In today’s world of connectivity, if your business is not online, then you’re getting left behind. And with everyone competing in the space, you need to cut through the noise to get visibility. What better way to do that than to learn social media mastery? In this episode, Bill Courtright and Chris Snellgrove share their expertise on this topic to help you use social media to expand and grow your business. They break down the common mistakes companies make on these online platforms and what they need to do instead to build those relationships that stick. Join them in this conversation and learn the art of relatability, credibility, and overall social media mastery!
Listen to the podcast here
Social Media Mastery: The Path To Expand And Grow Your Business
The Art Of Relatability
Welcome back to the show. We are super grateful that you’re with us. We’ve got an outstanding episode. This episode is going to focus on social media mastery. It’s how to use social media to expand your brand and grow your business. There’s no one better to talk about this topic than Chris and I. This is something that we not only believe and teach to our clients and prospects but it’s content that we curate on a regular basis.
We drink our own Kool-Aid. This is something that we practice every day in the office. We’ve successfully been able to cascade our vision and commitment for the credibility and relatability that we exercise on social media down across our leadership team, our staff at large, as well as our vendors, strategic alliance partners, and channel partnerships that we’ve developed. Social media has become an integral part of what we do here. My first question for Chris is, what is the number one mistake that companies make on social?
We see it all the time, and that is to stop selling. Quit constantly selling people on what you do. The opportunity within social media exists in developing the relationship with your current clients. Never before in the history of marketing has this dynamic been available. Having the ability to connect with your core customers on social media, engage with them, and interact with them is where the opportunity lies. By doing so, you’re going to reach their friends and family within your localized area. The benefit is you will ultimately generate sales in the form of referrals.
We always tell clients, “Quit selling.” Car dealers are notorious for it. They love to post inventory. Let’s say I bought a car from a car dealer. I like their page or follow them on Instagram, and then they are puking up inventory on me. That’s offensive. They’re trying to sell me. Connect with your audience. We’re going to talk about some type of content that you should be pushing out. We’re going to talk specifically about a content strategy. Most companies now are posting because they’ve heard they’re supposed to be posting. They do it completely at random with no clear-cut strategy. When you have no real clear-cut strategy, you’re not going to be as effective. Would you agree?
I agree. As a matter of fact, the best explanation I ever received for social media content and strategy is to treat your social media platforms like a cocktail party. When you walk into a cocktail party, if you’re walking around telling everybody about you, your business, and your hobbies, you’re not going to keep a lot of people’s attention for very long. Walk up to people genuinely interested in them, focus on them, ask short questions that require long answers, listen and do not puke your what, which people do all the time. Instead, adopt a strategy, which we’re going to get into in a minute. Be others–focused.
Dale Carnegie said, “You can attract more friends by becoming genuinely interested in other people in two days than you can in two months trying to get people interested in you.” That’s so true because the one thing people want to talk about more than anything is themselves. When you ask questions, show interest, and listen with compassionate and empathetic eyes and ears, people will talk for a long time. It’s amazing that impression happens when we speak, but true connection happens when we listen.
When we ask people questions about them, their hobbies, their business, their life, their likes or dislikes or what have you, the more they talk. The more they feel connected to us. On social media, it’s the same thing. You want to be focused on the needs, wants, and desires of your audience. You want to create and ultimately publish or curate content that matters to them.
I’ve said credibility plus relatability equal opportunity on social media. What that means is credibility, first and foremost, we want people to know we know what we’re talking about. We want to be credible. Relatable is do we understand our audience. The way we show our audience that we understand them is by creating content that genuinely matters to them, and focusing on the questions they would ask had they had the opportunity to ask us in person. When you’re getting your audience saying to themselves, “Chris is reading my mind,” you’re hitting the nail on the head.
We’re going to get into some strategy in a minute, but I wanted to drive that point home. Truly be others-focused and audience-focused. Focus on the things that are keeping your audience up at night and the things that they’re genuinely interested in. Focus on what they would ask us as experts in the space if they had an opportunity, whether you’re an expert as a pediatrician or allergist, or perhaps you own a fitness studio or a chiropractic clinic.
You want to speak to the issues and the concerns that the audience has. You can find this quite easily. All you have to do is check out some of the not-so-great reviews on your or your competitor’s Google Business Profile or Facebook page. You’ll find countless examples of what people can’t stand and what they’re looking for. That’s a little tip. Chris, do you have any more questions?
