How Brian Fanzo Combines Real-Time and Right-Time Social Media

How Brian Fanzo Combines Real-Time and Right-Time Social Media

Brian Fanzo, Founder & CEO of iSocialFanz LLC, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss real-time social and account takeovers.

In This Episode:

Brian Fanzo

iSocialFanz LLC

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Full Episode Details

Real-Time Social at the Right Time

When it comes to social media, high-quality content is an absolute must. However, it’s important to note that polish isn’t the only factor in the quality of your content.

Timing is absolutely crucial in creating successful engagement with your audience, and some strategizing can help you drastically improve your ability to achieve your objectives. For example, providing real-time social content while at a conference is a great way to give special access to your audience, but choosing the right moments to share can mean the difference between something meaningful and content that falls flat.

Whether working on scheduled or real-time social content, your strategy should always be based on the customer’s experience. Content for content’s sake is not enough. Putting out the right content at the right time is the way to keep your customers engaged and coming back for more.

In This Episode

  • Why LinkedIn is the new golf course for business conversations.
  • How to use hashtags to curate your content.
  • How to conduct a successful social media takeover.
  • How AR and VR can help create empathy.
  • How Twitter has changed to provide more value.

Quotes From This Episode

LinkedIn is the new golf course, where you're having great conversations with people that are going to ultimately lead to a business decision. Click To Tweet

“Takeovers are an element of influencer marketing that are still underutilized.” — @iSocialFanz

“When it comes to live videos and takeovers, I ask, ‘How do I give people access to something they can’t get anywhere else?’” — @iSocialFanz


