This is Episode 23 of the Social Pros Podcast : Real People Doing Real Work in Social Media. This episode features DJ Waldow of Waldow Social. Read on for insights from DJ and some social media news from Eric and Jim (this week: LinkedIn and Twitter break up).
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Huge thanks to data-driven social media management software company Argyle Social for their presenting sponsorship, as well as Infusionsoft, Janrain, and Jim Kukral at DigitalBookLaunch. We use Argyle Social for our social engagement; we use Infusionsoft for our email; Janrain is our crackerjack social integration company, and Jim is our guest host for the podcast (and a smart guy).
Social Pros Transcript For Your Reading Enjoyment, Thanks to Speechpad for the Transcription
Eric: Welcome again, ladies and gentlemen to the Social Pros podcast. This is Eric Boggs and welcome to Episode Number 23. With us today is our special guest, co-host Jim Kukral from Digital Book Launch. How’s it going Jim?
Jim: It’s going good. I just tapped the keg for the July 4th week, so I’m excited.
Eric: Oh, right on. How long is it going to take you to finish that keg?
Jim: Well, it’s a small keg. It’s a microbrew keg, so it’s probably going to take me at least a whole week.
Eric: Right on. What are you drinking?
Eric: Sounds delicious, that’s for sure.
Eric: Our fearless leader Jay Baer remains on family vacation. If you follow Jay on Instagram or Facebook, there have been some pretty funny photos. I think they went to a Toga party. I hope to not see any more pictures of Jay in a Toga anytime soon. But we’ll have him back with us next week.
Our special guest Social Pro on the show today is DJ Waldow of Waldow Social, formerly of Blue Sky Factory. Also, formerly of Bronto Software, where DJ and I worked together many, many moons ago. We’ll bring DJ in here shortly.
Before we get into the show, I want to give a quick thanks to our sponsors, which includes my company, Argyle Social, makers of the finest data-driven, social media marketing software. Infusionsoft, makers of small and medium-sized business marketing automation. Janrain, the good folks that do all the goodness with social sign-in. Last but not least, Jim, who runs DigitalBookLaunch.com and pitches in to co-host when Jay is out and about.
Eric and Jim’s Thought of the Week
Eric: So Jim, today I figured we’d start off the show discussing the recent news of the LinkedIn/Twitter breakup. That it’s right up there with the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes breakup.
Jim: Right. Was it really a breakup, though? I think it was more of a LinkedIn saying, “It’s not you. It’s me,” type of thing, right?
So, if Twitter is pumping stuff to LinkedIn.com well then Tweets are not being consumed on the Twitter platform. So Twitter kind of led people down this path and I think LinkedIn just kind of preempted things by saying, “Hey, we’re done with this. We’re kind of severing ties here.” At least that’s kind of the way I read the tea leaves. Do you think this is a good thing? Do you think this is a bad thing, or a nonissue? What are your thoughts?
Jim: I think it’s a good thing for LinkedIn. I mean, you could read it as a bad thing, because now what’s going to happen is there’s not going to be a lot of status updates in LinkedIn.
Jim: But at the end of the day, LinkedIn has got to clean house. They’ve got to find a way to get people in and use the service and update it there, because they’re losing. They’re losing Facebook. They’re losing Google Plus…
Jim: …and they’re losing the Twitter. I don’t know about you, but I don’t actively log into LinkedIn and update my status. I don’t find it useful.
Jim: What I find useful in LinkedIn is if I haven’t had a job in over ten years. I work for myself, but if I was looking for a job I would find it useful to go in and post status updates.
Jim: It’s great for leads and stuff, but as a conversational tool for me to post updates, I don’t see it. Do you?
Eric: Yeah, I agree. I don’t know that I’ve… Actually now that I think about it, I don’t know that I’ve ever had a meaningful social interaction on LinkedIn. It’s been more, “Hey, let’s connect. Let’s keep in touch. Trolling, I might troll your profile, Jim, if there’s someone I’m looking to connect with.
If you know them, I might ask you for an intro. But there’s not a lot of day-to-day engagement and conversations that are happening there, at least for me.
Jim: Well, I have it in groups.
Jim: I have several groups that I’ve started. One group’s got 3,000 people in it. I go in there and I post updates in there. But in terms of comparing it to me saying, “Hey, check out this link,” just in general, it’s not Twitter.
Jim: I post more personal things on Facebook. I post more information, distribution of links on Twitter. Same thing on Google Plus, and I don’t need another place to do that.
Jim: So, I do it inside the groups, but not as a general status update. I don’t know why they’re trying to even force-feed that whole status update down people’s throats. I don’t think people want it.
