How to Create a Social Media Attention System

How to Create a Social Media Attention System

Neen James, keynote speaker and author, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss the value of developing your own attention system.

In This Episode:

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Full Episode Details

Build Your Attention System

Gaining attention has always been at the center of marketing. Whether it’s content, design, packaging, placement, or any other aspect of getting your product into someone’s hands, the first step is to capture attention.

In today’s market, the sheer amount of choices and stimuli mean that getting someone’s attention is not enough; you have to be able to keep it. To do this successfully takes a strategic approach, which Neen James refers to as an attention system.

In the same way you invest money and look for a return on investment, a successful attention system begins with an investment of your attention. Random gestures are nice, but by systematically paying attention to your clients and potential customers, you will show them that they matter to you while earning their attention before you even begin to tell them about your product.

In This Episode

  • Why keeping attention is so important in today’s market.
  • Why attention has to be systematic.
  • How to choose the right social channels to capture and keep attention.
  • How to build real connections systematically.
  • Why paying attention is the best way to capture and hold it in return.

Quotes From This Episode

You can't manage time, but you can manage your attention. Click To Tweet

“If you have a model to support the process, people are more likely to not only remember it but do it.” — @neenjames

“If you’re going to invest your attention in creating a campaign or leveraging a platform or sharing a key message for your business, you want to know there’s a return on that attention.” — @neenjames


See you next week!

