Shannon: Welcome to the webinar. I’m Shannon Roddy, your host and founder of Marketplace Seller Courses, online courses, resources and tools for brands, manufacturers and private labels selling on Amazon. With me today I have a special guest, Jun Harada, a social media expert who got into social media during middle school where he grew up in Hawaii. After college, he spent two years at music video giant VEVO building social games and apps, followed by six years at publishing conglomerate Conde Nast, starting as Director of Social Media before moving up to Senior Director of Audience Engagement, Executive Digital Director at W Magazine and lastly, heading up Digital Beauty Innovation and Strategy.
He is currently a partner at Plus 1, a digital marketing agency that focuses on social media strategy, content creation, brand partnerships and paid media. And while at Conde Nast, he paved the way for what would become one of the largest contributors of social media content, currently generating over 5,000 unique videos each year and garnering over a billion views every single month. Out of college he used to teach older financial journalists on Wall Street how to use Twitter.
So Jun, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s a pleasure to have you.
Jun: Yeah, likewise, thanks so much for having me.
Shannon: Today we’re going to be talking about sort of three critical aspects and we’ll break it down but really the importance and role of social media, how to build that following and then how to monetize that following. We spoke a couple of months ago. We’re currently working on a project together, a company that’s launching on Amazon and Jun is handling the social media and all the brand partnerships and I’m handling the Amazon aspect. And so that’s actually how we met.
And I think I’m like a lot of people I had a lot of misnomers about social media. I think both Amazon and social media holds sort of the same view in the world as a world of that people know they’re huge and they know they need to be a part of them but they have no clue how. And those brand really struggle, like I know I need to be on Amazon and I know I need to be on social media but I lack strategy, get caught up on these little different things that might distract me from priorities and values.
And I think collaboratively, we both handle those arenas really well that we take a really complicated world, we break it down very simply and we make the strategy applicable and we gave people actionable steps to help them execute and grow and build their audience in a way that’s going to generate ROI. It’s going to make an impact in their business. And so, I learned probably more in 45 minutes in our conversation than I had in the previous six years on social media, absolutely blown away. I’ve been super excited. So, you’re going to want to stay tuned. But let’s go ahead and start with that first aspect of can you break down for us the importance and role of social media today and what that looks like.
Jun: Yeah. I think to your point, it’s kind of you know where the momentum has gone. Everybody knows that social is big. We talk about Facebook consistently, we talked about Instagram consistently, you know WhatsApp even and start coming to the conversation et cetera. But, when it comes down to figuring out what to do on social media, I think similar to a lot of new media platforms, you know you have these early adopting kinds of experts that disseminate a varied kind of idea of how to build success. And we see a lot of experimentation in this first early 10, 15 years that then create a lot of false positives in terms of what to do and how to grow, and you know I think the classic thing that still brought up today is you see a lot of agencies talk about post timing.
When to send your post and pretty much every single platform has gone to algorithmic which means you go on Instagram and you can see a post from three days ago from your buddy because Instagram has decided that’s when your post should be live at that particular moment for that particular person.
Jun: So, post timing has kind of gone out the window and agencies still use it as you know a form of sort of like expertise, jargon that I think you know just continues to sell a lot of misinformation to the space. But ultimately, social media to me, first and foremost, is a tool for expression. It’s an expression from one human to another. I think it’s important, in fact, essential for us to remember the human aspect behind all of these when trying to crack social media, you’re trying to crack humans, you’re trying crack human behavior and trying to crack what makes people do things, make decisions, get emotional, et cetera.
And you know we’ve seen the efficacy of social media grow tremendously over the last you know handful of years; Facebook’s valuation is sort of the marker for all of that in terms of you know went posting and liking with friends to buying things. And advertising community on social media has just been growing hand over fist to the point where it’s definitely beginning to disrupt a lot of the traditional digital marketing strategies. So, you know, social media is here to stay, it’s going to continue to evolve. I think it’s going to continue to diversify and get more new ones.
But overall, it really has to be part of any brand’s pillar in terms of how they want to get their message across. The demand today from the consumer, in my opinion, is they just don’t expect a more transparent brand which is what we’re seeing between the social and political space. But they expect a more available brand. You know they want a company that they can engage with. And you know we’ve now grown up with brand for the last 10, 15 years who respond through the internet that they respond to questions, comments, all sorts of things. And you know that’s just become an expectation at this point. It has been taken for granted that a well-oiled brand can communicate with their constituency.
Shannon: Yeah, I think that’s usually– we see the same thing on Amazon. Again, there’s so much misinformation and I think that like me, a lot of people again, I knew even from Marketplace Seller Courses, I knew I needed to be on social media, I knew I needed a lot of presence. I have no idea what kind of – which platform should I be on, how often should I post, what time should I post and I realized that I probably spent a majority of my time and energy, the nuance things that as you revealed probably only make a 2% or 3% difference. And I think that’s the biggest thing you know, and I do with the same thing on Amazon. OK, over 55% of all product searches start on Amazon. You have to be on Amazon. It has to be part of your strategy.
Shannon: I think that authenticity, one of the things that you mentioned, really comes through and it does play a part that you know I’d love to get into talking about this to an extent, you know outsourcing aspects of social media. Because certainly in terms of posting and engagement, there are certain aspects – there are things you can do internally, there are things that need to be outsourced. But the communication has to be authentic or people lose that. And I think we see the same thing, again, with the Amazon communication, you know if we just hire somebody that doesn’t really care, they just go through the motion, people feel very personal about that because they’re personally putting themselves out there, expecting a personal response. You know, that it’s a human being on the other side and not just a chatbot. It can make a big difference. So, I think that’s a really key aspect in terms of that review.
