Is Artificial Intelligence Overblown in Social Media Circles?

Is Artificial Intelligence Overblown in Social Media Circles?

Tushar Patil, Founding Partner at Idealyst, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss social at an enterprise level and the current state of A.I.

In This Episode:

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Full Episode Details

The Current State of A.I.

If you’re over the age of 25, you can probably look around your desk right now and see a handful of things that have gone from sci-fi to reality within your lifetime. Something you may not see physically but has become just as impactful, however, is artificial intelligence.

Advances in artificial intelligence have affected a multitude of industries, including marketing. Some praise the integration of A.I. technology, while others recall an eerie resemblance to Terminator’s Skynet. One thing is for sure, though, according to Tushar Patil of Idealyst: A.I. is far from replacing the human marketer.

That isn’t to say that A.I. is useless in marketing. It certainly takes a human touch to understand emotions, the complexity of language, and all of the various subtleties of human interaction. Tushar’s point is that by utilizing A.I. in areas like hard data analysis, you can free yourself from the tedium of being a “data junkie” and focus your efforts on giving that data context and bringing more value to your business and your customers.

In This Episode

  • How social is managed at an enterprise level.
  • Why social shouldn’t be sectioned off from the rest of digital marketing in your business.
  • How to balance privacy with analytics.
  • Why the promise of A.I. is still a long way from being delivered upon.
  • How technology is advancing social care.

Quotes From This Episode

“Social used to be thought of as this small niche area that could have one or two community managers, but that’s obviously not the case.” — Tushar Patil

“If you run social in one way and the rest of your digital in its own way, it does not scale well.” — Tushar Patil

“If you’re not doing social care properly, you are already behind where you need to be.” — Tushar Patil