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Episode Transcript

Jay Baer: Hey, friends. It's Jay Baer. Thanks so much for listening to Social Pros. Before we get into today's show, a quick acknowledgement of our sponsors. Our friends at ICUC are sponsoring this show this week. If you're getting ready to put together your 2019 marketing plan, your marketing strategy, which you probably are, I bet a lot of you are trying to work on that. ICUC can help you make better data driven decisions that will improve your 2019 approach. ICUC can kind of on the side develop some really interesting reports and analysis using social media strategic insights, which will give you a deeper understanding of your audience, your market, and your competitors, and it will empower you to develop a 2019 strategy that best targets, reaches, engages, and retains your customers. If you need a little strategic bump, a little help for 2019, take a look at ICUC, they can give you a hand. Go to That's And, of course, the show is brought to you as always by Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Social, more important than ever for B2B in 2019 and beyond. If you haven't done so, download the Complete Guide for Social Media for B2B Marketers from our friends at Salesforce. Super useful document. Best types of content, best channels to use, all kinds of new information about advanced social listing in B2B. Check it out totally free bitly/socialb2bguide. That's Socialb, the number two, bguide. All lower case. All one word. Thanks so much to this week's sponsors, and now here is the Social Pros Podcast. Hey, everybody. This is Social Bros. It's Jay Baer, founder of Convince and Convert. Delighted that you're with us today. Adam is not here. He's recovering from Dream Force or licking his wounds or doing something in the great city of Austin, Texas. But that is okay because we have an unbelievable guest for you this week on Social Pros. One of my favorite people on the planet, certainly in my top two favorite Australians. She is the one, the only Neen James who is the author of the extraordinary book Attention Pays, which had a huge impact on me and my work. She's also a legendary keynote speaker and world class consultant, even though, as you'll soon experience, her voice sounds like a sorority sister drinking Red Bull and then doing helium shots. Please welcome to the show Neen James. Neen James: Get it gorgeous. What a treat it is to be on your show. I literally just want you to be the person who introduces me every time I stand to speak. That's amazing. Jay Baer: I'd be happy to do that. If there's a market in that, professional introducer, I would totally do that. Neen James: I cannot afford you and your brilliant mind. Jay Baer: So I want everybody to pause the show right now and just go back and listen to the last 20 seconds of Neen, and you'll see why my introduction was so apt. I am so glad that you are here. It is always such a treat to talk to you. Now, your book is literally called Attention Pays. Neen James: You bet. Jay Baer: This is a show of people who are paid to create attention. You see how that all fits in. Why is attention so important today? Neen James: I think attention, when you think about this, think about the fact that people thought they could manage time. They can't. You can't manage time. Time's going to happen whether you like it or not, and time's going to pass. Time's the great equalizer. You can't manage time, but you can manage your attention. And I think in a world we're living in right now, so many of the professional social media managers who are listening to this, they know that not only is it hard to grab someone's attention, Jay, it's hard to keep their attention and that's the key, right? So it's not just about grabbing their attention. It's also about keeping it. So I believe that when you know how to pay attention personally, professionally, globally, ultimately you make a greater impact on the planet, and I know that's a huge statement but it affects everything we do. Jay Baer: Do you feel like the bigger issue today is that people don't focus enough on keeping attention or that it's just so hard now that people always feel like they're spinning plates and they never really have a handle on it? Neen James: Yeah. One of the things we talk about in the book, you may remember, is we have this term called the over trilogy. I think that right now people are overwhelmed, they're over stressed, and their over tired; and when you think of this over trilogy, especially people listening to this, I'm sure they can relate to it, you're operating in a 24 hour environment. It's seven days a week. You never get any off time, right? And so think about how over everyone is. Not only that, we're living in a time where all of these amazing social media tools constantly keep changing. So just when you think you master Facebook or you've mastered the secret of Instagram, ta-da, we're going to change the algorithm. We're going to change the process, and then some leader above you is like, "Why aren't we doing this? Why aren't we doing this?" And so what we used to be able to control, we can't anymore, and all we can control is our own attention and then write messaging and campaigns and programs that will grab and keep people's attention. I think keeping is the key. You can get attention for really bad things, by the way. I'm talking about positive attention for the right things, the right people, the right way. Jay Baer: You're exactly accurate. I don't know that I've ever met a well rested social media manager. I think everybody listening to this show is like, "Yep. That sounds like me. All of the overs that Neen mentioned, I have all of those overs. I'm rotten with overs." You say in the book that attention requires a system, and you are the queen of systems. As some listeners know, Daniel Lemon and I wrote the book Talk Triggers recently, and it has three different mental models in the book of four, five, six process. We stole all of that from Neen. She taught that to us. You were really big on having systems. What do you mean by that though in a social media context that attention requires a system, and how can we actually make that happen day to day in this world? Neen James: I believe in systems of