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Episode Transcript

Jay Baer:Hey everybody it's Jay Baer from Convince and Convert joined as always by my special Texas friend. He is the Executive Strategist of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, he is the one, the only, Mr. Adam Brown, and man what a show this week.
Adam Brown:What a great show. When we have someone back on the show that says a lot for them, and Brian definitely exceeds all expectations. Jay one of the things that really I'm fascinated about Brian is certainly his dedication to his craft, whether that's speaking, his podcasting, but also the work that he's doing. And one of the things that we talk about on the show is how he is able to kind of effectively do the right brain, and the left brain types of activities, and how important that is for us as social pros.
Jay Baer:Yeah, and keeping track of that, understanding the strategy of each platform is something I really like that Brian [inaudible 00:00:52] talked about in this episode. So, distinct ideas of what he's doing on LinkedIn versus what he's doing in social media takeovers, what he's doing on Twitter. It's a really useful practical episode and Brian's enthusiasm is contagious as always.
Adam Brown:It's infectious. And he also talks about some of the kind of newer merging things like AR and virtual reality, but more importantly not doing technology for technology's sake. And I think that's a hallmark of Brian and his work.
Jay Baer:You're going to like this episode it's called How Brian Fanzo Combines Real Time and the Right Time here on episode 330 of Social Pros.
Hey friends, before we get to today's episode I was just thinking about the two things that are absolutely required for the success of this show. One, you the Social Pros listener, and thanks to each and everyone of you for listening to this show for now more than eight years. And two, our fantastic sponsors, which this week include Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Social is more important than ever for B2B marketers yet sometimes it can be confusing on how to apply B2C principles to B2B, how to measure success, which channels to use, etc. There's a new book from our friends at Salesforce that can help you figure all that out, it's really great, tons of information, lots of stuff on how to do social listening better in B2B, how to measure results better in B2B, which channels to use in B2B, it's really comprehensive, and it doesn't cost you anything. You can download it right now for nothing. Go to That's and get the complete guide to social media for B2B marketers from Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
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Mr. Brian Fanzo founder of iSocialFanz, welcome to Social Pros. Thanks for being here.
Brian Fanzo:Thanks for having me back on. I feel like it's been a while, but it hasn't been that long, but excited to be back on the show.
Jay Baer:We are psyched to have you back on the show, and one of the reasons why it's always good to have you back on the show is that you're always out there pushing the envelope, whatever is the new toy out there in social media you are on top of it. Tell us a little bit, what are you really focused on right now? What's getting you fired up today that maybe wasn't getting you fired up six months ago?
Brian Fanzo:Well this is talking about not getting me fired up ever, and the answer is LinkedIn. I'm really having a blast on LinkedIn just the current engagement on video inside of LinkedIn has been pretty impressive. Also, just the conversations people are having over there. If you would have asked me if I ever would have thought I was excited about LinkedIn I think the answer would have been no never. I mean that's the place that you look for a job, or you're looking to hire somebody, but at this moment I think the algorithm seems to be a little bit of [inaudible 00:04:13], you're seeing a lot of people's content that you actually care about, and so LinkedIn video under 10 minutes long, LinkedIn video it's got me more fired up than Instagram TV, which is hard to believe.
Jay Baer:You're a millennial you can't prefer LinkedIn over Instagram, it's part of the rules.
Brian Fanzo:Well you know it's one of those weird things where when you're running a business you like to go where people have actually a budget. And funny enough LinkedIn is oftentimes where the people are. So, it's nice getting comments on YouTube, it's nice when people love your Instagram but when the people that can afford to hire my services, a lot of them are hanging out on LinkedIn. So, I'm a millennial that's not afraid to go where the money is.
Jay Baer:Why do you think that is the case? And I'm not disagreeing I feel the same way about. I know we've had some conversations about that on the show, we had Melanie Dodaro on the show just a few weeks ago who gave us a bunch of really interesting tips for LinkedIn optimization. But, why do you think LinkedIn is ... all of a sudden's probably the wrong way to put it, but in recent months or in the past 12 months become a place that people who are in marketing I think is probably the easiest way to describe it, are spending more time both with content creation and content consumption? Is it something that LinkedIn is inherently doing right or is it something that Facebook and Twitter are inherently doing wrong?
Brian Fanzo:Ooh that's a good way of putting it. You know, I think this is an interesting space we're in right now. I think we're finally to a spot, I mean you guys have been preaching it forever on this show, but to a point where they've realized that social media is not a passing fad, it's not going anywhere, but there is an element now of saying, "What's the value of me spending time on which platform?" And especially as we have more distractions, we have Netflix, and Hulu, and Amazon Prime, our attention is really stretched thin.
And I think platforms like Facebook the problem becomes, "Do I spend half of my time looking for content of value or do I go to a different platform where I know for the most part the content that is being provided there is actually valuable for my time?" I think that's one of the reasons. I do think Twitter's making a resurgence.
I hate saying that like because Facebook is making it difficult for other platforms to increase in value, but I think when you're looking at people that are strategically saying, "Hey, I only have 30 minutes or 45 minutes for the week on social media. I'm going to go and engage on LinkedIn." It's that whole idea like my dad taught me golf because business was done on the golf course. Well I think LinkedIn is that new golf course where you go onto LinkedIn, and you're having those great conversations with people that are going to ultimately lead to a business decision, and it's hard to find that on Facebook some days. You're weeding through cat videos, really bad live videos, a lot of ridiculous political statements by people that you might respect, and you might have conversations with, but you don't see that for whatever reason on LinkedIn. And so, I think the noise is a little bit less over there, but I think the overall time it takes to find valuable content on LinkedIn is a lot less. And I give credit to Microsoft, I think this is a big shift since Microsoft kind of came on board with that.
Adam Brown:And Brian that was actually my follow up question is how much of this do you think is because of Microsoft? You know we always used to joke in the olden days that Twitter and Facebook were what you did outside of 9 to 5 and LinkedIn was what you did 9 to 5. If Reid Hoffman was still kind of at the helm leading, and I know he's still a big part of LinkedIn but how much of this is the new insights of Microsoft? How much of this is Microsoft maybe trying some new things and realizing that, that 9 to 5 day part if you will is just as important for the heavy HR and career information as it is kind of more business entertainment kind of during that time period?
