Are You Doing Too Much Social Media?

Eric Hultgren, Director of Social Media and Content Marketing for MLive Media Group, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss why casting a narrow but deep net in social can bring in more leads than launching across all platforms, all the time.

In This Episode:

Eric Hultgren

MLive Media Group

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Full Episode Details

Go Deep, Not Wide

With so many platforms and social success stories out there, it’s easy to launch profiles on every one in an effort to reach as many people as possible. However, the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink social strategy can prove to ultimately be time consuming and unsuccessful.

Eric has found that for some companies, diving deep into one platform can help develop a base that makes transitions to other social sites later more impactful and successful. By focusing on a strategy that both appeals to a specific customer base and allows for time to engage fully in conversations on one platform, a company can build a committed following much faster than if you blasted content in front of thousands of eyes across multiple spaces.

He also understands that not all customers are created equal when it comes to the funnel. The funnel has multiple entry points and a marketer that is flexible, focused, and understands the customer’s needs at every level will seal the deal.

In This Episode

  • Why robust social media marketing doesn’t mean getting leads to the top of the funnel
  • How fast moving social leads to a lather, rinse, and repeat approach to strategy
  • Why knowing the success of your content means understanding your audience’s expectations for each platform
  • How going deep on one platform instead of wide on many leads to more authentic and committed leads

Quotes From This Episode

Do you actually know what happens to that customer when they enter your ecosystem or is it all going to break if we jam everybody in the top of the funnel?” —@EricHultgren

“Marketers think that that marketing funnel is carved in stone and they start at the bottom and come all the way through the conversion point and that’s the end of it. We know that they can come in sideways. They can sit at the top and never do anything. They can go straight to conversion.” —@EricHultgren

“Whatever we’re trying to do, it’s becoming more important now that the reporting actually takes up a bulk of what we do on the backend because they want to know every single thing that happened with that campaign.” —@EricHultgren

“Telling stories is so rapidly evolving into a lot of different rabbit holes that you at least have to understand where it’s going so that you can make adjustments to what you’re doing right now.” —@EricHultgren

“You may have spent 15 minutes on it, but you can get up tomorrow and do it again.”

The more authentic a story you can tell, the more connection you're going to have. Click To Tweet

“In the B2B space or certainly if you’re trying to reach anybody above 30, Instagram Stories is going to be a better get than Snapchat.” —@EricHultgren

You don't need to talk to everybody. You need to just talk to the right people. Click To Tweet

“In order to be successful, you have to be highly inventive and go back to the storytelling.” —@EricHultgren

The customer always has another choice. If they’ve got another choice, it’s my job to have that conversation with the customer.” —@EricHultgren


See you next week!