attention. So personally a system of attention is systemized thoughtfulness. It could be the simplicity of having a system that every time you meet someone, you use their name. Every time you have a conversation with someone, you look them in the eye. For those of you who have read my book or heard me speak, I'm a huge advocate for listening with your eyes, but you also need systems of attention for your career, systems of attention for your messaging. One of the systems I'm known for that Jay is references, which by the way, he's lying. They did not steal that from me. I may have inspired them to create some contextual models, but that's all their brilliant minds at work. But one of the things I believe is if you can have a system of attention for your messaging and create visual models to replicate, to inspire, to motivate that showcase your message, it's an easy way for people to not only just notice what you're doing but process it differently. And so two very easy systems of attention, one is using more metaphors and analogies when you're speaking and writing and sharing because metaphors are memorable, repeatable, and retweetable. So those metaphors people remember. They may not remember every statistic you publish or every graphic that you share, but they will remember when you use metaphors and analogies. So one system of attention is increasing your use of metaphors and analogies. I use those terms pretty much interchangeably. So remember metaphors are memorable, repeatable, and retweetable. But the other system of attention visuals is a contextual model. I believe we can represent every brilliant idea through a contextual model, and so in my practice we call this idea shaping, and that's something I get asked to do more and more with keynoting because people need a unique way to very quickly grab someone's attention, show them a process or a system that they can then implement. So when you think about the role that so many of these great listeners have, not only do we want them to pay attention to the messages, but we want them to take action. And so to show people how to take action, like you and Daniel did in the book, you gave them a process. If you have a model to support the process, people are more likely to not only remember it but do it. Jay Baer: Especially true, I think, in B2B social media where you're really trying to communicate in many cases with information. You're trying to paint a features and benefits matrix, that kind of thing, and attention is so fleeing now. Just before this recording, I was on the line with the folks who manage our paid social, Commit and Convert and for our clients, and we were talking about the fact that we were looking at our analytics. Our paid video ads, we're getting three to five seconds of a watch before people are scrolling through, right? So you better have some type of contextual model. You better be able to instantaneously frame up for your audience where this information fits into the bigger picture because they're not going to wait around to figure it out themselves. Neen James: It's so true. Another system that we use with contextual modeling is one called a position matrix, and I would encourage every person on this call to explore this, and I'm happy to share the template with you, Jay, so they can put it in the show notes. Jay Baer: Great. Thanks so much. Neen James: But I do believe that we as leaders, and I use the term leader ... I don't care what your title is. I believe everyone is a leader. But I think every leader needs the ability to answer the question 'What do you do?' and what I think has been really powerful is ... I do this in my keynotes all the time. I'll pull someone out of the audience. They'll jump on stage. You've seen me do it, Jay, and ask them a series of questions and then I present them back to themselves as the brilliant human that they are. And it's using a technique, it's a system of attention called a positioning matrix. If you can position yourself and the value you add, especially if you're having to pitch for additional funding, if you're having to convince a leader that you are the right person to be on that account, if you have to sell yourself in any way, this can be a really easy tool. It can also be very valuable if you're creating any video products because you could make it as an opening video on YouTube. You could use it as a LinkedIn update. There's so many different ways you can use this idea of a positioning matrix. So systems of attention, an easy way to think about it is a template for something. Random acts of kindness are great, but isn't it cool if we have systemized thoughtfulness, if we do the same thing. See, systems create freedom. The more systems you have, the more consistent you are, and as leaders in this industry, I think we need to have systems of attention for everything we do, the way we position ourselves, our company, our message, so we can serve our audiences. Jay Baer: The problem with random acts of kindness or random acts of content or random acts of social is that they are random. It says so right in the name. And so that can work and sometimes it will work but that is a game of chance more so than a game of strategy. Neen James: Exactly, and where's the ROA? I know we hear ROI, return on investment, but I believe in ROA, return on attention, because if you're going to invest your attention in creating a campaign or leveraging a platform or sharing a key message for your business, you want to know there's a return on that attention. You said there's only three to four seconds for a video. That is insanity but that is reality. And so now we have to be even more clever with the way that we grab and keep people's attention through visual models, through positioning matrix, through use of metaphor and analogy. These are tools that are accessible to all of us that you could try to sell it today. Jay Baer: Yeah, you can see it now even on Instagram ads, the particulars where I notice that most often Instagram video ads for product, right? So they'll have a very short ad and they instantly show you the benefit of the product. There's no preamble, there's no scene setting. It's like this thing does this. Right? Or now you see a lot of Instagram the recipe videos. So we've gone from like a full