Brian Fanzo:Well you know I think there's one thing we've learned is that both Microsoft and Google really struggle with social media as a whole, their own homegrown social media. Google bought YouTube. YouTube is their best version of social media that Google’s ever had or Alphabet the parent company. I think Microsoft's the same way. And I think one of the things that we look at here from Microsoft owning LinkedIn, let's remember, and this is kind of that breaking news that I think we all remember thanks to the Mark Zuckerberg questioning, everyone has to remember if you're getting a platform for free you're paying with it with your data.
Adam Brown:You're the product.
Brian Fanzo:Right you are the product. And Microsoft is a data company. They have a cloud service, we think of them as Microsoft Windows, but a lot of their big plays are going to be in artificial intelligence. A lot of their big plays are going to be better understanding the data that is provided, so why not start serving up more customer data? Why not serve up more content? For me the reason I think video is getting so much favorable information right now on LinkedIn is that I think Microsoft wants to know what video works, how long does video work.
I've been testing different formats on LinkedIn where twice a week I do a video on LinkedIn, one is a talking head video where I'm just staring into the camera sharing my thoughts, kind of thought leadership like. And then one is a clip from me either on stage or my podcast recording. And what I've been trying to figure out is what works. And the funny part is there's no one thing that works exactly, but you're getting lots of data, lots of favorable views. And sometimes on these other platforms they kind of hold that back, it's really hard to get your video in front of ... even Instagram TV, I love what Instagram TV is putting out there, but discovery is horrible. How do I get it in front of my audience? How do I even tell my audience how to find it? Well guess what, I don't have to do that on LinkedIn at the moment. I don't have to educate LinkedIn users on how to find my content, they're getting it served up, which I think is a genius move by Microsoft as a whole underlying that kind of LinkedIn movement.
Jay Baer:Yeah, the algorithm seems pretty good at least for now, but of course the algorithm at Facebook was pretty good for a while too. And once you get lots and lots and lots and lots of people using it, and you get a broader selection of content the algorithm tends to breakdown a little bit. It's interesting what you said Brian that there isn't really a pattern that you can identify yet between talking head videos and more excerpt videos. I think that may be because the way the algorithm works is so topically driven, it's not so much video type as it is what are you talking about. One of the things I've been thinking about a lot lately is the use of hashtags in LinkedIn and just being much more aggressive about that. What's your take on even though discovery is being handled by itself right now in the algorithm, what's your take on making sure that people can find your stuff on LinkedIn?
Brian Fanzo:I love the hashtag usage over there on LinkedIn. It took a long while for people to understand even what a hashtag was in the Twitter Instagram world. And I think we have to remember the average LinkedIn user is five years behind us on probably the social media knowledge, so even understanding the value of hashtags. But I can tell you I've taken my hashtag strategy from Instagram, and I'm not using as many as I would on Instagram, Instagram of course allows you to use 30, but I'm using eight or nine on every LinkedIn video. I'm using one that is mine every time, which is #pressthedamnbutton. And so, someone can go onto LinkedIn search #pressthedamnbutton and see every single video that I've posted on LinkedIn, which I think is a great way of filtering the noise. I'm almost using that like a YouTube playlist, where if you want to see that you look here. So I think hashtags are important. I think the weirdest part is that I think still across the board of social media all of the platforms aren't very good on search. Nobody goes to Facebook for valuable search, and YouTube has it, but other than YouTube Twitter search I think is amazing but no one uses it. Instagram search they're trying to make discovery better than it was before.
And then another piece of this with the hashtags, but I also think it has to do with something ... I love live video. Live video is a lot of stuff that I've done myself, but live video doesn't exist on LinkedIn, which I think is actually a valuable thing for video because the average live video in my opinion at the moment is just lots of noise, oftentimes wasting people's time. And so, when people do see a video on LinkedIn on a hashtag they don't have to ask themselves, "Is this a really bad live video or is this a video of value?" And that kind of difference, when people asks me do I think LinkedIn should do live video my answers no, there's enough of that on every other channel. Why not make this kind of professional video work the way it is now?
Jay Baer:Although I suspect they will roll it out at some point just because they'll feel like they'll have to. One of the things that you are known for Brian Fanzo, founder of iSocialFanz, is social media takeovers. Taking over an Instagram account, taking over a Snapchat account, and sort of being that documentary filmmaker for the day on behalf of a brand or a conference. I'd love for you to share with our audience what makes a good takeover if you're actually doing one on behalf of somebody. And if you're trying to find somebody to take over your account, maybe you're a brand, and you want to get loyal customers to take over, what should you look for when you're considering who to approach with that opportunity?
Brian Fanzo:Yeah, I do love takeovers. I think that is that element of influencer marketing that's still underutilized. The idea when you're working with an influencer, yes you can tap into their influence on their personal brand, yes you can share their articles, and you can use quote graphics with their pictures on it, but why not bring the two worlds together? Which is why I love Instagram takeovers, even Twitter Periscope takeovers. I've been doing Facebook live recently at a couple events. And here's the thing, it's trust. Trust is the number one thing for me a lot of the brands early on that ask me to do takeovers, I had been working with them for five plus years. And so, they had put me on stages, they had, had me at their events hosting different things. So I think trust is an extremely important one.
But, another one is how willing is that person that's going to be doing the takeover to really dedicating their day to telling the story through their eyes. When we were both at Oracle I had a great time working at that Oracle event because I told Oracle, "What are the things that you want to highlight at the event?" And they kind of shared those things for me. I came back to them after spending a half day at the event and said, "These are the things I would like to highlight." And we kind of hybrid and laid those over top of each other because I think this is what really makes a great takeover is it has to be mutually beneficial, and it has to come from the takeover person's point of view. Just having someone running the account and doing the same type of brand content doesn't really encase a takeover, and I've even done it a couple times were I want to trust the brand so much that I let them the brand manager takeover my personal account. So, the brand manager takes over my personal account, I takeover the brand account and now we truly have trust. I'm letting them share the stuff from their point of view, so I think trust is the most important, understanding kind of that mutual success.
And then last but not least is really promoting it ahead of time. Just doing a takeover no one new is going to come, but doing ... One of the events I went to we did a webinar a week out before the event. We did a countdown to the takeover on the Instagram channel. And so, when I went live on Instagram stories for this brand they didn't have to say, "Who's Brian Fanzo and why is he here?" We spent the week leading up to that. And so, I was able to actually provide value and kind of go off and running in the takeover space. And I think that's really where we're seeing this. I think we're going to start seeing it more. Interestingly enough I think it's going to be more employee takeovers than influencer takeovers in the future.
