In this episode, I chat with Ted Coine And Mark Babbitt co-Authors of A World Gone Social.
Book : A World Gone Social
Full Text Transcript Of The Episode (courtesy of Scribie):
00:01 Sean Wycliffe: Hi, my name is Sean Wycliffe, and I’m the CEO and co-founder of Dealflicks, and you’re listening to the App Guy Podcast.
00:10 Speaker 2: The App Guy Podcast. Straight from your host, Paul, the App Guy. Sharing his app entrepreneur journey with you for your enjoyment. The App Guy Podcast. And now, Paul, the App Guy.
00:36 Paul Kemp: You’re listening to another episode of the App Guy Podcast. I’m your host, it’s Paul Kemp, and I am here to serve you and bring you some of the best guests I can find who will help you develop your business, help you with your app world, whatever that maybe. So, we often talk to a lot of individuals, but today, I really wanted to focus on social because I have managed to get the attention of two of the co-authors of a book called, A World Gone Social. This is a fascinating journey. I recommend you go and search for it now. All recommended good book stores and Amazon. If you look at it, you’ll see that the co-authors are Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt. Ted, Mark, welcome to the App Guy Podcast.
01:22 Ted Coine: Thank you, Paul. It’s great to be here.
01:24 Mark Babbitt: Our pleasure to be here, Paul.
01:26 PK: Well, you’ll notice first of all that we’ve got two guests, so this is one in every 50 episodes this happens. So, it means it’s already a special episode. So let’s start with you, Ted, maybe you could just tell us a little bit about yourself in a few minutes, and what it is that inspired you to write this book?
01:44 TC: Sure. I have a serial mess as a resume. I’ve been an entrepreneur a number of times. I’ve also worked for other companies, and right now, I’m one of the three partners running switchandshift.com which is a leadership blog, number two most socially shared on the web, and we got number one in our sights, but it’s a friend of ours, so it’s a friendly competition. I met Mark Babbitt, my co-author for this book and partner with Switch and Shift a couple years ago, and I asked him to help me write this book, which thankfully, he agreed because I needed some help fleshing it out, rounding it out, and he certainly filled in my gaps, and I think vice versa.
02:38 PK: Mark, what gave you the impetus to write the book?
02:43 MB: We lived a lot of what’s in this book, both with Switch and Shift in a community that I founded in addition to my work at Switch and Shift called U turn. It occurred to me even as we were building U turn when we started in 2010, how much the world had changed, how it used to be that you had to go get the VC money or starve in a self-funded environment. You had to spend a bazillion dollars on advertising, and now through social, we could start a business, an entire community of thousands of people globally, just by leveraging social media. And unless you went and bought a huge enterprise analytic solution, it was all basically free or nearly free, and it occurred to me, as Ted was talking to me about writing the book, how much that… It hasn’t change just a little bit, but that’s a dramatic change from where it used to be.
03:44 MB: And now, a solopreneurs, a guy working from home, like I do, raising kids, we could all be just as powerful as the well-funded VC backed start ups, and that was intriguing to me, and the more we got into writing the book, the more we found out that not only that was true, but how the little guys had this huge leg up now. They weren’t even… It wasn’t a matter of them, well, now we finally get to compete. They were not just competing in a lot of cases because they were more nimble, because they were more social. They were actually kicking butt and doing really well, and that’s exciting. So, once we dove into the book, it turned to be a whole lot of fun to get it on paper.
04:26 PK: And the relevance for the App Guy Podcast is that we see so many apps now that are built from the social platform. Let’s take the example of Candy Crush, the huge phenomenal Candy Crush that I’ve never played and I’m very happy about that, but I did see it all over Facebook, and they had a very big strategy for putting themselves in the timeline, on mobiles, on Facebook, and getting enormous downloads that way, which then ultimately led to the viral behavior, the traction, and the huge phenomenal success that that was. Are you seeing that more often, I guess not just Facebook, but the other social platforms?
05:07 TC: So here’s the thing about these companies, like take Candy Crush going to the mobile app. People are mobile now, and a lot of legacy companies still aren’t mobile. It’s really remarkable. Whereas app developers are just saying, “Sure, why not? Let’s do it. Mobile’s easy.” I mean, nothing is easy. Let’s not belittle the work that they’re doing, but we can do mobile, and if that’s where people are, done. We’re there. It’s really neat seeing how the people who are writing apps now are getting, they’ve jumped on this bandwagon before the big, established companies even get it. A lot of them still are not very good on mobile. I’m involved very actively here in the tech community in Naples, Florida, and so I have a number of friends who are part of your population. These are people who develop apps. And some of them do it as a full time work. Some of them do it on the side. Some of them do it for fun, and some of them to launch big successful enterprises. And it’s just so fun watching somebody able to sit down at their computer anywhere in a coffee shop, and create something that you used to need an entire huge corporate infrastructure to make.