written recipe to a real time or nearly real time recipe video, which might take three minutes and now we have all these super quick cuts. Let me show you how to make some kind of crazy French turkey in 11 seconds. I'm like, "Wait, what?" Neen James: It's crazy. I know I sound like I'm five, but I'm like ancient. I'm like a little old lady. And I remember a time ... Jay Baer: 25. Neen James: Yeah, let's go with that. I remember a time where in sales, I remember a time where people used to be able to build up to the pitch, right? So they'd tell you the features and the benefits and then building, building, building, and then they go, "And that'll be $10,000," right? So they had all this time, and we would give them the grace of that. We would allow people to give us their pitch. We were so used to receiving information and sitting in a place where we pretended we were interested or we paid attention. Nowadays people don't even pretend to pay attention because if you are not capturing someone's attention, within moments they will grab their devices at a default position, and that means you're not engaging enough. And so, look, I love all humans to not be so rude and not be on their devices all the time, but the reality is because you're not engaging them, they are going to go invest their attention somewhere else. So if you want it, you better deserve it as well. Jay Baer: Yeah, voting with their thumbs. This is why people listen to podcasts at double speed as well. It's the same rationale. Neen James: Can you imagine. I will sound like a chipmunk. If you fast forward ... Jay Baer: Yeah, if anybody's listening to this show in double speed, I suggest that you slow it down right now to normal speed because this may be a really tough situation for you this week on Social Pros. Do you feel like ... You're really good at social media, and I know you've got a couple folks on your team that help as well. But you're very, very active on LinkedIn and on Facebook and on Instagram. You're out there all the time and you're really, really good. It feels like you're everywhere. You're always interacting with people, loving them up. You're just really, number one, a gem of a person, but number two, that really shines through in social media. Do you feel like there are better channels for attention or at least for how Neen James gets attention? Neen James: Yeah, and look, this is like my opinion only and not the opinion of Convince and Convert, and that's my disclaimer, but my opinion as Neen James, who is like me and my Misty, who Misty is my social media maven. And what she does is I set strategy and she helps me execute it. So we decide here's the platforms we're going to focus on, here's the events I have coming up, here's the commitments I've made, and then she'll help me post everything. It's still me across the channels, but her helping me execute is really powerful. And what I found is they've all changed so much, Jay. I make my living as a keynote speaker, like you, and so for me what I love to use social media for is audience engagement. So, for example, if I'm serving a conference, a meeting planner, I will ask for their hashtags. We can organize conversations on Twitter helps me organize that. It helps me in the posting and promoting of their event. I always shoot a promotion video they can use across all their social media channels, which encourages the audience to connect with me in advance. I'm sitting the relationship up even before I step up on stage. It's not uncommon for me to be at an event and people come up and get me a huge cuddle and they're like, "Oh my god. I get to meet you in real life," because we've connected on social. But what I do believe, to answer your question, is from my kind of business, there are certain platforms that make so much more sense. LinkedIn is still the number one most professional social media platform, and because I'm a corporate speaker, I grew up in corporate business, I am a corporate chick. I love corporate. It's where I love to play, and they've ... Even LinkedIn, while it use to be kind of a little conservative, they've got with the times. They've got the video happening. It's more interactive, but it's like people's personal websites. So I love LinkedIn. Instagram became my favorite, and I'll tell you why. Facebook makes me crazy. I have this love/hate relationship with Facebook to the point where I regularly just want to delete my whole account but I don't because my family's all over the world and it's how I stay connected. But what I do like about Facebook is that I can do Facebook lives for my clients. So before I'm at an event, I did one today for an event that I have coming up, and my clients love that, right? So that's a way to use it. The reason Instagram is my favorite, I think like Instagram is like a peek behind the curtain. So, Jay, you do this really, really well. When you're out and about, you were at a huge conference, I got to see the trade floor. I got to see all the machines that you were showing. I see when you're traveling, and so what I love about Instagram is for people like you and I who have maybe a more public life but we also have these fun adventures that we can expose other people to. It shows people that this is really what's happening. So I love Instastories, but from a business point of view, what I like about Insta is I can share a quote or I can share something exciting that's happening but I can also share my personal life. So I feel like Insta's more personal. We see more of the person, and it's not as kind of cluttered, right? But I also think when it comes to social that Facebook, well, the thing is everyone's on it. I want to hate it, but I can't. What I do do is I pretty much unfriend or unfollow like a bazillion people. My feed might have like 12 or 13 people that I actually following and love. But I think it's where everyone goes every single day, and so it's a platform that can't be ignored. But some of my younger audiences ... So I have clientele like MTV and Nickelodeon, some of those brands, they're not on Facebook like ever. But they're definitely on Insta. So I think the key for anyone is knowing where their audience is. Twitter is just easy and I'm there because of my audiences. It's easy to group by hashtag. But if I had to rank