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Episode Transcript

 
Jay Baer: Hi, everybody. It's Jay Baer from Convince and Convert. Welcome to the Social Pros Podcast, the show for real people real work in social media. Adam Brown is off this week so it's just me, but boy, I tell you what, I had a fantastic conversation today with Tushar Patil who is the Founding Partner of Idealyst, a global social media consultancy that works with enterprise organizations all across the planet on how to operationalize social at scale, how to use technology, people and processes to do social better, talked a lot about analytics, talked about [inaudible 00:00:30], talked about WeChat and how we in America don't really understand just how powerful WeChat is in China and beyond.
We talked of artificial intelligence and how that may or may not impact the job and the role of social media marketers moving forward. We talked about how social media customer care should be handled. We covered a whole bunch of stuff in this episode. You are going to love it. He's a very smart man with a lot of interesting ideas. Please welcome Tushar Patil to this week's Social Pros Podcast. 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 every one 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, et cetera. 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 bitly/socialb2bguide. That's bitly/socialb2bguide and get the complete guide to social media for B2B marketers from Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Also this week, this show's brought to you by ICUC.
They've just put together an amazing offer for Social Pros listeners like you. Check this out. You can go to their site and you can get a free seven-day access to monitor up to 50 of your business locations and see exactly how your business is doing on online search, local reputation, monitor and take a look at your competitors and how they're doing as well, and a bunch of other features. It is a BAFO offer. It's really great. Go to ICUC.social, okay? It's not dot com, it's dot social. Letter I, letter C, letter U, letter C dot social slash audit. ICUC.social/audit. You're going to learn something, I guarantee it. Download it right after the show and get started. It's going to be great, and as always, this week's episode is brought to you by Convince and Convert Consulting.
If you need help with your social strategy, that's all we do. We do it for the most interesting brands in the world, and I think we can help you, too. Go to convinceandconvert.com. And now, this week's episode of the Social Pros Podcast. Here we are with another edition of Social Pros. Tushar Patil who is the Founding Partner of Idealyst joins us on the program this week. My friend, thank you for being on Social Pros. How are you?
Tushar Patil: I'm doing good, Jay. Thank you. I'm happy to be on this show.
Jay Baer: So, tell me a little bit about Idealyst. I think it's an interesting company because you are the digital arm, the digital brain trust of a larger organization, ATCS. Talk a little bit on how the company was formed. I know you were right there from the beginning, and why you and your compatriots thought it made sense to build out a whole digital social structure in the organization.
Tushar Patil: Yeah, absolutely, Jay. It's always a great story to share and I love to talk about it. So, I'm a Partner in ATCS, which is Advanced Technology Consulting Services. We are about 300 people globally with 10 offices in different international locations including Europe, China, our developing centers in India, and we also have offices in Australia in addition to our four offices in North America, and as we were … I was actually introduced into the world of ATCS through its founder, Manish Krishnan, who was actually in business school with me. We went to Columbia Business School together. That's where we actually met, and over the years, we were trying to figure out how we could do something together.
And ultimately it boiled down to me joining ATCS and starting a vertical within that  focused on digital services because we both saw how the services industry was evolving in general. ATCS was a traditional IT development shop with a lot of business consulting focused into the automotive sector in particular. We wanted to diversify some of those capabilities, not just from a business to industry standpoint, but also truly from what we did within those services, so services under ATCS with the digital side in focus. What really started happening was as we started getting into it, we realized that social was becoming increasingly important and was a great starting point for us to get into the digital space, because as a consulting company we always wanted to have some niche or some particular focus area.
That always helps us tell a better story to our clients as to what we are doing in that space. So, we started with social media. I started the vertical about four years ago, and as I was coming into the space, what I immediately realized was that social media at an enterprise scale wasn't a problem that had necessarily been solved from a consultative technology architecture services operation standpoint. As I was looking at what the podcasters in general and talks about, I was really pleasantly surprised to see that there's an enterprise focus as part of this discussion, which was very, very interesting to note. So, as I came on to the space, I learned that there was not much being talked about from a social media architecture, in particular technology architecture.
So, set about to create the first real enterprise architecture for how a large enterprise should think about social from a people, process, technology standpoint, and what kind of technology should be put in place. How does it all piece together into one cohesive solution that the company can use across different brands, across different geographies, markets and so forth? [inaudible 00:06:31] make it an enterprise scale solution. As for the name, we decided quickly that going to marketing, telecommunications and such other parts of the business, it didn't really make too much sense as going as a purely tech company. That was not the intent of Idealyst anyway, so that's one of the reasons that we decided to have a different brand name for the digital services, which is now Idealyst.
