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The 3-Step Social Media Strategy to Attract and Convert More Leads with Brendan Kane

The BiggerPockets Business Podcast
32 min read
The 3-Step Social Media Strategy to Attract and Convert More Leads with Brendan Kane

There are tons of social media “experts.” But how many of them have gone from zero to one million followers in just 30 days?

Today’s guest Brendan Kane did. And in this episode, he teaches us the straightforward strategy outlined in his book One Million Followers.

If you like the idea of attracting leads on social media but don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place. You’ll love Brendan’s simple recipe for creating content that attracts followers, spreads your message, and turns leads into customers. He’s worked with everyone from Taylor Swift to dentists hoping to grow their practices—and his advice boils down to a few lessons you can apply right away.

This episode could gain you thousands of followers and help you form valuable connections. So don’t miss it! And subscribe to the BiggerPockets Business Podcast so you won’t miss the next one!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Jay:                             Let’s welcome Brendan Kane to the show. How you doing today, Brendan?

Brendan:                   Doing well, thanks. Appreciate you having me.

Carol:                         Awesome. I’m Carol, and I’m so great to talk with you today. I think we’re going to have an awesome episode here. We absolutely love your book, and let’s just jump right in. I would love for you to give us a quick background, just on you and how you became an expert on social media branding and marketing.

Brendan:                   Well, I initially started off in the film industry, because I wanted to learn the business side of film, specifically producing. And when I got to film school, I quickly realized they don’t teach you anything about business there. So I figured the best way to learn about business is to start your own, and the most cost efficient way at the time, and it still holds true today, is to create online companies. So I started a few internet companies while I was going to college, really just to learn and experiment.

Brendan:                   And then when I moved to L.A to pursue a career in film, it’s when the entertainment industry started to reawaken to digital after the dot-com bust. And I just saw that there’s an opportunity to leverage that knowledge in creating those internet companies to forge connections, get projects, and get my foot in the door. And got in, and started helping on films ranging from $15-$100 million budgets, and also afford me to work directly with actors and directors.

Brendan:                   And just getting into that process, I saw that the studio system and the corporate world just wasn’t as creatively fulfilling for me. And that’s where I decided to further my path in the online and digital space, and this was all the way back in, I started in like 2003, 2004. And just kept going on that path, and left working in the studio system, and started building technology platforms on top of social media. And just kept testing, and iterating, and learning, and that’s kind of how I started on this journey.

Jay:                             That’s awesome. So you wrote a book, and for those watching us, I’m holding it up here on video. Called One Million Followers: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days. So can you walk us through, basically tell us what this book was, obviously the book trying to accomplish, it was reflective of something you did. Can you walk us through basically, your challenge to yourself of building a social following of a million followers in 30 days? How you accomplish that in general terms, and then we can jump into some more specifics.

Brendan:                   Well, it didn’t start where I just woke up one morning, and said I was going to do this. I had spent about 3 1/2 years, kind of building these methodologies and processes that I detail in the book to be able to do it. But it really all started when I was working with some professional surfers, and their earning potential, and it happens a lot in action sports, is really predicated based on brand sponsorships. And brand sponsorships really look at the time, and it’s even more important today, is what is that number next to your name on social media?

Brendan:                   And I was jus seeing that there were certain athletes that weren’t even good enough to compete on tour that were making 10x athletes that were number one in the world, because they just had a larger social following. So I wanted to figure out, well, can I help these athletes that have really put in the hard work, the time, and dedication to perfect their craft and just don’t have a large social following, to grow something quickly so that they could get more sponsorship dollars and essentially grow their earning potential?

Brendan:                   So I started doing it with them, and was having success, and then extended it to working with some brands, and corporations, and some other celebrities and journalists. And then it just came to a point where it was, “Okay, this is great. The past 15 years I’ve with huge movie studios and big musicians, and athletes, but what about people starting from scratch, starting from zero?” And I wanted to see what was possible, what I could actually demonstrate was possible to people. Because I think some people just see a Taylor Swift, or an MTV, or professional athlete and say, “Oh, well they’re huge because they are those people.” And they don’t realize that they start from scratch like everybody else.

Brendan:                   So I really wanted to set a case study of somebody that wasn’t on film, or television, or music, rockstar, and show what was actually possible, and break down a specific methodology that people could use for their own personal brands if they are starting from zero.