I love the analogy of the cocktail party. Years ago, when I was selling primarily to the automotive industry, there was one individual. He was a general manager. Every time I went into the dealership, he was on Facebook. I’m like, “What is he doing?” What he was doing was not only studying it, but he was also building a massive following. In 2014, he had 40,000 fans, which was a big number back then. It’s still a big number now.
We went to lunch one day. This is when I was getting into the digital space. We had been selling print media for many years to the automotive sector. We went to lunch and I was picking his brain about social media. Here was a guy at the very top of his game. His name was Tim Barnett. He’s a legend in the automotive industry. He’s super dynamic and is successful everywhere he goes.
I was picking his brain about social media and he said, “The biggest mistake people make on social media is they try to sell. It would be like you and I going to dinner. I knew you were in the market for a car, and the whole time at dinner, I’m trying to sell you a car. That’s not the way it would happen. We would go to dinner, further our relationship, have topical conversations, and then the next week, you would come in and buy a car. A social media content strategy is to quit selling, develop relationships, and put out content that is interesting, engaging and informative. It’s content that people care about.” It was interesting that I learned my first social media lesson from a car dealer.The biggest mistake people make on social media is they try to sell. Click To Tweet
You hit the nail on the head. It’s all about relationships. You’ve said it three times. When you think of creating a relationship online or in person, it’s no different. It’s being of value, being personable, and being polite. For all of you who are followers of Jesse Cole, it’s all about being an entertainer. We’re all in the entertainment business. Whether you’re a digital marketer, a pediatrician, an allergist, or you own a fitness studio, you’re in the entertainment business. If you can keep the attention of your audience, you are going to do phenomenally well.
People want to be left with an indelible impression. They want an experience that’s remarkable, memorable, and easy to share. When we’re seeking to create relationships online or specifically in social media, we want the audience to come away from a TikTok stream, an Instagram story, or a Facebook post saying, “You’re not going to believe what Chris and Bill are doing over at Digital Media Nation and Reputation Sensei.” That start of “You’re not going to believe” is what we want people to say.
We want to leave them feeling good. We want to leave them feeling informed. We want to leave them feeling heard, validated and seen. When you do that, the relationship that Chris is talking about is going to happen at a new level. When you put in an offer or an opportunity to engage, you’re going to engage at a great level as well.When you put in an offer or an opportunity to engage, you're going to engage at a great level as well. Click To Tweet
That goes for knowing your audience. You got to know who your core audience is, what their hopes, dreams and desires are, the questions that they have, the topics that interest them, and what their biggest pain points are. Knowing your audience is the first key to putting out effective content. Let’s talk about some effective content. We’ve always heard, “Content is king.” Content isn’t king. Engaging content is king. Anyone can push content out to your page, but getting engagement is the key. Engagement leads to reach, and reach equals expanding your brand.
I could not agree more. That is very well said. Engagement is the result of that mind reading or perceived mind reading. You talked about it briefly about knowing your audience. What does it mean to know your audience? I did a marketing exercise with buyer personas, where I seek to understand everything that makes a potential buyer tick. What concerns do they have? What interests do they have? What keeps them up at night? What does success look like? How goal-oriented are they? How ambitious are they? How tired are they? How starved for information and influence are they?
As marketers, we are in the information, inspiration, and influence business. We have to understand not what necessarily we want or how we want to be treated, but how our customers wanted to be treated. I’ve mentioned it before. We all know the golden rule, “Treat others as you have had them treat you.” The platinum rule of marketing is to treat others as they have had you treat them. Speak in a manner that they have had you speak to them. Use words that they use. Use a pace and a cadence that’s comfortable to them. That takes knowing your customer to a whole new level.
The organizations and individuals that are doing the exercises that Chris and I do on a regular basis to get inside the heads and hearts of our prospect or our fans is the difference between speaking in a way that they respect and appreciate, and not getting any engagement at all. You can gauge your level of efficiency by how much engagement you get. When you’re hitting the nail on the head, you’re getting tremendous engagement. It’s not necessarily on the post, but in the way they share it with others.