06:27 PK: Absolutely. Mark, what are your thoughts on that? That the apps being used to really be sold on social media and going viral?
06:36 MB: Yeah. I’ll give you an example if you don’t mind. A relatively close neighbour of mine up here in the Seattle, Washington area in the US. He created an image viewer for the iPhone, and it was just one guy. He’s another guy who works at home. He has three daughters. He never goes anywhere, but he came up with this great solution. And before he knew it, on the strength of social media and blogging and, of course, word of mouth and reviews on iTunes, he got 4 million downloads. It was just one guy in his shop, and he did it all on the strength of social and just getting the word out, never spent a penny on advertising. That’s pretty exciting stuff, and again, that wouldn’t happen in the Industrial Age. It couldn’t happen. We’d all be beating our heads against the wall, against the big boys, and so this is very exciting.
07:33 PK: Yeah, and you’re the appster tribe listening to this right now and appealing to the audience that its incredible that we can actually as solopreneurs have such an impact on life and on the world. One of the big challenges though to both of you, one of the big challenges going forward, is that because there’s low barriers to entry, I mean, here we are. I’m doing a podcast using a Mac and a microphone and working from home. So, we don’t have big production cost anymore, but we do have the challenge of attention and getting people’s attention. From your… There we go… Look, someone’s got a smartphone out. If you need to get that, you’re welcome to get it.
08:19 TC: Sorry, Paul.
08:21 PK: You’re just showing off. Are you playing the game where we have to try and guess the phone?
08:25 TC: No, I was playing Candy Crush.
08:30 TC: Somehow, even though I know better, I failed to turn the ringer off on my phone. I’m sorry.
08:35 PK: Well, there you go. That’s one of the things that smartphones are with us all the time. You’re not gonna get interrupted by a desktop below or anything, but…
08:43 TC: I was really hoping that it was low enough you couldn’t hear it, but, obviously, that was not the case.
08:47 PK: Well, come on. Let’s face it. We’ve already heard Mark typing away on the laptop, and when you’re talking, he’s writing a book, I think, so.
08:56 TC: So, Paul, it’s really funny. So give a lot of talks to audiences. A few years ago, if you see somebody reach for their phone, you might think, “Boy, that’s really rude.” Now, you just have to assume. This is what I tell myself, if anyone is ever reaching for their phone, looking at their phone, and typing into it while I’m giving a talk, I just tell myself, “Okay, this guy is tweeting something really wise I just said.” ‘Cause otherwise it’s just gonna crush your ego.
09:27 PK: There’s a real social etiquette problem isn’t there, I guess, with with phones everywhere and the…
09:32 TC: What you’re gonna do? You have a really good point, which is that because the barrier to entry is so low, on the one hand, that’s really good for everybody who… We don’t need the millions of dollars to get started. On the other hand, it’s bad because there are millions and millions of apps out there, and how do you get through? How do you break through all of that noise in other to get your app discovered by the audience you want? And that really is what I think social can do for you. You build relationships overtime, build a reputation by providing value, be what we called a ‘relentless giver,’ and the people in your audience say to themselves, these are the people that you follow as well as they follow you. They say “Okay. So, this person is providing a tremendous amount of value to me. He’s an expert in something or he’s a really good communicator. He introduces me to the links I need to know, and now, he’s got a great new app out? Okay. I’m gonna pay attention to this person.”
10:37 PK: So, I’m into being very authentic and open and transparent. I love this world that we’re living in where we just almost reveal all the stuff behind the curtains, and the reason I say that is that I discovered this week, and I can’t believe I haven’t found this before, the analytics tool for Twitter. And I don’t know if you’ve been on there, but it shows you, basically, the impressions and the engagement that you’re getting on Twitter. Now, what I was really surprised at is that I’ve had a lot of very popular guests who have huge followings, and you would expect to have very large impacts from their tweets about my show. But when I go in to the analytics, the impressions to their follow account is actually quite low as a percentage, and then an impression to an engagement is even lower. That means that people are just skipping through these timelines and not really engaging with the content on Twitter. Is there anything you can talk to… Ted, maybe let’s start with you. Perhaps talk through your experience with Twitter as you’ve written this book and what we can do to improve engagement.