Jay:                             That’s great. So, well let me ask you this. So not everybody has the same goals when it comes to building a brand, or marketing. So some people just, they are happy to just pump their brand and figure out a way to monetize that. But other people want to do specific things, like they want to convert customer leads. Some people want to gain national reach, while others kind of want to focus on gaining customer’s hyperlocally. Do the strategies that you and your business, or your book talk about, do they focus on one particular type of lead generation, or brand building? Or do they kind of help anybody regardless of what they’re trying to accomplish.

Brendan:                   The underlying principles will apply to anything. We use the same methodology that we do for follower growth, for lead generation, and for traffic acquisition, conversion based marketing. Obviously there are certain things in the book that talk specifically around followers, because that’s kind of the hook that’s bringing people in. But the information in there, and the systems that I break down, that I use for generating a million followers. But also the information that I gain from my top partners, and the top growth strategists in the world that I interviewed for the book, can apply for anything. It can apply for any type of specific goal and an objective that they’re trying to achieve.

Carol:                         Awesome. So before we get into some more actual tips, just kind of an overall macro level, Brendan. What are the platforms that we as new entrepreneurs, and all of our audience members who are either new entrepreneurs, or they have an established brand, but want to grow it even bigger, what are the platforms that we should be focusing on? Is it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter? What is it right now that are the most impactful platforms we should be focusing on, or is it dependent on a case by case basis, or where do we start?

Brendan:                   Well the first place that I like to start is what platform excites you? What platform do you use every day? Because that’s really critically important, because this is something that you’re going to have to live and breath every day to get good at it. Just the sheer fact of consuming content on it, the platforms when I was, obviously I spent like 3 1/2 years perfecting the system for Facebook, and then when I moved to Instagram, I was consuming and still consuming content on the platform every day, and learning it. Now we’re getting into LinkedIn and to YouTube, and we really dive in very deep with it.

Brendan:                   So really, the first question to ask yourself is, “What platform am I truly passionate about? What platform can I actually see myself getting into every day?” I think that that’s the important question, and then from there, obviously there are specific differences of each platform. So LinkedIn has a very hypertargeted business focus, where the numbers aren’t going to be as big, but they’re going to be specific to the people that you want to connect with and do business with.

Brendan:                   YouTube, long form consumption behavior where people watch content for a longer period of time, versus Facebook and Instagram is shorter form consumption behavior. Facebook, a great platform for driving traffic out to third party sites, a great platform to really go viral if you hit content properly. Instagram, you have a very high engagement rate, there’s a brand perception around Instagram that’s a little bit higher than other platforms.

Brendan:                   So there are pros and cons to each platform, and kind of how you can look at them. But again, I think the most important question is, “Which one am I going to be excited about?” Because if you’re not excited about it, you’re ultimately going to struggle to have success with the platform.

Carol:                         Cool-

Jay:                             That-

Carol:                         Because like you said, you have to be hyper-engaged in it to really grow what you’re doing. So tell us, once we identify what that platform is that we’re excited about, that we want to be focusing on, how much money should we anticipate spending? I mean, do we have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do what you did to reach those, like you reached that million followers in 30 days. Did you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make that happen, or what’s realistic?

Brendan:                   No, I didn’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it, but I will say that the number’s going to be different for everybody. Everybody is always asking me how much did I spend on social media, and that comes back to, well what’s your return investment? What is social media doing for your business? And that can be different for everybody. For example, for me, generating a million followers in 30 days, there was not a direct attribution to revenue right away. It’s a longer term play. It led to closing a literary agent and a publishing deal, and then getting paid speaking gigs, then getting publicity on podcasts, and television. And that then took the return investment and multiplied it by 100x of what I put in, but that was a model that I had designed for myself.

Brendan:                   If it’s lead generation or conversion based marketing, the numbers become a lot easier and more tangible. It’s like, “Okay, if I put X in, I’m going to get Y in return. And is that profitable, and how much does it scale?” I mean, often times when I’m working with clients, and a lot of the models that I’m focused on right now, I don’t like the conversation of, “What is our budget and how much are we spending?” I like to get into a conversation of, “How much can we spend?” Because that’s where real growth happens, that’s where billion dollar companies are built in years instead of decades. It’s because there is a financial model that’s built in, that’s all about scalability. That’s all about how can we push the boundaries within our financial model that makes sense.

Brendan:                   Again, there’s different financial models. Mine wasn’t a direct attribution in the beginning, now it is becoming a direct attribution, and that’s allows me to scale. So I know that’s a little bit of a roundabout answer, but it is so dependent on people knowing their numbers. I just spoke to, I was speaking at a conference in Vegas in front of 7,000 dentists, and one of the things that I said is, “Know your numbers.” And so many people just don’t even know their numbers, they don’t know what they can pay to acquire a customer. They don’t know how, okay, if I generate 100,000 followers, or 500,000 followers, or a million followers, what is that return on investment going to look at? And it’s so important to map that out, that will allow you to determine how much money you can spend.

