s going on there as much as anything.

Scott Ayres: Right, true.

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John Jantsch: So I’ll give you a chance to do a little shout out for AgoraPulse. How does AgoraPulse, the tool itself help you in some of this? If I’m a person saying, “Yeah, I need to do more testing,” how could AgoraPulse play a role in that?

Scott Ayres: Of course, we have a lot of different things our tool does, but for one, at the basic level, it schedules your content, which is nice when you’re doing testing, especially across multiple accounts. I’m running tests on 8 to 10 Instagram accounts. I could never do that inside Instagram. I’d have to be logging in and out all the time. So at the minimum, at least we’ll do that. But from there, it’s getting the reports, it’s getting all the engagement numbers that are right inside the app. It’s managing all your comments, especially ad comments. That’s real important. If you’re running ads, you can’t really manage those on Facebook. It’s impossible basically. But we handle that.

Scott Ayres: So right now, we’ve got an ad running that’s getting a lot of interaction. It’s about one of our lab posts, actually. It’s getting some disagreements on my data, which I’m all for the discussion, and so I’m having to make sure I keep up with that ad comments and I do it right inside of AgoraPulse where I don’t have to wait for a Facebook notification and be like a day late on that response. It’s all right inside there. But you can have team members, you can have all different kinds of things in the app. So our app really, for me, I only use it for myself and for our accounts, but if you have team members or you’re an agency, it’s one of the best tools you can have. And I used it before I worked for AgoraPulse. I was paying for it before I came onboard. So now I don’t have to, luckily.

John Jantsch: So there’s a special breed of animal that comments on Facebook ads, it appears.

Scott Ayres: At times, yeah, at times. You don’t get a lot of positive yeahs. You get a lot of this negative stuff on ads, it seems like.

John Jantsch: Well, I get stuff sometimes that I’m like, “I don’t even know what you’re asking or saying.” It’s like-

Scott Ayres: Well yeah, you get the weird troll type stuff, or, “Hey, come join the Illuminati,” or something like that.

John Jantsch: All right, let’s talk about another one. Posting content on social media, one of the hot topics, and you specifically went to LinkedIn, but one of the hot topics is, do you get more engagement with long stuff, short stuff? I think when people are just, “Hey, here’s my latest blog post,” you’re probably not getting much engagement but you tested thousands of words of basically a blog post on LinkedIn. So what did you find out? Long versus short for engagement?

Scott Ayres: Yeah, this was an interesting test that Melonie Dodaro, who’s kind of known for her LinkedIn marketing abilities, she was seeing an interesting trend on her text only updates. And so we did a test with her first and found out that our text only updates on the different accounts that we tested got like a thousand percent more views and engagement. It was ridiculous.

Scott Ayres: And so then we said, “Okay, let’s take it a step further. Let’s see if long versus short works better.” And what we do on most of these … I’ve done one on Facebook, I’ve done one on Twitter, I’m actually about the publish one in a few days that’ll be on Instagram character link, we kind of give an old hat tip to Twitter, the 140 characters, under 140 being short, over 140 being long, just to kind of make it easy to kind of look at. But we tested across, we did three different accounts. We did Agora Pulse’s account, did my own personal account on LinkedIn, so you have that mix of a personal account with about 9,000 connections when we did it. And then I used a small local business. Actually, I’m sitting in their office. I run an office from a recruiting firm in the construction industry, so very niche, and we tested on their LinkedIn account.

Scott Ayres: We did like 14 short posts, 14 long posts and did it over a two week period. And then what I always wanted to do is just average all those numbers together and kind of see which one did better on it. And so basically when we get done … I’m scrolling down and looking here on my other screen here … What we found the short text only updates on LinkedIn got about 13.85% higher views compared to posts that were over 140 characters long, so almost 14% more views. In marketing, that’s a pretty good amount. It’s not statistically significant in our little nerdy calculator, but it’s enough for me that made me go, “Okay, maybe long is not always better on LinkedIn. Maybe people want to have conversations.”

Scott Ayres: And if you think about LinkedIn, LinkedIn’s become cool again, last year, too. Everybody’s flocking back to it. I’ve been on LinkedIn longer than any other social site out there other than MySpace, which I guess nobody uses anymore. And LinkedIn, they tend to be in your industry. So whatever industry you’re in, they tend to be in that and they love to talk about subject matter around that. So if you’re doing short updates that kind of spur on conversation, it makes sense that people want to talk about it. So if you’re a realtor and you say, “Hey, what’s your best tip on an open house?” Well, all your realtor connections are going to want to add in their two cents on it. But if you write a long blog post on LinkedIn, while they might read it, they’re less likely to take the time to engage with it. You remember back 10 years ago, people comment on blogs like crazy. Now they don’t. So I think it’s the same on social. People don’t comment as much.