Adam Brown:Brian I really think you are one of the experts as it relates to takeovers, and you've just given some great ideas on kind of how to make sure that you are successful. I'd love to hear you kind of give a few more thoughts and ideas on tactically and strategically how to make it better. What type of pre-planning do you need to do to make sure that both your talent as well as the brand are kind of seeing things eye to eye as it relates to a takeover? And then how do you, as you said, bookend, how do you make sure that your pre-outreach is getting people excited about it? And then once you flip it on the backend how do you continue to kind of savor that and get the benefits out of the event?
Brian Fanzo:My philosophy here it works well because my last name being Fanzo, but I say, "Think like a fan." And what I mean by that is I think about, if I was a fan of this brand, or if ...
Adam Brown:What if your name was Adam Brown? Wouldn't it be like, think Brown.
Brian Fanzo:Brownzo, think like a ...
Adam Brown:Brownzo, doesn't really have the same snap to it.
Jay Baer:No it doesn't.
Brian Fanzo:But if I was someone ... let's say I'm doing it with Dreamforce, and I'm going to Dreamforce, what I do individually is I poll a certain amount of people that I think would be the target audience prior to that event saying, "Hey, I know you're not going to Dreamforce, but what are some things if you were there you'd wish you could see?" And all of a sudden now I'm tapping into that fan ... it's that fomo. The podcast I host is Fomo Fans, so I love tapping into that fear of missing out. What do people wish they could see?
And then the other piece of this is my favorite word when it comes to live video, comes to takeovers, is the word access. How do I give people access to something they can't get anywhere else? So, if on your Facebook live if you're live streaming the main stage of the keynote of an event and if on Twitter you're live tweeting the side events, me doing a takeover and doing the exact same type of content, zero value. But, all of a sudden I was doing a takeover, and I'll use Oracle as an example, 'cause Jay was actually there. I said, "You know what, I'm going to take over the Oracle account. I'm going to sneak backstage while Jay's tapping up his feet with duct tape before he's about to go on stage ..." which is actually true story. He takes his shoes off, he's tapping his socks up with duct tape.
Jay Baer:That's not part of the regular keynote appearance.
Brian Fanzo:Oh it's not? I thought that was every keynote. No?
Jay Baer:No, that was, no.
Brian Fanzo:They paid extra. That's like the upsell. If you want me to come out with duct tape socks ...
Jay Baer:That's right, 10% upcharge.
Brian Fanzo:Eventually it'll be riding an Alpaca out onto the stage. But if you think about it, what I was able to do with that takeover is I went backstage and gave people access to something they couldn't get anywhere else. And I had people at the actually physical event come back and say, "Oh I love that you gave us that access to Jay backstage. I didn't know what he looked like back there. I didn't know if he was going to be joking around, or he'd be stressed out." And to me it's that word access. It sounds simple but if you look at the overall strategy of all the content you're creating, how can I give people access to stuff they can't get anywhere else? Because remember also this content is very short time based, 24 hours it lives in the ether for the most part. And so, giving them that access inspires people. If people are at a physical event, and they're logging on to check out this access that they can't even get with a full paid ticket that's where I think that magic happens, and it's that access that is that secret weapon.
Jay Baer:What I think is important about that premise Brian is that so many people who are in the events business get so worried about live streaming at events, that somebody's just going to set up their iPhone and stream a keynote. Number one, I don't think that's really a good use of live video. Number two, I sort of think, well if you're not going to come to the event because somebody live streamed the keynote so you feel like you don't have to spend the money, you're probably not a very good candidate for the event anyway. But I think this premise of using video, whether it's stories or live or any other version of it, to provide access sort of the behind the scenes' story as opposed to here's a whole piece of content, is really, really smart. And as you said, it's something that people can't get even if they are at the event, even if they're paying for it. Would you say that when you're thinking through this premise of providing access that it's equal parts kind of thinking in advance, like what would be interesting and then just in the moment saying, hey that would be interesting? Does that make sense? Is it kind of somewhat planned but then also on the fly?
Brian Fanzo:Yes, I say it's important to understand the importance of real time, but it's even more important to be able to act at the right time. I texted you actually for this perfect example, I was like, "Oh Jay's going backstage." I saw you walking along the back to go to the backstage. I texted Jay and said, "Jay, Oracle just gave me the okay to come backstage, okay if I come back?" That wasn't pre-planned, that was, hey I saw this I'm reacting at the right time. And I think on top of that, and I think you brought up a good point as well is that if you're looking at how do I connect with a digital audience, the audience that is not there? We all have heard it many times. As a speaker it's a little harder to hear, but people get the most value from the networking. People get the most value from running into people in the hallways, sitting at the bar, all of these little things. And so, if you're able to provide such great access to the core elements of the events you're only going to increase the value in that fomo that they want to be there next year because they already know for the most part they're going there for those extracurricular things to begin with. And so, that's where I look at it, that comes in the trust as well.
For one of the companies I had to work with it took me almost 45 minutes per post to get it approved and posted because the trust wasn't there yet. And so, I can tell you working at the right time was very hard with that client, because that event manager hadn't got their feet back yet. But I can tell you once that trust is built I've now done it at multiple events, it's kind of off and running. And one of the quotes that I hear from brand managers or from event organizers almost every time is they're like, "Wow, that was just as easy as just trusting you to have the keys to the kingdom."
And I was like, "You know, my brand is just as much on the line as your brand is on the line." And, it is that two way trust for sure to make that work.
Jay Baer:One of the things that you say in your keynote presentations, and folks if you haven't had the chance to see Brian deliver from the stage I absolutely recommend you find a way to make that happen quickly, he's terrific. Brian, one of the things that you say is disruption is the new normal. I don't think anybody who listens to this show would disagree, I mean this show was rooted in that premise in large measure. That being the case, how do you stay up on that? There are so many things, you referenced it earlier, that compete for your time and your attention. How does Brian Fanzo decide what to spend his time and his attention on?
Brian Fanzo:Well that's a great question. And something I can honestly say for a while I wasn't very good at prioritizing that time. And I would spend 40 hours a week testing out new things to try, and then have to spend another 40 hours actually doing the things I needed to implement. And, one of the sayings I say often times especially with people that are in my team is that, you have to market where your audience is today while listening to where they're going tomorrow. It's not about jumping on the shiny object for the shiny object case.