Jay:                             And I assume that there’s probably, like in any industry, there’s this time and money trade off. If you’re willing to spend more time, if you’re willing to choose the platforms that are less costly, presumably you can accomplish the same results with less money. But you have to be willing to put in more time, more effort, more work, as opposed to other platforms where you just throw money at it and you presumably accomplish more with less time.

Brendan:                   Yeah, there’s always trade offs. And you got to, and it’s also, it’s not just the time equation, it’s the talent. What is the resource that you have that you can do extremely well? Are you really a good content creator? Can you create amazing videos? Can you create amazing articles? Are you a great photographer? Whatever that may be, you got to play to your strengths and understand that, and understand the consumption behavior and the content formats that are working on each platform.

Jay:                             Got it. So I want to jump into some of the actual tips you give in the book, and the book is fantastic. I read this last week, and I’m already starting to implement a lot of these things in my business. And so, I want to touch on some of those, because it’s just so powerful.

Jay:                             One that you talk a lot about is hypothesizing and testing. Basically you don’t throw a single ad out there and let it perform, you do something completely different. Can you tell us a little bit about what you mean by hypothesizing and testing, just talk a little bit more about that and what we should be doing as opposed to what most of us are doing today.

Brendan:                   So the core process that I developed at a very high level includes three steps. It’s hypothesis, test, and pivot. So hypothesis, you start with, “What is the content format, theme, or story that we think is going to drive the result that we’re looking for?” And again, this can be used for followers, lead generation, traffic, whatever you’re going after. And most people will start by saying, “Well, I don’t know where to start. Should I be creating a video? Should I be creating an image?” And we do a lot of competitive analysis and teach people how to do competitive analysis to look at who is reaching your audience in the market place today, and using that as a benchmark to set your own hypothesis of what you should be starting with and creating.

Brendan:                   And then, what we want to quickly do is get to the test phase, and create a low cost proof of concept of that hypothesis. And when I mean low cost, I mean low cost. I don’t want people spending weeks or thousands of dollars on a piece of content in the beginning, because we don’t know what is going to work. So that can include just using your iPhone, it can include taking stock videos or stock images, and creating a piece of content that you can actually test and put out in the market place and see what the response is.

Brendan:                   So that you can get to the third step of analyzing the results. “Did we generate the intended response that we were looking for?” Whether that’s generating a file, or generating a lead, a sale, a click through, and if we don’t, we start that process all over again. We set a new hypothesis, we test, and we pivot. We keep going over, and over, and over again, until we find out what works. Now, you may look at that and be like, “Oh, that’s very simplistic. It’s just three steps, that can’t really help me or my business.” But the thing is, I’m not the smartest person in the room, but I test more than anybody. I will out test anybody, and that’s what makes me successful.

Brendan:                   And that also makes other people successful, and this is in any aspect of life or business is the people that are not fearful of failure or see something that doesn’t work, and then just be like, “Oh, I’m giving up.” But just keep testing and learning, and testing and learning. And the beauty of the social media platforms and platforms we have today, is you can test so quickly and get data back so quickly, that you’re learning curve will be, the amount of data or information that you pull in to improve your ability of a social content creator or using social media to build your business is so rapidly quick.

Brendan:                   And that’s why I focus so much on those three steps, because if that’s the one thing that I want people to leave away with today is that. Is just hypothesis, test, and pivot, and just keep doing it over, and over, and over, again until you find the results. And if you embrace that, you will be successful ultimately.

Jay:                             That is absolute gold, I mean it just took, to repeat what you said, you said it beautifully, but it needs to be said again. You don’t have to be the smartest person out there, because you don’t have to get it right the first time. You’re not going to get it right the first time, and if you do it 10 times, or 20 times, or 100 times, or 1,000 times, or 10,000 times, you’re eventually going to get it right if you analyze the results and you realize what’s working, what’s not working.

Jay:                             So I want to make this even a little bit more concrete, I read that you once tested a campaign with 75,000 different tests. So in terms of 75,000 different tests, I think I did the math, and that’s like if you did one a minute, that’s full-time for 60 days or something. When you say you did that many tests, what are you changing? Are you changing the underlying content? Are you changing the colors or the fonts? Or what degree of changes are we talking about when it comes to testing?

Brendan:                   When I talk about testing, I call it a variation. So when I tested 75,000 variations, it sounds like a huge daunting task, but the system that I devised allows you to do it in a simplistic manner. And when I say 75,000 variations, I’m not talking about 75,000 different pieces of content. So when I talk about a variation, there’s five elements to a variation.