Jay Baer: When you think about those programs and doing this enterprise at scale social architecture, which do you think through or address first? Is it the technology, is it the people, or is it the process? And ultimately all three [inaudible 00:07:14] tools must be present, or this tool tips over, but which leg do you think about first?
Tushar Patil: We usually would have to start with people, and the reason for that is that organizationally how a particular company or a particular group is set up is very critical to then set up a process and the technology. For example, in most organizations, what you may find with social media is that they're organized by brands, and then agencies working in those brands, and typically in silos as well. We're increasingly seeing this now, by the way, but at that time, we saw few organizations that were centrally organized around social. That's where we immediately saw that, okay, even if we had the siloed organization, what kind of structure would actually work best within that siloed organization from a technology and a process standpoint that could serve that type of organization? So we always start with people first.
Jay Baer: Do you feel like most enterprise social media organizations are understaffed, overstaffed, right size staffed or maybe just people are deployed in the wrong way?
Tushar Patil: I would be doing a disservice to most of the folks that I work with if I said they were overstaffed. I think they are heavily understaffed across the board. That again goes back to how social was being thought of within companies. It used to be thought of as this small niche area that you could have one or two community managers working a Facebook or a Twitter handle, and that was all that was needed, and that's obviously not the case.
Jay Baer: Yeah. I find that a lot of [inaudible 00:08:49] executives don't really understand how much time and effort it takes to do social well, whether it's social care or social marketing, and I think that's even more true now than it has been in the past given the creative level that you have to bring to the table to be effective in social. When social was primarily a written medium, it didn't take as long, but now you've got to a lot of custom graphics, you got to do a lot of videos in many cases, and that all takes time and money that I don't think has fully been reflected in people's budget and headcount.
Tushar Patil: Absolutely, and to top it all, social is not siloed any longer, and it shouldn't be siloed any longer. It should be integrated into broader digital efforts in a company. Social becomes the cornerstone of many digital transformation efforts that we're seeing happening now.
Jay Baer: It's a method of conveyance more so than a department. You wouldn't have a radio department in your company, so ultimately if social is a layer, why would you have a social department? I think you're absolutely right and we're seeing that more and more with our clients at Convince and Convert as well, people thinking about social more as an execution style more so than a department in its own right.
Tushar Patil: Absolutely, and that is critical because if you run your social in one way, and the rest of your digital in its own way, it's going to be a little bit challenging, and it also does not scale well. It's not economically feasible for companies to have these very siloed approaches to their digital channels.
Jay Baer: And it also confuses customers, too, because you see this where brands have one particular tone even, or aesthetic style in social, and that is much different than the tone and aesthetic style they have in other forms of digital and certainly offline. I just feel like that sends mixed messages to customers and prospective customers.
Tushar Patil: Yes it does. Obviously and also producing the content over and over again separately, having a completely different philosophy and approach to your social channels versus the rest of your digital media, all of these things become very complicated. Now, you might want to use social in some cases specifically because you're doing a particular target, and that requires maybe a completely different one, and that's fine, but that doesn't come at the cost of keeping social in its own box.
Jay Baer: One of the areas of expertise that your team brings to the table, Idealyst, is a deep emphasis on metrics and analytics. How in your estimation has social analytics changed in the last couple of years?
Tushar Patil: I think it's going through a huge change even as we speak, primarily with privacy concerns coming in, GDPR which is regulation in Europe to protect privacy of individuals. Social analytics is becoming increasingly challenging from the data that's being shared by platforms to third parties, and how that data can now be utilized by marketing teams or brand teams or agencies to create their campaigns. You could still get a good pulse of things on social through the data that's been shared, but I think social broadly today is trying to figure out how to keep the privacy concerns addressed and respected, but at the same time be able to give marketers the tools that they need to make sure that their messaging goes to the appropriate audiences. It's this balance that has tremendously changed in the last two years. I think that's been the most seismic change if you will in social analytics today.