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Episode Transcript

Jay Baer: Welcome everybody to Social Pros, the podcast for real people doing real work in social media. I am as always Jay Baer from Convince and Convert. Joined as usual by my special, special, special Texas friend. He is in Austin. He is the executive strategist for Salesforce Marketing Cloud. He is Adam Brown.
Adam Brown: I am. It's great to be here. Thank you, Jay. I'm really honored that I am your special, special, special Texas friend.
Jay Baer: You are indeed.
Adam Brown: Just a special Texas friend. That means a lot to me.
Jay Baer: I got a lot of relatives in Austin too.
Adam Brown: Grown, has evolved, has matured in these several years that we've had this opportunity to do. This is unbelievably great. Social Pros Podcast.
Jay Baer: Several years is right. We've been doing this a long time. I think you're at probably, what, a hundred shows now I think, right?
Adam Brown: I think so.
Jay Baer: I have to check that. I'd have to go back and check that, but this is episode 280 of the Social Pros Podcast, ladies and gentlemen.
Adam Brown: Nothing short of spectacular.
Jay Baer: Nothing short of spectacular and going to be the best one ever because our guest today is super interesting and has a very unusual job that kind of straddles line between media and social media. Eric Hultgren is here. Eric is the director of social media and content marketing for Eric, welcome to Social Pros.
Eric Hultgren: Thanks, guys. It's a pleasure to be here.
Jay Baer: For folks who are not in the upper Midwest or the regular Midwest in my case, tell the folks at home, or the lower Midwest in Adam's case, right? I guess that's kind of where Texas is, the lower Midwest. Tell the folks about MLive and how it works.
Eric Hultgren: Well, I feel like I should do it in a Game of Thrones sort of map thing now ...
Jay Baer: God, I hope so. Queue the music. Production volumes just went up. Winter is coming.
Eric Hultgren: It's actually here I think. MLive was a series of newspapers that all combined under one digital umbrella that you referred to in We have offices throughout the State of Michigan covering anywhere from Grand Rapids where I am currently Ann Arbor Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, Detroit. That side of the organization does the journalism part and pumps out stories that people consume in a news organization. My side of the organization, which aligns with what this podcast is about is on the sales and marketing and business side talking to other businesses and teaching them about the digital ecosystem and the landscape and what they should be doing and specific to my job in social and content.
Jay Baer: It's fascinating because you are doing social and content for clients of MLive, right? Advertisers, sponsors, people who are spending money with MLive are also then working with you and your team to get better at the same. Is that how that works? You're functioning almost like an agency for those customers.
Eric Hultgren: That's exactly how it works. Yes. They come to us and we help them work through the ecosystem. We either make content with them or for them or show them how to do it.
Jay Baer: Can people buy those strategic services or operation tactical services from MLive in sort of a bespoke basis or do they have to be a sponsor and advertiser either of the website or the print paper in order to work with you and your team?
Eric Hultgren: Oh no. It's absolutely bespoke. We have plenty of clients that don't even know what the MLive part of the organization is. They can buy stuff from us.
Jay Baer: That is fascinating. The reason this is so interesting to me is that my second internet company a long time ago, circa 1996, was the exact same model in the television business for a network of TV stations. I did the exact same thing a long time ago. What's your team like?
Eric Hultgren: My team currently is two videographers and then freelancers when we need them. I have four content writers and then I have four people whose job it is to do stuff in the social space. The team breaks out into people who are really great at the organic side and boosting that side and people who are really great at using the Pixel and running ads in either the Facebook ad platform, Instagram, LinkedIn, that sort of thing. Then myself I jump in when needed to kind of fill the gaps that are needed with fulfillment if we've got a large scale client that needs the help.
Jay Baer: Isn't it amazing? Two full time videographers. Adam and I have talked about this in the show a lot in the last year how prevalent that's become in staffing. It wasn't that long ago that you'd be like, "Why would I need videographers for my social? That's weird."
Adam Brown: I want to say especially in an organization that kind of has its association with a newspaper.
Eric Hultgren: Sure, but I mean Jay, you're going to be at content marketing world and I think 80% of the talks are about what you do with video. It's not like this is going backwards. We all love to say the sort of stuff in the agency world. I would love 10 more videographers because I wonder what I could do with them, but two over the course a year is pretty spectacular at this point.
Jay Baer: Yeah. As I start writing my new book, that's really good news. Thanks, Eric, for the reminder.
Eric Hultgren: You're welcome.
Jay Baer: I think the new book is going to be a series of 15 second Instagram Story clips, right? Here you go. Somehow between two covers.
Eric Hultgren: Right. Yes. Exactly. The six seconds of YouTube videos that I watch.
Jay Baer: I mean I'm not 100% kidding actually. I don't know. I have to think that through a little bit. When you're doing paid for clients, obviously you're buying ads. You talked about using the Facebook Pixel, et cetera. Are you also using the MLive platform and that audience or can you do lookalikes against MLive? Can you use that Pixel to help clients or you'd sort of keep church and state totally separate in that regard?
Eric Hultgren: We are currently keeping church and state totally separate. How long that will continue, I don't know, but currently we're running it totally separate because in a very specific case like the Flint water crisis when we're boots on the ground, that sort of thing, it's important to keep that line very deep and very dark so that there is no confusing there. Until we figure out a seamless way to do that, we have not done lookalikes against the unlive audience. That said, we can use first party data that we get off of that to do other stuff in the digital ecosystem.