Knowing your customer is more than, “Am I dealing with a 25-year-old male living in the suburbs with a motorcycle and a car?” That’s one thing, but it is to understand what they think about when they wake up or when they go to bed, how they define success, and how they define worth and value. That allows you to create a content strategy that speaks directly to what they’re looking for. I’ll tell you something. It’s never done. You’re going to be doing this for as long as you’re online. It’s super important to get high-quality conversions.
We often get asked, “What social media platforms do I need to be on as a company?” Our response typically is, “Be where your customers are. Do a SurveyMonkey and find out what social media platforms your customers are following. That’s where you should be.” TikTok is popular now. It’s pretty amazing the companies that are able to expand their brand with TikTok. TikTok is one of those unique things where you can get your entire team or employees involved and make it fun because TikTok is about entertainment.
Here in the office, we brainstormed on Friday. I remember you got a whiteboard and said, “Let’s come up with topics.” We wrote down 40 different ideas. The team would go up to the board and start marking off the ones that they did. Those are little skits that are informational and educational do-it-yourself tips. Whatever business you’re in, you can develop a TikTok strategy. We’ve seen plumbers do it. We’ve seen locksmiths do it and stretched zones of franchisers. Whether it’s healthcare or automotive, you get to have fun with it. You can expand your brand. TikTok is extremely effective. Facebook and Instagram are probably the most popular and the easiest to monetize.
I love that. TikTok is the new 800-pound gorilla. It is a relatively new platform compared to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Here’s what I love about TikTok. I’ll be completely transparent. I learned this recently. Chris and I both love our children very much. We learn a lot. His children are brilliant. Mine are as well. I always say to every person we meet, in some way, they are superior. It’s amazing how superior social media advocates and fans our 8 and 6-year-olds can be. It’s the absolute truth.
What’s awesome about TikTok and what makes it different from a lot of the other social platforms is TikTok is built on what’s called an interest graph, which means you don’t have to have a connection. You don’t have to be friends with someone. You don’t have to have a LinkedIn connection with someone or even follow someone on Instagram for them to see your content. If you’re clever enough to understand the way an interest graph works, you can create and publish content based on specific areas of interest.TikTok is built on an interest graph, meaning you don't have to have a connection. You don't have to be friends with someone or follow them for them to see your content. Click To Tweet
If I’m a deep sea fisherman and I’m planning a trip to Florida in a few weeks and I’m freshening myself up on technique strategies, baits, lures, captains, areas, or sweet spots to drop a line, I can go on TikTok, search for deep sea fishing, and find the latest, greatest, most relevant content published recently based on the amount of engagement it’s getting. I don’t have to be connected to that individual.
That’s why someone can create a TikTok post on marketing, health and wellness, yoga practices, stretch routines, weight loss, diet, vitality or sleep, and within an hour, have 100,000 views. That is so special because if you’re curating or publishing content on TikTok on a regular basis based on the interest of your audience that Chris and I spoke about on other platforms, you can go from 0 to 60 like that. It is going to supercharge your results. TikTok is special.
Instagram is responding with stories and reels. They’re not showing off photos anymore. If you’re pushing out photos as a company on your Instagram, you’re probably not reaching the news feed. You need to push out videos. Instagram is responding directly to TikTok by pushing out videos in the form of reels or stories. When you scroll through Instagram, you simply don’t see the photos. You’re seeing videos. That’s a response to TikTok directly.
It’s exciting. We love talking to our clients about social media and establishing a relationship strategy online. Your blog is an opportunity to be credible. Your website is an opportunity to prove the claims you’re making throughout the web. Email and marketing automation is an opportunity to sell an offer one-to-one. Speaking and engaging in the community is an opportunity to establish authority.
Social media is all about relationships. It’s all about bonding. It’s all about connection and leaving them with an indelible impression. The strategy that Chris pioneered, which he’s taught to the entire company here at Digital Media Nation that I want him to expand upon is known as 321. Chris, please enlighten the audience. What is 321, where did it come from, and why does it work?
That’s a ratio. We believe that your content should be favored toward entertainment. 321 stands for every single promotional post, you should have 2 educational and informative branding specifically about what you do, and then you should have 3 entertainment. The entertainment can pertain to your business or not. If it’s tuned in to what you do in some fashion, that’s better.