Let’s talk about and delve into the importance of focusing on human traits versus digital traits. Because again, we want to focus on the essentials, what are the principles that are going to be long-term? And again, I define a principle as a truth that you can leverage. So, it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter where you are. Those principles are here to stay. The tactics and the strategies and some of the like the little minor things, if it’s a new platform, those are going to change and come and go. But what are the principles that we can rely on that are going to make an impact and actually affect and impact people’s business? So, let’s talk about the human traits versus digital traits. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on that.
Jun: Yeah. This is my personally, my favorite part of social media because – over my career and I think anybody who uses social media in any kind of moderate to heavy way, you’ll understand what I’m saying when I say that the human traits of social media is that the ultimate goal always you know speaking from a brand developing that social media presence or even just individual developing a social presence it says, going to connect with another human. You don’t want to connect with just something random out there. You want to connect with another human.
And when you sort of think about that as if you are in a party or a room or whatever, the number one most important thing is trust, authenticity, you know, these words all help to kind of bolster this concept of trust and you know I think we throw it around trust in a very colloquial way especially in a digital platform. Do you trust this website? Do you trust this brand?
Shannon: Right. Does it have an SSL security lock kind of thing? Yeah.
Jun: Exactly. But ultimately, do you trust that person? And I think social media is particularly sensitive to that because it is a personal expression for the most part still. And the thing that I hope on most as a founding kind of block as a principle is consistency. No human being can be trustworthy if they are not consistent outside of social media, right? If you’re incapable of saying, “I’m going to arrive on a certain time and arriving at that time.” Or saying you know, “My name is Jun.”
Jun: And then next day, it’s still Jun.
Jun: Right. I didn’t lack that consistency. It’s the immediate red flag every human being has it, universally across culture. I don’t trust something that’s not consistent.
Shannon: If I go to your store and it’s open one day, close the next, it’s open early this day, close the next day, this day they have this in stock, the next day they don’t – the consistency aspect. And that was the thing that you mentioned. Every question that I asked, what time should I post? Well, probably and you say consistency. And I’d say, what about this? And you’d say consistency. Oh, what about this aspect? Consistency. And that alone I think permeates a lot of these disbeliefs and misinformation that’s out there about social media.
And the comment that you made that stuck for me is you said the people who have some of the biggest social presence on social media. They’re not these huge companies using all these digital algorithms and digital marketing agencies. It’s spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. They’re teenagers, right? But they have a lot of free time so they post very, very consistently. And I think that speaks to you, the principle that you’re getting at to help people understand consistency is the most important aspect but I hadn’t connected that in terms of trust, in terms of why that conveys such an important aspect to the consumer or the end user.
Jun: Exactly. And when you see a lot of these accounts on social media you know the other side of human component is again, you have to remember that when you’re posting, you’re seeing a very myopic perspective of your social media feed, you’re seeing all of your posts, you’re inundated with your stuff. But everybody else in the world is getting you as a fraction or percent of their daily consumption pattern. Right? When you’re scrolling their Instagram, you have an amalgamation of hundreds if not thousands of data points, individuals, each vying for your attention not to mention ads that are interspersed into that.
Jun: So, ultimately, you’re engaging with that brand or that person in tiny little bursts throughout the day, throughout the week, whatever. And so, you know, you have to make sure you walk in their shoes when you think about how you’re going to be presented. And you know when you get into the tactics of Instagram and they created all those things you know their own important facets of presenting yourself.
But ultimately, when you think about why consistency is so powerful especially on a platform like Instagram or Facebook, it’s because ultimately, when someone is scrolling, and they start to see something that’s familiar and they start to see something that’s consistently showing and it consistently makes me chuckle or consistently makes me smile, consistently gives me some new tip. You know, it’s hilarious. My seven-year-old cousin is just enamored. He just got on Instagram and all he does is interesting facts by Jake. He goes on the internet, he figured out a fact and he shares it. It’s totally random but he does it every day.
Shannon: And he’s seven.
Jun: Interesting facts by Jake and I’ve come to really appreciate it, you know. Most of them I know but some of them are interesting. Every now and again, he surprises me. But what I’ve come to really appreciate is what he’s doing and the consistency with what he’s doing and he gives me something to leverage. I’m like, you know what? I think I know Jake a little better. I think I know him a little better because of how often he’s doing this. It seems he speaks to something about his character. And those are all the human aspects of what’s going on and they supersede the timing, they supersede even the content because what you’re doing is you’re allowing something to connect and that’s why you see these meme accounts exploding, you see these theme pages exploding on social media because what they’re leveraging is that their human tenet around consistency and trust.
Shannon: Yeah. The other thing that you had mentioned and we’ll probably get into this in the next section as we talk about content but you know having sort of core concepts that you focus on and repeating that and you can dissect from different angles, different aspects, different strategies. You know, for me, it’s optimizing listings, launching products and protecting you brands. That’s where we focus on. And so, that’s going to be a good percentage of our content that’s going to be focused around those three aspects.
There’s enough information to fill two years’ worth of social media post just with that aspect of it. But it’s the consistency and as you mentioned I mean there’s Cheddar is one of the things that I subscribe to. I love seeing all the innovative tools and products and stuff that they have discovered. They’ll repost the same video over and over. I’m like, “I saw that video last week.” But you know, 50,000 people who subscribe or you know 50 million however many of this, you know, half of them didn’t see that video last week so they post it again. And so, there is that aspect of core consistency of establishing identity of who I am, this is what I’m about, this is the information I’m conveying and like, like you mentioned, if the information is consistently reliable and helpful then people are going to make you the go-to for whatever that aspect is.