Brendan:                   So the first element is the creative itself, so it’s the video, or the image, or the article, or whatever you’re pushing out. And we will often test multiple versions of that, but you could go with just one piece of creative, and it still be successful. The second part is the headline description. In Facebook it’s above, Instagram it’s below. The third is the demographics. Are you targeting males or females? What is their age? And then the fourth is the interest level and the more psychographic information about them. What brands do they follow? What products or services do they buy? What type of entertainment do they consume? And then the fifth is the geolocation.

Brendan:                   So each one of these are interchangeable, so you could take one piece of content and swap out the headline. You could swap out, so by swapping out the headline, that’s another variation. You could swap out a demo, that’s another variation. You could swap out the interest, that’s another variation. So you can literally take one piece of content, and test it 150 ways.

Brendan:                   And the reason that we do that, you may ask, “Why do you test so many variations of adhesive content?” It’s two reasons, it gives us more chances to win and more chances to learn. So that’s the reason that we go at such a scale, is we’re rapidly iterating in this testing environment to see how we can push our key KPI’s and our goals to the maximum level. But we’re also using all of this testing and data that’s coming in to actually figure out what’s working, what’s not working, to guide our next set of tests, the next set of tests. The biggest takeaway is you have to be learning. If you’re not learning from your tests, then there’s no point in running the test.

Jay:                             That makes sense, so that gets us to the results. So being able to, one you hypothesize, two you test, but it sounds just as importantly to being able to analyze those results that you get. So when it comes to analyzing results, what are we looking for? How do we know if results are within a margin of error, or outside of a margin of error? If I do two Facebook tests and they both get 10,000 views, one gets 1,000 clicks, and the other gets 1,200 clicks, is that a meaningful difference? How do we know if one really worked? What do you look for when you’re looking at your results? I guess is a general way of asking that.

Brendan:                   Well first, you have to set a baseline for yourself, so the first set of tasks that you ever launch are going to be your baseline. And that baseline may be horrible, but it’s a baseline that now you have something as the next set of tests. I am going to figure out how I beat that last set of results.

Brendan:                   So let’s just talk about lead generation. Let’s just say, your first set of tasks comes in at $10, cost per meet. And that maybe within the confines of your model, it may not. But the whole goal is, “Okay, now how do I go from 10 to 9? And from 9 to 8? And just keeping pushing it down?” I’m in the midst of a lead generation campaign right now, and that’s exactly what I’m doing, is I am just testing and pushing down the cost for a lead as low as possible. And the cost for a lead was starting at $7 or $8, and now we have variations running at 80 to 90 cents. But that’s because I am just constantly testing different variables to see what it takes to push the performance to it’s limit.

Jay:                             And what changes, and I assume maybe you’re talking about Facebook here. What’s the ultimate driver of how much you’re paying per engagement, or per lead, or per click, whatever the metric is?

Brendan:                   Well it’s all based on an auction system, so all of these platforms have an auction that you’re competing against other people that are going after that same audience. And your cost is dictated by a fest things. First off, are you a quality advertiser? Have you been known to put high quality content or poor performing content to the platform? And this is why we’re very strict about turning stuff off if it’s not reaching or not hitting performance that we’re looking for, or it’s not engaging the audience.

Brendan:                   Because essentially what the auction will do is, it’ll tell you, “Okay, you can keep serving this to the audience you want, but you’re going to have a very inflated cost in the auction.” So by focusing on performance, and turning off of stuff right away that’s not working, you essentially get labeled as a good advertiser. Somebody pushing quality content, which can drive down your cost in the auction. We’ve had a lot of success doing that.

Brendan:                   And then it’s really what the offer is, and offer doesn’t necessarily need to a product or service. It could just be a piece of content, and the offer is to entertain somebody, or to engage somebody. How strong is that? How is that engaging people? How is it stopping people in the feeds to watch, or to read, or to click for more information? Which again, plays into the back end of what we just talked about, of quality.

Brendan:                   The more people that are engaging with your content, the more people that are stopping and consuming it, watching it, liking it, sharing it. That just signals to the algorithms and the auctions that this is a quality piece of content, so we’ll push at it to more people at a lower cost. And also, just the more engaging your content is, the more people you can get to opt into it to perform the specific action that you’re looking for.

Jay:                             That’s brilliant.

Carol:                         That’s cool.