Entertainment is huge. People do not go to social media to be sold. They certainly won’t share those educational or branding posts as much as the entertainment. We’ve had clients fight us on this. They’ve said, “I don’t want the entertainment.” We’ve seen their engagement drop or their reach drop. We feel like entertainment is a great way to get your name out there and expand your brand. Quite frankly, that’s the content people are going to share. Promote, educate, form a branding, and then entertain. That seems to be a formula that works extremely well for us.
It doesn’t only work for us. It works for everybody that we support and serve throughout all of our clients. It’s something that I’ve seen more notes taken and more a-ha moments had in presentations that Chris has given to our audience, not only our clients but vendors and prospects. Some of the speaking and sharing that we do all throughout the country is on that 321 strategy.
The term used by me is edutainment. We want to educate and inform, but we want to entertain. I heard a podcast. I encourage all of you to go get it. It’s on the Douglas Burdett’s Marketing Book Podcast. He was interviewing Jesse Cole. Jesse Cole is the Yellow Tuxedo guy. He owns the Savannah Bananas. He’s all about client experience. He’s a disciple of Walt Disney and P.T. Barnum. He talks about how we’re all entertainers.
Attention is the currency that we work in. We’re all struggling for the same attention, the same eyeballs, and the same focus. In a digital media world, when you got to stop to scroll, we know how difficult it is. It is disruption marketing. They’re looking for something. Chris hit the nail on the head. The thing they’re looking for more than anything is an escape. They want to feel good. They want to laugh and smile. When they do, they remember you, and that’s what reciprocity is. It’s that reciprocity that kicks in that when you do have a compelling offer, they feel obligated to at least take a look. When you invite them to a webinar, presentation or event, they feel an obligation to attend.
Moreover, when you make someone feel good, they want to make their social circle feel good. That’s how things get shared. If you don’t understand or appreciate what Chris is saying about entertainment or edutainment, I encourage you to go out and look at Jesse Cole, what he’s done online, what he did down in Savannah, and how he’s completely changed that Minor League baseball club. It’s pretty compelling. This is something we could talk about for hours. We set out to do about 10 or 15 minutes. I’m not exactly sure how long we’ve been on, but I know it’s been a minute longer than that. It has been our pleasure. Chris, do you have any closing thoughts?When you make someone feel good, they want to make their social circle feel good. That's how things get shared. Click To Tweet
I have a recommendation too. One of the best books I’ve read is by Jeff Henderson. It’s called Know What You’re For: A Growth Strategy for Work, an Even Better Strategy for Life. Jeff Henderson works for John Maxwell. He used to work for North Point Ministries, which is the Andy Stanley Group. Before that, he worked for Chick-fil-A in the marketing department. His understanding of customer experience is phenomenal. Furthermore, his understanding and unique view on social media will blow your mind.
He says that every company is asking people to be fans of them. He says, “Flip the script. You become fans of your fans.” What he means by that is suppose there’s Home Depot and Lowe’s. Home Depot has a fan that’s following them. Home Depot sees that that person is getting married next month or next week, and they go in and congratulate that person on their marriage. Not many companies are going that deep and going into their fans’ news feeds. What does that do to that particular person if Home Depot goes in and says something to them, whether it is a specific comment, congratulations or whatever?
In the future, when that couple is married and they’re going down the road and there’s a Home Depot on one side and a Lowe’s on the other side of the road, which one are they going to choose? They’re going to be loyal to that particular company because that company has made them feel good. I highly recommend this book. It blew my mind. Jeff Henderson’s insights on social media and customer experience are second to none. Get it. Listen to it. Read it. That’s one of the best recommendations I have.
That’s awesome. I appreciate your attention to the show. Remember, we’re trying to turn our customers into our fans. We want to turn our fans into our future sales force. You want to create content that’s easy to share and hard to forget. We’re all in the entertainment business. Leave them feeling better than you found them and they’ll continue to be supportive of all your endeavors.
This has been The Sensei Playbook show. We couldn’t be more grateful that you stay through to the end. Don’t forget to give us a like and subscribe. Share it with people that need to hear this message. The worst thing you can do is keep us a secret. We want to grow. We want to serve. We’ve got a heart to serve, and we’ve got a lot to say. Thank you very much. We hope you have a great day.
- Marketing Book Podcast
- Jesse Cole – Marketing Book Podcast episode
- Know What You’re For: A Growth Strategy for Work, an Even Better Strategy for Life