Jay Baer: It's interesting when you talk about this balance between privacy and having the data necessary to do good targeting, whether it's organic or paid. It reminds me very much of when Google a few years ago stopped showing keywords in Google Analytics for organic search, right? It was “keyword not found” and that level of opacity makes it sometimes more difficult to do your job, but they're also trying to balance the privacy considerations on the other side.
Tushar Patil: Yeah, that's true, and we also have to learn how those privacy concerns, where they actually stop versus where they are becoming a genuine issue, right? It's more of a regulatory body discussion, but even as practitioners, what we need to understand is that for example, if I were to create a target audience based purely on aggregated anonymized data, which was an approach that was being used in certain cases already, even Facebook did that in fact, the privacy concern is not restricted in terms of I would say the accessibility of that data at an aggregate or anonymized level, and you can still, marketers can still get what they want. I think where it crosses the line is when you know individually, that is Jay that I know that I have to target for XYZ. That's when it's starting to really freak people out.
Jay Baer: Yep. I think the same thing is true in direct mail. I guess we don't talk about it as much, but the same privacy considerations are present there as well. One of the things that we're seeing a lot, and I'm sure you are as well, is as organic social becomes more difficult to achieve reach and engagements and it's just harder to rely on organic social to drive website traffic or any other enterprise business value, we're starting to see more brands rely on influencers to say, “Maybe messages that are created and disseminated by the business would be better off if those messages were instead or in addition to created and disseminated by real people.” I suspect you're seeing similar things in your work. Where do you put the influencer marketing discussion these days?
Tushar Patil: Influencers and reporting on influencers, what they're saying about the specific brand or the topic in hand is included in almost every single listening report that we do, and it's for the reason that you're mentioning. It's a great medium today that exists for marketers to actually reach their audiences directly or indirectly through these influencers, because it becomes a real voice, number one. It's also a voice that the audience trusts, and so influencer management, if done correctly within compliance rules which there are compliance rules on influencer marketing as well, can be very, very effective and we are seeing a lot of that happening, not just from a listening and analytics standpoint but actually in practice.
Jay Baer: We talk a lot in marketing these days about the present and future of machine learning, the availability of big data, artificial intelligence, and there's I think a lot of conversations in marketing about what does this mean for marketers? Are the robots going to take our jobs? What do you feel is the end game as it relates to AI and machine learning in the field of social? To me I think the risk is a little bit greater in other forms of digital, i.e. email and others, but when it comes to social, how do you see this type of technology being applied, and should professional marketers be concerned that they'll be disintemediated by a technology stack?
Tushar Patil: Sure, so I'm going to take a slightly contrarian view on this in the sense that I think machine learning, particularly in the space of social, natural language processing, I don't quite see the full promise being delivered yet. I think there's a lot of learning that needs to be still done for it to be duly effective, and even doing the function that you're saying, replacing individuals or jobs. But if you really look at the use cases for applying machine learning to social media data, or any kind of data for that matter, the actual utilization of algorithms that are being realistically used in most fields, I'm not saying all fields, but in most fields, is actually still scratching the surface. We do hear a lot about it.
We do hear a lot of conversation about it, but real strong use cases that are actually being productively used by businesses are still few and far between. That's number one. Secondly, I think the data that machine learning even uses today is still also primarily English based if you really think about it. Most of the tool sets and everything work well in English-
Jay Baer: Definitely. Absolutely.
Tushar Patil: … but as soon as you cross that boundary of going globally, that dramatically drops in effectiveness of any of that accuracy. Take sentiment even for example as a very simple case. Sentiment accuracy, if somebody comes and tells me they have a sentiment engine that's 60% accurate and really understands 60% accuracy doesn't mean that the engine understands that the word bad is a bad thing, and evil is the evil thing. If it really understands that in context and says that that 60 to 70% accurate, I'm impressed by that. Many people will come and say it's 80, 85% but they're just saying that it's literally understanding the language. That's a completely different application of machine learning or even applying any kind of intelligence to data.
But if we took the case of sentiment, and I've had a lot of discussions when we have global clients and we talk with clients in China for example, they laugh at people who say it's 60, 70% accurate, and rightly so. So, I think there's obviously a lot of learning that needs to be done at a global scale from machine learning, but even restricting the case let's say to the English language, the function of the marketers does not actually necessarily get limited because they are using machine learning. I think it actually expands it, and there are a couple of reasons for this. Number one, the amount of data that's available is increasing astronomically, so we need to have tools, we need to have algorithms that can sift through that data and give us a reasonable picture of what's happening as best as it can.