Jay Baer: Yeah. No kidding. How do your clients derive value from this? Are they looking for different things based on the type of business? Are they saying, "Eric, bring me sales. Eric, bring me leads. Eric, bring me engagement. Eric, bring me reach." What do they want these days?
Eric Hultgren: They're saying all of those things and I think for all of them I actually turn around and ask them what do you actually want to do. You get a lead and then what happens? Because while I love the platforms and what they do and how they can connect and the scaling of 1 to 1 conversations and connections, what I'm more interested in is do you actually know what happens to that customer when they enter your ecosystem or is it all going to break if we jam everybody in the top of the funnel and it's going to break halfway through? They come for all of that stuff and we tend to find partners and clients that we can have a robust conversation about okay, you get a lead. Now what happens? Then is there anything we can help you to walk that customer through an entire journey? I think you pointed out yesterday or the day before, it's not just having a social media strategy. It's having a business strategy and social is a part of that, but it's not enough to just go, "I'm going to do that Facebook thing and that's going to get me sales," because that's not at all how the platform works.
Jay Baer: To that end, are you helping people with more down funnel responsibilities? Are you helping them with marketing automation and CRM and retargeting, all those kinds of things? Are you primarily doing the sort of middle up level?
Eric Hultgren: We are doing all of those things. I know that's kind of a cap out answer, but again it depends on the level of clients. We have clients that that would be a lot for them so they wouldn't necessarily either need marketing automation or understand it. We've got clients on the higher end that need all of that stuff so we'll do that for them as well.
Jay Baer: If only there was a sponsor in this podcast who can help you with a platform, who do all those things in one place.
Eric Hultgren: It is literally like you sent me a list of things to go through so I could just promote you.
Jay Baer: Yes. Well, Salesforce Marketing Cloud. A long time sponsor of the podcast will be happy to help MLive and their clients succeed in all things digital.
Eric Hultgren: We are a proud user of Salesforce, so we're already there.
Jay Baer: Attaboy. One of the things that you talked about in our preshow conversation was that client are getting more savvy about reporting. I'm seeing the same thing with our clients. I know Adam is as well. We'd love to hear you talk about that a little bit.
Eric Hultgren: Again you hear this a lot. I think a couple years ago it was the thing you will hear a hundred times. What's the ROI of social? How do I prove the ROI of social? Now in 2017 we've got a lot of clients who actually understand what the platform should be doing. It's not enough to do how many clicks did you get or what was my cost per acquisition or, or, or. Now to go back to what I was saying a couple minutes ago, when we do reporting, we actually have to walk through the entire campaign and what it did without giving up so to speak. A client has a widget that they're trying to sell. It could be that we at one point would just tell them, "Well, we got people to your website. Best of luck to you." Well now, it's they got to the website. They checked out three pages. They came back out in the ecosystem. We, as you talked about earlier, we have the Facebook Pixel, so we hit them again with a piece of content, brought them back into the ecosystem and then they converted here. Because I think in some cases marketers and even clients think that that marketing funnel is actually like the 10 Commandments. It's carved in stone and they start at the bottom and they come all the way through the conversion point and then that's the end of it when really we know that they can come in sideways. They can sit in the stop and never do anything. They can go straight to conversion. If you're an Apple fan, do they really need to run you through a marketing funnel to get you to buy the iPhone 8? No. You just go straight to buying the iPhone 8. When we're meeting with clients that are a little bit more on the savvy side, we lean heavily into what is the story that you wanted us to tell and how did we get the customer to embrace that story and either convert to buy the widget or convert to come to your event or convert to buy your $800 eBook. Whatever we're trying to do, it's becoming more important now that the reporting actually takes up a bulk of what we do on the backend because they want to know every single thing that happened with that campaign. Not only in the Facebook algorithm or the LinkedIn algorithm or the Pinterest algorithm, but how it affected their display, their search, their SEO, their billboards, their television, their radio, and our ability to tell that story becomes paramount.
Jay Baer: You have been for a long time a big local music guy in Michigan, right? You're part of the music scene. Have been for a long time. Does that help you in social in some way? Does that experience of sort of being a connector in a vibrant real world community help with the way you think about using social and content to connect clients to their future customers?
Eric Hultgren: Yeah. To be more specific, I worked in radio for 20 years specifically. I do think it helped me look at the world in a different way. I was actually thinking about this on the way over to do this, a very specific story I could share with you. A couple years back myself and the guy who was doing mornings at the radio station I was working at hatched this idea and this was far before Donald Trump wanted to run for office, but it does have to do with Donald Trump so please don't turn the podcast off if you are offended by that. We had a plot of land in Grand Rapids that was a secret plot of land and no one knew what it was going to do. We got somebody on the air to pretend to be an affiliate of Donald Trump who had looked at the bylaws of the City of Grand Rapids to determine that a casino could not be above ground, but there was nothing preventing it from being below ground. We actually got the news organizations in our towns to run articles and news and video about the Trump Subterranean, a lower level casino underground in Grand Rapids that would bypass the city bylaws. We were able to run with that for day and a half off of a story that we made up. The ability to get people's attention and spark their creativity and their interest in ... Because logically if you write that sentence out, no one would believe somebody would put a subterranean casino to bypass laws. However, actual NBC affiliates are running this on their TV because in a 24 hour news cycle you need a story to tell. That ability to pivot and tell a story is very quickly and connect with an audience has absolutely helped me not only in the early stages when click bait was the thing that radio stations were trying to do to get people to go to their Facebook pages and then go to their website, but then as everybody got a little bit savvier and knew that that was a terrible way to do business, the ability to tell a better story and see what story a potential client has that they might not even know and pull that out of them and turn that either into assets that they can use and execute their own campaign or we can help them do that in some way, shape or form if they need social, if they display, if they need whatever. Yes, it's absolutely helped me to connect the dots that a lot of people might not be able to see.