One of the things that I do is I'm a big consumer of content on new medium. We can go artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, you can go Instagram TV. I've probably only done I think four IGTV videos, but ultimately I've probably watched 40 of them because I want to see how people are using it, what does it mean? How did this brand do it? And I've also been really good now at kind of tapping into my fellow I'd say fomo fans that are, hey I'm living on the bleeding edge too and I'll message them and say, "What are you seeing on LinkedIn video? What are you seeing in the augmented reality space?" And I'll let them kind of guide me towards maybe the right path in that. Where before I always felt like it had to be me, me, me. And I've learned I'm not the only one that is kind of chasing their shiny objects.
And I think the last part of that is I also believe it takes baby steps. I always quote What About Bob, "Baby steps to the elevator, baby steps ..." I think all of these new technologies are baby steps, and if a brand today can't wrap their head around live video they'll never wrap their head around augmented reality or virtual reality. So, how do I get them to understand that if you want to get here you need to start here? And I think that's where I focus majority of my time is I say translating the geek speak to get them to go baby steps along the path towards innovation.
Adam Brown:And I think Brian, I think that's why your messages resonate with your audience is one of the things that Jay and I talk about is, it isn't the tech it's the story behind the tech, and crafting that story, and making sure you're sharing it in the right way. And I think that's one of the things I'm so interested in your approach because you're doing so many interesting things on the physical world. You're doing your presentations, you're doing your speeches, you're helping with events and consulting on that, but you're also interested in these newer technologies. And a couple that you just mentioned AR and virtual reality, and I think these are two topics that we're all still trying to kind of get their head around. We recognize that Apple has in the last two iterations of the iPhone spent a lot of money on that, they've built the AR kit, they've really encouraged developers to build for AR and VR. We haven't seen the adoption I think like we all anticipated or certain Apple did. Curious kind of what your thoughts are on it. Curious kind of how you feel about AR versus VR, which one to kind of use your term of baby steps, which one is going to kind of be that tortoise and the hare and kind of win the day in terms of technologies that are going to be ubiquitous and that we're going to be using on a frequent basis?
Brian Fanzo:When I look at these technologies and I oftentimes ask this on the stage, I think we can all agree, every one of your listeners can agree that the world today needs more empathy. Empathy is something that we as a world, as a society, it doesn't matter what any people's view, I think we would all agree ... and the question I often ask is what technology out there today is going to enable us to provide more empathy via the digital world? And I truly do believe augmented reality and virtual reality are the platforms that will enable empathy.
I took off a headset in South by Southwest two years ago and it was the Lonely Whale Project. And it's put on by a couple different celebrities, but the Lonely Whale Project you're swimming along with the different animals in the ocean and you're feeling the pollution on your body, and you're swimming you have to like dodge these different soda cans or a plastic bag. And I can tell you, when I took that headset off my simple question was where do I donate? It had allowed me to be so immersed in that experience that I didn't even care about the technology anymore, I cared about that experience. So when I look at these we have AR and we have VR and how do we get there? I think for a lot of brands the question you have to start to realize is that we have to start creating an experience. And I think Apple ... just because we have the technology it's really about the content and the experience that is enabled with this technology.
And so, I actually have two answers to the saying. I look at virtual reality as being a more mainstream product. I look at augmented reality being a more business savvy marketers product. The fact that we're going to be able to lay over data over the physical world, digital data. I'll use South by Southwest as a perfect example, if you're walking down the street on 6th street at South by Southwest with thousands of thousands of people at that event, and you have on your glasses or on a piece of software you're able to see which one of your friends were in which one of the bars as you walk down the street in an augmented reality landscape. And then also what that bars happy hours were, and you're able to do that without needing to put up a phone or use find my friends or all these different, if all of that was presented to you overlaying your sunglasses as you walked I think there's some great marketing opportunities there, there's some great business opportunities.
The sidestep of that is if you look at like MGM Properties, MGM has gone all in with e-gaming and they've gone all in with virtual reality within the casino. And the reason that is, is because they do want to create that immersive experience that connects the digital world with the offline. So, I look at VR as one that's going to get there but we're going to see it in training, we're going to see it in gaming, we're going to see it kind of connecting the dots in ... I did a VR experience about two weeks ago and I sat in a race car, an F1 race car, and it was pretty darn amazing, but it wasn't something that I felt like, I was like, "Where could I put .." 'cause you know being a marketer I'm like, "Where would marketing fit here? Where would this fit for my business?" And so, I look at these two as both having different paths. I will say though that I think live video is the gateway. I think live video adds all of these other variables, it makes the brands realize that they can't be perfect. And if you want to get into AR VR you have to change your mindset from talking at people to understanding what they want and providing an experience that can be enabled with AR or VR.
Jay Baer:It's funny you talk about live video. One of the things I've observed recently ... it may be a little different for you just because of the nature of our audiences, you tend to speak more often at marketing events than I probably do now. But, one of the things I have discovered is that the phenomenon of live tweeting has fallen off quite a bit in live audiences, right? It used to be that everybody was tweeting, and now you don't see that as much other than a few very, very homogenous super nerd social media conferences. Do you see that same thing and why do you think that's true?
Brian Fanzo:I do and actually I'm seeing that even in marketing events. And this is an interesting spot because I don't know if you're seeing this but I don't see less people people taking pictures, I just see less people tweeting those pictures out, which surprises me a little bit. The phones are still coming up, they're still taking picture of your slides. I was at an event with Tamsen Webster just two days ago and we were at the Digital Summit here in Philly. And I was laughing because I told Tamsen I was like, "I expected so many pictures on Twitter on the hashtag during my keynote," but it was mostly her pictures where I had asked her to take some pictures for me as a friend and a fellow speaker. And so I think this is an interesting spot for Twitter, I actually think it's a good thing because I think a lot of people were live tweeting events as the only time they used Twitter.