11:53 TC: Well, it’s really funny. I think people get the wrong impression, especially people who just are not on Twitter at all, and there sure are a lot of them still, especially in the town of Naples where I live in where probably the average age is maybe 70. It’s probably actually higher than that. So, there’s a lot of people who still are not social, or they’re just on Facebook to share vacation pictures or something like that, with their grandkids or something. But the thing that people don’t get is, they say, “Oh boy! You’ve got 370,000 people following you on Twitter. If you just got them all to give you a dollar a year, that would be pretty special.” You know what? Why would they give me a dollar a year? Why wouldn’t I give them a dollar a year? And I certainly don’t have that much money to give to 300,000 people, right? It’s not like that. And the other things is people are not… They’re not on all the time. I check my Twitter feed and just for like two minutes as I’m walking downstairs to get myself a coffee, and then I’m back doing the next thing, so I catch three, four, five tweets. I might click through to one link if I’m on at that time. So, it’s false to say that the number of people following you is the number of people who are going to click through to the links that you share. A lot of them just aren’t there, or a lot them, they look at the title of the link, and they say, “Okay, that one’s not for me. I’m gonna move on.”
13:17 TC: Maybe we should think of Twitter more like a spring shower where there’s rain all around us, and only a few of those raindrops are gonna hit us. And that’s okay. Just kind of go with it. But over time, over a very long period of time, you can get to know people really well. Like for instance, Mark lives in Seattle. I live in Florida. We’ve only physically met twice. So, we met on Twitter. We went to phone. We had Google Plus Hangouts where we got to see each other face to face, and all of that gradually built a relationship where I trust Mark as a real expert in his field, and a very good guy. And over time, we started working with him for business. So, my other business partner and I reached out to Mark when we needed some intern help, and that’s kinda how we started working with him with Switch and Shift, and then later, we brought him on as a partner. It wasn’t putting out a tweet: “Hey, who wants to be a partner on this company that we have?” And Mark raised his hand out of the 10,000 people who also raised their hand, and we chose him. That’s not how Twitter works, and it’s something that a lot of people just haven’t wrapped their heads around yet unless they’re immersed in the medium.
14:37 PK: Yeah, Mark. Do you have any thoughts on the way you use Twitter and to help us use Twitter better?
14:43 MB: Yeah, I think… Here’s what it comes down to. It comes down to social proof, and I say this all the time to the point Ted gets tired of hearing it, but what we say about us is marketing. What everybody else says about us, and, hopefully, it’s positive, is branding. And I think what people have done is they’ve taken, not just Twitter, but also Facebook, and now the publisher system on LinkedIn, which is just a spammy mess that I refuse to even participate in, it’s all about me. And its all about wanting you to read my content or buy my product, and we don’t talk like that in real life. Paul, if I ever came to Dubai and had a beer with you, I wouldn’t ask you to buy something first, right? I wouldn’t…
15:37 PK: You would if you’re English.
15:40 MB: See?
15:42 PK: Can you get me my beer, please?
15:44 MB: Yeah, that’s true. The beer, the beer. Good point. Life doesn’t work that way. In a lot of cases, especially the big companies, which is why the small nimble groups seem to get it so much better, they simply replace social media with another broadcast mechanism. We say in the book, more social, less media. And it’s because people… You can’t just stop buying ads on your favorite television show or your favorite cable network and replace that with bombarding people with tweets. It just doesn’t work like that. And so, it takes time to build relationships, and it takes time to build the social proof, and it takes time, especially for us little guys, it takes time for us to develop the credibility where people want to talk about us. And they talk about our apps, they talk about our business, they talk about our customer service and our brand and us personally. And those are the tweets, if you look at Twitter analytics, those are the ones that really find an audience, where people will go, “Yeah, I read that book too” or “I’ve used that app too.” And it works, and its great, and then it snowballs. But it’s not the broadcasting tweets. It’s not the me, me, me tweets that help you find engagement. It’s when people are genuinely interested and care and are championing your brand.
17:09 PK: So Ted, Mark, this is very powerful stuff because, I’ll explain what I’ve done over the last year for… I mean, I’m speaking specifically about Twitter ’cause that’s one I tend to use a lot more than I used to. So, I have turned off all those automatic RSS feeds that go into my tweets. I turned off all the auto posting, the buffering, anything that’s sending out sort of automated stuff, that’s all been turned off for at least a year now ’cause I was doing that to promote my apps and my businesses. I only try to engage. So, I’m engaging with all my fellow guests on… And I’ve put them into a manage list, and I make sure that if they’re promoting stuff, and they’re asking for help that I’ll re-tweet, and I’ll help. And what has been amazing to me is that… Even New York’s Time’s best selling authors are sending out stuff, tweeting it, and they’ll only get one tweet, and that’s from me. So, it just shows you, especially to the listeners now who are listening to this, you can engage and help out some very influential figures in the world just by simply helping them fulfill their needs, and then, ultimately, I think that will come back.