them it would be LinkedIn primarily, Instagram second, Facebook third, and then Twitter would be fourth. Jay Baer: I'm going to ask you a couple of things about your use of LinkedIn. Neen James: Yeah. Jay Baer: One, you have, last time I checked, 206 LinkedIn recommendations, which may be the most LinkedIn recommendations I have ever seen. What's that all about? Are you doing something like a LinkedIn recommendations farm? Neen James: No, it's deliberate, and every single one of those people is a real human if you click on it. Jay Baer: No, I'm not suggesting they're not. You must have some sort of a process by which you are nudging people for that Neen James: Yes, yes, yes. Now, there's several reasons ... Jay Baer: It sounds like an attention system it what it sounds like. Neen James: Surprise. I know. I have to actually walk my talk, right? But when it comes to LinkedIn, what I believe is people are more likely to believe what other people say about you than what you say about you. So if I can have a meeting planner or an executive leader, a CEO of an organization, if they write a recommendation for me, then that is their endorsement of me into the world in their words. I'm not helping them script any of that. There's several ways you can leverage LinkedIn recommendations. In my case, I have always diligently asked for this. So I think the first thing you have to do, and as social media managers we can do this, right? But when you work with people, ask them, "Would you feel comfortable recommending me on LinkedIn?" You can send them the actual link and say, "Jay, please endorse me," right? Now, that's one way of doing it. Another way of doing it that I have done my whole career is I randomly write recommendations for other people, not with any expectation of anything in return. And so I often do this when I see a speaker and I love what they say, I will write them a LinkedIn recommendation. It sends them a note that says, "Hey, Jay. Neen has recommended you." Now, sometimes because Jay's a good human, he might turn around and say, "Oh, I would like to recommend you as well." But I'm not doing it for that reason. My system is if I see something and I like it, I talk about it. Now, people may or may not want that recommendation. It's totally their choice about putting it on their profile. But I believe that when we can have this opportunity, it's what I call systemized thoughtfulness. When you have this system of attention on others, then it is going to help grow their business, their profile, their reputation. Another thing that I do is, and we all get this no matter what kind of work you're in. Sometimes people write you like a really kind email. So they might say, "Hey, I love that campaign us did. It made such an impact on our customers or our product." What I would do is I would take that email and I would send it back to them and say, "Would you feel comfortable just pasting these words into a LinkedIn recommendation," right? Jay Baer: Sure. Sure. Neen James: Our friend Scott Stratten is brilliant at doing this. He does it through texting. So I use email most of the time. But sometimes if you make it really easy for people, tell them what you want them to do. Take the email, just cut and paste that exact email. Just that sentence is all they need, and so what I find is people want to do that. Now, what we used to try and do is after every event, we'd ask the meeting planner to write us a recommendation. Jay, you and I know, meeting planners have 50,000 more important things to do than write a speaker recommendation, and they also moved onto their next event. So we don't do it that way anymore. But what we do make sure we do is that we stay in contact with them. I'm also very deliberate about reaching out in advance to people before an event. So I usually connect with my meeting planners and the people who hire me in advance of the event, and then I have to chance to stay connected with them after the event. So I think you just got to know your audience, but the system is very simple. Just ask but make it a part of your process. Jay Baer: The other thing that you do is you connect with people on LinkedIn and then you just say, "Can I give you a copy of my book?" How does that system work? Neen James: So when we were publishing Attention Pays, we identified that I had 75 ... We went and found in my own already existing network, 75 people who were very significant in the roles that they had within the corporations they served, and they really visible influence. So what I did was I created a spreadsheet with their LinkedIn information and I reached out to them all individually as a personal message and said, "I've just published this book. If you believe it would be beneficial for your leaders, I'd love to send you a copy." Now, of the 75, I still have maybe I think 27 who I haven't heard back from, and I had two people say, "No, thank you," and that's great because I also said after I sent them a second message because some of them didn't see it, and I was like, "It's okay just to say no. I don't want your book." That's totally okay because not everyone wants a book, right? What we didn't blatantly do is send out 75 copies unsolicited to these influential people. Now, as a result of that, what's been fascinating has been the conversations that happen. I took it a step further. What I did was when someone said, "Yes, I would like a copy of your book," I'd find out something unique about them. So maybe one of my clients is a huge fan of the Spurs. So I found an artist who could create, and I didn't even know Spurs was like a basketball team but it is. Jay Baer: Yes, it is. Neen James: So I found like their famous player, had an artist do a beautiful drawing of this particular player, and then I ship it up to their office. I found someone who had always wanted to be a flight attendant, and she had visions of working for Pan Am. So I found on Ebay these Pan Am luggage tags that were vintage. So I sent it with the book. Now, here's my point around all of this, if I'm about attention, I better also walk my talk. So what this says is I paid attention to something that was important to you, a charity you support, an aspiration you had as a child, a team that you love to support, and my gifts, not always expensive, just