Eric: Yeah. That’s actually a pretty good point. LinkedIn is really strong around groups and sort of focused subject matter areas. Yeah, maybe the status update just doesn’t work there. Either way, I think that you hit the nail on the head that this is really good for LinkedIn, that it needs to stand alone as a social platform.
With some of the stuff we talked about last week, with demographically targeted company status updates on LinkedIn, you can see that they’re trying to make this happen as a real-time business-focused conversation platform. It just remains to be seen whether or not the separation between LinkedIn and Twitter is going – how it’s going to change that.
Jim: The problem with LinkedIn is that they’re turning into the Alexa ranking of web traffic. It’s like even non-techie people are starting to make jokes about it. You hear people like, “Oh, the last time you updated your LinkedIn status, never…” People are making jokes about it, who aren’t even in the tech business.
Jim: Realize that it’s just a big database of names. Now, I’m not saying it’s not valuable. I think LinkedIn for B2B is extremely valuable lead source that probably 99% of people ignore. But in terms of it being another Twitter, no. In terms of it being another Facebook, no. LinkedIn needs to figure out what they are, and finally exploit it and create some kind of tool or trigger that makes people go, “You know what? This is really amazing.” Either that or they’re just sitting back collecting numbers, waiting for somebody to buy them.
Eric: Yeah. Well, I didn’t look at their financials recently. I know they IPO’d maybe six or eight months ago and maybe could have done a little more prep work to have a sense of their financial performance. But they’re really kind of chasing some really good stuff with their ad products.
Curious to know, with LinkedIn, there’s kind of this question of, who is there end customer, right? Is their end customer you and I, the guys who use it every day for just like personal networking and time wasting or whatever else? Or is it more the business that’s looking to connect, is looking to advertise, that’s looking to post jobs and recruit?
Jim: Exactly, and I don’t think anyone knows. Right? I’ve never met a person – I think I talked about this before. I’ve never met a person who’s run an ad on LinkedIn and said that it was worth their money. So, is it a publishing platform for a publisher model for selling ads? No, obviously not. Is it a community? Sort of, but where’s the model besides accumulating numbers? I don’t know. I’m not the smartest guy in the world when it comes to that stuff. But you’ve got to figure at some point they should’ve figured that out and tried to do something.
Eric: Yeah. I’ll tell you. The other side of this is with Twitter. The blog post that their Chief of Products published maybe a week or so ago is entitled something like, “Delivering Consistent Twitter Experience Across the Web”. We’ll link it up in the transcript.
That speaks to a really interesting development on Twitter’s side, where they’re really kind of dropping the hammer on third-party developers again, which is obviously a sensitive area for me, because Argyle is a third-party Twitter developer. We care very deeply about how their ecosystem develops and kind of how Twitter enforces its rules.
But this is less of Twitter becoming a communication protocol or communication platform. If that were the case, they would want their Tweets to show up on LinkedIn and everywhere else on the planet. Much more, Twitter as a traffic hungry, ad revenue hungry, really ambitious company. I’m curious to get your thoughts on how that might shake out on the Twitter side of things, because clearly this is all about getting more eyeballs to Twitter so they can serve up more ads.
Jim: Well, I find Twitter the least valuable of all the social networks for my purposes.
Jim: Because it’s more of a conversation. I don’t think you reach as many people. I think that it’s – I use it as a distributor. I send out links and things like that. I’m not like Scott Stratten, who responds 1,000 times to all of his people and has conversations.
So, I think for customer service, I think it’s a great tool. But in terms of – I don’t even really know. I mean, do they make any significant money with it?
Eric: Oh, yeah, definitely north of a $100 million a year at this point.
Jim: Okay. Is that, $100 million? Shouldn’t it be more than that by now?
Eric: Well, Twitter is definitely behind. It’s younger in terms of age, also in terms of platform maturity and also critical mass. Although, I think Twitter has more users than LinkedIn. Yeah, it definitely hasn’t reached Facebook scale yet, but it also hasn’t been around as long as Facebook.
Jim: Have you ever bought ads on Twitter?
Eric: Oh yeah.
Jim: How did they work?
Eric: Actually, I don’t know if I can talk about it. We were part of Twitter’s promoted products beta, and we still are part of Twitter’s promoted products beta. I guess it’s still a beta. We had a positive experience. We continue to have positive experience with Twitter’s ads products. I don’t think I can say anything else about that actually. That’s really weird, but I’m going to stop right there. I don’t want the Twitter Gestapo dropping the hammer on me.