18:25 TC: No, it’s true. A lot of the people that I have met along the way, I don’t pay any attention to whether you’re somebody with a million people following you or with three people following you, who cares? Have you got something interesting to say? Have I noticed it at that time? That’s the only thing that matters. Am I online when your sending it out? If I am, if I catch it, and it’s interesting? Sure. Then you’re providing me value, and the whole thing, I think one problem that a lot of these people have without knowing any names that you’re discussing is they have this industrial age mindset of: “I’m the expert, so I’m going to broadcast my opinion and latent everyone else. I don’t need to follow them back. I don’t need to engage with them in conversation online. I don’t need to really lower myself to their level and treat them as a peer or anything like that.” And those people are the ones who have no traction on social. A lot of brands do it, a tremendous number of professors do it, which is just… It’s just, it’s a shame ’cause a lot of these professors, and I’m friends with some of them, and they’re really, they’re valuable, they’ve got valuable things to say, but they don’t say it in a way that makes people want to care.
19:40 PK: So, Mark, here is one of the themes, the big themes coming out of my show. You’re episode 137, so we’ve had a lot of interviews. The big theme is that social media is a little bit like TV channels. When they first came out, there was only one, two or three or a handful to choose from. And then as the industry matured, there became a lot more choice, and there was a complete expansion of what’s on offer, and that’s what’s happening with social media. So, for example, we had a recent guest who has 1.3 million likes on Facebook, and all she’s doing is an app that is posting cute little pictures of kittens and cats. Thankfully, getting all that rubbish off of Facebook, but the point I’m trying to make is that there’s an opportunity here for app developers to almost specialize in something specific to people’s needs like their interests, and then create an app or a community around that and then have them share as many, for example, cat pictures as they like between themselves because that’s the community. Do you feel that that’s an opportunity for app developers, Mark?
20:55 MB: Well, I think we should invent that. We should call it Pinterest.
21:00 PK: There’s a good idea. Yeah.
21:03 MB: Right? ‘Cause… I think you just described Pinterest. No, I mean the niche is everything, Paul. The niche is… We can’t be everything to everyone, and it’s funny. I mean, think about little things like cupcake shops in New York, right? I was just in New York City, and that’s all anybody was talking about was their favorite cupcake shops. It’s like, really? Cupcakes? That’s the topic? But you just never know. Kitten pictures, puppies, babies, cute babies, or in the [21:36] ____ case really ugly babies. You have to find whatever your niche is and serve that niche really, really well. And as you know, you can’t just blast out stuff about your app all the time. You have to show how people are using the app, and I’ll bet that’s one of the things the kitten app is doing really well is, is she is engaging with the community that’s using her product, and my guess is, I don’t know her, I don’t know her app, but I’ll bet you that beer we just talked about, that she is really, really good at engaging with the people that are using her tool, her app, and that’s what’s setting her apart from every other app out there.
22:19 PK: Yeah, actually, Ted, this one’s for you. One of the things that came up, and we didn’t really spend enough time talking about it. I think this is a good opportunity is the democratization of the timelines because some of these big social media platforms like Twitter are really dominated by the big influences. The Justin Biebers, the people that have huge followings, and they tend to then… Also YouTube. It tends to be the people with large subscriber bases that get into the top, most popular. And so almost, it’s harder as solopreneurs to crack that viral nutshell because you’ve got these really competitive, the big players. Her belief, for example, this was an app called Klooff, was that there needs to be a fairer way of democratizing the time line so that everyone gets the same sort of shout at getting into the time line rather than just the big players. Could you speak to that point?
23:26 TC: Well, here’s the thing with… Whenever you bring famous people into any environment, they’re just gonna dominate. If you’re a movie star, you’ve already been in everybody’s living room on rent to own or what have you and… Sorry, not rent to own, but instant video, that type of thing. Everyone knows who you are, and so then you jump on a social media and then boom! There you are. You’re famous, and you’re getting all the… I wouldn’t say getting all the attention though. Sure, Justin Bieber is getting attention from Justin Bieber fans, but I have never seen a single tweet by that guy. I don’t even know what he looks like now that he’s a little bit older.
24:07 TC: I think he used to be blonde. I don’t know what he is anymore. So, the thing about social is, there is a bit of democratization already. Now, for instance, there are millions and millions of people on Twitter. It’s just my favorite, so it’s what we keep going back to. It’s Mark’s favorite as well. There’s millions and millions of people on there. But, in the leadership space, there’s only a few hundred of us that really are constantly on there talking about leadership. In the app space, the people who are giving tips on building a business, building apps, my guess is there’s probably only a few hundred of you or maybe even fewer. And the kittens pics, okay, they’re very very popular. But the people who love kittens all flock to a single spot where they find each other. We do this on Twitter through hashtags. We do it on Facebook through the pages that we set up. LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, you name it, we can filter these things.