showed them that I thought of them. That's how you pay attention. I still believe in lumpy mail. In our world of social media where everything is digital, I believe analog systems get results, and so being able to send lumpy mails. You did this with your book once. You and Daniel. I got a fabulous box of ... My god. This pink headband, which is hysterical, a gorgeous alpaca. I got some cookies to eat, which, by the way, I may or may not have consumed them all without sharing, and the book. Like brilliant way to get attention. And so I think we've just got to be more clever in the way we approach things. It doesn't have to cost you a lot of money, but it does need to be different. Jay Baer: You are one of the people that I was thinking about when we wrote the book Talk Triggers, not because of the contextual model, the help that you gave us, although that's part of it, but also because when I was first kind of kicking around this idea about how word of mouth is more powerful than ever, even in the social media era where word of mouth has wings in a way that didn't use to. The offline word of mouth, where you're just sitting next to somebody or you're on the phone or you're doing a video call or even an email, and somebody makes a concrete recommendation to you, that carries so much weight today because we're surrounded by all this bullshit, right? All of this like noise and the reason I thought about you is because I don't know, and I mean this sincerely, that I have ever in my entire life had a conversation with somebody who was as enthusiastic about a product or service as you are about Peloton. Neen James: Obsessed. The word you are looking for, my love, is obsessed with my Peloton. Jay Baer: You told me about that at one point. I don't even know if you remember, and I was like, she is so fired up about this that there's got to be something there. Now, in contrast to what I say in my own book, I have yet to, obviously looking at me, purchase a Peloton system. I am still trying to live on the beer and beef jerky diet. However, I want you to talk about your experiences with Peloton, and you are such an incredible, unofficial ambassador for that brand, just quickly explain to folks what Peloton is in case they don't know. Go. Neen James: Yeah, absolutely. Peloton is really just an exercise bike, but the difference is it's a spin bike in your home with a tablet attached, and what that does is allows you to participate in classes that are streamed live from their studio in New York or you can watch them on demand. So just think about that, how many people have a piece of exercise equipment in their house that had great aspirations of using but never do. Here's the different, right, as Jay raises his head, here's the difference, now, I've had my Peloton for let's say less than 18 months, right? And years and years ago I loved to spin class, but I hadn't been. I didn't want to join a gym. The lifestyle Jay and I have chosen means participation in a gym is very challenging because we're always on the road, right? But for the times when I'm home, I want to be able to work out at a time that suits me. Peloton was designed by a gentleman called John Foley who was trying to think how can I scale this experience of being in a studio spinning, and that's when he came up with this brilliant technology. He will tell you it's a technology company. But here's what fascinating from a case study of attention, word of mouth appetizing, talk triggers. He has created a community with over 100,000 people in their Facebook group who are obsessed with their Peloton. I mean, obsessed. Let me just give you an example. He has created celebrities in his instructors. Each of them are very diverse personalities and skillsets, everything from a professional bike rider, an actual cyclist, all the way through to fantastic downstairs. Like every one of them, very good looking, very fit, very amazing. So they then create their own communities. People get attached to an instructor, myself included. So much that I love my instructors classes, she's a bit of a drill sergeant. I thought I wonder what she's really like. So I started to stalk her a little on social, as you do, and I discovered she had a personal training business. So not only did she do personal training but she did it through FaceTime. So I hired her as my personal trainer because I can work out with her in my hotel room or in my house. And so what was also interesting was not only that there's an engaged community, not only that their celebrity status, but what John has done is that he has rewarded the community by having instructors participate in the conversations, he sends them out into the stores to meet people, and just this past weekend, which is hysterical, one particular Facebook group that I write with called J.J.'s Group, because we all like Jennifer Jacobs as our trainer, flew from all over the country for the weekend to New York just to ride together in a dark studio. If that's not crazy, I don't know what is. My husband said to me when I got off the train, he said, "Let me just understand this, you got up at four in the morning to catch a train to New York to ride a bike in a dark studio. A bike that you own in your own home." Jay Baer: You already have one. Neen James: "That you pay for and you paid extra to be in studio." I was like, "Yeah, that about sums it up." I know I sound like a lunatic on this podcast, but that's the level of product loyalty, brand loyalty that I think John Foley is genius in what he has created, and I think I'm pretty sure, surely they're going to do an IPO because ... And then he created a treadmill and then everyone bought this abhorrently priced treadmill, which is very different, and now it's got its own community as well. I mean, Jay, I think he will take over the home fitness equipment, the whole industry. The guy's genius. So yeah, I am obsessed, and here's what's also cool, a friend of ours that we know, he pulled me aside at a conference recently when we were together at the National Speaker's Association, and he said to me, he said, "Look, I saw you posting all over social about this stupid Peloton. My wife owns a Peloton and I thought what on earth is she all about." He said, "I went upstairs. I did the ride." He said, "You know what, I