Adam Brown: Not withstanding the fake news that, Eric, you just created there.
Eric Hultgren: Well, it's a long time ago. I figured it was safe to go back to the fake news before ...
Adam Brown: I don't know what the statute of limitations is on fake news.
Eric Hultgren: I guess we'll find out.
Adam Brown: Not withstanding that. As you've kind of evolved and I am going to come back to your radio experience, I think for one explains your great baritone radio voice.
Eric Hultgren: Yes.
Adam Brown: Jay and I both appreciate that. I do would love to hear your evolution of going from radio and traditional media now into digital and social, visual storytelling and just storytelling. How have you seen storytelling kind of evolved? You mentioned the speed at which a story can actually kind of explode in social. What other things have you seen over the course of your career?
Eric Hultgren: Well, when I started in radio, I think the goal of everybody in radio was to get on TV because that seemed like the thing for you to do. 2006 when Facebook shows up, a couple of us in the office are trying to figure out ways to hack into it because we knew that there was something about that. Very quickly when Facebook opened up, we started running stories on our ... There were no brand pages at the time, but we started running stories on our pages to get people to go to our website because we again knew this thing was going to be different than MySpace. It was going to be different than Friendster. It was going to be different than all of those things and continues to be different from that. Fast forward a couple years when we're now on behalf of clients in the radio station building digital campaigns and starting to sprinkle in social before I think most of us at our organization knew exactly what that should look like. At one point I just sort of, and I tell the story, I ran out of runway there. There was nothing really left for me to do. No place else for me to go. I made the jump to MLive because they were digital first, mobile first. That was the first screen. It allowed me to again like you said start to tell stories in a different manner. Specific to video and visual storytelling, it's the idea that in my mind there are three ways to tell that story visually. One, you can either do it on your phone or use Facebook Live and get that stuff out immediately and tell that story and put a boost against it if the content ends up being any good. Two, there's like that middle of the road where you need a videographer or a team of people that do video to come in and do that about us video or something that's two or three minutes and is glossier than what you could do on your phone. Then three is something that you would probably closer refer to a television commercial. 4K, super hi def 360 video, something along those lines. Those three different ways to tell a story all have time attached to them. When you want to do the 4K thing, you've got to plan a little bit more for that. When you go all the way down to Facebook Live, we could do that right now if you wanted to and make a connection with an audience. Where this gets really interesting both with video and with straight up visual creative is as people are stopping, not totally stopping, but stopping a bulk of what they type in their own home and talking to devices, how is your creative either video or visual on social aiming to people who are going to talk to Alexa or Siri or Cortana and ask them a question, how will they find you if they're not typing it? To me telling stories is so rapidly evolving into a lot of different rabbit holes that you at least have to understand perhaps where it's going so that it can make adjustments to what you're doing right now. No, you shouldn't stop doing Facebook Live, but you should be very aware that Alexa is getting more and more prevalent. If it, I don't know, shows up in cars and you're a radio station to go back to my radio days, I would be very afraid of what happens when they can just yell at their console and it does things for them that they're probably not going to sit around and listen to the commercial break that you have on. Back to storytelling, for me it's how fast we're able to create an asset that connects. If it doesn't connect, Adam, you get to do it again tomorrow. That's the thing is that it's not like everything has to be that 4K video that you spend $60,000 on. You may have spent 15 minutes out of it, but you can get up tomorrow and do it again.
Adam Brown: Exactly. It's the lather, rinse, repeat of the whole kind of evolution of our industry. I love the articulation of going from it being done with your handheld device to bringing in a film crew with craft services and tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. I'm curious and you're I think in real position because with your agency you've got several videographers on staff who have the equipment. They have the knowledge. I'm curious not really talking about which platforms, but are you seeing trends in video use in social around creative? In other words, are you seeing that talking heads or product beauty shots or more product real life shots content that's more casual showing professional spokespeople versus authentic users. Are you seeing any trends for our Social Pros listeners that seem to be resonating more with particular audiences for different types of products?