Jim: Good idea.
Eric: So, some good stuff there, and I’ll be curious to get our listeners’ thoughts in the comments whenever we publish this on the blog.
Special Guest: DJ Waldow, Waldow Social
Eric: Let’s bring in Señor DJ Waldow. DJ, are you still there?
DJ: I am here, Señor Boggs.
Eric: All right. So, I’ll go ahead and set some expectations that DJ and I worked together for many years. Close personal friends. This may turn into the inside joke edition of Social Pros. DJ, really excited to have you as a guest and really pumped to hear about the good stuff that you’re doing.
DJ: Yeah. I’m pretty pumped and excited myself. Like you said Eric, we worked together for a while. We’re still good friends. We communicate on probably every social channel, except LinkedIn. So, although I am looking at LinkedIn right now and my top two updates. One is from a guy I don’t know, and one is from Eric Boggs who is now connected to several people.
Eric: Oh, yeah. That’s funny.
DJ: But no, I mean, I am really excited and I will try not to make it too much of insider stuff, because that’s probably only interested to you, me, and a handful of other people. But no, I’m ready to kick this thing off.
Eric: Well, talk to us a little bit about kind of how you have become a professional social media marketer. Back in the day, you were at SELLMEAT.com – inside joke number one. Then you found your way into the online world. A former junior high teacher also, then you kind of landed in Durham, North Carolina, worked for an online software marketing company, and then have kind of navigated your way into social. Give us the back-story there.
DJ: Yeah. So, all of that is true, by the way, what you just said. I worked at a company called SELLMEAT.com. I was a little naive at the time to really think about what the name of that company was and what it could have meant. But I think it worked. Actually it was interesting. It was a company that was trying – in 2001 sell pork, poultry, and other meat products online, as a type of exchange.
But anyways, my background really is very diverse, but I’ve always had a consistent theme throughout that it involves in some way, people or community.
When we first started working together, when I worked at Bronto, I didn’t really know a thing about email marketing, but it was a cool company. I mean, you know that. You were employee number one.
DJ: It was a great company to work for and it was really great people and cool, interesting people. Then, I really kind of attached myself onto email marketing. I’m the kind of person who, if I’m going to do something, I’m going to learn as much as I possibly can about it. I did email at Bronto for four years and sort of began to establish my name as somebody who knew a little bit about email.
Then, I got more into the community side of things when I moved to Blue Sky Factory, and worked as their Director of Community and was doing more things. Like things with Twitter and Facebook, and even LinkedIn Groups, as was mentioned earlier. So, that’s really my background. About a year ago, I started my own company called Waldow Social, where I do social media and actually moving now more and more into email marketing consulting.
Eric: Interesting. Interesting. So, you kind of operate in this world in between email marketing and social media, and connecting the two. What are the recurring themes that you talk about, the recurring themes that you work with your clients to figure out when it comes to marrying these two channels?
DJ: Well, I think overall, what I’ve seen over the years – and it’s interesting. It’s too bad Jay isn’t here today, because I think he’s one of these people that really understand. Even you, frankly, for that matter too. Really understand that the – can I use the word synergy, Eric? The synergies…
Jim: Your Klout dived 20,000 points for using that word.
DJ: But it’s the glue… We talk about email as the digital glue that holds everything together. I think, as I said, Jay because he comes from an email marketing background and you because you come from email marketing background, really understand that these two channels really do work well together.
But what’s fascinating to me, I think, because social media has become so hot and everybody’s talking about it, that email doesn’t seems as exciting or sexy to people, but the realty is it’s got a proven ROI. It’s got a proven ROI that’s higher than most other channels. Now, certainly the ROI has been going down. At least according to the DMA that number has been going down. But I think where people miss the opportunity is the two channels play together. You can use email marketing to promote and grow your social networks. You can use your social networks to grow your email list.
The two channels do play well together, and not a lot of people are really doing it at this point. So, I think there’s a huge opportunity to… Kind of like we call customer service. If you’re better than suck, you’re probably doing something right.
Eric: Yeah, seriously.
Jim: Well, look I’ve been doing email – I come from an affiliate marketing background and I’ve been building email lists for over ten years. When social came along everyone was like, “Oh you need social. You need all these followers.” I’ll tell you what. I’d rather have 100 really good, targeted, opted email people than 10,000 crappy Twitter followers.
Eric: Hey, Jim. This is Social Pros, not Email Pros.
Jim: Sorry. Sorry. I mean, we’re talking about the importance of email.
Eric: I agree by the way. I agree, email is much more successful.