lost 10 pounds." I mean, stop it, that's amazing to me. So when people posting on social, sometimes it makes us crazy that they post about their workouts, but maybe, just maybe it inspires them to take action. Jay Baer: I love it. You keep working on me, Neen. I'm going to take you up on that one of these days. Neen James: Yes. Jay Baer: Maybe. Neen James: You would love it. I'll meet you in New York. We'll go to the studio. Jay Baer: Yeah, I'm probably not going to do that, but thank you. Because you are such a systems thinker, I think that is the only way that you could've possibly accomplished this next fact. You, Neen James, went from having never run at all to running a marathon in ... Okay, listen to this, Social Pros folks, five months. Went from never running at all to running a marathon in five months. That's crazy. Neen James: Maybe so. Jay Baer: That requires a system. Neen James: It does, but what you're listeners can't see is I do not have a runner body at all. Let's just say I am 4'10.5", that's very important to know, and I am what one might call top heavy. So I am not built for running. Nothing about my body says runner ever, right? But it was a challenge of a friend who I was in a fairly stressful time, and he was addicted to running. I was like I don't have a runner's body. You're a lunatic. He said, "You should try it." So I was on a dare that I tried the run, just so you know. So I went to a running store, bought all the gear I found, and I said to the person behind the counter, "I spent all this money on fabulous gear," and he said, "Who do you run with?" I was like, "Oh, honey, I've never before in my life." I said, "Do you have a running coach?" Because in my world, if you want to get good at something quickly, you hire a coach or a mentor, right? So there's system number one. So he sold me all the gear. I looked really cute. Never run a mile in my life, and so I took the business card of the coach, and I contacted him. I bought all these magazines. There's actually running magazines, and they all said you should do a 5k. I didn't even know what that meant. So I was like, "Okay." So I signed up for a 5k. Had still not run a mile. Still not run a mile, but I would look cute. I had the gear. Right? So then I reach out to the coach, make an appointment to meet him in my local park, and I said to him, "By the way, never run before in my life, but I have a 5k in two weeks. I need you to train me for." Once he got over his shock and horror, he agreed to be my coach. So the system was that I hired a coach and then twice a week I would run with him. Two weeks into my running journey with my coach, I'm like, "Ha. How hard can this 5k be?" And then a friend of ours who you and I both know, a guy by the name of Theo said, "Well, if you're going to call yourself a runner, you should really do a marathon." Now, he had the Marine Corps marathon. He was a runner, and I was like, "How hard can that be?" And because I'm Australian, I know kilometers. I have no concept of miles, even to this day. Like how hard can it be? So then I tell my coach two weeks later, "By the way, I signed up for a marathon." He was like, "Okay. Great. In 18 months time?" I was like, "No, no, no. No. In November of this year." And so my poor coach, god bless him, he would get up in the wee hours of the morning to train me, and that's what we did. I trained with him two, sometimes three times a week, and my system was that I said, "Here's the deadline, now work backwards. How do we reverse engineer this?" Now, just ... Jay Baer: That's how I write books under the exact same way. Neen James: I am a really slow runner. Let's be super, super clear about this. I am not your eight minute mile girl. Jay Baer: Look, I don't even like getting the mail. So the fact that you ran a marathon at any speed is impressive. Neen James: But I had like I designed this playlist. So even to this day, I designed a playlist and I played the exact same playlist every time I ran. So what would happen is my buddy would get used to certain songs, I'd know where I was in my journey. So there's so many things you can do, and to whatever it is you believe you can't do, it's not true. I truly am living evidence of the fact that I had not even run on a treadmill. I never played team sports at school. I am not that girl. And so I think what you've got to think about is what systems do you need to put in place in order for you to invest the attention you have and the time you have and then decide what do you want, what does that look like for you, and then reverse engineer it. Jay Baer: It's one of the challenges I think we have in social is that sometimes our goals, our objectives, our outcomes are somewhat fuzzy or amorphous at times, and so then we're not really sure what we're shooting for, and that creates even more angst and uncertainty and feeling overwhelmed and over tired. That's why the best social media practitioners are the ones who have the most concrete measurement because then at least you know what you're doing, right? Neen James: Yeah. Jay Baer: The measures may be wrong and you may suck at it, but at least you know what the scoreboard is. One of the challenges with social is sometimes the scoreboard can be a little mysterious and I think that can create a lot of unhealthy behaviors and just a lot of extra stress and pressure. Neen James: And the goal post team so much I imagine too. That constantly ... at least with a marathon, you have a starting line. You have an ending line. There is an actual set, and it could take you all day to run it or it could take you several hours to run it. And I think the challenge with some of your listeners is that not only does the scoreboard change but the goal post keep getting moved. And so being able to set these mini targets, these mini goals, both inside the business as well as outside, and that's why I think you've got to think about your attention personally as in who deserves your attention and how you're going to be thoughtful but also professionally, like what deserves your attention, how you going to be productive. I think that balance is really vital. Jay Baer: Neen James this week on Social Pros, my friend. She is the author of the extraordinary book that's helped me a lot. It's called Attention Pays. She's