Shannon: One of my favorite quotes is actually I believe it’s by a psychiatrist. He said, “That which is most personal is most general.” And I love that. I worked in film and entertainment I always go back to that quote. When people and brands in particular try to reach everybody, you typically reach nobody.
Shannon: But if you can go after one very specific demographic, if you can share a very personal story that reach everybody. You know, and you look at the movies that touch us you know Forrest Gump, for example, everybody loves that movie because it’s so personal. Its goal was not to appeal to everybody. Its goal was to appeal to like one person in a very, very personal way. But everybody latches on to it.
So, focusing on the human trait versus the digital, let’s get into content creation and content may only be a part of this but how to build a following organically and paid. So I think both of them are part of the strategy but let’s just talk a little bit about that, how to build a following, what that looks like and all the different aspects of it.
Jun: Totally. Totally. So, I think it’s usually the first thing everybody harps on, right, is my following. With social media, it’s trained us by showing us those numbers that the following is a marker of success to this day, still the gold standard. Engaging rates have started to come in to play as a marker but the following is ultimately what people still care about. And if you’re building a brand, you know, their or kind of the superficial aspects of a following and the very important essential aspect of following, right? You want a following so that you can use them to leverage market too. The superficial aspects might be that could make you look a little bit better or shinier than you are punching above your weight class so to speak. You know, both have their place in the world of social media, both have their place in the world of marketing.
When it comes time to build that following though, I think there really are only two ways to do it. The kind of like the slow and steady way or sort of like gas on the fire. Everybody usually wants to do gas on the fire. The precursor to that is that you got to have fire in order to have gas. And so, it always behooves you to start in the organic style where you begin posting, you begin finding your niche. And in the very beginning it can be experimental. It can be a little spotty and varied.
And what I tell most of my clients and most everybody I interact with if they ask me this question of how to grow is those first thousand followers, that might be – if you look at that as the most joyous time of your entrepreneurial career, you might have the most success because what you want to do is every follower, those first thousand, you should consider a personal friend in this stats which is a really cute way of putting but if you think about someone who’s willing to follow a brand when they’re under a thousand followers they are extremely motivated, if they’re a real person, they’re extremely motivated.
Jun: And they’re very curious. And they’re probably like the most core, core, core client you can imagine. And maybe you never imagined that this 65-year-old person is following you, is your core audience. You will want to go after affluent millennials or whatever but for whatever reason they found you and they decided to follow you. You should actually engage with them. You should mind them for information. You should build a relationship with them that is the equivalent of having a regular in your café.
In those first thousand, you can do that as an individual. You can hit them up on DMs. You can like their posts. You can interact with them in a way that’s very personal. And you can engage with them and turn them from being followers and fans into advocates. And to me, that’s when your growth will really catapult. Everybody is so obsessed with virality. They could just go viral.
Jun: Sure, we could just go viral, you’d be a billionaire. Because, if you could just go viral, you could – you’re wanted and you can do whatever you want on social media.
Jun: No one can just go viral. Virality is really truly at the end of the day a measure of one’s ability to connect right to that point, driving an emotional message, it gets people stirred up to the point where they want to share it. Either directly through social media or they tap a friend of their children they’re like, you trying – you got to see what I just saw.
Jun: In the absence of virality which is 99.99% of everybody on the internet you use the personal connection. And the reason I really tout that is because again, going back to the human traits, people make decisions when they’re emotional, plain and simple. You have to get someone emotional before they’re going to feel like they can make a decision; good or bad, yes or no. One way to do it is become annoying, the classic radio jingle. You get so annoyed and he’s like, “God! That song again!” Get them angry. Boom! It got imprinted in their mind. And they’ll always remember it, they might have a negative connotation but they’ll always remember it. The same thing can happen if you reach out to somebody and you decide to kind of just spend some time getting to know them. “How did you find us? Oh my God, I just launched two months ago. Thank you so much for following us. So, what can I tell you about my brand, you know.”
Shannon: So, you think…
Jun: Sometimes the person is going to walk away.
Shannon: I think that that’s so – I mean I think I just want to pause it right there. I think that is dividing line that a majority of brands stuff that.
Shannon: That they want to build followership, they want to build engage– they want people to like and buy and you know we post this and everybody shares and stuff and likes it and you know. And yet for the first 200, 300 people they never reached out or engaged or followed back or liked, you know nothing.
Shannon: And that’s where the money is essentially. I mean I’m not saying that it should be totally focused on finances but because you’re so much more to it, if you go back to what you said originally, it really is about personal relationships it’s just another way to develop them.
Shannon: So, there are people that I actually met on social media that I become very dear friends with, that we work together, that we – you know but it started with I liked the video. And then I commented on it and then I private message them and say, “Hey, we should chat.” You know we have a phone call and then we actually met up in person. And so, I think that that – if people can get over that hump then they will at least get past, past the first barrier which is how do I build and grow in social media. It’s engaged with the first 100.
Shannon: Or the first 500 or like you said before the first 1000. If that’s your core audience, people who are willing to look, like you and listen to you, I think that’s huge. And that comes from like you said, doing those consistent post and getting out there. And I coin this term years ago but yeah, the concept is greatness grows in groups. But it’s essentially, if you and I connect, then we’ve just doubled our resources, we’ve doubled our network connection, we’ve doubled our strategies, information, anything that you could improve of.