I used to joke that the most popular time for these people, everyone forgot my password once a year whatever event they went to. That's when they were like, "Oh yeah, this is where that Twitter thing exists." And I think what now people are realizing is that Twitter has more value than just these offline events. So now you're not only immersed in live tweeting, it's more about, how do I consume the content and use the hashtags? Now I will say, because there's less people there I've actually prioritized that a little bit in my strategy because when the brands or the sponsors are looking at a certain hashtag on Twitter they're going to see a lot of my content, so I would say I myself have been posting less on the hashtag when I'm at an event, but I am being very strategic with what I'm posting because I'm able to stand out. But I think it's a good sign for Twitter that people aren't thinking about Twitter's only value is when they're at their once a year conference or local event.
Adam Brown:Kind of apropos of that Brian, I know one of the things you've talked about a lot is how Twitter has truly transformed its user experience and value for users, values for brands that are using it, but unfortunately it's been about five years too late. And I'm curious more personally why do you think it's taken Twitter so long?
Brian Fanzo:And I would say I've asked this question for a long time, and Twitter data has been a client of mine for a while, and I would sit in with a Twitter data team and ask this question. I think one of the things we have to remember was Twitter was built by marketers. And one of the things that Twitter has really struggled with is they suck at marketing themselves. As crazy as it is for us as marketers, even understanding 140 characters or 280 characters, understanding search, understanding the difference ... I mean for the longest time when you created an account on Twitter it would pop up and say follow Ellen DeGeneres, follow Will Smith and what people would do is they would tweet Ellen DeGeneres and they would wait, they would refresh their screen, and they're waiting for Ellen to reply back. And all of a sudden Ellen doesn't reply back 'cause she gets millions of tweets a day, and they're like, "Well, Twitter has no value."
And if you look at it now there's discovery, there's popular tweets in your area, popular tweets by your followers. When you actually logon it actually allows you to understand the difference between following someone, following a hashtag, and then understanding what search is. And these are three key ... I've said for a long time they were really good at turning power users into master users on Twitter, but Twitter really struggled to get that person that signed up to see value 365 days a year.
And I think on top of that we can credit ... I'm outside of Washington DC so we can credit the man that sits up there in Washington DC with kind of adding some more ... my dad created a Twitter account just to see what the President was tweeting. And that's the one that my dad didn't get a computer or email until 2009. So he was the biggest late adopter that exists, but because of that now my dad goes to my page and he'll text me and say, "Brian I see that you're on stage right now, lots of people are tweeting about you." And that blows my mind. My dad who was the anti-social media. And we can give that credit to the fact that where there was so much attention being put on Twitter for what was happening out of the White House that there has been kind of that resurgence. So, I think Twitter has got their legs under them, they figured out how to monetize.
They've also learned from people like Snapchat. Snapchat came out of the gate with a strong monetization strategy, a strong understanding of their user base, and I think Twitter had to go back to the drawing board. And I will give credit to Kayvon. Kayvon was a founder of Periscope the live streaming app. And once that was bought by Twitter he has slowly moved up the ranks, he was the head of product, he was just recently promoted again, I'm not sure exactly what his title is. But what Kayvon gets really well is understanding that you have to teach people something new if you want something new to take off for brands. If a brand's using an ad or a brand's using Periscope it only helps is if the users understand how to use that as well. And I think Kayvon has really done a great job of facilitating that across the Twitter board, I think it's why he's had like four promotions in two years. I think it's about time for Twitter. If the listeners that are listening here, I know a lot of social pros that I talk to they don't use Twitter anymore, they were kind of burnt out by Twitter. I will challenge you, get back on Twitter today and kind of put a little bit of time into it.
I feel that I get more value out of Twitter right now then I have in the last four years, and I think it's because Twitter has kind of brought a user base on there, they're filtering up really good information. It's kind of the opposite of Facebook where if I'm not in Facebook groups I struggle to get value out of Facebook, but if I'm on Twitter oftentimes what the notifications are serving me up is some really great data. And I think it just took Twitter a long time to figure out, "Okay, we're not great at marketing, let's go back to the drawing board and start being better at marketing ourselves."
Jay Baer:There you go ladies and gentlemen that's your challenge from Brian Fanzo, founder of iSocialFanz, Social Media Consultant, Speaker, Author, etc. Get back on Twitter, that's what he said.
Now we've talked a lot about video, and live video, and augmented reality, and virtual reality, and disruption. You've got little girls at home, well they're your daughters so that maybe didn't sound quite right. Like you have, they're just there. You have young daughters, what scares you about that and their use of social media eventually? Because if you project out 10 years man, I don't know where we're going to be. I don't know if we're going to be better off or worse off. I'm sure you've thought about that because that's the kind of person that you are, but what's your read?
Brian Fanzo:So this one that I've always believed in being yourself, and being transparent, and putting yourself out there, and kind of letting yourself decide who you follow. Well I can tell you my daughters are eight, seven, and four and they are addicted to YouTube at the moment. They have YouTube Kids on there. We had to put timers on their screens because they have iPod touches. And one of the things that I've realized is that search on YouTube can oftentimes provide things and results that you don't want your kids to see.
Or another piece of this is my daughters love Alexa. They use Alexa very regularly. The funnier thing about that is my youngest daughter this morning asked it a question and Alexa misheard it and the answer was not politically correct, it was actually calling out a podcast that I listen to that happens to have a cuss word in the title. And I immediately was like, "What in the ... how did that happen?" And so, this is something that I am thinking about. It's something that I think we have to understand that ...
I came from cyber security background as well, so I worked in the Department of Defense in cyber security, and I've never been a believer that you have to turn everything on, like everything has to be fully secure. You have to have two factor authentication all these things. I'm one of those people that says, "Okay, I'm going to sign on and then I'm going to start to decide what things they can see, what things they can't see." So I've even changed the YouTube settings now to do certain filters where they're not getting certain countries' content. You almost have to start to understand that a little bit better.
But I think another piece of this is as we become more transparent as a society we're going to become a little bit more understanding when things go wrong. I didn't freak out, my daughters didn't even really ... when that phrase came back on the Alexa my daughters didn't freak out about it because it's not like I'm telling them that these are bad things, that oh my goodness I couldn't believe it happened. It's more of like, "Well those are mistakes that happen in this digital world." I think we're going to have to figure out how do we become okay with more of this exposure to maybe things that they don't want.
