How to Make Money with Social Media - an interview with Jamie Turner
Interview by: Giles Metcalfe
Jamie Turner is the Chief Content Officer at the 60 Second Marketer, the online magazine of BKV Digital and Direct Response. He has helped companies like AT&T, CNN, The Coca-Cola Company and Cartoon Network grow their sales and revenue with innovative marketing programs. Jamie is a regular speaker on TV, radio and at trade shows and conferences.
He has been profiled in the world's best-selling college-level advertising textbook, and is the author of How to Make Money with Social Media. An Insider's Guide on Using New and Emerging Media to Grow Your Business.
GM: What was the background to you writing How to Make Money with Social Media?
I run an online magazine for BKV Digital and Direct Response called the 60 Second Marketer. When we launched the 60 Second Marketer, we had no money to promote it, so I used every “free” tool at my disposal. That included YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Webinars, eBooks, blogging and other tools that are all part of the social media toolkit. If you use these tools enough, you end up figuring out how to leverage them to grow your business. Dr. Shah and I took those learning’s and turned them into what became How to Make Money with Social Media.
GM: In your experience, how prevalent is the idea that “simply updating a Facebook page or uploading a YouTube video is a social media campaign” amongst business practitioners?
When we were writing the manuscript, the prevailing thought was that updating a Facebook page or uploading a YouTube video would do the trick. More and more, however, people are realizing that social media is about conducting a consistent campaign across multiple platforms. The more opportunities you provide prospects to connect with you (via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, e-newsletters, etc.), the more opportunities you have to convert those prospects to customers. It’s sort of like fishing with 10 fishing rods instead of one.
GM: You say “marketing has changed more in the past five years than in the previous 100 combined” – what’s behind the sudden and massive upheaval? Is it purely down to a couple of big social media pioneers?
During the 20th century, there were 3 major changes in the way consumers connected with brands. The first was the introduction of radio, the second was broadcast TV and the third was cable TV. In the first few years of the 21st century alone, we already have user-generated video, blogging, e-newsletters, webinars, micro-blogging, forums, location-based services and dozens of other new ways to connect with customers and prospects. It’s mind-boggling, which is part of what makes it so fun and so interesting.
GM: How quick have companies been to climb aboard the social media bus?
The social media bus is about to leave the station. If you wait any longer, your competitors will take your customers and put them on their bus instead. And guess where that bus is headed? Nowhere near your brand.
GM: Is the traditional idea of the consumer dead, replaced by individuals engaging with products and services?
We wouldn’t call the traditional idea of the consumer being dead. We’d really call it the traditional idea of a brand being dead. And, yes, the idea of a brand being all about positioning is a 20th century mindset. Today, a brand is more about how a customer engages with your brand than it is what a customer thinks about your brand.
GM: W. Edwards Deming said “Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them”. Does offline word-of-mouth still have a role to play in the online world of social media?
Word-of-mouth definitely plays a role. As a matter of fact, we address that very notion in How to Make Money with Social Media. We believe that word-of-mouth is a form of social media, although it’s an offline form of it. Our book focuses on the online version of social media, even though offline social media is of critical importance, too. By the way, they both influence each other, so they’re somewhat intertwined.
GM: Can you expand on the concept of “social media magnetism”?
Social media magnetism is when your brand has so much power that it attracts prospects and customers to your social media campaign like a magnet. For example, we’re in discussions about doing a social media campaign for one of the largest and best-known rock and roll bands in the world. Getting people to participate in a social media campaign for this band won’t be difficult. But getting people to participate in a social media campaign for a local pet store is a challenge. That’s the main point we make about social media magnetism – most companies don’t have the social media magnetism that Apple, Nike or Starbucks have, so they have to actively drive people to the social media campaigns via traditional media, word-of-mouth, social media and PR. That extra effort is paramount.
GM: You state that executives need to appreciate that they “no longer own (their) company’s brand. The consumer does.” Are they ready for this paradigm shift do you think, or does your statement come as a bombshell?