John Jantsch: So how do you feel about the LinkedIn algorithm? I mean, obviously all of the social networks, particularly Facebook, have kind of made it so that it doesn’t matter what kind of following you have. Nobody’s seeing your organic stuff. So do you feel like LinkedIn’s still a little bit wide open in that regard?

Scott Ayres: I thought it was. I mean, I think it still is, but I think so many people have flocked to it and people are getting too many connections. For me, for example, I was looking at mine today. I get about 20 or 30 connection requests every day and I’m one of those guys who just accepts all of them, because whatnot. But now my feed is miserable. I’m looking at, I’m going, “This is way too much. I can’t take it in.” And so I think there’s a balance you’ve got to figure out as a business or as a person. But as the business side of it, you’ve got to stand out, whether that’s now the hashtags you can use on there, which is something worth testing and looking into. I think the shorter updates of live video is coming around for LinkedIn. I think it’ll end up being just like Facebook and Instagram and Twitter where the majority of your followers aren’t going to see it unless they go to you or they’ve got you in a list or you’re active in a group or something like that.

John Jantsch: So I’ve invented a drinking game for LinkedIn, and so it goes like this, that when people give me a connection request, I look through my connection requests for the day and I bet on the ones that are going to reach out to me and try to sell me something within 24 hours. And you have to take a drink every time they do.

Scott Ayres: Oh, I would have taken about 30 shots today alone, because I logged in earlier. I’m looking at them right now. I’ve got like five or six just, “Hey, wanting to connect and see how are you doing,” and there’s some link in there. There’s a Bit.ly link. That’s the problem with LinkedIn, I think. I wish they figured that out where … I think there’s a setting. Judy Fox probably would know. You could go in and turn off the ability for people to send you these random messages. On LinkedIn, the one thing I hate the most is the anniversary, happy anniversary of your job or your birthday, because you get 9,000 connections, you’re going to get a lot of them. I can’t get to the stuff that I might actually want to get to.

John Jantsch: All right. So any huge surprises. Over the time you’ve been doing this, did you just get blown away by how definitive something was that you didn’t think was?

Scott Ayres: Probably the one that’s gotten us the most traction and is the one right now that’s getting us the most … I was talking about people commenting on ads. We’re running an ad right now to an experiment we did on Instagram that is it better to put the hashtags in the original post versus putting it in the first comment, because a lot of people for years have been teaching, “Put it in the first comment, put it in the first comment.” And up until recently, there was no tools, legitimate tools, anyway, that would do that. There are a few now they’ll do the first comment and Instagram’s allowing it for whatever reason.

Scott Ayres: And so we tested that because my theory was, my hypothesis was that you would have a higher reach if you put it in the original post because I’m not a fan of stuffing it into the comments because to me it just looks a little … I don’t know. I just don’t like the look of it. It looks a little spammy. It’s like you’re trying to get around everything. So we tested across three different accounts, our Agora Pulse account, my personal account, which is set up as a business account. At the time when I ran this test, I actually had a local bounce house business, you know, right now, bounce houses and water slides and stuff. A fun little business. I loved it to death. Did it for about five years. I sold it to my brother recently. I got tired of being out in the heat in Texas.

Scott Ayres: So what we found was pretty interesting, was when we put the hashtags in the original post, so whenever you schedule it or post it, you put it in the original post, it had 29% higher reach than if you stuffed it into the first comment. That’s a lot. It’s a big difference. And if I can get 5% more reach on Instagram organically, I’m going to do that. 29% says a lot there. Granted, it was three accounts. I’ll probably go back and test this across some more accounts just to kind of see if it changes anything. But what that tells me [inaudible] a lot of our friends in the industry have said, and I actually got a couple of not so nice messages on this one, because a lot of people are teaching this and they’ve taught their followers this for a long time, “Stuff it in the first comment. Put it in the first comment.”

Scott Ayres: But what it tells me is Instagram has gotten smart to that, for one. Any time marketers come up with something and it kind of gets around the algorithm, what happens? They always change the algorithm. And so the hash tags aren’t for your followers. They’re for people who are going to discover you and find you. So you want to get it out there as fast as you can. If you don’t get it out there right at the beginning or if you put it down in that comment, your likelihood of being in the explore feed is decreasing obviously because it’s timestamped. So that was probably one of the ones that’s got us the most engagement, the people disagreeing with us. But I challenge that. I’m like, “Okay, go test it and tell me what you see.”