The same is true in the social world in a slightly different way where if I connect with just one person and they like my post, it’s now shared with everybody who follows and likes them. So, that aspect is important but we have to remember that what actually comes from or you know what it actually comes down to is that authentic connection and the relationship that I have with that person.
Shannon: And if I bypass that and I’m just trying to get likes and shares and stuff, you’re essentially missing out on the most important aspect of social media which is an opportunity with your brand constituents. So…
Jun: And there’s nothing – there is no downside. Worst case scenario, you learn a lot about your prospective audience, right? You learn about your prospective customers. And the best-case scenario, they become advocates and they walk outside and they go, “You know, I just found this new product. CEO is absolutely amazing. I was chatting with them on Instagram. And I’m an expert now. Let me talk to you about it.”
Shannon: Yeah. It’s absolutely fascinating. Anything else in terms of building following organically and paid? You can talk a little bit about the paid?
Jun: Yeah. On the paid side, that’s when you want to dump gasoline on the fire. And it could be a relatively small fire. It could be something that’s modest. But you – a lot of people use paid to experiment rapidly. But personally, I think you can only really do that if you have a good bankroll. It cost money. It cost real money to be out there spending. And you know, generally speaking, people talk about what’s my threshold da-da-da, you know. If you have a post and you’re going after a relatively quality audience on let’s say Facebook or Instagram, it’s going to be like probably anywhere from 50 to 100 bucks a post, you know. And you’re going to need dozens of posts so that you can iterate and learn and get it out there and feel like you’re really developing the right kind of tweaks.
The other way to do that though is you experiment organically. You gauge with that audience. You learn with that core group of people. If you can figure out what 100 people all seem to like together, these discrete 100 people then chances are that 10,000, a million people also like that. Right?
Jun: Because at the end of the day, especially if there’s 100 relatively similar people let’s say, they’re on the Midwest or they’re all Americans, you know, or they’re all fitness enthusiast. The chances are that that will resonate and extrapolate to a much larger audience. In which case, when you do your paid and you again target that similar type audience, you’re going to find a much more effective benefit to that and your dollar is going to go a lot further.
And so, I really behoove people that just with them, figure out that experimentation early out in the content side, figure out what’s working. You know, what is your consistent value add. Is it me sitting in front of a camera doing you know, Thursday talks? Is it doing a fun fact every day? Like what is that thing that people seem to be resonating with the most? And then take your money and begin to use that as a form of experimentation and diversify from there. And that to me is the one-two punch if you’re doing a bootstrap kind of lean way of growing.
Shannon: Yeah. I – there’s tendency to always like try to delve into these specifics so that we keep going back to is the specifics, not that they don’t matter but they matter so little that it can vary. But I do want to touch on one aspect. Most brands that I know have a tendency to want to make all of their posts about sales and selling.
Jun: That’s right.
Shannon: What are your – you know it’s like, I’ve a kind of Tide brand of cleaner, for example. And every social media post is basically “On sale now!” or “Check out our new detergent cleaner or we’ve got a new – a new product line and stuff.” What are your comments or thoughts from a just strategic standpoint in terms of hypes of content for brand owners?
Jun: Yeah. I think the best way it’s ever been put to me was think of your content types if we’re going to call it that, not unlike the way you would woo somebody or make a friend, right? So, initially, if you go to a random person and you say, “Hey, you want to come over for coffee?” And they’re like, “What’s your name? Are you a killer?” You know like there’s content. And the same thing happens with the brand. You know, we, as consumers, and I cannot stress this enough because I think generally speaking, people who move into this brand building side, they tend to forget their own consumption habits and patterns.
And I hear all the time when they move in the digital – when they’re building a brick and mortar, it’s very different. They have this kind of human touch. When they move to digital, they forget about all these human aspects. And the first one is the consumer is extremely intelligent. They’re hypersensitive to marketing. And if you think about the average American, they’re probably the PhD in marketing and advertising by the time they’re 18. You know they understand sponsorship and all these things. And so, we have to treat them with that level of respect. Otherwise, you will turn people off immediately.
And the first way you show respect is the same way you show respect to a human being. They are the same tried and true tropes. You build context. You introduce yourself. So, you know, your initial content has to be introductory. It has to be explanatory. You have to prove why you should exist as a product. And then you can go to converting people. And that same threshold of when you can ask somebody whether or not they want to have coffee at a café or if they want to come back to your house and have coffee, there is a kind of like sensitivity that we all play with. Some people can move very quickly into that space, other people cannot.
We should very much think about it in that same concept where you know how are you as a brand developing a relationship with your audience? Have you earned the right to ask them to pay for a product of yours? Have you earned that right? You know and only you can earn that right is only when you feel like you’ve put out enough context and enough introductions to say, “OK, you understand why I’m doing this.” And that’s why you see a lot of like your Silicon Valley tech brands. They all start off with a creation story, right? When they try to make a formulaic…
Jun: It’s a pretty good formula. You start with the creation – here’s why I started. Here’s what the – here’s an impetus for why I exist which then leads to what exists and ultimately you know how it will benefit you et cetera, et cetera. So, you know, I think it’s the same tropes when you’re building content, you can’t move very immediately to sales. And Tide, for instance, is hammering on sales because 40 years ago it did all the introductory steps, right?
Jun: Every time they run ads on the Cartoon Network or whatever, they’re introducing new kids to their brand, right? They’re developing all these ways to create touch points. So, they feel like they’ve earned that right to ask for your money because they are a product that has a lot of brand equity. When you’re a new product, you don’t have that brand equity and so you can’t just bash people over the head with that.
Shannon: Yeah. So, the importance of building brand equity, I mean you have again the parallels of how this exist with Amazon are 100%.