25:08 TC: So, if you’re mixing in the general population, never mind, you get lost in the noise. But, with this… I forget the name of the guy who coined this term, “the long tail.” The long tail is, okay, there’s gonna be a few people who’re in the mainstream and dominating it, but the long tail is the specialist, the niche players who carve out their little niche, have their very popular following, and that’s why… I don’t know any mommy bloggers, but there are people who don’t know me, but they sure know mommy bloggers. They find each other. That’s what you have to do when you’re trying to break out into a different environment, make your own home. And I think it’s really important not just to stand for something clear and something important, but to also make sure you do not stand for anything else. So, if you’re the app that makes math games for school kids, don’t make anything except math games for school kids unless you have dominated that, and now you’re ready to branch out into some other educational products for school kids. That focus is how you make your name.
26:21 PK: Mark, let’s just pretend that we are that app developer who’s created math games for school kids. Yeah, let’s take that as an example. What tips should we be… Could you give us we should be doing right now on social? Are there any new platforms we may not have heard of? Perhaps you can give us some insights into how best to tap into this social world.
26:43 MB: I think there’s probably two segments to that, Paul. One is, we have to find out where our audience sits. If we’re Twitter people, and yet our demographic is mostly on Facebook and Reddit, then we’d better figure out Facebook and Reddit really quick. And it’s not as hard as it sounds, right? I mean, people used to say, “Oh well, all the college students are on Facebook.” That’s not true any more. It’s really niche dependent. But if you have a product that’s a little bit more maybe rebellious or subversive, then maybe Reddit is the right choice for you, or a Facebook community that speaks directly to that audience is the right move for you, or starting a Twitter chat might be the right move. So, that’s the first thing is, we have to find out where our customers are now, and then we have to go there. We can’t start a big social media campaign and hope people will find us, we have to go where they are.
27:43 MB: The second thing is that we have to find the people that are using our app now. The parents of the school kids, the school kids themselves, the teachers, the administrators who bought the product for their entire school, we have to get them to champion our product for us. We have to do testimonial branding. We have to get them involved on social. If they’re not by the way, we can’t say, “Hey, Mr. Principal, you just bought $30,000 worth of our app for your entire school district. Would you please get on Twitter?” And if they don’t have a Twitter account, of course, the answer’s gonna be, “No.” So, it’s like hiring. It’s really like hiring. You have to find the person who loves your product, but you also have to find the person who can translate that level of your product into an ambassadorship on social media, and it’s not easy. But once you find those five or six or 10 or 12, pretty soon it’s 18, 30, 50 ambassadors of your product, now they’re talking about you, and you’re not, and that makes all the difference in the world.
28:46 PK: Yeah, what I’m thinking of is hustle, and that word keeps coming up on this show. You have to hustle for it. A lot of these apps that are very popular now such as Airbnb, they were literally… Airbnb is a world phenomenal app, and they were knocking on doors in San Francisco at the early stages. ‘Cause I think that many of us as app developers are told that we have to scale, and we have to do that. But there’s no point in scaling if we don’t have the people that you say, the ambassadors, the people promoting our product. So, almost reaching out to those people individually, finding out where they are and then creating and turning them into ambassadors for the product. Should we incentivize them, Ted? Is that something we should do, incentivize those people?
29:31 TC: It’s really funny you should ask that because I’m of two minds. One is that you want to make sure that the people who are ambassadors are not just showing anything that will pay them, right? And the other thing is that can get very expensive very quickly if you were to try. But the other thing is you have to be fair. If you’re a company that has budget, and you’re not paying people to support your brand, at what point are you taking advantage of them? So, there’s that thing. I’ll let everyone walk their own moral path. As far as compensating people, sometimes, there are people… Fortunately, this world is full of people who just love to share a good thing, to tell their friends a great tip that they found.
30:18 TC: Getting people like that to fall in love with your product, speaks to me a lot less about paying those people and a lot more about creating an awesome product, and your first app may not be awesome. It may just be okay ’cause you’re learning, and your second app might be really good. Your third app might be technically proficient, but not very intriguing. But the thing is, are you learning app development? And are you learning marketing? ‘Cause you’re in sales, if you’re a solopreneur or a small business entrepreneur, no matter what, whether you want to be or not, you’ve gotta market and sell your products. So, are you learning that stuff? Are you moving forward? And most importantly, are you creating something of high value for the people that you’re trying to serve? You do that, you’re already halfway there. Airbnb is not a famous app or a famous brand because they marketed a lot. They’re really great product, and people have come to love them. It’s a good idea. That’s why they’ve succeeded.