For most companies, the idea that the consumer owns the company’s brand is a bombshell. Some progressive companies have seen the light. But right now, only about 10 per cent of corporate America has embraced it. 85 per cent of corporate America is resisting it or hoping it will go away. The remaining 5 per cent of corporate America is still hoping the 8-Track Tape Player will come back, so they’ll never see the light.
GM: I found this quote interesting – “Google lists more than 136 million web pages under the search “make money with social media.” Even more fascinating is that a disproportionate number of the entries for this topic aren’t worth a dime. They just don’t offer anything that’s real, sustainable, and legitimate.” Obviously, you guys are worth your salt, but with so many people out there peddling the social media marketing equivalent of snake oil, what’s your book’s USP?
Great question. Thanks for asking it. Amazingly, there are social media “experts” who claim that social media isn’t measurable on an ROI basis. In fact, I was at a conference recently where one “expert” said that a social media campaign shouldn’t be beholden to a specific set of objectives. Huh? What planet was that guy living on? That’s what makes this book so timely – it’s for people who would be thrown out of their CEO’s office for proposing a campaign that isn’t measurable. If you’re interested in social media and you want to measure it on an ROI basis, this book gives you all the tools necessary to do it.
GM: You say, “Some companies use social media strictly as a branding tool. In our opinion, using social media simply as a branding tool is a twentieth century mindset” - how so?
For the previous 100 years, the basic marketing model was to run an ad that promoted your brand and then hope that you saw an upturn in sales. Since social media is eminently track-able, you can follow a consumer along as they click through your social media campaign and ultimately buy your product on your website. If you’re just using social media to promote your brand without specifically tracking the results, then you’re using a 20th century mindset with a 21st century tool.
GM: What’s your view on “behavioural targeting”? Are we heading towards a Minority Report-style dystopia where we are constantly bombarded with personalized advertising?
Some people are unnecessarily concerned about behavioural targeting, which is the process of tracking online data so that relevant ads can be sent to appropriate prospects. The direct mail industry has been doing this for 50 years and it hasn’t bothered very many people (apart from all of the people signed up to the Mailing Preference Service for no junk mail - GM). With behavioural targeting, I can visit a website about vacations in the French wine country one day, and then see ads for wine country vacations on the Financial Times website the next day. To me, that’s a good thing.
GM: Can you expand on your concept of “circular momentum”?
Circular momentum is like the snowball effect. With a social media campaign, the more platforms you use (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) the more the campaign snowballs or has “circular momentum.” Once that momentum takes off, it’s self-sustaining. In other words, once you get circular momentum going for your social media campaign, it grows organically on its own.
GM: What are the best tools for the three social media platforms – network, promote, and share?
One of the most common questions along this line is “where do I start?” The best place to start is to get your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts up-and-running. From there, I’d suggest doing an e-newsletter or launching a blog. After that, I’d suggest you create your own YouTube channel and start exploring some of the other 52 social media platforms referenced in the book.
GM: How important is it for our readers to grasp that “you have to connect with people today so that you have customers tomorrow”?
Nobody buys a product from a company that they don’t know and trust. Social media allows you to build a relationship with prospects so that when they are in a buying mode, you’re top-of-mind.
GM: What impact are iPhones and Android-powered mobile phones having on social media marketing?
The convergence of social and mobile is going to be huge, as in bigger than moveable type huge. Imagine what’s going to happen to an African Masai villager when they’re handed a mobile device with access to Google. Suddenly, the world will be very, very different. Let’s hope that it’s different in a good way, not a bad way.
GM: Is ROI king? Is everything else secondary? How can social media ROI be tracked?
The beauty to social media is that it is very, very track-able. Some companies are just using social media to run YouTube videos and create brand awareness. But the progressive companies are using social media to track prospect’s digital behaviour all the way through to the sale on their e-commerce site. And for those who don’t sell via an e-commerce site, you can track leads that are generated via social media campaigns. A lead today is a customer tomorrow and that’s a good thing indeed.
GM: Are there any closing comments you would like to make?
The question people should be asking themselves about social media isn’t whether or not to do it, but how to do it so that it’s track-able, measurable and ROI-based. That’s all outlined in the book.