Shannon: We – and I love culture of good. You know, Ryan talks about all these different aspects in culture of good. One of them is take time to communicate your passions, your values and why you exist, why you belong, what your place is in the world. That makes so much more of an emotional impact than here’s a product I’ve created, you should buy it. You know, sell, sell, sell.
Shannon: And I think that again, it has to be authentic but I think a lot of people, we just get caught up in the social media hype that we forget, of course, I should communicate my values. If we sit down and become friends, we’re going to start talking about things that we value and things that we like and enjoy. And you know I always tell people like never underestimate the power of BS. And I mean that in this sense only that when I talk to a new client, or a new prospective, affiliate or venture partner, whatever the case may be, we don’t just talk about business. We take a couple of minutes and we talk about the weather, we talk about what city – “Oh, you grew up over there.” Those few minutes over the course of 15 conversations or so is what develops friendships. And you know now with the several clients that I know and I consider them friends and I visited them and I’ve stayed in their homes and stuff. And these are people that started with a business conversation or we had introduced some of this personal aspect of our lives.
Brand equity on Amazon is everything and we talk about specific waves where you can incorporate your brand story into every single product listing, into the product description, into your seller buyer, into your feedback emails. If you don’t do that then you’re playing the game which everybody else is playing which is the lowest price possible. So, if I go back you know I’m getting a new phone case, I’m just going to go and I’m just going to get phone case and get the cheapest one with the best stars, that’s all I care about. But if you built brand equity and relationship then people are going to go back to you. And again, I think it speaks volumes to take that into account.
The other thing is a great quote that Tyler Jorgenson has drilled into me from for sale and when I was in his BizNinja podcast we were talking about this and he said, people make a decision to purchase something based on emotion and then they rationalize it with logic. And so, you have to give them both, right? So, the emotion is what creates the decision but now you got to go home and explain it to my wife or my husband or my partner why I just made this $100 purchase without – and you’re like, “No, no, it’s going to be amazing.” And so, part of it is the emotional side is the authentic connection, cash value, the why, the who, those details about our lives that matter.
And then the logic part is that’s how it’s going to make your life easier. Here’s how it’s going to make your life better. Here’s how it’s going to make it simpler. But I think those two things are so important for people to keep in mind but they’re – so I can say creating Amazon listing or social media post, how does this emotionally engage people and then how does it provide the logic behind why this is going to be helpful to them as an owner of the product in the future.
Jun: Yeah, the emotional hook cannot be understated. And I think a lot of people they harp on the value prop, right? It’s what you do when you build a brand. Here is my product. This is why you should buy it, tada-dada-dada. But at the end of the day, if there is no emotional hook, the context for that product falls flat to your point. And again, we have to remember that especially as American consumers, we live in a multitude of choice. There is always another version. If you happen to create something so new and you’ve patent it and you’re the one of one, great. You can get away with just some good salesmanship. But for the rest of us, we’re dealing with a lot of competition and not just competition for your product, the competition for just your dollar, right?
I want to buy an iPhone case but I also want to buy an Apple, you know? And I got to figure out, which ones can win my dollar that day. And so, the emotional hook is where it gets started and then we’re rationale and the logic of your value prop can come through. And I think it’s the same kind of cadence when we’re thinking about developing our content. Start with the emotional. Start with the emotional hook. Get people interested in your brand and then let’s start giving them the value prop. So that’s not just so salesy in the beginning.
Shannon: Yeah, using ClickFunnels one of the principles that I learned was the idea of an epiphany story. It’s to tell a story of a realization that I came that creates an emotional bridge between my audience and just you know, from– once you build that epiphany, once you build that emotional connection then you can take them on the journey to help them you know discover whatever service or product you have. Without that, it just falls flat. It has to be authentic and it has to be real but it is important.
Let’s move in to talk about now that you have this far and you’ve got this audience, maybe you’re 500 or maybe you’re at 1,000. You’ve started engaging with people. You’ve figured out different content strategies whether it’s videos or text or photos where whatever those things are that has created authentic connection with your audience. How do you move into monetizing that following? Again, you talked about organic and paid but how do you monetize that? And specifically, how do you do it without alienating people? How do you do it without going “Hey, by the way, we’ve built this great relationship now buy, buy, buy” and not have people go, “Forget it, I’m out. Peace out”
Jun: Again, I go back to – you know in the same way, how would you convince somebody to buy something in any setting, right? My friends make fun of me because they always say I’m pitching something to them. And I usually am but it’s usually something that I’ve discovered and I’m passionate about and I wouldn’t – and I tell them I wouldn’t pitch you something that I think will hurt you or be a waste of your time or money.
Jun: And to me, that is how you convey respect to your customer, that’s how you convey respect to your friends. We all want to spend money on stuff, that’s why we work, that’s why we get money. And so, what you’re doing is you’re helping people to make that choice and you have to come from that mindset of I respect my audience. They are not just a thing I’m going to harvest and gain profits from. I need to make their lives better. I need to make their lives more enjoyable. In some way, shape or form, I need to deliver something even if you have a cheap bouncy ball. Do you know what I mean?
Jun: You still want to portray what is happening in that exchange and then it’s not a sale. You know what I mean? And then it’s benefit. You know, then it’s an experience. And so, when I think about when you have that multi thousand audience or whatever and you’re like, OK, I’m doing pretty good, the engagement is really good. How do I get them going? It’s similar type of approach of when you’re trying to convince your buddy to buy that, that new Klean Kanteen or whatever. You start in these steps of convincing. You can’t just say, “You know what? You should really buy his Klean Kanteen.” What’s the first word you can – you know, your friend is going to say, “Why? Why should I buy it?” And so, then you get to start back at square one and you begin to explain why.