And that should be taken with a grain of salt, even those results. But then the function of the marketer or the analyst really becomes in taking that data and then giving it a context to the business or the product or the brand, and that's really the key function of the marketer, right? It's not necessarily being a data junkie and going through Excel sheets with volumes and hundreds and thousands of lines and trying to figure out what the actual trends and things like that are. The machine should do that. The marketer should stay focused on how to use that data for what they're trying to achieve.
Jay Baer: I love your perspective on that. I think it's super interesting and you're spot on that social is so nuanced and differs so much from platform to platform and from country to country that the application of NLP and AI is more difficult at scale in social than it is in email or SEO or even web page construction on the fly. I think it's a really good perspective. One of the things that I know you spend a lot of time on which is near and dear to my heart, having written a book called Hug Your Haters, is social care. Do you think companies are getting better at social care on the whole, or getting worse at social care?
Tushar Patil: Interesting question.
Jay Baer: I'm not just [crosstalk 00:20:23] your clients. Your clients are definitely getting better. I know you were going to say that, but in general, I feel like at one hand people are more aware of what social care means and how it needs to be handled, but it continues to grow and then customer expectations are also heightened now in social care, so I'm not sure that the end result is positive.
Tushar Patil: Yeah. I think let's start off by saying that if you're not doing social care properly, or even trying to do it properly, you are already behind where you need to be. So, a lot of people nowadays, and especially as the use of social changes, people are almost inclined to go to social first if they want to complain about anything, or they want to talk about something. If you're not-
Jay Baer: Especially if they feel like they need a quick answer. That's been the research that we've done on that point says that it depends a lot on what your expectation is. If it's like, “Well, it's not going to do any good to complain now because I can't really fix it,” then people will tend to gravitate toward other contact mechanisms, but if they think there's a chance for quick or immediate resolution, then yeah, social is the first choice, and not to mention the fact, I'm sure this has happened to you, it's definitely happened to me, and it's probably happened to just about every listener, almost everybody has an experience where at one point they try the legacy channel, right?
They called or they emailed or they whatever and they're like, “Yeah, I didn't really get very good response,” or “It took forever, I didn't hear what I wanted to hear, and then I went to social, and I got a much better, faster response,” so the next time you have a problem, what are you going to do? You're going to go to social first. So, I think everybody has experienced that.
Tushar Patil: Yes, exactly, and it's almost a little bit around public shaming, but maybe it's also a little bit around making other people aware of certain problems and products you might have, so I think there's intent from people to do both things. They want other people to know that there's something wrong, but they also want to make sure that they're heard because if they make some noise on social, usually they're going to be heard. But from a company standpoint, let's talk about a company. I think from a company standpoint, it's still a great channel for addressing customer issues and complaints, or even questions. It's also a great funnel for your marketing or your sales side because it actually turns into leads, and there's technology now that seamlessly connects your social platforms, your social presence with your social customer care teams.
And they're able to respond to social questions from the same tool that they might be using for other customer care questions, and that's tremendously powerful because now you don't have to have necessarily a specialized team just sitting on social to answer questions. That same person could be actually answering questions coming in from the phone and then be able to change gears and talk on social, and technology makes this possible. We work with a lot of Salesforce customers as well where we do [inaudible 00:23:30] integration between Social Studio and Service Cloud which is a customer care product from Salesforce. There's almost zero argument when I'm doing it if you have the tools in place.
Jay Baer: It's a huge … you're exactly right. It really changes the game. In fact, when I wrote the book which was authored in late 2015, came out 2016, one of the chapters is about, “Hey, we really don't have a lot of the software necessary to connect different channels of customer conversation,” and so typically you've got dedicated social media reps, which is better than not having that, but it's inefficient at scale because you have to have one team that does phone and one team that does social or whatever, and sometimes they have different styles and tones and this contributes to inefficiencies and inconsistencies in your customer approach, but you're exactly right.
Now, that problem is largely solved or on the way to being solved, and obviously Adam, who's not here today, but as the Executive Strategist for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, he'd be delighted at your recommendation of the stack and obviously Salesforce is the presenting sponsor of Social Pros and has been for many years, so thank you to them.