31:28 PK: Yes, and it’s almost like, I guess, there’s a balance between creating a great product, but also just getting it out there and marketing. Before we bring this to an end, ’cause we’re getting towards the close of it, I’ve got to talk about another issue. Mark, maybe I’ll pick this up with you as well. Is that… And this is come about because of all the guest interviews that I’ve done over the time that I’ve been doing this podcast: Facebook. Now, Facebook was a wonderful way of building a list. About a year ago, and I think earlier this year, they changed the algorithm, made it very hard to get your status updates in front of your fans. Have you noticed any changes and perhaps you can us give some guidance on what we could be doing with Facebook to really negate some of these algorithm changes?
32:22 MB: First of all, a disclaimer, I have always hated Facebook.
32:27 PK: [laughter] That’s not a disclaimer.
32:32 MB: Yeah. Well, maybe. Yeah. You’re right.
32:35 PK: I thought you were gonna say you owned some of the shares.
32:37 MB: Well, you said you were using… No, that would be disclosure. No, this is… Facebook’s a tough one and here’s why. Facebook was built on communicating with our friends. And then, Facebook went public, and they needed to drive revenue, and they need to have a return on investment, and they stopped allowing us to communicate with our friends. And now to communicate with our friends, we have to pay money, and if you are a brand, and you’ve worked hard over the last ten years to build up 2.1 million likes on Facebook, then Facebook has said that they’re only gonna allow you to talk to 6.5 percent or whatever the number is, of them at a time, unless you pay us money, and I find that a little less than ethical. Everybody needs to make money, I get that. I don’t fault them for that, but it just seems like they let us build a house on their land, and then they took the land away.
33:38 MB: And so, I’m not a big fan of Facebook, but to answer your question, if you have even just a little bit of money. A startup friend of mine, studentlinkup.com. He’s in the middle of getting funding right now. He got over 200.000 likes for his product before his site ever launched. All it was, was a landing page, and he did by spending about ten dollars a day on Facebook apps. 200,000 likes for ten dollars a day. So, there is a way you can do it. You just have to open the purse strings a little bit to make it happen. But, it works, and it’s working for many, many brands now. Look what Red Bull is doing, Coca-Cola, even Bank of America, despite, here in the US, despite the fact, most people hate Bank of America, they’re still doing a lot of work on Facebook, and they’re turning people around. They’re turning angry people into customers, and they’re doing that by spending money and changing their brand image through social media. So, there is a way to do it. It’s just not like how it used to be.
34:46 PK: Yeah, I would just…
34:48 TC: My advice on this…
34:49 PK: Sorry Ted, go on.
34:50 TC: Yeah. That’s okay. I’m sorry. My advice on this, is just… And I know that I am really extended on Twitter, like if somebody just pull the plug, and there was no Twitter tomorrow, I’d be really disappointed because I am very… I’m like a lobster, a New England lobster with one big claw or like a crab, one of the claws is really big. My big claw is Twitter, and then the rest of the social media, it’s not like I’m not engaged in them, but I’m less established, right? If it went away, I’d be in trouble. If it switched the rules, the way Facebook did, boy, I’d be really, really put out, as Mark was pointing out, because they changed the rules, after I’ve already invested in their game. I think anybody who invests in somebody else’s social platform or any other type of platform for that matter, you’re really putting yourself out there. You’re opening yourself up to potential victimization down the line.
35:46 PK: Yeah. And I wanted to appeal to the audience, and I will speak to the both of you as well because I think there is a way of attracting. I mean, the most important thing is getting people off of your Facebook and get their email addresses because then at least you have the ability to send them a newsletter and to communicate with them directly, and you’re not going to be… Succumb to this algorithm and timeline status. So, to do that, we have interviewed a guest, he was on a few shows ago, who has this very clever way of running give-aways. And in fact, ironically, the give-aways were created by the guy who invented Facebook Timelines, a guy called Noah Kagan. And he came up with this contest software. So, it’s a way of running give-aways on Facebook, and then people have to then go to the give-away page, enter their email, and then enter the contest. And then there you go, you’ve got their email, and you then have, I guess, approval for communicating with them directly. Have either of you come across this working, this give-away type of strategy to get emails?
36:57 MB: Well, I’ve heard of similar programs, and I gotta tell you, we love them. In our book, Ted and I talk a lot about digital share-cropping. And what you’re talking about, Paul, is avoiding that. And everybody who’s familiar with the share-cropping term, you know that that’s a farmer that grows his crops, but doesn’t own the land. So, if the landlord, if the landowner wants to use that land for something else, all the work the farmer has done all those years is gone, and that’s what happens when you build the backbone of your business on one social platform or another. If the rules change, you go the way of the share-cropper. You have no say. And what you’re talking about, by making the direct connection, by engaging, by getting their email address, by getting their Twitter handle, by communicating with them, you’ve gone from using Facebook as a share-cropping site to a lead generation site. And that makes all the difference in the world.