And it’s the same process you know where, “We want to offer you something and you know please come to our website to learn more.” It’s like the classic easy one, two flip. Make sure you have something on your website though that fulfills that promise you’re going to make, maybe made a blogpost or maybe you did something or you just have image or whatever. You know, come visit our website. We think you’d really like what we have to offer. Or, come visit our website. We know we have what you were looking for et cetera. You know like the easy steps that people use in terms of language but ultimately coaxed all up in there is a promise that you’re going to benefit them somehow. And you see we want to focus on that benefit.
Shannon: One of my favorite quotes is by a leader and he says “People are willing to listen to you and give you the benefit of the doubt when they believe that you want more for them than you want from them.” And I think that probably encapsulates exactly what you’re talking about. I think Andy Stanley was the one that said that. When people believe that you want more for them than from them, they’re willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and listen to a lot of things that you have to say that they might know otherwise. And I think that’s really true. You can say the exact same words but the feeling is different. The tone is different. I want you to do this but not because it benefits me, I want you to do it because it benefits you.
And the funny thing about selling, we talk about this all the time, I use probably 20 or 30 different software tools to run my business. And I love all of them. I’m probably going to write a blogpost at some point or LinkedIn article that says like, here are the top 20 tools that I used all the time that saved me tons of time and energy. Now, there are some that might be an affiliate for. And I think sometimes people like feel guilty like I’m trying to sell you this because I’m trying to get something out of it. A lot of affiliate stuff were like, I would pitch it if I wasn’t an affiliate and if they didn’t have an affiliate program but they offered it so they you know make sense.
But you realize when you go out in your day to day life, if you’ve experienced something that like, “Oh my gosh! You have got to try their service. It changed my life. It’s so much easier.” Just talking about that, you’re not even selling people. You’re not even telling them that you want them to buy. You’re just saying how amazing this is and people go, “Oh my gosh, what is it? How do I get that? How do I find that?” You know, I try to sell people Honda Odysseys all the time because we have one and it’s like the most amazing minivan ever. I have no stake in or no stock at Honda whatsoever. It’s just a really great vehicle and I believe that people who buy them are going to be better off. So I think that that’s certainly an angle to come from. It’s that when you want more for somebody than you want from them it makes it easier.
Jun: And it makes it easier when you’re trying to find content. When you’re trying to – the hardest thing is to make content on social media. That’s the hardest thing. And people tend to get stuck on that. Or, oh is this too rough? Is it too raw? Is it going to portray my brand the wrong blah, blah, blah, blah. And that Honda Odyssey and I think is exactly what social media is all about. At the end of the day, if you come with the truth, with the empathic truth, nobody is thinking whether or not they want to buy a Honda Odyssey. They’re more excited to hear your passion for Honda Odyssey like I don’t – I’m never going to buy a Honda Odyssey right now in my life. But I certainly want to hear…
Shannon: Yeah. Say that now. Wait till you have kids.
Jun: I think I want to hear, I want to hear about your experience with the Honda Odyssey. You seemed so genuinely enthusiastic. And suddenly, I don’t care that the content is not even for me. I’m ready to receive it. And that goes like that Forrest Gump anecdote you made where that personal injection is universal like every human being can relate to what it is, to be excited about something, right? And so to see anyone get excited about anything, it doesn’t matter if it’s completely off topic or not about you. You can suddenly bridge a very essential gap which is we all have wants and needs and we all have passions and I want to connect on that level. And suddenly if you could sway me to sharing your passion you know, cool. Maybe I’ll become a Honda Odyssey enthusiast like you without ever having to drive one. I just – suddenly I’m aware of the benefits that it has for someone who’s about to start a family.
Shannon: Yeah. Yeah. It is. It is huge. Let’s talk a little bit about – I want to make one more comment and then I’m going to dive into a little bit how the social audience can be leveraged for Amazon but this goes again to how we write content for an Amazon listing and how important it is. There are those five product features at the top you know right underneath your main product images and they just call them product features. Well, most people just write a product feature. And the problem with that is it doesn’t sell. And we coach people, we tell people and we do this for our clients. We emphatically insist on these two aspects.
You have to get them a future and a benefit. So, every single product feature has to have a feature and a benefit. An example I always use, I don’t know if it’s a great one, I could probably find a better one but the example I always use is you know it has a 700 milliampere 9-volt battery. So what? Nobody cares. But if you say it’s a 700 milliamp 9-volt battery that can go one week without a charge, allowing you to take in on a road trip. Boom! You just made the sale because you just showed me how you’re going to make my life easier.
Shannon: And I’m assuming the same is true with social media that if you focus on the feature of your really cool product, that’s great, nobody cares. But the benefit, it’s like, oh my gosh! You don’t even have to sell me I sold myself because I want that benefit.
Shannon: You don’t have to come out with every social post as a sale. I just – like I just get sick of that stuff. I just unsubscribe, I unfollow and every single thing is like 15% off. And I think brands that are struggling to cross that very first threshold that we talked about engaging with people, looking at as a human medium. That’s all they know how to do is so – sale, sale, sale, sale like how do we – you know we got – we basically tap that our audience. It’s dead now. And the answer is yeah, you’re kind of dead but it’s self-inflicted.
So, focusing on features and benefits you allow them to sell themselves. You’re just telling the stories. if you can tell stories and you can get social stories and there has been some really cool examples that we’ve had with customers who engage with us in different social media channels, different companies that I’ve worked with. That they go, “Oh my gosh! This is such a cool product. You’re sold out, I wish I had one.” And we find a way to get them one. And they go, “This made a difference in my child’s life.”