Eric Hultgren: Sure. I think right off the jump, we've actually been doing some testing between Instagram and Facebook and the one that we're seeing that's really interesting is it seems that video, the same piece of video on Instagram and Facebook performs a lot better on Facebook because I think people are expecting to see video on Facebook and are still used to scrolling through static images on Instagram. It's not quite at a space where to your point you should have a talking head or really, really long story on Instagram because in our particular case and I get that there are different cases all over the planet, but in our particular case, we're not seeing a lot of apples to apples comparison if we take the same piece of content and put it on both platforms. We've just been doing some testing to see to your point where should we tell those stories. Now what sort of stories do we tell? We're finding that the more authentic the story can be which seems no duh, but when you're dealing with a client, they might not necessarily see it that way. The more authentic a story you can tell, the more connection you're going to have. Instead of running let's use auto for an example. Instead of running incentive running footage that they call it, so the pretty glossy photos or video of the cars driving through streets or whatever, if we actually roll up with a camera crew and record a test drive of somebody who either is a customer or looks like a customer, that stuff tends to do a lot better because people can see that that is something they can connect with. There is certainly a place for daydreaming phase of consuming so people want to see what it would be like if they could own a Lamborghini or a Land Rover or whatever. Then when people are actually in market trying to buy a car, I think they want to make a connection with people that look like they look and buy the car that they want to buy. Across all those platforms, the things that we see connect the best are the ones that feel the most authentic. That can be anywhere from I'm thinking very specifically a lawyer on the east side of the state who just did these series of videos that I think are just spectacular. He's completely down to earth. The façade is not there at all. You feel like you make an instant connection with that guy. Those things are playing really, really well on Facebook because that's how people are making connections, using video in Facebook specifically. I hope that answers your question, but those are kind of the trends that we're seeing in a nutshell.
Adam Brown: No, that's great. It's always interesting to see how that's evolving as well, but I think you said the authenticity of the content is so paramount. Now to take that question to the other side which I think you alluded to is the actual platform where some content works better on one channel or one platform than it does another. You mentioned Instagram. You mentioned Facebook. Curious how you're feeling about Snapchat and also Snapchat versus Instagram, battling it out in the octagon. Who's going to win that fight?
Eric Hultgren: I mean right now it's hands down Instagram. That's not to say the battle is over. We still play in both spaces to see if there's clients that work better in Snapchat than they do better in Instagram, but there isn't ... I mean if you're thinking about B2B and I don't know why you would think about B2B necessarily as your first go in Instagram Stories versus Snapchat Stories, I would say 10 times out of 10 start with Instagram Stories. The thing that I love about this podcast and the thing that I love about social in general is the Petri dish that it becomes. You're not necessarily maligned to just stand with one decision tree and that's the only thing that you can do. Because if you have a vertical 15 second video, why not try in both places and see what happens? Now we know that Snapchat has cooled off significantly because Instagram just beats them to the punch by launching almost the exact same product and skewing a little bit older. In the B2B space or certainly if you're trying to reach anybody above 30, Instagram Stories is going to be a better get than Snapchat. However, if you're trying to talk to people under the age of 24 and you're ignoring Snapchat, no matter how big or small you think it is, you're making a tactical error. Yeah, they're battling it out in the Octagon, but right now there are two very different uses for both of those platforms depending on who you're actually trying to talk to.
Adam Brown: It sounds like you've got to create different content for both recognizing as you said the demographics of the Snapchat user a little bit different than Instagram. Certainly the Instagram and Snapchat are different than the demographics or even the user state of that same visual content on Facebook. I totally hear that. I know one of the things you mentioned kind of in our preshow was where you kind of have to rationalize going deep versus wide. This idea of you need to, as you recommend to your customers and clients, go deep with one or two social platforms rather than trying to kind of spread that goodness on a half a dozen different platforms. Is that a strategy that you have difficulty talking to customers or clients about or are they understanding of that?
Eric Hultgren: In most cases, they're understanding because you can look them in the eye and go, "Okay, Steve. If you start today and do Instagram and Facebook and Snapchat and LinkedIn and Tumblr and, and, and, and, and you haven't put anything on any of them before, how successful do you think you'll be?" The answer is not very, but if you go all in on a platform and you can post consistently and make a connection and answer people's emails and answer their comments and answer their replies and all of that sort of stuff and you start to build a community, one of the things that if you're not dealing with a large scale giant client like a Nike or a Pepsi, right, the donut store down the street doesn't need to get every single person in Grand Rapids to go to them. There is a line of which people they need to get to connect and get them to buy donuts. That's to me a little bit freeing when you're in social is that you don't need to talk to everybody. You need to just talk to the right people who want to buy your donuts. I always say deep is the much better play than wide. In an ideal scenario, Adam, if we can help them get highly successful at deep, then we add another channel and go deep there as well and maybe they put somebody on staff who can run those two channels and then they put another person on staff and another and another. Then maybe they go from that local donut shop to the next Dunkin Donuts because they went in a single file line down one platform and built an audience from there as opposed to like you said, trying 20 of them at once and failing instantaneously.