Tushar Patil: One thing I would like to add as well before we move on from this topic is the existence of these technologies and their integration, what it also allows us to do for the social team is now we're able to isolate the functions of the community manager for example, versus a customer service agent. Previously they used to be one and the same [crosstalk 00:25:02] for the most part, and that's not there [crosstalk 00:25:06].
Jay Baer: In the same day, can you please make us money and save us money? Well, yeah, but that seemed like a big ask.
Tushar Patil: Yeah, and the specialization of the job is lost as well, right? A community manager may not always have all the tool sets necessary to be a good, give good answers to customer service questions and vice versa, so I think that fundamentally actually just realigns and sets the organization properly for handling social care.
Jay Baer: Given the fact that we can now arm social care agents with technology that allows them to also handle enquiries via phone, email, live chat, et cetera, do you feel then that social care personnel should report into the customer service function in the enterprise organization, or should they be in the social team, or in the marketing team at large, or some other department or division?
Tushar Patil: I think the lines can blur very quickly. My opinion, and I'm sure it can be challenged quite easily, is that they should stay in the customer service teams, but that should not stop them from physically sitting in one location maybe with the social team, like in a social media command center for example, or a command center in general which has different pieces of digital media and analog media coming into that command center from an information processing standpoint. We just need those information processing centers and we could totally have cross functional teams working in those centers.
Jay Baer: One of the things I wanted to ask you about is WeChat, and I know the organization, Idealyst, and your team, you do a lot of work globally, and I think a lot of our American listeners don't fully realize frankly how far behind the curve America is in terms of its embrace of messaging apps like WeChat as really a be-all-end-all- do-all way to interact with companies both on the purchase side and on the service. Can you talk a little bit about the power of WeChat and just where you see messaging going as opposed to social platforms per se as a customer contact avenue?
Tushar Patil: Yes, absolutely. I think WeChat is a little glimpse into the future in my view because it's what is considered as a super app, number one, and to your listeners that aren't familiar with WeChat is this social media … It's called like a social media platform but it's really more than a social media platform which does messaging obviously, as you mentioned, but it also has ability to build apps within WeChat that you can do very specialized functions. There's a great video that everybody can look up online. It's a New York Times video which is like a five minute clip which talks about WeChat and [inaudible 00:27:51] five minutes to really get to understand the power of it even better than I'm describing it.
Jay Baer: Great. We'll link that up in the show notes on socialpros.com for listeners as well.
Tushar Patil: Yeah, awesome. So basically when you look at that and you see all the functionality that's happening, many people in China actually will not even go out with their wallet. All they need is their phone charged up obviously and WeChat connection and they're able to do everything that they need to do on WeChat. If you're not using WeChat in China, you might actually not be able to do certain things because you don't have WeChat, to the extent that interestingly even things like healthcare are going on WeChat, which is now people actually subscribe and get to these virtual online hospitals which exist on WeChat. It's just the power of the tool is just tremendous and it's very, very immersive experience for anybody that's using WeChat because they're able to do literally everything that they want to do all within WeChat.
That's very different from how we experience social media and messaging apps. We look at them as very different channels and having different … deal with different apps on our phone to actually [inaudible 00:29:03].
Jay Baer: We think of Facebook and Facebook Messenger as two things, partially because Facebook has set it up that way, but WeChat is those things plus a super robust commerce engine plus a bunch of other things.
Tushar Patil: Yeah, exactly. I think that's where … That's also just, as you were talking about it, shifting topic a little bit, but it talks a little bit to the battle that's going on in the social space. If you look at how Facebook is, Facebook has tremendous global presence and the depth in going to these different markets. WeChat on the other hand has tremendous functionality and cross functional capability, but it's very deep. 90% of WeChat's users are in China, and the reason for that is, and also WeChat in China is different than the WeChat that we actually have access to outside of China completely, two different applications, because on the external front you don't have all of the tools and capabilities and the applications that are for the users that are in China.
The one that you get outside is pretty much like a messaging tool, no more than that. Now, that's shifting a little bit, so now WeChat is building payment capabilities in WeChat for 20 plus countries from the last time that I heard about it, and so they're expanding that particular business model to now other markets outside of China. We're going to see a very, very interesting battle in the space as we … in the two, three years, of where this ends up because Facebook on the other side is also building its capabilities now to maybe counter some of these capabilities, and it's so large and so big and so be able to almost muscle its way into things. It's going to try start challenging some of these other apps like WeChat.
