On the show today, we are talking with the phenomenal Claire Diaz-Ortiz about how to build a long-lasting social media plan for your brand.
Most business owners are guessing at their social media strategy and it’s costing them time and money.
Claire Diaz-Ortiz is an author, speaker, innovation advisor, and angel investor. She was an early employee at Twitter and named one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company. She holds an MBA and other degrees from Stanford and Oxford. She is the award-winning author of eight books that are published in more than a dozen countries. So I am honored to welcome to the show Claire Diaz-Ortiz.
Thank you so much for having me, Chris. It’s fun to chat with you. I only wish we were in-person having dinner. I remember the very first time we ever got together we closed down a coffee shop because we talked so long.
It was the first time I’d ever had an almond milk latte. That was the new thing. Oh my gosh! I was amazed by it, and now you can get an almond milk latte in pretty much any country in the world.
How are things down in the Southern Hemisphere?
Good. I’m in the Paris of the South, Buenos Aires Argentina. This is the place I call home and we are doing well. It’s a very, very warm spring day.
Excited to have you on again talking about your latest book, which is Social Media Success for Every Brand. Let’s dive in!
Why did you write the book?
I am passionate about the way that brands can use social media to grow their business and engage with customers and sell their products. After leaving Twitter I was a digital marketing consultant in the space for many years. I kept seeing a version of the story I’m about to tell you play out in my consulting business.
Here’s the story. One time I was working with a company that came to me and asked me to relaunch their brands. They had an awesome widget. They were selling, but not selling as much as they’d like. They felt that the reason was that they had botched their launch, right? So they wanted to relaunch their brands.
They had all kinds of new ideas. “We’re going to relaunch it all, we’re going to do it on social.” Because social was critical to this particular product they had. So they hired me. I spent a few months on an in-depth strategic plan (this was like a 50-page plan) for them.
We get to the day of our big meeting, we sit down at the table, and we start going through the plan. It became clear to me pretty early on that the folks at the startup had not read too much of my plan. I would say things like, “Well, let’s talk about implementing point number six on page 16” and they’d say, “Oh! Well, we could think about that next quarter.”
And so this sort of thing kept going on and eventually, we got to the apex of the meeting. One of the cofounders was going to make his big point. I see him sort of sit up in his chair, and you know, he says, “Well Claire, I thank you, but if you could get Mark Cuban to tweet about us, then we would blow up, you know, everyone would buy our widget.”
This was the same type of conversation I was having with brands and startups over and over and over again.
There is this mistaken idea that social media is only good for going viral, and that going viral actually works.
So the premise of this book starts out with me telling that story.
And that has nothing to do with going viral, which it turns out pretty much never works anyway.
You’re right. We work with businesses all over the place. The amount of time and energy people spend trying to make something go viral, instead of focusing on making the brand long-lasting.
Brands that have actually spent a lot of money and had failed at their viral campaigns:
Gushers – came up with a product called the gusher for an eye. They promoted it to a bunch of mommy bloggers, and one of them vomited because it was so disgusting.
Olive Garden – random act of pasta, which I mean, honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that idea, but it was a flop.
Going viral is not the right solution. Instead, it’s all about figuring out how to really market your brand well.
How do people use social media to do that? How do they make that something that’s a long-lasting deal?
I give you a plan so that if you were to ever go viral one day, you could actually use that to your advantage, right. Actually capitalize on that and it’s all based on something I call the engagement ladder.
How does the engagement ladder work?
Follow on social media – You have to start at the bottom of the ladder, which is where you don’t know anybody yet. Think of social media like a cocktail party. Your goal at a cocktail party is to relate, to make an impression, to make a connection, right?
Let’s say you’ve got a new widget and you want to talk to someone about it. You’re not going to do that by rushing up to them and immediately tell them to smell your new healing essential oil or buy your new widget. You’re trying to connect in the beginning to start a relationship.
So, by looking at your profile or seeing a tweet or post on Facebook, their interest peaks. They start to follow you.
Engage on social media – Then the next rung up might be, “Hey, I’ve been following their tweets for a while, now I’m going to start responding.” They’re becoming more and more engaged. Now you see that they start to follow you on your other channels, and may even recommend to a friend.
Okay, you’re moving up another run on that engagement ladder.
Click on link to website – this is where it starts getting interesting. Where someone’s saying, “Hey, I’m actually pretty interested. I’m going to click over on the link in their profile and look at their website.”
Join email newsletter – Hey, that’s another run.
And you know, you keep going up until the top of the ladder which is someone making that buy.
That’s the top of the engagement ladder, and then coming back to buy from you again and again.
What I want people to understand is that social media is all about doing the bottom parts of that engagement ladder. That’s when you’re really doing Brand Marketing.
You’re telling people about your brand and generating awareness and engagement.
One of the biggest mistakes people have about social media is that they think it’s direct marketing (which is that direct sale at the top of the engagement ladder) when it’s brand marketing.
What if I’m not seeing the success?
You might be on the wrong platform. In the book, I have an evaluation that people can go through to figure out their social media priority, social media platform.
There are four big social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Different types of businesses are going to do well on different platforms.
One of the big things I see is that people are completely skipping the engagement ladder.