Shannon: You know, I’m working with a company that I’ll mention, Kip’s, it’s called Kip’s and it’s a granola bark. And the cool thing is that it was created by a mom who had a son who had allergies to so many different things and she just want to give him a healthy snack that wouldn’t bring him to hospital. So, she created this granola bark that’s free of the top eight allergens and she’s putting it on Amazon and she’s getting it out there. It’s like that’s such a cool brand story. And I’m like, you don’t have to worry about selling it, just give people the product – once you’re exposed them to it, they want it. They’re dying. There are thousands of moms out there who are hitting the exact same pain points.
So now, let’s talk about how we bridge that gap and how use our social audience to then let people know this product, the solution to your problem is on Amazon. Let’s talk about that bridging that gap.
Jun: Yeah, I think actually that’s perhaps one of the cognitively simplest steps in social media. You know, you build a website or you show up on Amazon. Ultimately, you build a destination for your audience to go engage with you in a broader way. And the most important thing in my opinion when you’re starting that is to very much think of it as the same kind of benefit feature relationship where if you want to learn more, if you want to engage more, if you want to experience more that I can give you than this tiny little portal to your social media, come over to my store, come over to my place. I have a lot more to offer to you, right?
And I think in social media, the benefit conversation often is where people need to focus more of. And this social media such an emotional lane, you know when you think about most of the time people are looking at things, they try to distract it. They’re trying to be entertained, trying to laugh, just want to turn their brain off a little bit. Rarely does anyone just go on social media and say, “Hello, I wonder what the world up to today? You know what I mean? Like, I want to learn something.” If they’re brainiacs or whatever their following nerdy stuff you know on social media but it starts as entertainment experience.
And so, when you get someone to stop at your post or stop at your profile and then you’re saying and I want to convert them to Amazon. It’s the same relationship of why am I going to Amazon? Why – because the signals go off in someone’s mind where I feel like I’m about to get sold something. I feel like I’m about to walk into a rare trap where they’re just going to start bombarding me with all these advertising language and jargon. And to your point, if they’re following the steps that you provided to create a very genial Amazon page, the same tenets are going to apply to how they translate the back and forth between social media which is ultimately say you know, a post could very much look alike, you know we’re up on Amazon now. We have all of our product photos there in high res. We have all of our nutrition facts. We have all of our whatever. You know suddenly you’re saying, “I’m not here to sell you stuff. I’m just here to do what I can do on social media. I want to give you more information.” And then nice thing about social media is again, don’t think about the whole world, think about the people who are following you. Think about the people who are already leaned in and said “I do want to learn more. Jun, please tell me more.” “OK, cool. Oh, you opened up Amazon. Oh, interesting.” It’s like you know, “Just did an amazing photo shoot, uploading the images to Amazon now. Please go check them out if you want to see our stuff in the highest resolution or if you want to be able to look at it 360 or…”
Shannon: It’s totally different. It feels totally different. It conveys the message totally different. It comes across totally different. And to your point, people – people know when they feel like somebody is trying to sell them something.
Shannon: And those alarms you up – I want to talk about a really, really important relationship because we’re doing this right now with the brand that we’re working with.
Shannon: You have to have these three steps process we – it’s the Amazon flywheel. You optimize your listings then you launch your products by drawing internal and external traffic. Internal traffic would be an example you know like campaigns, Amazon campaigns. External traffic, social media is huge. It’s a great example of that. And then the last part of that flywheel is you analyze your listings. You look at your conversion rates, your sessions. You see how effective it’s working, price points, fulfillment, all those different things. And then you basically keep going. Then you optimize and then you launch and then you analyze.
And once you work that flywheel, people ask like what success on Amazon? They get caught up in all these crazy ridiculous things. You’re like, “That doesn’t matter. Stop focusing on that. Forget about seller fulfilled prime. You’re not ready, like you need to focus on these things. These are the core things.” In Amazon, maybe a little different, I feel like people ask what creates a success Amazon business. It’s doing 120 little things right. That’s basically what it comes down to. There are 120 little things that you have to do right.
And the same is true of like every business, you know every startup. They go, “What was your key to success?” And you’re like, “There’s like a thousand things back there in my path like I had to work through all of these different things.” So, it’s never one thing but if you understand the principle, then you could figure out the details. And so again, optimizing launching and analyzing are super key. One of the ways that we found social media to be super helpful is you can basically disrupt the Amazon ecosystem because if – most brands, most private labels they’re operating exclusively within Amazon. They’re driving campaign through relying on organic traffic.
Well, obviously, if you’ve built up your brand equity off Amazon then that’s going to have a huge impact so you know Table Mate for example, been around for 25 years. They’ve got a search volume off Amazon and so we know that that translates too on Amazon and that’s fine, we can be bigger. But there are a lot of private labels and smaller companies that are disrupting the bigger companies and outselling them on Amazon on a skew to skew level because they figured out Amazon better.
And if everybody else is playing in the internal Amazon ecosphere and you can continue to drive external traffic using social media, using ads, using videos whatever the case may be you basically have an unfair compel of advantage. Everybody else is like how did they get to number one best seller? It’s like well, we drove 150,000 people from social media to the Amazon listing then you know we have this percent conversion rate.
So, talk a little bit about what that might look like in terms of relationship from a social media standpoint. And then I also want to kind of touch on it’s a little bit of tangential but it’s very, very relevant which is some of the social media influencers and partnership and just briefly touch on what that looks like for launching the Amazon product.