Jim: I know you guys do. I think that people got a little bit carried away with all this social stuff over the last five, six years. While it’s great to have those engagements with those people, when it comes down at the end of the day if you’re running a business, you’re going to get much better return on investment. I know people get mad when you say that word.
Jim: But the truth is we’re in business to make money. We’re in business to get leads. We’re in business to get publicity. Email is going to deliver that 1,000 times better than traditional social media stuff, in my opinion.
DJ: One more thing on that, too. You hear this a lot when it comes to email and social, that’s your database. Your own those email addresses. No, I’m not saying that they’re yours and you can… But you take them with you. In fact, Jay talks about this a lot. People think it’s the idea that, I’m sitting here on the call with you guys. I could like 100 different Facebook pages right now. I could follow 1,000 people on Twitter with one click of the button, right? But email takes a little more effort. I’ve got to put my email address in.
Yes, I know there are social connections and your social sign in and stuff. But the reality is, I’ve got to enter an email address. I’ve got to take a little more effort and opt in to something.
Eric: True, for sure. Speaking of email, DJ, you are about to publish a book called, “The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing”. What’s the story there?
DJ: Yeah. The story is Jason Falls, a friend of Social Pros and a former guest I know. He had actually approached me about six or eight months ago, and after he wrote his book… Wait, can I curse on this show or is that not…?
Eric: Yes. Yes, you may.
DJ: Okay, so his book is called, “No Bullshit Social Media”. He approached me, and we talked about doing this kind of series of No Bullshit email marketing.
Anyways, long story short. I’ve been doing email for almost eight years now and I never had any intentions of writing a book. But when somebody comes to you and says, “We’d like you to write a book and we will pay you an advance to write it.” I said yes. Jim is that the right thing to say?
Jim: Yes. It is, technically, but make sure you check the contract, please.
Eric: Jim knows a thing or two about publishing a book.
DJ: I was teasing you on that.
Jim: If Jason was involved, I’d sign it immediately. Yes.
DJ: Exactly. Jason’s a great guy. I’ll tell you. He really is a standup guy, a good friend. I know Eric you’ve known him for years, too. But, yeah. So, I jumped on the opportunity and four months later a manuscript was done. As of today, I’ve got about 25% more of the book to do a final review, and then it comes out in the end of August.
Jim: What’s the title?
Jim: You didn’t go with the “No Bullshit Guide to Email Marketing”?
DJ: Well, we talked about that and it’s interesting. Eric will tell you this. I’m definitely not prude when it comes to that stuff. I don’t mind cursing here and there. But really the “No Bullshit” theme is so consistent with who Jason Falls is, and really a little bit on the edge for me so we decided that it made more sense to do something rebellious, if you will, but not necessarily…
Eric: Less rebellious, not quite that rebellious.
DJ: Exactly. But the book is all about breaking the rules. So, the idea is you hear all these best practices over the years of never use “Free” in the subject line. Don’t use all caps. Don’t buy a list. All these different things, and we give examples of individuals and companies who are breaking the, air quotes, rules.
Jim: Are you looking at all the politician stuff? I’m on the email list for all the candidates on the different sides, because I find that it’s fascinating how well and how poorly some of them are written. They obviously work because they’re raising billions of dollars. But it’s fascinating how those two sides are really utilizing email to get to donations.
DJ: Well, it’s interesting you brought that up. I wrote a blog post a while ago about – I read the emails from the White House a lot as examples. They do an incredible job. They have all sorts of different – you get a different message depending on what you’ve done. They actually use dynamic content, as you should. They sent an email recently that did not have a subject line in it. Talk about breaking the rules.
Jim: On purpose?
DJ: Well, so this is the interesting. So, Jason Keath from Social Fresh sent me this email and I blogged about it. I asked the question in there – the title was kind of breaking the rules again, and I asked the question, “Was it intentional?” Because part of me says, knowing the White House emails, I bet it was intentional. Because it did catch your attention, right?
It’s different. It’s unique. But it also borders on that spam side. I mean, does it look like spam if it doesn’t have a subject line? So I’m not sure if it was intentional or not. I’d love to hear from somebody who can tell me, but it definitely broke the rules of the, again, air quote, rules of email marketing.
Jim: My opinion on email whenever I have a list is, I have two objectives for you to either react to me at some point or unsubscribe. If you’re going to just sit there and not ever to do anything, then I’d rather have you unsubscribe.
So, when I do risky things like that or try different things, sure I get people who unsubscribe from time-to-time. They get angry or whatever. But then, I get much better reaction from the other side of it, where 90% of the people actually, finally, do something or pay attention. So, I totally buy into what you’re saying there.