Jay Baer: That's funny you say that. I just did a presentation this morning and what I mentioned was every time you add a channel, you are diminishing the effectiveness of your existing channels by definition, unless when you add that channel you are also adding time, budget and personnel which is almost never the case. It's almost never the case. We say, "Okay. We're going to be in these four channels. We got two people. Now we're going to be in five channels with the same two people." When you do that, you are by definition impairing the success that you currently have. Everybody sort of just feels like, "Well, we just add another one." It's like well, where's that time coming from? What I did in this, I actually did a workshop today. I said, "Look, here's what I want you to do. Draw a circle on your piece a paper and create for yourself a pie chart. What percentage of your time are you spending on Facebook? What percentage of your time are you spending on Instagram? What percentage of your time are you spending anything else? Then if something else comes along, you have to take percentages away. You can't grow a bigger circle. The circle is the circle." That really I think helped them understand that just colonizing a new land, Game of Thrones style, is not necessarily the best possible output.  
Eric Hultgren: The only exception being if you have dragons. If you have dragons, it kind of throws that whole thing out.
Jay Baer: If you have dragons, then all that's rough. Snapchat dragons.
Eric Hultgren: I mean to your point, Jay, you can find people that have that pie chart and add the wrong channel because somebody told them it was the shiny thing. In converse, there are people that you know that are highly successful in Snapchat where a lot of people would go, "I don't get how you're doing that." They would run into Snapchat and be not successful because they don't necessarily understand how it works and they could have been more successful hanging out in LinkedIn if that's where they should be.
Jay Baer: Absolutely. I've been spending more time in LinkedIn quite a bit lately actually. It's working great. Hell, you can still buy Google Plus Books on Amazon. You never know.
Eric Hultgren: Yeah. Is that your suggestion today?
Jay Baer: No. It's not my suggestion. I'm just making a point that there are still Google Plus Books for sale. You know what else is not even for sale? We're just going to give it to you is this fantastic eBook from Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It's called More than Marketing. More than Marketing: Exploring the 5 Roles of the New Marketer. It breaks down five new essential marketing skills that all marketers have to have now and in the future. There's interviews in there. There are stories. There's interactive features even to help you get started figuring out all these new skillsets that you need to possess. Immediately actionable steps to master these new talents as well. It's really cool. Interactive kind of white paper eBook slick. Go to That's Also, this week I want to remind you of the brand new eBook published by myself and my team at Convince and Convert that's called The 3 Types of Social Media Metrics and Why They'll Get You Promoted. All kinds of information, research, best practices, advice council on better social media measurement. Go to All the links, all the transcripts of all 280 episodes are at and Mr. Brown, we recently launched the new Social Pros Facebook Messenger bot. If you go to, you will be asked to get updates via Messenger. Then each time we have a new episode of this here podcast, we will send you a little note and link to listen to it via Messenger. How about that?
Adam Brown: I mean that's incredible stuff. We truly practice what we preach. At least you at Convince and Convert do, Jay.
Jay Baer: Well, we're trying. We're trying. We're trying to. Hey Eric, I want you to talk about your charity work because I know that serves as a test bed for you. You've been doing a lot of stuff in that not only with Now Playing For Kids, your nonprofit organization, but also in the classroom. You've been a professor for six years? More than six years?
Eric Hultgren: Yup.
Jay Baer: Talk about how those two experiences impact how you think about social content, digital, et cetera.
Eric Hultgren: Sure. I'll start with the teaching. For me it's really helpful for me when I was back in radio and I worked at a top 40 radio station, so Justin Bieber, Flo Rida, that sort of thing. One of the things that I did very early on is I would go to the malls and go into the clothing stores to hear what songs they had on the mix tapes above to kind of see what songs are going to be coming because I felt a successful radio station was the soundtrack for your summer. In order to do that, the songs that you are hearing when you're purchasing clothes or watching movies or whatever should be the same thing that a radio station should be playing. For me I've always had a teaching mentality and I've always liked to teach. This has been such a great thing for me to do. I get to do it twice a year. I teach intro to communication and then I teach understanding mass media. It's currently called media and culture, but the idea being what pieces of technology are these college students using and how does it have an effect on them. Because one of the things that I think we often forget or at least don't talk about in public let's say is all the stuff that we're doing, all the tracking we're doing makes this job a lot easier. I think we all should be fine with it as long as everyone understand the game that's being played. What's been particularly fulfilling for me about this class is having robust conversations with 18, 19, 20, 22 year olds about do you understand what this device is doing and are you okay with it. Because if you're not okay with it, we should continue having conversations about what sort of things happen. Then the other thing it allows me to do is see how they actually use the devices and understand that first and foremost, call it onstage if you will or at the front of the classroom pretend I'm the client. Now I'm trying to get 30 kid's attention to pay attention to the message that I'm trying to give them. What's the best way that I can do that and then how can I take those learnings and bring them back to the office and use a real life customer and help them gain somebody's attention that may not want it. The thing that you find or that I found over the course of six years is something that I hear on this podcast week in and week out is that you've got to go where they are. If they are on their phones, then my classroom has to live on their phone so they can access it via a Slack channel or they can access it via Prezi links that I send them before the class starts. I have to go to where they are. That lesson has been invaluable for me to continually talk about with customers that you can't ... It's so hard now to get them to leave and go to a thing that you want them to do. It's much easier to go to where they are and try and convince them that you need them to do a thing that you want them to do. Pardon the pun, Convince and Convince, right? To me that's been invaluable in the last six years to kind of learn that lesson and find new hacks away or around I should say getting their attention. I mean my class is a night class. They do not want to be there. In order to be successful, you have to be highly inventive and go back to the storytelling I was talking about a half our ago. You have to be able to tell great stories because just putting up PowerPoint slides behind you and reading from them, you're going to lose them at 6:15 and you've got a long way to go before class is over.