Jay:                             I would not have expected that the better and more engaging your content, the more successful your content, the more the platform was willing to subsidize or drop the cost down. In fact, you’d think it was the opposite. If they see something’s working really well for you-

Brendan:                   Well, just think, yeah, I mean you just think about how their whole business is structured. Their holy grail is their feeds. If they have high quality content going through their feeds, then people are going to stay on the platform longer. If they have poorly performing content or unengaging content, people are going to close the app and not come back.

Brendan:                   And so that’s why they reward it as they would rather take money for content that’s actually providing value to the community and driving results, then to dilute their ecosystem with poorly performing content, or things that are not providing value.

Carol:                         That’s really cool. That’s just such a good insight that I think is really valuable for our listeners. So in addition to breaking this down really granularly, I really appreciate that you’re willing to dive into the way that it works on the other end on the platform, because that’s something I think, that’s not necessarily common knowledge to a lot of entrepreneurs just starting out.

Carol:                         And talking about content, what is it right now, what does make for good content? I mean, obviously back in the day, people were sharing recipes, and cat videos, and all those trite common types of things. What makes good content now? Is it dependent on what you’re trying to achieve, or what are just some of the common traits of content that is sticky, content that is engaging, and gets people to click through?

Brendan:                   Well there’s so many different variables that go into answering that question. I think that one of the big differentiators that I talk about with my team, and let me just this. One of the biggest mistakes that people see with making content is that they are just thinking about themselves when they’re producing their content of what they want say, versus the way that we look at it, is A, we design content for the algorithms first. Because without the algorithms, you’re not going to get reach. And without reach, you’re not going to engage an audience.

Brendan:                   And then, once we’ve designed for the algorithms, then we think about the audience second. So I think that that’s a big difference in terms of how people design content. And with that, you’ve got to understand the way that the algorithms are operating. What are the metrics that they’re paying attention to? So for example, with video, on Facebook and Instagram, they’re looking at the number of views compared to the reach that they give you. Because views typically are not counted until three seconds happen.

Brendan:                   So it’ll measure how many people are actually stopping in their feed for the first three seconds, versus the people just swiping up and past. So if you have a video and people are swiping past, and not even paying attention to the first three seconds, you’re not going to get reach in the algorithms, and it’s ultimately going to fail. So that’s why you see a lot of people using meme cards, or the burn-in text at the top, or captions at the bottom, because 70% of sound on video for Facebook and Instagram is watched with the sound off.

Brendan:                   Now that doesn’t mean that just because you put meme cards or captions on there, that your contents going to perform better, because everybody’s doing it now. So you need to be smarter with it. So we pay attention to what are the algorithms looking for? And the biggest thing that we know is retention. They’re looking for people to engage with content for a longer period of time.

Brendan:                   But in order to get retention, you have to capture people in that first three seconds, because if you don’t get the first three seconds, then you can’t earn the right for an additional 5, or 10, or 15, or 30 seconds. Which is really important when you’re talking about Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. They all kind of operate under some similar principle.

Brendan:                   Now when you’re talking about YouTube, one of the biggest factors with YouTube is headline and thumbnail. Which kind of serves as that three second, because you’re getting served suggested videos, and the algorithms are paying attention to how many people are clicking on your headline and thumbnail when it’s seeded to them to watch more content. And then on top of that, it measures watch time as well. So at a very high level, you’ve got to have a compelling hook or a compelling way to bring people in to pay attention to your content amongst all the other clutter.

Brendan:                   And then from there, how you keep them engaged, and retain that audience for as long as possible? That’s where you’re really going to win at the end of the day.

Jay:                             So that makes total sense. Presumably a very big percentage of, or a very large portion of what’s going to retain eyeballs, what’s going to grab attention, is the headline. And you mentioned that of the content, there are five major pieces, headline was one of those. How do you write a great headline? What am I looking for, or what am I thinking about when I’m writing a headline for my content?

Brendan:                   It’s a great question, so there’s, I mean the second book that I’m working on right now is all around this concept of hook points. Because I think it’s the most valuable portion of the world that we live in, the fact of the matter is there’s 60 billion messages sent on digital platform each day. We live in a micro attention world. And you have to find a way to stand out, and differentiate yourself from everybody else.

Brendan:                   And one of the exercises that I give people is, if you were given the cover of a magazine, a prominent magazine in your specific niche. And the editor’s calling you and saying, “Okay, you’ve been given this cover. You’re going to be the only person on this cover. What is the headline that you want to put on this magazine? And it has to be less than a sentence, the fewer the words the better.” And when thinking about what that headline is, imagine your core audience or customer walking down a busy street, and passing a magazine stand and there’s 50 other magazines on that stand. What is that headline that’s literally going to make somebody stop, pick up that magazine amongst all the others, buy it, and read it. Because that’s how difficult it is in the world that we live in today.