37:59 TC: Yeah, it’s absolutely… I think that your guest is really savvy. Another thing that people can do is establish their own website, and then do it there. So, for instance, at Switch and Shift, we have a give-away. You sign up for… You subscribe for a newsletter, you get a free… Which you have to give your email to do that. You get a free white paper as a kind of thank you. You don’t just say “Give us your email.” Some people might do that, but most will not. I certainly will not. But give me something of value, be it a chance at winning in a contest, which is great, by the way, it’s great to get people to vote more than once in that type of thing. Run a contest, give away something of value to them, but not of expense to you, something like that, absolutely.
38:54 PK: Yeah, so that… Just wanna appeal then to the appster tribe listening, if you do have a following on Facebook, and you’re worried about that, just think about how you could actually pull those emails and at least communicate with your audience directly. And, Mark, I love that phrase, the “share-cropping.” I think that’s… “Digital share-cropping” as well. That’s really good. I’m gonna make a note and use that in the future. We’re getting to the end now, is there any… Mark, Ted, before we say goodbye and ask for your contact details, is there anything here you’d like to say as final thoughts? I guess I’ll leave it to who wants to go first.
39:33 TC: Mark?
39:34 MB: I’ll go first this time. One of the things that we found as we were writing “A World Gone Social,” Paul, was how important it was to grow our inner circle, to grow our social influence, not among a quarter of a million followers, but like Ted alluded to earlier, whatever the number is, if there’s 20 people developing apps from home, then you need to become known as one of those 20 people. If you’re one of the 200 people that develop Mac apps for students, K through 12 students, then you need to know everybody else that does that too. And pretty soon, we become part of our own circles, and in the book, we called this “Ordinary Person, Extraordinary Network”, OPEN. And that is, especially for the smaller groups that don’t have the big budgets, that’s the key because you wanna be top of mind. Whenever somebody’s talking about your niche, you need to be top of mind.
40:38 MB: And if you don’t know everybody else who’s doing that, and if you don’t build relationships even with your competitors… Even with your competitors, you must know those people. You must know their strengths and their weaknesses because you never know when an opportunity might come along to work with a competitor because you happen to know something they don’t or their secret sauce is different than yours. You have to build those relationships way before you need them. So, that’s my closing bit of advice, is you have to grow your inner circle. You have to develop your own open network, and it’s gonna pay off in spades.
41:14 TC: And if I can just add to that, that’s absolutely, completely true for somebody who’s on their own. That comes… OPEN comes from Section Two of our book, where we talk about how large companies are actually at a disadvantage. The first chapter, that section is “The Death of Large.” And in each chapter, we focus on one kind of poster child for the… One example company. In that one, we talk about Growth Hacker TV. There’s only… Three partners own this company. Speaking of stay-at-home dads who also run a company, this guy, Bronson Taylor, who’s one of the founders and does all the interviewing for this, he works maybe two hours a day. But he’ll be sitting there looking at his phone while he’s talking to me having an interview or what have you. And “Oh, yeah. I just made 29 dollars,” again and again and again because people are signing up while he’s not working. We talk about how the nimble and nano corporation… Nano is the term we use for the little, tiny corporation that kind of gets bigger as the work is necessary, and then smaller again, moves on to the next project. That is something that I think is “the” move for the future. So, people who are sick of working for “the man,” really… How much longer are they gonna have to do that?
42:41 PK: Well, this is… I’ve got to bring this to an end, but what a fascinating discussion. I recommend everyone now, go out and buy the “A World Gone Social.” Mark, how can we best reach out and connect with you? What’s the best way?
42:57 MB: Well, you can certainly find us on aworldgonesocial.com and also on switchandshift.com, and we encourage everybody, Paul, don’t just come to the site and look around. Take a look, find something of value, contribute to the conversation, reach out to Ted and I on Twitter. We’re there quite a bit or Facebook or LinkedIn, but continue the conversation because that’s how you get known. So, find us, yes, but talk to us. Let us know what you’re thinking, contribute to the circle that we have, and pretty soon, you’ll be in that one.
43:33 PK: Yeah, and I just want to reiterate on that, Mark, because I didn’t know either of you two, and I reached out to you, and you very kindly said yes to the interview and… I just think everyone can do that. Don’t be too scared if you’re listening to this now, and you’re thinking about approaching someone that is an influencer in your world. Just go and reach out to them because we’re all inter connected. It’s amazing, and the worst that can happen is you get a “No, try me again in a month,” and I just feel that not enough people do that. So, Ted how can we best get in touch with you?