John Jantsch: And I think you bring up one really good point. If you do a test and let’s say we go back to our original Facebook one and the carousel ads are just slamming the single images, it’s like, “Yeah,” well, everybody’s going to go that direction. And then guess what? A year later, nobody wants to do carousel ads because everybody’s doing them. I’m sure that some of your experiments, you could go back and retest a year later and because of whatever variables, you’ll get completely different results.

Scott Ayres: Yeah. And that’s just the name of the game in social media. Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, LinkedIn, I mean, they are businesses who are out to make money. And so, I mean, they’re going to make sure that for one, that they create a need for you to run ads. Let’s just be honest, and so organically when the marketers have figured out a way to get around the algorithm, they’re always going to adjust. It’s not like they don’t know.

Scott Ayres: If you remember back years ago on Facebook, there was that whole thing with, there was a lot of clickbaiting. You put an image of a baby up and then you had some funny description, but the link would be to something else, to a landing page or a quiz game or something like that. Facebook got smart to that, and what’d they do? They diminished the reach of those sort of posts that had a link with the photo. And so they are always going to figure this stuff out when you do that. Now, I guess a year later, they’ll come around it and might change that. So it’s a constant thing you’ve got to test.

Scott Ayres: But for me on this one, if I’m going to get at least 5 to 10% more reach by just putting it in the first comment, I’m going to put it in the first comment … I mean, in the original post, excuse me … even if that means you do the whole white space thing. You make it where it goes to the read more on Instagram and then you kind of put it below that where no one in the feed sees it, but it still shows up in the explore tab. Even if you do that, at least, at least get it out there when you schedule it and post it and don’t waste your time.

John Jantsch: It’s funny. I’ve seen a few people doing that in LinkedIn now where they’re just making their comment as big as possible and then putting a link in it so that it takes over the entire thing.

Scott Ayres: Well, there’s a lot of people right now, I’ve had people actually come to me and say, “Hey, I want to test putting the link in the first comment on Instagram,” I mean, on LinkedIn, because they’re seeing better results from it. And so maybe there is a little trick, but again, that’ll change as soon as LinkedIn figures it out.

John Jantsch: So Scott, where can people find out more about the Social Media Lab and AgoraPulse?

Scott Ayres: Yeah. Our little room in the house on AgoraPulse is agorapulse.com/socialmedialab. You can find us everywhere on all the social media sites. We’re @AgoraPulseLab. That’s a brand new social media account we’ve created here recently on all of them. So the follower count’s low on them, but we decided to finally get our own accounts here in the last couple of months. So AgoraPulseLab, you’ll find us everywhere, or you can search Social Media Lab on podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Well, thanks Scott. I love Social Media Lab. A lot of fun there and appreciate you stopping by, and hopefully we’ll run into you soon someday down the road.

Scott Ayres: Yeah, thanks. Thanks for having me on, John. I really appreciate it.

Putting Social Media Myths to the Test

Marketing Podcast with Scott Ayres
Podcast Transcript

Scott Ayres headshotToday’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Scott Ayres, content scientist with AgoraPulse’s Social Media Lab.

Ayres and the team at the lab are testing every question a marketer has ever had about social media. Things like, “Should Instagram hashtags go in the caption on the first comment?” Or, “What’s the ideal length for a LinkedIn post sharing your content?”

Rather than relying on stories from marketing folklore, Ayres is using the scientific method to test different approaches on social media to see what really works.

The Social Media Lab is a great resource for marketing consultants, agencies, and business owners who are trying to keep a lot of marketing balls in the air and get the most mileage out of each social media move, while wasting as little time as possible testing approaches that don’t work. On this episode, Ayres shares some of his findings and talks about the current state of social media marketing.

Questions I ask Scott Ayres:

  • What kind of social media experiments are you running at the lab?
  • How do you account for all the variables that come into play within social media?
  • Any huge surprises that you’ve discovered in your experiments?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to create posts accompanying content on social media that get the greatest engagement.
  • The secret to effective hashtag placement on Instagram.
  • Why what works on social media today might not be effective next year.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Scott Ayres:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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1 Weekend Favs November Twenty Six

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr.

Above the Sea of Japan - BriYYZ via Flickr CC

Good stuff I found this week:

AgoraPulse – Facebook CRM like tool allows you to manage your Facebook page, track your best fans and turn fans into leads.

LunchMeet – iPhone app that taps into your LinkedIn profile to help you schedule networking lunches wherever you are, whenever you have available time.

Treehouse – Interactive courses to help your learn web design, programming and app building.