Brendan:                   And when, in doing it, I don’t say, “Just come up with one.” Come up with 10, 15, 20, 30, as many as you can. And I would set a goal that seems impossible. Set a goal for 50, or 100, because that’s often times where you can push yourself beyond your boundaries and come up with more creative ideas.

Brendan:                   Another concept that a friend of mine, who’s one of the top copywriters in the world that did, when he first started out copywriting, is he would take headlines, or successful headlines, or hook points from other people, and then just plug in his words, or his products or services. Because then it can kind of train your brain to think in terms of some of the most successful people in this space, so that’s kind of the way that I look at it. But again, it’s all about testing and iterating often that once you come up with those initial ideas.

Carol:                         That’s awesome. Those are really great tips, like things I personally never would have though of, so I really, yeah. That’s really, really good stuff. So once you’ve kind of really developed all this content, all the different iterations of it, of course we have to serve it up to the right audience. So, can you talk to us a little bit more about digitally, online, how we go about finding that right audience? I mean, I think Facebook offers a good platform for doing that, but do you have any specific tips on once we identify who our demographic is, how we can target those people online through these different platforms? How do we actually go ahead and make that happen, so our content is served up to the right people?

Brendan:                   So there’s a few different ways that you can go about it. It’s, yes the advertising platforms are a great tool from their ability to hypertarget audiences. Other tactics we use is on Facebook, we’ll identify certain pages that have large audiences that we’re trying to reach and get them to share our content into their audience. Same thing with Instagram, we’ll identify accounts that has the audience that we want to have them come over and convert to followers of our account, so we use it that way.

Brendan:                   Another approach that I kind of talk about is leveraging social audiences, social followers for larger offline opportunities. Because where people talk about, in the thousand true fan models we’ve talked about a lot, and it’s a great model where they walk about incremental growth of identifying fans and growing one by one to hit that thousand true fans.

Brendan:                   I come from the entertainment world where you can’t go into a meeting and talk about 1,000 people, or 10,000, or even 100,000 people, you have to go as big as possible. And that’s kind of where the mindset came from generating a million followers in 30 days is, how do I generate a massive audience in a short period of time, but then leverage that audience for other opportunities of getting on podcasts, getting on stages, getting on television? And that’s where a lot of brand building can come from, and where the real true thousand fans come from, or from the real leads, or the real customers come from. So that’s another kind of backwards approach that I use for social media and social media followings to leverage it for a much larger potential of hitting your core target.

Jay:                             Okay, and so that kind of brings up a question in terms of, what about for those businesses that are trying to target hyperlocal. Let’s say I run a taco truck on Main Street in Omaha, Nebraska. Should I be trying to build a national following to build a brand? So that maybe my local customers see, “Hey. This must be really great, because all these people across the country love him.” Or should I be trying to target literally a couple square miles in Omaha, Nebraska, and just trying to build a couple superfans there. Are there any strategies for hyperlocal business targeting?

Brendan:                   Driving leads, and sales, and revenue. I mean, that’s the only metric that matters. I was talking to the dentist, and that’s exactly what we talked about. And the testing principle still apply as your going after that specific geolocation, and seeing what moves the needle, and what works in that geolocation. And once you have revenue, once you have profit, and that business is growing, then you can determine, “Okay, do I want to go to a national level?”

Brendan:                   I don’t think it really makes sense to go after followers in a local market, because you’re just going to get killed in the algorithms for reach. Because that content’s really not going to need that engaging where you’re going to get maximum reach opposite. I would focus solely on lead generation, traffic acquisition, and then taking that and building that communication line off of social through email, through text, through chat bots, things of that nature.

Brendan:                   So your question again, is if you’re in a business that’s all about generating customers, or generating leads, and you need to do that right now, just focus on advertising campaigns that specifically targets your core audience to generate that specific action that you’re looking for. I don’t want you to generate a follower, and then try and convert that follower into a customer. I’d rather you just go after that customer.

Carol:                         That-

Jay:                             That’s a great tip.

Carol:                         Yeah, that’s really cool. You also mentioned in your book Brendan, targeting your competitors fans, which we thought was just such an awesome tip. So, could you maybe talk a little bit more about that in growing your audience?

Brendan:                   Yeah, I mean it only works if you’re going after competitors that have a large enough audience. And sometimes they won’t allow you, the advertising platforms won’t allow it for whatever reason. But I think it’s a great tactic and tool, and you can just go into the advertising platforms and type in those keywords or those pages, and see if you can target and conquest against their audiences.