Adam Brown: The enthusiasm, Eric, that you have for teaching and for kind of the fish where the fish are mindset of how to reach young people is I think so interesting. I think it's finding that kind of sweet spot between the visual storytelling and having students kind of understand the enthusiasm, but also recognize you've got all this research here. You've got to be able to look at that data, parse the data and do interesting things with the data. I know, Eric, one of the things you talked about in the preshow was your master's degree project right after you were leaving the radio space or you're kind of in the between, in the middle of your radio space. I would love for you to tell the story of kind of what you did with that, but in our pre interview notes, you didn't say how well the program worked. You kind of buried the lead. I want you to kind of share the story how did it work, what were the results?
Eric Hultgren: I led the questioning depends on how you want to look at it.
Adam Brown: Perhaps that too. Yes.
Eric Hultgren: Yes. When I was in my master's program, you have to do a capstone project. What I wanted to do is at the time we had been using analytics to monitor our streaming data of the radio station. What I wanted to do is I had this theory that in the top 40 world, a lot of the music is disposable, right? They're not going to remember it years, let alone months from now. What would happen if we shortened all of the songs to just the good parts? The beat of the song, the choruses and maybe one verses and ran ... For four and a half months we ran a radio station that just played songs that were 90 seconds long. No more, no less. Think of what a mixed show would sound like or what it sounds like in a night club as they're going from song to song to song to song to song. We essentially weaved all those songs together and did that for four months to see if we could increase the time spent listening of the radio station. We were able to do that over the course of four months and then after the master's project was over, we didn't really continue with because they were gracious enough to let me use an actual commercial radio station to do this testing. I think after four months they probably had their fill of me using it as a Petri dish.
Adam Brown: Even though it worked.
Eric Hultgren: Well, it did work, but I think the work that it takes, the work that we had to do just some ... How do you make a sausage of a radio station. The work that you have to do is ... We would have to take every song that a record company would send us and then make custom versions of it. When you're dealing a company like iHeartMedia at the time, they have a library of these songs that they use on a server. It was really slowing down the way in which we could use the server space and things like that. That alone was a little bit cumbersome because we couldn't get other people to adapt to that. That said, it was a really, really successful endeavor in the fact that we knew that at least for these four and a half months people liked the clip at which these songs would go by because they would hear their favorite part of their favorite song. If you're a top 40 radio station, that's the creamy center, right? The best parts of the best songs.
Jay Baer: It's like the Vine, but audio, right?
Eric Hultgren: Exactly. That's exactly what we were doing. It works tremendously. For me coming out of that, I was then able to look and go, "Okay. We have these rules in mass media, but it appears that these rules could be altered." Again taking those learnings into what I do at MLive, okay, we have this idea of what we should do for an architecture firm on LinkedIn. What if we break all those rules and build a campaign that might be slightly askew, but connects better? Aside from learning about ways in which people consume music, it helped again look at the world just slightly off center and look at campaigns a little bit differently.
Adam Brown: Do you actually do some kind of test and targeting and A/B testing with visual content at MLive on behalf of your customers?
Eric Hultgren: We absolutely do. In excellent cases and there's a fair amount of them we get with clients that have that sort of Petri dish mentality and allow us to do some testing that's lets say outside of the scope of what they've signed on to do because they trust us enough to go, "Yeah, let's see what happens if we do this." Then we'll come back and report either continue or abandon the project.
Adam Brown: Eric, I've got one more question for you before I hand it over to Jay. One of the other things you kind of shared a little bit with us earlier was this idea of being fascinated by I guess, and I'm using the word fascinating as a stretch here, but by brands, business owners who have one way at work. Then when they get home as a consumer of social media, they act completely different. Those who have listened to Social Pros know that I oftentimes talk about the marketer's fallacy. This idea that we assume that everyone is like us. If we like an ad, if we like a slogan, if we like an advertisement or advertisement depending on which side of the Mason-Dixon like you sit on, but I think what you're talking about is really the reverse marketer's fallacy. Curious how you work with clients that act differently kind of when they're a consumer of social than those when they're making decisions about their brand, about their company, about their small business.