They’re jumping on Facebook sending out a sales message every day at noon, and not seeing sales. But another thing they’re doing wrong is that they may be on Facebook when they should really be on LinkedIn.
So, one of the first things people need to do is to take the evaluation to figure out what their priority platform is. Then, learn that platform and learn how to create the engagement ladder well on that platform before worrying about the others.
A mommy blogger or someone with a consumer product is probably going to see a heck of a lot more engagement and sales on Instagram than they are on LinkedIn.
Now, In contrast, and executive coach is going to live his or her life on LinkedIn and get tons of leads that way. Whereas Facebook, it might be pretty much a ghost town.
You talk about post and ghost, what does that mean?
We’re in an age now where we’re much more intentional about our time online, which is wonderful. We need to be more intentional. If you’re trying to create engagement on a social media platform, you also need to think about that engagement.
Another common mistake that brands make is they might have a strategy their posts, but then don’t follow up at all with the people.
So, I come up with 10 posts, I’m going to post this month for my business, but don’t ever think about responding to the comments that come in from those posts. I post and then I ghost everybody and I sort of disappear.
Remember, whatever social media platform you choose to focus on needs to be a two-way street. Engagement is absolutely essential.
If I am an entrepreneur, and I’m wanting to utilize social media to help out my product or service, what am I looking at time-wise?
Read this book, and then come up with a strategy for your social media. Figure out what your priorities are, and which social media platform you need to focus on.
That’s the upfront cost that you’re going to have to be willing to invest. After that point, it’s super reasonable for businesses to do this in 15 minutes a day. As you see your engagement increase, and people going up that engagement ladder, then you can make the decision to spend more.
What are some of your top tips for attracting and maintaining more followers? Or is that even important to focus on?
So you know what I say in this book is that the wrong question is always how do I get more followers? The right question is how do I get more engagement?
The reality is that these algorithms for each of these platforms are always changing.
None of us can predict how Facebook is going to adjust its algorithm tomorrow. The thing that will always stay the same is that they’re going to favor engaged accounts.
So your job should always be to create more engagement and not worry about the follower numbers as much.
Make sure you’re responding, liking and asking even further questions of the folks that are already engaging with you.
One of the examples I share in this book is from Marshall Goldsmith, he’s a super popular executive coach. He’s written a number of big bestselling books and he launched an executive coaching leadership program about two years ago, and he launched it and in a blog post on LinkedIn the concept of the program was that people needed to apply.
So he writes this whole blog post and posted it on LinkedIn. In the post, he says, come apply, here’s the application link, but he didn’t put the link in the blog post.
People read the post and then posted in the comments, “Marshall, where’s the link to the application?”
He didn’t do this strategically, but he saw the strategic benefits later. Instead of going into the blog post and adding the link, he realized it would be better if he responded to every person who commented. And so what it did was it created this incredible wheel.
Every time he responded to a commenter, they would respond back. It was then being boosted in their own timelines. This is a perfect example of how greater engagement is actually going to lead to greater reach, which is what’s going to lead you to more followers.
So focusing on engagement the correct path.
So you did this based on Donald Miller’s StoryBrand?
StoryBrand, for those who don’t know, is this amazing marketing company. They help you to clarify your message, and they believe that every brand needs a clear message in order to sell and effectively engage their customers.
One of the things that I had seen with many of my consulting clients who had used StoryBrand as their marketing method was that once they would go through the StoryBrand process they would say, I know how this applies to my website and my email newsletter, but I don’t see clearly how this works in social media.
This book was the answer to that problem. It was helping people who both have used StoryBrand before to come up with their overall marketing message, and those who have not, to see how they can then use that within the context of social media.
I did that using an acronym. Each of the steps takes you through a step in the Social Media for Success process.
S.H.A.R.E. – Story, How, Audience, Reach and Excellence.
STORY – The first step is coming up with your StoryBrand brand script. Clarifying the message.
HOW – The next step is all about figuring out how to best utilize the tools and platform that social media offers you. The big thing there is figuring out your priority platforms.
AUDIENCE – This reflects something we say a lot in StoryBrand, which is that your brand is not the hero your customer is. In your social media, you want to make sure it’s about your audience. There are different ways to do that. Engagement, of course, is my favorite. Make sure that your followers know how important they are and always prioritize engagement with them.
REACH– Expanding your reach. I believe that comes through increasing your engagement and making it about your audience.
EXCELLENCE – It’s all about learning to roll with the punches on social media. Realize that social media is a real-time information network. It’s not a press release that you can tweak for two months and then it put out into the world and never have to edit again.
So that’s kind of an overview of the model of the book. It takes the reader through these five steps to teach them how to use social media successfully on the big four social media platforms.
Social media is the most ubiquitous and the least expensive marketing tool you have to market your business.
So if you’re trying to market your business and you’re not using social media then you’re missing a huge opportunity!
This is what’s so great about this book. It helps you get organic social media going before you go spend tons of money with a marketing agency or on ads that don’t work.
So Claire, can you give us one simple thing that our listeners can do today to boost their brand on social media?
One simple thing to create greater engagement on your favorite social media platform today is by going in and asking a question. And then respond to every commenter you get answering that question.
Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.
Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.
Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.