Brendan:                   Also, another big tool that I always recommend, and I was talking about competitive analysis earlier is, go and see what advertising they’re running. Facebook has an ad library now that’s open to the public that you can go and type in any page, and see if they’re running advertising, and if they are, what advertisements they are running. And that can give you a lot of information about what your competitors are doing, and how you can do what they do better than them. So I’m always about, how do you get your eyes in front competitors audiences and understanding what your competitors are doing? And then reverse engineering it to the point where you can do it better than them.

Carol:                         Cool.

Jay:                             That’s awesome. Okay, so one more question about content, and I know everybody’s looking to kind of create virality, viral content. And as a business owner, let’s say we’re trying to drive customers. And you mentioned earlier that if you’re going after leads, if you’re going after customers, go after customers. But should we be trying to drive customers by creating viral content, necessarily? Or do we want to just connect with them emotionally?

Jay:                             I guess what I’m asking is, if I had the option of creating content that’s going to connect with my customers and potentially connect with 10 million more other people, so that it gets shared around and potentially hits more customers. Or should I kind of be focusing my content on my core demographic, even if it means it’s never going to go viral? What are the trade-offs there? I don’t know if I asked that question in a way that makes sense, but maybe it made sense.

Brendan:                   Well, it depends on what you’re, if you’re after a specific geolocation, then I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to focus on viral content. Yes, I think that you want to get content that people share, because if people are sharing it, you’re striking a chord with them to the point that they want to share your message, your product, your service with somebody else.

Brendan:                   If you are looking at it at a national level, and looking to build a national brand, then the way that we look at is, we design our content for a more generalist audience to hit as many people as possible, and so let’s just say we hit 10 million people with a video. Within that 10 million, we’ll have our subset of a million people, which is our core target. And the reason that we do that, again is we’re playing to the algorithm, or we’re playing to the audience.

Brendan:                   So if we’re designing a piece of content on a national level, and right off the bat we say that this video is for women, now you’re cutting off 50% of your audience with men. And then if you’re saying, “Okay, this is for women who are moms.” Then you’re cutting it even further. And then if it’s moms that have kids that are playing soccer, it just keeps going down, and down, and down in terms of cutting your potential reach of who you can hit with that specific piece of content.

Brendan:                   Again, if you are running a lead gen campaign, or if you’re running a direct response campaign, then yes. You want to be hypertargeted with that content, but we still look at this concept of how do we go as wide as possible with the message in the beginning in that first 3 to 10 seconds to attract everybody? And then once we have them into the message, then we can slowly move them down the storyline that speaks specific to the audience that we want to reach.

Jay:                             You’re basically creating a funnel in your content, that-

Brendan:                   Yes.

Jay:                             Makes a whole lot of sense. Okay, so in terms of the type of the content, and we touched on this a little bit. But I know you mentioned a couple things in your book, and some other places that I read, so I just want to kind of get a little bit more concrete. You mentioned there are lots of different types of content, but I know in your book you mentioned that quotes, like pictures with quotes on them are great. You’ve mentioned video is great. What are your favorite, most sticky pieces of content these days?

Brendan:                   Well video is always going to be most powerful and have the most impact, but it’s the harder to produce. Because there’s just so many variables that go into play to making a successful video. You have the first three seconds, you have captions, title cards. There are then the next ten seconds, retention, all these things. Versus an image or a quote, in a split second you either like it or you don’t. There’s not all those different variables that go in. Does it have as great of an impact as a video? No. So it’s really trading off, I always recommend people get good at video. But it takes longer to master versus putting up a quote or an image. It’s typically easier to pull that off and generate a specific engagement or reach out of.

Carol:                         Very cool. Okay, so before we go into the last portion of our show, I would just like to know, are there any other great tips Brendan, that we’ve missed throughout this conversation? Any one or two little just gold nuggets about growing your online brand that you might be able to share with our listeners?

Brendan:                   I would say that one of the things that I always start with people, when I’m doing strategy days with them is, “Why?” What is the why behind it? What is the reasoning for wanting to grow a social media? What is that going to really do for them personally for their lifestyle, for their business? And being very clear about that, because this is hard work. And there is a lot of trial and error in it, and without a clear foundation, and without a strong mindset of why you’re doing what you’re doing, ultimately that will cause you to give up, or to want to quit.

Brendan:                   I mean, because it’s still, for doing this 15 years, and you run into obstacles and roadblocks all the time. And I have to keep reminding myself of why I’m doing it, and what the end goal is, to keep going, and plugging through, and pushing through the obstacles that come up.