And also, I'm using the brand new IOS 12 beta on my phone 'cause I'm that geek that by the half hour of free time I like to hack my iPhone 'cause it's just my favorite thing to do. But the new IOS beta for those that have the iPhone it's coming out with a brand new feature where it's giving you screen time data, and I'm able to on IOS beta I can log on to my daughters iPod touch and I can look at what programs they're on, how long they're on them, what types of programs they are, and really give you some granular data that we've never had before. So as a dad I can look at this and feel a little bit better understanding of how my daughters are using it, because rather than telling my daughters how to use technology my goal is to watch them use it and then do my best to shape it so they're not exposed or not walking down a path that I believe I could have helped them avoid.
Jay Baer:Yeah, as you said Brian it's about steering our kids in the right direction, we can't hold their hand every single second, especially when one of our kids has a mobile device in their hands and they're going off. We can put governs on there, we can try to lock things down, but inevitably technology makes mistakes just like people do.
Brian, Brian Fan Speaker, Instructor, Podcaster, Strategic Event Advisor and Founder of iSocialFanz that is with a z. It was interesting you just mentioned that you're a cyber expert and spent some time there inside of the beltway doing that. You also mentioned a few minutes ago that your dad was not a technological expert, sounds a lot like my upbringing. My dad was in advertising and marketing but still has yet to probably login and never had an email address. I got him an iPad for the holidays a couple years back, it's still his favorite device, but that is the extent of it. I'm curious how all those things kind of led you to become the person that you in terms of your career, in terms of how you're raising your three young girls, where is this kind of interest and enthusiasm for technology and more importantly how technology can be applied all kind of imminated from you?
Brian Fanzo:Yeah, I think this comes down to actually just a personality as well. I'm a momma's boy that grew up. My dad is my hero, he owned a peanut brittle candy company. Never went to college, and grew that business.
Jay Baer:What? Peanut Brittle company?
Brian Fanzo:Peanut Brittle company. [crosstalk 00:40:05]
Jay Baer:I want to get your dad on the show. Man, I love some peanut brittle. Let's make that happen.
Brian Fanzo:Well you know he's in Phoenix now too so next time you're passing through Phoenix.
Jay Baer:I'll be there Tuesday as a matter of fact so we may have to hook that up.
Brian Fanzo:Wow.
Adam Brown:I'll be there in two weeks.
Brian Fanzo:There we go, see look at that.
But for me growing up one of things my parents always instilled in me is that I didn't have to ... we often ask kids what do they want to be when they grow up. And I would challenge that, that says I don't even know what I want to be when I grow up. And my parents were never ones that said, "Brian, what do you want to be when you grow up?" They more said, "Brian, try a little bit of everything but by yourself when you do it."
So, I like to say in college I went to school for computer science, I was the President of my Fraternity, and I was the Assistant Captain of the College Hockey Team. And I could tell you, not one person on any of those things did the other things, nobody on hockey was in my fraternity, nobody in a fraternity was a computer science major. But what that allowed me to do was not only understand different people, I feel like I have a very good handle on being able to be empathetic towards a lot of different groups of people, and be able to network across wide ranges of backgrounds because I was exposed to that, but when it came to technology I quickly realized that we all have different value, we all think of technology differently. And this was something in my career, was I was a computer science major that hated coding but understood the value of coding. And when I would sit with the coders they would say, "Well management doesn't understand me."
And, then when I would sit with management and management would say, "What do those coders doing? They're just sitting there locked in their closet drinking Mountain Dew probably playing video games all day."
And so, I found my niche being I'm going to be the guy in between that can translate the manager's advice to the developers, I can translate what the developers are doing to the managers. And I would say ultimately that's what I do today. I now do that on stages, I do that via my podcasts. And what my goal is, is to translate things to make sense. And it's a lot less about the technology, more saying, "Did you realize that this is out there and it's a possibility to make your life easier? It's going to enable you to do something a little bit better for someone else."
I'm speaking at an event next weekend, it's a luxury travel event. And they came to me and just said, "Brian, our people understand the importance of the iPhone or the phones themselves, but they haven't figure out how to use them as a marketing device. And so, we bought everybody brand new iPhone X's and no one's using any of the features that the iPhone X has."
And, so, for me it was funny because they threw technology at very marketing savvy travel industry professionals and the technology they were just like, "Oh great, I got a new phone."
Where my goal is to get in there and say, "Did you know you can do these things? And these things are enabled for you. Hey, here's some pictures that I took with this, oh did you realize I only took that with that mobile device."
And so, I would say I look back at my career and my life. My parents always said, "Brian, just be yourself, figure out how to stay true to who you are, but don't be afraid to do a little bit of everything." That goes into my speaking career where I'm speaking at Bark World, which is for pet influencers. I'm going to the US Sailing Association the very next week. And a week from now I'll be doing luxury travel. And for me I take a lot of pride in being able to relate and translate change and technology to different people, and it's because of my parents kind of enabling that since I was a young boy.
Jay Baer:You gotta ven diagram that for like a luxury canine sailing [inaudible 00:43:27]. That's gotta be out there somewhere.
Brian Fanzo:I might have to do that, that sounds too good not to do that.
Adam Brown:Brian, I love how you've kind of encapsulated kind of what you do and the people that you interact with. How much of this is nature versus nurture? I don't want to speak for Jay but I will, I think we are kind of similar to you that we come from these very interesting diverse backgrounds. I like to think that social pros over index on people who can kind of compliment the right and left sides of their brain. Where does this come from? And how are you kind of raising your three young girls, how are you working with the teams and organizations that hire you? How are you working with the team members and your employees to kind of create this spirit that I think really makes for a better person, and certainly for a better marketer or communicator?
Brian Fanzo:I think it's that idea where you realize that everybody learns differently. Everybody teaches differently. Everybody has a different way of doing things. And one of the things that I'm strong on is I don't ever tell anybody they're doing something wrong, I just present a different way of doing it. And I think that you guys both do that as well, it's not saying ... and this is that whole world where if your answer to why we aren't doing that is just because we never have done it, that's not the right answer. But it's also, okay well if you've never done this can you tell me why? It's that questioning without the idea of telling someone they're wrong, questioning with the idea of getting more information. And I truly do believe in inspiring and educating rather than kind of proving someone wrong.
