In the spring of 2000 I was a 25-year-old CEO of a publicly-traded SAAS (software as a service) company. My beautiful wife Crystal and I had been married for about 16 months, we had bought our first home, and she was pregnant with our first daughter.
In just 5 years between 1995 and 2000 the Nasdaq had skyrocketed more than 500% from under 1,000 to more than 5,000. The Nasdaq peaked at 5,048 on March 10, 2000, and by October 4, 2002, had plummeted by 76% to only 1,139. By the end of 2001, most dotcom stocks had gone bust. (Source: Investopedia)
There are 3.5 billion social media users, which is about 45% of the world’s population (Source: Oberlo). That number is only growing. Social media is one of the best ways to reach our customers. In today’s episode, Warren Whitlock and I discuss 3 of his secrets to using social media effectively and more.
Warren Whitlock is a digital business development strategist. In 2008, he wrote the first book on Twitter and mobile marketing called Twitter Revolution: How Social Media and Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Do Business & Market Online. He was also named one of Forbes’s Top 10 Social Media Power Influencers. Warren helps businesses transform into a new way of doing business. His breakthrough strategies to integrate mobile marketing, public relations, and lead generation with conversions to return on investment for lifetime value have helped hundreds of businesses achieve rapid and continuing results in the marketing process.
Warren’s Top 3 Social Media Secrets
Be a Thought Leader
Warren said the biggest tip he can give is to be a recognized expert in your field. To do social media well, we need to pick a niche and be an expert in that. We want to be a recognized thought leader in our niche.
Warren himself is a recognized thought leader. He’s an author and has regularly been asked to speak at events.
Warren tries to be the same person all the time on social media. He wants to truly be himself, even if that means making a dumb joke because that’s his personality. People will connect with us easier if we don’t try to put on a fake personality for the sake of our following. Our followers want to see a real human being.
Engage with Our Following
Liking others’ posts is important, but it often isn’t what Warren focuses on. He wants to have conversations with people through social media. He asks himself, “What can I do to show some love?” He then adds to the conversation wherever he can, and he expects reciprocity.
Warren’s Passion: Giving
One of the things Warren is very passionate about is giving. There is a moral and spiritual side to give, but putting that aside, Warren firmly believes the more we give, the more we get.
Sometimes in business, we can be too focused on beating out the competition and doing whatever it takes to succeed. Warren has learned that it doesn’t have to be that way. It is much better when you have people who want to work with you and hear from you because of the value you have given them. It’s human nature that when people do things for us, we naturally want to do something for them.
“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Warren recommended a book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. I recommend it as well. It details a study where participants were paid to take a survey. After the survey, the facilitators talked with participants for 10-15 minutes. In the control group, the facilitators would then ask, “Do you want to buy some raffle tickets? You could win a car, and I could win the prize of best salesman.” In the other group, five minutes before asking, the facilitator would say, “Hey, I’m going to go down the hall and get a soda. Do you want one?” Then they would give them the same pitch. The ROI on the second group was 10 times the amount spent on soda, and it sold twice the number of raffle tickets as the first group.
This is a great example of reciprocity. Warren said, “We normally think of reciprocity as I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. But, that’s not how reciprocity works. It works when you give without expectation of return.”
This doesn’t mean we can just give all of our time, products, or services away for free. As with this interview, Warren spent his time with me, giving me value. In turn, I will promote this, promoting Warren with my audience at the same time. If we all practice reciprocity, then we can all benefit from helping one another.
One of Warren’s Failures and What He Learned
Warren had a small business selling laser printers. He was advertising, getting good ROI, and using the internet when a lot of people weren’t yet. Warren thought he would offer a money-back guarantee because he knew a lot of people would say, “I’m going to buy this because I can just ship it back in a week.” When they got the product and it was okay, they would say, “this may not be everything I want, but I’m not going to go through the trouble of shipping it back.”
The business was doing well, and Warren got used to spending a lot of money on advertising. He was so focused on advertising, however, he didn’t prioritize giving himself a salary. He was also spending more money than he had. Then one day, Google made a change and their advertising results fell flat.
This led to Warren moving to Las Vegas. When he eventually reached the point where he had enough money, he got into the real estate side of the business. This was about 13 years ago, shortly before the market crashed. Warren got hit pretty hard; he couldn’t pay for things and made some bad decisions about where to borrow money. From this whole experience, Warren learned that when something works he should keep doing more of that.
Now that Warren is advising startups, he has realized there is a marketing chasm, a big hurdle that startups have to get over. This happens when a business starts doing well and expanding, and when the market dips for a while. One man Warren interviewed said, “No matter what you’re doing, you’re going to reach that point where you’re in the chasm, and you think you’re just going to die and many businesses just go away.” If we can push through that hard time, we can survive the marketing chasm and really grow our business.
Businesses might try to get through the chasm by offering deals. For example, a tech company might have a one-day-only sale where their software is 75% off. This might help them for a while, but it won’t work long-term because the customers who come for that are either bargain hunters or those with a lower income who really can’t afford higher prices, and so they are much less likely to become long-term customers.
Thank you so much, Warren for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. The more we give, the more we get. But we should also give without the expectation of return.
2. When something works we should keep doing that, scale that, and do more of that, and stop doing the things that hurt us.
3. Marketing strategies offering big deals can help our businesses with short-term cash flow, but they likely will not work and will hurt us in the long term.
4. To grow our social followings we must be thought leaders, be authentic, and engage with our following.
Connect with Warren
If you enjoyed this interview and want to learn more about Warren or connect with him, you can find him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/books/ or visit his website at https://warrenwhitlock.com/.
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