DJ: Well, it’s funny. One of the sections in the book talks about, one of the rule breakers is putting the unsubscribe link or button at the top. So, it sounds like – if you guys have ever read any of Chris Penn‘s stuff, he’s featured in this section. He puts a big old unsubscribe – in fact, he changes the graphic every so often now, but it’s a big ugly unsubscribe. His basic theory, which I believe in is, “You don’t want to get my email? Let me just make it easy for you to get off the list. I’m not going to make it a challenge. Just get off the list and let’s move on.”
Jim: I’ve actually done it before, where I’ve had lists that I didn’t feel that were very engaging. I’ve sent out an email that said, “This list is going to die. If you want to get information ever again, then you need to subscribe to this new list.” If you do that to 40,000 people and you only end up with 15,000 back, but then again those 15,000 people are actually engaged.
DJ: Hey, Jim, if I write a second edition of this book, could I interview you for that?
Jim: Oh, yeah. I’ve got plenty of other people you can talk to as well.
DJ: You’re like Mr. Rule Breaker. I love it.
Jim: Oh, yeah. I do all kinds of crazy stuff with that.
Eric: But before we move on, I just want to chime in and say, I vote intentional on the subject line. If anybody from the Obama Campaign or Romney Campaign happens to listen to this podcast, Jay and I would love to interview you leading up to the election.
It’s kind of a dream scenario to host some of the political folks on the show, because they are doing some pretty clever stuff when it comes to social marketing. So, we’re getting close to the time. DJ, I wanted to ask you about any shout outs, some Social Pro shout outs as we wrap up the conversation?
Social Pros Shoutout
DJ: Sure. Let’s see. So, you want me to talk people or books, or what?
Eric: Yeah. I mean, you know how to give a shout out. If anybody can give a shout out, you can give a shout out.
DJ: All right, shout out. I want to give a shout out actually to Megan McNamara. Megan McNamara is somebody that Eric and I used to work with, in fact Eric hired her when we were at Bronto. She is best known as “Deal-A-Day Megan”.
Eric: “Deal-A-Day” Megan, love her dearly. In fact, I’m going to send her an email and make sure she listens to this.
DJ: A kind of nickname of hers was “H”.
DJ: As Eric said when he interviewed her, she is polished and professional, the P and P. So shout out to Megan McNamara. Actually, on a more serious note though, I’d like to give a shout out to Ann Handley of MarketingProfs. If you read her blog – she has a personal blog, it’s on AnnHandley.com. I think she calls in Annarchy, which is pretty clever.
DJ: Really, one of my favorite writers of all time. In fact, I left her voicemail today and said she needs to write, not just marketing books, but just books in general because she’s an amazing, amazing writer. I want to give one more shout out to Nick Westergaard.
I’m actually speaking at his event with Ann Handley and Matt Collier in October. But I just discovered his blog recently. He is also a really amazing writer and just has some really fascinating thoughts and interesting content that he posts in his blog.
Eric: Yeah. Nick is a good dude. I met him a couple times. He’s definitely a Social Pros listener, also. We need to get him on the show. Jim, DJ, anything to add?
Jim: Happy 4th of July.
Eric: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Happy Birthday, America. Jim is going to be drinking a keg of beer over the next 36 hours. DJ, you’ve got a new baby boy, the Viking.
Eric: You’ve got a lot going on this 4th of July.
DJ: Yeah. I got a new baby boy, Cal Viking. My daughter is two and a quarter. I just moved to California, living with my in-laws so I will also be drinking on the 4th of July.
Jim: You need to be drinking a keg of Scotch.
DJ: I will be drinking for the entire month of July, while my wife and I look for a place to live in California.
Eric: Oh man, fingers crossed on the house hunt DJ.
DJ: Thanks a bunch.
Eric: Yeah, my son turns one on July 3rd. So, yeah, it sounds like it’s going to be a happy July 4th week for everybody.
DJ: That’s crazy that your son is already a year old.
Eric: Yeah, man, they get old awfully fast. DJ, Jim, it’s been awesome as usual, really good show, really appreciate you guys chiming in and sharing some good stuff. Big thanks to our sponsors, Infusionsoft, Janrain, Jim at Digital Book Launch, and of course my beloved Argyle Social.
Next week, Mr. Jay Baer, our fearless leader will be back and we’re hosting Shawn Morton, who runs social stuff for JP Morgan Chase, going to be a great show. On behalf of Jim and DJ, thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you soon.