44:07 TC: Well, okay. So, Mark told you where to find us through aworldgonesocial.com or switchandshift.com, and I’m always on Twitter. So you can find my Twitter profile which is Tedcoine… My name is my Twitter handle. But, what you said is absolutely true. I will talk to anybody for an hour about me! Are you kidding me? Who wouldn’t do that? So, if you want to…
44:34 TC: I’m half joking because I actually don’t find myself that interesting. I’d rather talk to other people about what they’re up to; that’s how I learn. But…
44:40 PK: Well, Ted, I’ve got to… I gotta confess something, actually.
44:43 TC: Yeah.
44:44 PK: One of the things that I’ve got to confess is that the reason I’m doing this podcast, and it’s daily, is because I just love talking to people, and I actually get a really high conversion rate on those emails that I send out to invite people to be on the show. And it’s just… Compared to a few years ago when I was using LinkedIn to try and sell an app or build an app or try and sell something, I mean, you get no response, but what I found is people are very willing to come on the show and to just share ideas, and it’s just a fascinating way of learning. I mean, I’ve learned enormous amounts, and my network has grown exponentially over the year that I’ve been doing this. So, yeah, that’s one of the reasons why I do it because people say yes.
45:33 TC: So, Paul, it’s just a savvy way to do business. Obviously, the more people who are listening to your pod cast, then the more people are gonna say yes because when they have something that they want to get in front of a larger audience, they’ll want to be on your show. So, this is a self fulfilling virtuous circle where you’re providing value by providing your audience, your audience is experiencing value by learning from these great minds that you have, and the occasional guys like Mark and me, as well, and then…
46:06 PK: Too modest.
46:07 TC: Everybody… There’s not a single person who does not benefit from this. You’re getting people coming to your website where then maybe, yeah, you can sign them up for your email list or something like that…
46:22 PK: But, Ted, I also need to confess as well that in a years time, when we have seven million downloads, and one of the big things about pod casting is people go back to past episodes and re-listen to those. So, of course, that’s when I’ll be coming to you and saying, “Yeah, I’ll just be charging for you to get in front of my listeners,” and do what Facebook did.
46:42 MB: See, that’s the virtuous part of the circle right there. That’s an entrepreneurial mindset. I love it.
46:48 TC: Exactly, and then we’ll say, “Oh sure! Yeah, you just have to pay us a $100,000…
46:54 PK: For the next interview.
46:54 SW: The time we gave you.
46:56 PK: Actually, it could work in reverse, can’t it? You could… I can have like this real big flow of podcast listeners to the show in the past, and then you could just phone me up one day and say, “Hey! You know that interview we did? Now, we’re gonna charge you for royalties on playing it.” So…
47:12 MB: Paul, you don’t know this, but you just inspired 1,205 app developers to start their own podcasts.
47:18 TC: Oh, yeah, seriously. But the thing is, what we were joking about is just such bad karma; it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it for anyone involved. It’s a really good way to trash your reputation. I guarantee you someone will try that, but most will not, to their benefit.
47:35 PK: Yeah, so there you go… Let that be a lesson. Do not do what Facebook did and…
47:39 MB: Yeah, that’s right.
47:40 TC: Well, seriously! It’s not… At some point, Facebook could become the next MySpace. My understanding is MySpace still exists, but I haven’t run into it. So, there’s nothing written in stone that says we will always be on Facebook.
48:00 PK: Well, and Ted, how do we reach out to you? What’s your… You said your Twitter handle, didn’t you? So, I think we’re…
48:06 TC: I think the best way is visit aworldgonesocial.com. All of our social connections are right there. So you can go from there to Twitter to LinkedIn to email. And we’ll be very happy to hear from you.
48:24 PK: Well, it just leaves me to say to the both of you, I’ve loved this. Every minute of it. I was a bit worried about being interviewing both of you at the same time, and it’s worked out great. And as three work from home dads, we’ve managed to go through the entire episode without talking about our kids, so we’ll save that for the other show.
48:40 MB: And only one phone call.
48:42 PK: Yeah, only one phone call.
48:43 TC: That’s right.
48:44 PK: Maybe that was Mark ringing Ted there. Just to show off. Okay, great. Wonderful. Thanks for joining us on the App Guy Podcast. All the best with your book. If there’s anything we can do as an appster tribe or podcast listeners, we can help you out. So, all the best with everything that’s going on.
49:04 MB: Thank you, Paul.
49:05 TC: Thanks so much for having us, Paul. It was a blast.
49:09 S2: Thank you for listening to this podcast. Stay tuned for the next episode. If you want to be a guest on the show, or suggest someone, then please send an email to email@example.com. The App Guy Podcast.