And I think this is where longevity across platforms, longevity across career. I did cyber security, then I did cloud computing, now I do digital marketing, but I would say the fundamental element between all three of those very diverse environments or industries is that change is happening. People love what they do, they get stuck in their ways, but when they're inspired and educated to do something a little bit differently they jump at the opportunity. They just don't like being told that they're wrong or told to change. My daughters are my perfect example. If I tell my daughters what to do they just look at me like, nope not going to happen sorry dad. With my kids I can say, "Well, I'll give you a lollipop," and they'll probably do it.
But with businesses, with brands, with those that I work with there isn't a lollipop, rather it's saying, "Okay, well this is why I wanted you to do this, and these are some examples of other people that are doing it. Let's see if we can make it happen."
Let's go take this full circle real quick to the brand takeovers. Oftentimes the reason I'm doing a brand takeover has nothing to do with me. I present them an idea and I say, "I'm going to help you build a strategy that's going to allow you to give marketing access to all of these different things. And I want you to empower our employees." I know you guys are familiar with Carmen at Cisco, at the We are Cisco team.
Jay Baer:She was just on the show a week ago.
Adam Brown:Yeah. Couple weeks ago.
Brian Fanzo:Oh look at that. She's one of my favorite humans.
Jay Baer:She's amazing.
Brian Fanzo:What she's been able to do, but what she's done is what I try to help other brands do. Funny enough they oftentimes will say, "Well Brian, that's great but we don't have an employee that we trust to do that."
And I'm like, "Wait, did you just say you don't trust your employees?"
And they're like, "No, no, no, no. Hold on, that's not what I said." And so, what I end up becoming is the guinea pig.
I say, "Okay, well here's a deal. I want you to buy in on this strategy and I will be the one that takes it over. I will be the one that proves its value."
And oftentimes at the end they're like, "Holy cow Brian, I can scale this now using my employees and you've built me out a process." So, I think that's another piece of what we're doing and I think the two of you do that as well. We can talk change, we can preach things, but we're also not afraid to do it ourselves to prove its value. In the social media world there's a lot of people that can talk about what they can do, there's I think a lot fewer people that are willing to try it and implement it to show its value across the board. And that's kind of what I pride myself on.
Jay Baer:Carmen Collins from Cisco episode 328, two weeks ago, tune into that she was amazing.
Brian, we're going to ask you the two questions we've asked everybody. You've answered them in the past, we'll go back and check the database to see if you have the same answers. We always want to see if there's consistency. We haven't had that many repeat guests in the long history of the show, but a handful.
Question number one, Mr. Fanzo. What one tip would you give somebody who's looking to become a social pro?
Brian Fanzo:Consistency, consistency, consistency. That might be three but it's only one word. I think consistency and simplifying what you're doing in a consistent manner is the key to standing out. It's not about being on every channel, it's not about creating something, just be extremely consistent.
I can tell you Jay Baer you taught me that as a speaker, being consistent with event managers making their lives easier. As soon as I embraced your delivery of consistency from a speaking business perspective it transomed a lot of my relationships. And that's the same with podcasting, if you're going to tell people, "I'm going to have a podcast available every week," do it. If you can't do it every week and you can do it every other week be consistent, manage expectations, put it out there, but be consistent on your delivery.
Great YouTubers like our friend Amy Landino, she was putting out content for four years every single week and now her channel has blown up, subscribers all over the place. And people ask me, "Well Brian, what do you think Amy's secret was?"
And I was like, "Consistency. She has been consistent since the day I met her seven years ago, and she is consistent today. So, it's definitely consistency." And it's so easy to do yet so few of us do it well.
Jay Baer:People get bored or they get tired or they get busy and they say, "Well, I could let that slide." And then once that starts to slide then it's really easy to let it slide a second time, and a third time. And then after a while your weekly podcast becomes a twice monthly podcast, and then it becomes a quarterly podcast, and then all of a sudden it's all over. It's just like going to the gym, which is something I've heard people do and being consistent about that.
Speaking of Amy Landino her episode of Social Pros is episode 252, go back into the archives and grab that, it's really, really fantastic. Of course you can go to to get all the transcripts of the show across every single episode. Coming on now in January our seventh anniversary of the Social Pros.
Brian Fanzo:Wow.
Jay Baer:Every week for seven years in keeping with your point of consistency.
Last question for you Mr. Fanzo. If you could do a live video call with any living person who would it be?
Brian Fanzo:I'm going to throw a complete curve ball 'cause this is one that I know that I've never mentioned before, but it would actually be Dax Shepard. I'm not sure if you guys know him as the actor. He's currently the host of a podcast called Armchair Expert, it is currently my favorite podcast. It is not business, not marketing, he does very in depth two hour interviews with celebrities, but he talks about very vulnerable topics like alcoholism, and abuse. In my opinion at this moment is one of the best interviewers I've ever listened to in the podcasting space. And he's the guy that was on Punk'd. He was on Punk'd and he was on a couple TV shows, but his ability to give raw interviews is something that has inspired me. I end up taking notes listening to how he interviews. He interviewed Ellen DeGeneres and some big name celebrities, but he also interviews some people like Will Valderrama, and one of the things that he brought out things that Will had never talked about publicly just by his ability to do that. So I would want to interview him and just ask where he's rooted there. He's very good on social. If you guys aren't following Dax on social he replies to tweets, he celebrates his fans, his podcast if fairly new it's only a couple months old. Yeah, Dax Shepard would be my answer. I would love to interview him.
Jay Baer:Great one. We'll check it out, we'll link it up on the show notes as well at You know that's one of the secrets to Howard Stern's popular as well, he's a fantastic interviewer among the best.
Brian, thank you so much for taking the time to be on this show. Again, it's always great to talk to you, we always learn something, I know the audience does as well. Hope to see you face to face pretty soon. I know I'll see you out there at some point.
Brian Fanzo:That's for sure, yeah. And yeah, you guys are passing through Phoenix, although I'm not in Phoenix it's always great to be on the show. Congratulations, I mean this podcast is one of the reasons I turned into someone that wanted to watch and listen and get all in on social media way back when. I happened to be reading Utility during those early years as well so for me coming on this show each time is truly an honor. It's my little bit way of paying back for the content and conversations that this show has done for me over the years. So, truly my pleasure.
Jay Baer:Thanks Brian we appreciate it, and peanut brittle's in the mail.
Adam Brown:I can smell it from here.
Jay Baer:Ladies and gentlemen that is Social Pros episode 330 with Brian Fanzo. Thanks as always for giving us a little bit of your time and your attention. We'll be back next week with another very special guest. I'm Jay Baer from Convince and Convert he is as always Adam Browne from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and this has been Social Pros.
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