Eric Hultgren: Initially I do that very carefully because I'm not trying to step on any toes or prove that I'm smarter than anyone because I don't ever think that that's necessarily the case. I think it's important to point out, look, if you, Jim, spend all day long in an office doing the thing that you do and then at night you go and you spend eight hours on Facebook just reading whatever, watching fishing stories or NFL news story, whatever you're consuming on Facebook and you're coming to us and saying, "Hey. I want to run a recruitment strategy to find more of me," it feels like it's my job to point out that maybe we should run that on Facebook at night because that's where we're going to find you. That comes back again from my time at the radio station because a top 40 radio station is leaning into a 22 year old female and I'm currently a 43 year old male. The last 10 years of that job were really difficult to sit in somebody else's shoes and go, "What song would they like to connect with?" Bringing that into MLive, I'm able to look across the table at somebody and go, "Okay. If you're on Instagram all night long and you want to sell this widget, perhaps we should try it on Instagram if we're trying to talk to you. If I'm going to believe, Mr. Customer, that your customer looks like you, then your ad campaign should act like you act at night in order to convert them because again that's where you're going to find them. You're no longer able to force them to go to your thing because you said so because there is far too much noise and far too much choice. If you bump into any sort of friction as a customer, Amazon is always the default choice." If you're in retail and you don't want to act like a customer 24/7, you've seen it this year. I don't know that there's ever been a year with as much retail disruption as you're seeing right now. All of that has to do with friction. They always have another choice. If they've got another choice, it's my job to have that conversation with the customer. It's the customer's job to understand that they want to be the choice and how do they do that.
Jay Baer: There's only two people who buy ads in tennis magazines. People who make tennis equipment and CMOs who play tennis. That's the list, right? Because you're like, "Well, everybody plays tennis because I play tennis," right? That's exactly right. The marketer's fallacy is alive and well in 2017. One more question for you before I ask you the two questions we ask every body which is tell me about your 50, 5-0, foster dogs. That's a lot of dogs, man.
Eric Hultgren: That is a lot of dogs, but it was a very ...
Jay Baer: Not all at once.
Eric Hultgren: Not all at once. No. My wife and I when ...
Adam Brown: Important clarification there.
Eric Hultgren: Yes. Not 50 at once. Four at a time was probably the max. When my wife and I met, the first thing we wanted to do was get a house before we got married because we wanted a dog. We went and adopted the dog, the shelter that this particular dog was in was not that awesome. We immediately back the next weekend and volunteered our time because we thought well, their lives are pretty terrible and we can affect change on those dogs. We didn't even know that this was a thing. We found out that you could foster dogs. You would take them into your home and you would get them acclimated to a house and then you would find them a forever home and then rinse and repeat. My wife had always had a soft spot for pit bulls and other bully breeds. We did 55 total pit bulls over the course of four and a half years.
Jay Baer: Wow. Good for you. I appreciate that. Now you're taking in people who don't really understand social media and you're going to give them a forever home on Instagram.
Eric Hultgren: I take them into my home and I give them a forever home on Snapchat. That's what I do.
Jay Baer: That's right. That's right. It's all coming together. Eric Hultgren, director of social media and content marketing at MLive. I want to ask you the two questions we've asked all now 280 guests on this show. First question is what one tip would you give somebody who's looking to become a social pro?
Eric Hultgren: My one tip would be learn another language. By that I mean if you're good at social, understand business. If you're good at business, understand consumer behavior. If you're going to jump into this space and again I can't remember it was today or yesterday, but your article is right on the money, you've got to understand the business strategy, not just the social strategy. Because social strategies are a dime a dozen if they don't connect to a holistic campaign and produce results. My one piece of advice is learn another part of the business and how that can affect your social campaign.
Jay Baer: Very well said. I couldn't agree more. Don't forget we have an eBook about that, More than Marketing: Exploring the 5 Roles of the New Marketer from Go to to get the link. Last question, Eric, is if you could do a Skype call with any living person, who would it be and why?
Eric Hultgren: I would be Andrew Stanton from Pixar because I think he is one of the best storytellers on planet earth. The ability to kind of walk through how he builds a story like WALL-E or Finding Dory or Finding Nemo to me again with that whole idea of brute thinking go outside my industry to find somebody who's an expert in the thing that I'd like to learn and be better at, it would be him for sure.
Jay Baer: Great answer. Loved that. I don't think anybody has answered Andrew in the past. I'll have to double check the database, but that's a great answer. We'll make sure to link up some of the interviews with him that are out there on the internet in the show notes which you can always find on Eric, thank you so much.
Adam Brown: I think someone said John Lasseter at one point, right, Jay?
Jay Baer: Yeah. Yeah. That's right. I think somebody did say John Lasseter. Yes. Obviously, two peas in a pod there. There's a theme developing. Eric, thank you so much. Congratulations on all the success at MLive. Loved having you on the podcast. Terrific episode. Lots of great lessons and takeaways for listeners. We really do appreciate it.
Eric Hultgren: Thank you so much for having me. Anytime.
Jay Baer: You bet. Next week, ladies and gentlemen, we'll be back with another fantastic episode. That will be 281 if you can believe that, Adam. Where does the time go? We've got a whole bunch of shows, great shows, lined up here in the near future. We're going to be locked and loaded for the whole fall. Make sure you don't miss an episode. Go to to get the links and the transcripts, but also don't forget the new Facebook Messenger bot. Just click once and then we'll send you a little note every time we publish a new episode, so you can tune in every week. Do that. We're kind of messing around. We're experimenting. I want to see how that works for you. On behalf of Mr. Adam Brown from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, I am Jay Baer from Convince and Convert. As always, it's been our pleasure having you and this has been Social Pros.
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