Jay:                             Awesome.

Carol:                         Excellent.

Jay:                             Okay, with that. Let’s jump into the last segment of our show, what we call the Four More, where we’re going to ask you the same four questions that we ask all of our guests. And then at the end, we’re going to jump into the more, which is more about where we can find you, where we can find more about your book your company. So can we jump into the four questions?

Brendan:                   Yeah, sounds good.

Jay:                             Okay, so I’ll take the first one. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Brendan:                   I’d say any job that I’m sitting in an office or a desk. I just, I tell people I’m allergic to offices. I won’t, anything that I’m sitting behind a desk is the worst. I mean, I did early on dish washing jobs when I was 15 or 16, which was horrible. But anything where I am chained to a desk in an office just doesn’t work for me.

Carol:                         It’s just painful. And that totally leads me to my second question, which is, what was that defining moment Brendan, when you realized that you had an entrepreneurial edge, and you just needed to do your own thing?

Brendan:                   I mean, if I think back on it, I mean at earliest age of 5 or 6, I was going around taking toys and knocking on neighbors doors and trying to sell my toys to their parents. But I don’t know that I fully recognized it until three or four years into my career of working for a studio that it just wasn’t fulfilling to work in an office and deal with the politics, and asking for permission to do things more times than actually getting to do things.

Jay:                             Awesome. Okay, question number three. What’s the worst piece of advice, and I’m sure there are a lot of them, what’s the worst piece of advice you typically hear in your industry?

Brendan:                   Well the one thing that I think annoys me is that social media managers, or agencies, or consultants, will claim that there’s only one way of doing things. And they’ll say, “Because this is my area of expertise, this is what I advise you to do, because I know this is the only way to reach the goal and objective that you have.” Whenever I’m sharing information it’s, “This is what has worked for me, if it works for you, awesome. If you want find another approach, that’s cool too.” And it’s why I broke down in the book different strategies as well, because I don’t believe that there’s just a one size fits all strategy for everybody. You have to find what works for you.

Carol:                         Cool. Okay, and the last of the Four More is, what is something that you have splurged on, either personally or professionally? In your personal or professional life that was a big old splurge, but was entirely and totally worth it.

Brendan:                   Well, I am constantly splurging and spending money on just optimizing my performance from a mindset perspective. Whether that is retreat, education, certain doctors, across the board. I’m always willing to invest to get that extra edge for me to be able to work at an optimal level. Because being an entrepreneur, as you guys know, it’s very draining, and you push yourself to certain boundaries. So I’m always kind of looking for that extra edge.

Carol:                         Cool.

Jay:                             Awesome. Okay, so let’s jump into the more part of Four More. Can you tell our listeners where they can find out more about you? Where they can find out more about your awesome book, One Million Followers: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days, and where they can connect with you?

Brendan:                   Sure, the book is on Amazon. It’s on all major retail stores. We do have an offer, if you go to www.freesocialbook.com, where they can get a copy of the book for free. They just pay for shipping and handling. And we do have additional bonus materials on that page, that you obviously can’t get through retail stores or through Amazon, so that’s one way to check it out. There’s more information about me at www.brendanjkane.com, and my name is spelled B-R-E-N-D-A-N J, and then Kane, K-A-N-E dot com.

Jay:                             Awesome. Brendan, this was absolutely awesome. We really appreciate you taking the time to share your tips and tremendously great actual tips with our listeners. And I know you mentioned in there a second book coming, so we’re looking forward to seeing that, and hopefully we can get you back on when that releases.

Brendan:                   Cool, yeah. Thanks for having me, hopefully it was helpful to you guys.

Jay:                             Absolutely.

Carol:                         It was awesome. Thanks a lot Brendan, have a great day.

Jay:                             Thanks so much, Brendan.

Brendan:                   All right, you too.



Watch the Podcast Here

In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Brendan got into business online
  • From zero to 1 million followers in just 30 days
  • Which platform should you start with?
  • How much money do you need to spend?
  • His process involving hypothesizing, testing, and pivoting
  • 75,000 tests
  • 5 elements of content to test
  • 2 reasons you should test a lot
  • What makes a good content?
  • The concept of hook points
  • Targeting your core audience
  • Do you really need viral content?
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “If you’re not learning from your tests, then there’s no point in running the tests.” (Tweet This!)
  • “You have to find a way to stand out and differentiate yourself from everybody else.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Retain the audience for as long as possible, that’s how you’ll win.” (Tweet This!)

Books Mentioned in this Show

Connect with Brendan

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.