Jay Baer: Do you think that Facebook would take WhatsApp would be the most logical candidate which they also own, and add enough features to WhatsApp so that it becomes on par with WeChat in terms of what it can do? It's always interesting why we have this super app in China that does everything, and while we certainly have the technology to theoretically do that in the U.S. we have this much more fractured landscape.
Tushar Patil: Yes, and that's where technology has always been interesting that way, right? Because it's almost like a technology leap happened in China, because it started later, it was able to already foresee what capabilities were needed and started addressing those very quickly. But it's also market specific mentality. I think the question is would we trust Facebook in doing all the transactions we need to do or not? It becomes a little bit of a cultural issue as well in terms of what we trust in doing what transactions and where we want to do that. I think it's changing. I think we are seeing a lot more crossover in different functions, but that's going to take a little bit of time just because it started much earlier.
I think to your WhatsApp question, I won't be surprised if Facebook engineers right now are doing maybe exactly that same thing that you're saying, or should be now that they've heard it.
Jay Baer: Right. I don't think I'm the first one to give them that idea, but I'm sure they're already working on it. Let me ask you a question, a line of questions that we talk with most of our guests about. How did this happen for you? You're in business school at Columbia and fast forward some years and all of a sudden now you're running this global social media consulting firm. That is not what you went to school for, obviously, so how did that happen?
Tushar Patil: No, I went to business school to go to Wall Street, and I chose a very unfortunate time. It was when the Wall Street crash actually happened and there was 70,000 highly qualified finance professionals that were there, and there was no chance that I would get a job. So-
Jay Baer: So like, “Hey man, let's do social media. That's the next best thing. Good plan.”
Tushar Patil: Yes, it was … so I had been doing technology for a while before that, so I've done a lot of work in SAP, the enterprise resource planning software, and I feel like that gave me a lot of background and understanding of how businesses actually function and use technology. I was doing independent consulting as well, so as an independent consultant you do have to figure out how to sell your services to clients and have them understand your capabilities and be able to have that repeat business from that same client and have new clients. So there was this basic mix there anyway, but when I met with Manish in business school, we actually talked almost for two, three years after that in terms of how to engage.
Once we did engage, it happened rather quickly. It's almost like you cannot predict when you actually start something where it's going to end up. We were going to give it a shot for one or two years and see what happened, and it's been [inaudible 00:34:08] I'll go back to my independent consulting. That's far from where we ended up, but really speaking, I think the success of any consulting firm in my mind actually happens when you're able to find that one specific or two specific or whatever areas you choose to work in, you become the expert in that space to the point where you're actually starting to push the boundaries of that space, and fortunately, and I think largely fortunately, you have to have some luck involved in these things.
That's where we found ourselves. So, I found us right in the middle of the time when social was being thought of seriously by organizations and they were thinking about it on an enterprise scale, but there were not really that many companies that were able to then talk to these companies and understand what enterprise scale technology implementation really looks like. And the reason for that is that, most of the traditional technology and services companies, weren't really focused as much on social as a space from a technology standpoint, or people would say like a a [process 00:35:18] standpoint or operations. All that thinking really came from agencies, and agencies had very specific interaction parameters with their clients.
It was about campaigns and driving brands strategy and driving business and marketing through that channel. There wasn't really that much of an expertise on the enterprise technology, and enterprise implementation on the operations side. We fitted right into that gap, where we allow you to talk to our clients and say, “Listen, we have done enterprise scale technology, and we can actually now work with you and your business teams, to bring same vigor that you need to do anything at enterprise scale. We'll bring that same vigor to social. And that's what really got company's attention and it's still getting.
Jay Baer: I'm sure having grown the business and been involved in so many enterprise companies worldwide, you've had a number of interesting experiences. But I wanted to ask you about your time in New York City, when you danced on stage with a Brazilian dance troupe. You don't strike me as a Brazilian dancer, so I'm just wondering how that happened.
Tushar Patil: So yes. Actually people who know me, they will tell you how of a bad dancer I am. In fact they'll tell you that I don't … As a rule I actually don't get on the dance floor. And so when I was actually dating my future wife at the time. It was [inaudible 00:36:54]. We actually went to this show in the city and we happened to be sitting … It was a Brazilian dance show, it was really cool actually. And we were sitting … I was by the aisle and then towards the end of the show, the dancers came out in the aisles and they were starting to pick individuals to go on the dance and stage with them. That's how Brazilians I guess are and they just want everybody to be in it and dancing and everything, and unfortunately-