also a dynamic keynote speaker. Fantastic consultant as well. Neen, where should people go to get the book? I know the book is available all the places and ways books can be made available. Would you like them to go to a bookstore or would you like them to go to your website? How would you like them to do that? Neen James: I think I would love them to do whatever makes it super easy for them. Lucky for me, there's only one Neen James online. So that makes it real easy to find me. You can find Attention Pays in all the places that you enjoy buying your books from. Jay Baer: I love it. Neen, I'm going to ask you the two questions that we ask everybody here on Social Pros now dating back many, many years, and just a reminder, folks, we'll have this recording and the transcript from Neen. We'll also put some of the templates that she mentioned as well, and every episode ever and all the links and the stuff is all at Neen, what one tip would you give somebody who's looking to become a social pro? Neen James: Be around publicists. It's your responsibility to be able to speak confidently about how brilliant you are. A publicists is someone how manages the public since she has the good news. Be your own publicist. Jay Baer: Boy, I love that answer. We haven't had that one before. My observation, this is based on nothing other than anecdote-is there's two kinds of social media managers. There are those who are very much their own publicist, perhaps a little too much, and then there are everybody else who kind of got into this because they don't want to be the star. They kind of want to be the people on the keyboard who make the brand the star or make the company the ... They're sort of the cheerleader for the organization, and they don't want to be out front. They want to be behind the scenes a little bit, and so I think your advice of making sure that you kind of take ownership of your own career in many cases is really well founded, and I think a lot of people will appreciate that. Also, you're probably going to change your career. As I mentioned earlier on the show, about 75% of the guests on this show, going back like seven years, whatever, changed jobs within 12 months of being on this podcast. So I don't know what your job would be after this. Maybe professional champagne taster. I know you're big on that too. Neen James: Yes. I would happily do that. Yes. Jay Baer: But I can't promise you this but mathematically speaking, the chances that you will be an author and a consultant in a year are bad now that you've been on the show. The actuarial tape would suggest that you will not continue to do this. Neen James: When you invite you ... Jay Baer: Disclaimer. Yes. Neen James: Yes, exactly. Jay Baer: If you're looking to change jobs, be a Social Pros guest is the best way to do it. I know. I don't know. It's weird. I think it's because everybody gets promoted, right? They're on the show and then their boss is like, "Wow. You're really smart. I didn't know how smart you were. I listen to the podcast. Now I want you to be in charge of marketing. Happens all the time. Happens on the time on this show. It's crazy. Neen James: Great use of their time and attention listening to this podcast. Jay Baer: Last question for you, Neen, if you could do a video call with any living person, who would it be and why? Neen James: Let's say I think some fabulous eye candy would be Hugh Jackman. Now, besides the fact that he is an incredibly talents Aussie, I have admired him for so many years because of not just the fact that he is true to who he is and he's Australian roots. He has flexibility in the way that he sings, the way that he performs. So it's a movial Broadway in whether it's producing one of the most powerful things seeing him do is the Greatest Showman. But you know what else I love about him? He is so committed to his family, his community, and his values, and I think he would make an incredibly fun guest to have a video call with, and I would probably have telly cocktail, which would be where he would have a champagne, and I would have a champagne, and that's how we would do it. Jay Baer: All right. I think we can make that happen. We know somebody who knows somebody. That's going to be my gift to you. You're just going to get like a Skype call. It's going to be Hugh Jackman oiled up holing a bottle of champagne. It'll be fantastic. My new goal in life is to make that happen for you. We're going to do that. You know, I still haven't seen Greatest Showman, which I feel like is a real crime. Neen James: Okay. This is where you need to stop what you're doing and you need to go and watch it. I am making this your prescribed homework. That is what you will do for me, and then you will text me when you have done it. Jay Baer: Okay. I will do that on the next plane that has that movie. I'm going to make that happen, and then maybe I'll go into some sort of ... What did you say? Something about a dark gym where I ride a book with people I don't know. Is that what your recommendation was? Neen James: Yes, yes, yes. Jay Baer: Yeah. Okay. I'll put that on the list too. Neen James is our guest this week on the Social Pros podcast. She is fantastic. Her book is Attention Pays. You can find her all over the internet and social media Neen, N-E-E-N, James. My friend, thanks so much for being here. I appreciate. Neen James: I'm so privileged. Thank you for everything you do in the world. Jay Baer: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen of the Social Pros community, so great to be with you this week. Adam will be back next time. We'll have another fantastic guest on the show. As mentioned, if you go to to, you can get everything we've ever done on this show, which is a ridiculous amount of content. Like if you started to listen to this show and listened to them straight through, it would be like three weeks of your life or some crazy thing like that. So we got you covered and we've had some extraordinary guests on this program including the one and only Neen James. I'll see you next week. I'm Jay Baer from Convince and Convert. On behalf of Adam Brown, from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, this has been hopefully your favorite podcast, Social Pros.  
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