Jay Baer: And you were trying to avert your gaze, you were like-
Tushar Patil: Yes.
Jay Baer: … “What can I do?”Checking your phone?
Tushar Patil: Yes, absolutely. There were no phones at the time the way that we're used today unfortunately. But they came and they picked me and now I'm on the stage and I'm trying to impress this lady. So I said, “Okay.” It's like that situation where if you go on stage it's a bad deal, if you don't go on stage it's a bad deal.
Jay Baer: Right, right, you can't win.
Tushar Patil: Yeah, exactly. I ended up going on stage and I think those Brazilian dancers, I think probably till today regret having brought me on stage.
Jay Baer: Everybody stream for the exits. I think it's a good metaphor for social, I really do. You don't … A lot of times you don't really know what's going to happen and you're not 100% comfortable, but you have to do it anyway because it moves so quickly and it changes so fast, you've got to suck it up and hope for the best.
Tushar Patil: Thank you Jay for bringing it back to the topic at hand.
Jay Baer: I'm a professional podcaster though, I can make that happen, making in the same way. I want to ask you before I let you go the two questions that we've asked every guest here on this show now, almost eight and a half years of social pros episodes. The first one is, what one tip would you give somebody who's looking to become a social pro?
Tushar Patil: I think understanding social not just from a user standpoint, but from a marketing standpoint is really the first step. And I think just doing analytics on social is a really fantastic way to start and understand how social works. I would really encourage anybody interested in the space, to start looking at how to even do any kind of analytics on social. And by analytics I don't simply mean looking at metrics, [inaudible 00:39:12] impressions and things like that, that's for sure. But I think, they should really start looking at listening, because listening really gives you a great perspective, on how broadly social conversation actually happens , what is the scale of that conversation, how different pieces of those conversations are coming together, and how do people actually interact with brands, with companies, with topics.
It's just a phenomenal way of just understanding how just human beings interact and connect. And that can get people interested in the larger space in a different way I feel, than maybe just approaching it from a campaign standpoint for example.
Jay Baer: I love that idea, this notion of looking at it through an analytical prism first as opposed to what most people do is look at it from a content prism. What a lot of social professionals are attracted by initially is like, “I want to make cool stuff. I want to make videos and photos and posts, and other assets that connect with customers, prospective customers.” But this idea of looking at it as sort of a math problem first and then backing into the creative setting, I think is really interesting. And listeners if you want more about analytics and social listen to our episode that Adam and I did with Chuck Hemann just a few weeks ago. Chuck is the author of the book Digital Marketing Analytics, which is a terrific book by the way.
Look for that episode wherever you would get your podcast or go to socialpros.com and you can find the transcript and that recording. Last question, if you can do a live Zoom video call with any living person, who would it be and why?
Tushar Patil: Living person, okay. I think I would do … I think I would like to speak to Tiger Woods.
Jay Baer: Nice. I think that might be the only Tiger Woods answer in the long history of the program. I'd have to check the database on that, but that's right towards the top. Tell me why.
Tushar Patil: I think he's a fascinating athlete number one. And I think what as a golfer, what I would like to understand is … I think, skill is obviously part of it but there's a mental side to any game and even professionally and even working-wise. I think there's a mental side, to things that actually sometimes determines success and failure. In think just from a pure exhibition standpoint in that skill set of the mental fortitude and making the right decisions in current situations, and being able to then execute on it, I think it would be hard to find better examples than Tiger Woods in his prime maybe, maybe in his prime.
Jay Baer: I agree. I would put Federer and Serena in that category to, where you're so incredibly good at the mechanics but also so good at the psychology of it, and you're out there all by yourself and if you blow it you got nobody to blame. You can't say, “Oh my … Somebody missed the layup.” It's like it's on you. Yeah, I love that answer. I think that'd be a very fascinating conversation. We'll do that. You're a global technology mogul. You can get Tiger Woods on the phone man. Just make a couple of tweets out there and make that happen. That's a total blue [crosstalk 00:42:23].
Tushar Patil: I'm just trying to see if maybe we can have him as a client and handle how he does his social media.
Jay Baer: Here's what we'll do. We'll tag Tiger in the social around this episode. We'll throw the hashtag out there. We'll tag him on Twitter when we throw it. We'll see what happens. Maybe he'll listen to the show and he'll be so enraptured that the call will come.
Tushar Patil: Yeah, I think you can wait for that call, sure.
Jay Baer: That's great. All I want is 10% and I will make it happen. Thanks so much for being on the show, really enjoyed the conversation today. Congratulations on all the success at Idealyst, I-D-E-A-L-Y-S-T dot com enterprise social media consulting services. We'll be back next week here on the Social Pros Podcast. Until then, go to socialpros.com for all the transcripts, recordings, all the extra links. We'll see you next time on social pros.
 
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