Jun: Yeah, I mean I think figuring out you know how platforms value signals and a person coming from Instagram to Amazon, that’s a– important it is for you as a customer, it’s also a signal with Amazon, right? And these signals are essential because ultimately, we’re dealing with a very algorithmically inclined platforms – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, right? They all have algorithms because they’re trying to sift and curate huge amounts of information. And so, what you’re trying to do is ultimately give some of the best signals you possibly can. That’s like those 120 points right, are all just different signal cues that you’re trying to line up so that when an audience member goes through them, you know it’s lighting up the right parts of Amazon.
Jun: Same inclination is with Instagram. And when you can drive that high-quality audience for Instagram to Amazon, and they can light up the right signals, you know you’re search result might go up, your conversion might go up. And ways to prep your audience to do that or to give them the right context, you know again, going back to that human aspect, you don’t always want to throw someone into a dark room. You want to tell then “Hey, the light switches to your left, a couple of doors down that’s where the bathroom is.”
And in the same context, when you think about going on Amazon, it’s the benefit that you want to sort of like give him a map. It’s you know saying, “We just launched two products on Amazon. Please go check it out. Or not ready for prime yet, you know because we just launched but you know blah, blah, blah, blah.” You can give too much information but there is a nice balance of saying, “You know what? I want to make sure you don’t go in there blind.” And people do appreciate that. You got to remember, if you treat an audience member with respect, the highest level of respect, they will feel that, you have to trust they will feel that. You have to remember that this is not going to alienate somebody. If you do the human test, and like, “Yeah, that seemed friendly. That seemed genuine. OK.” And it’s the same game whether you’re doing paid media at this point or you’re just running organically you know some of the best platforms for doing that obviously are places like Instagram you use a story feature that disappears but you can swipe up.
Shannon: Swipe up.
Jun: Exactly. And YouTube is a social media platform that I think is underserved greatly in the community because that’s where you can get a lot across. Video is the number one way to emote and you can drop a link right there very easily. And you know it just kind of shows up in their feed and it gets feed with Amazon.
Shannon: Yeah, a couple of quick thoughts, one is Kasandrinos Olive Oil when Tony Kasandrinos launched, their big announcement on social media was “Hey, we’re on Amazon now.” Right? It doesn’t feel salesy at all. It was you guys, they actually send out a survey and they found out that 55% of their audience wanted to buy the product from Amazon. Well, that’s what the data shows. So, all they’re doing was saying, you guys want to buy it here anyway so let’s let you buy it. Well, that creates a snowball effect. And you drive your audience there and that leverages the Amazon’s 300 million plus customers. And people go, “Why would I ever drive my social media traffic to Amazon?” Well that’s why, you’re never going to have 300 million people visit your website but those 300 million people who have accounts with Amazon.
Jun: Yeah, you’re right.
Shannon: Exactly. So, you’re leveraging a small part of your audience to make a difference for Amazon. So I think that can be really simple. Hey, we just launched our new product on Amazon and you know, to your point. And that can be really exciting, “Hey guys, we happen to have an Amazon sale going on. You know you can use this coupon code on Amazon.” One technical thing that’s really helpful for people to note is if you have brand registry in a storefront, you can include the source tag. And so, if you use a custom link you know a bitly link or a short link, you can actually direct people through that storefront link and allows it to track traffic. So, it’s really, really helpful when it all goes back to registered trademarks.
But overall, I think this has been so helpful Jun. Any final thoughts as we wrap up in terms of social media? Any parting words that you would give to our audience of strategic steps that they can take, things that they need to think about, things that need to be at the top of their priority list if they’re looking to build and grow their audience.
Jun: Yeah. And I think I’ll touch you know really quickly on the influence of portion and stuff like that. But you know I think that’s a growing part of the social media conversation, influencers are a thing. You know, the data shows now that the most efficient way to spend your money is with micro influencers versus macro influencers especially for startups. Micro influencers tend to have a higher engagement rate. They might have a much lower population but the truth is just like a new brand, they have a very, very focused audience who suddenly are very attuned to what that person has to say. And you’re going to get them at a much, much less price in terms of what they needed in terms of compensation. So, I think it behooves people to look for the influencers that have a really, really great message.
And the engagement rate should be relatively high 3% to 5% to 7% of their follower base should be liking and commenting on their stuff. And that’s easy calculation you can do. And that’s what I tell you so and as healthy audience or healthy following. Whenever anyone does anything, what influencers always say, it’s a relationship, talk to them, ask them the right questions where – where’s your audience located? Can I see a screen shot of your analytics? Can I get some sort of information so that I know that we are in fact aligned? Give them all the information. So, you know this is what my product does. This is who it’s for. This is the benefits of it. This is what I think. This is why I think you would be interested in you know pushing my own product et cetera.
And make sure there’s really, really strong alignment. The stronger the alignment, the faster that sale will happen with influencers. And if you’re going that route you know, maybe instead of paid media for the time being, it can be really helpful because you’re getting content made and you’re getting marketing distribution all in one stop so there is a lot of efficiency, we call the influencers. That said, you know, there are a lot of bad influencers out there.
Jun: Not hard to get and not always. Exactly, it’s just – it’s not hard. You do certain things and suddenly your following is growing but you may not have the following that is willing to convert, that trust you to buy something. You know they just like your photos. They just like your perspective or you’re inflammatory or whatever you make them laugh. But you’re not really supposed to sell them anything. So, make sure they have a track record of being able to do that or if they don’t have a track record, you know talk about really how they’re going to step into that lane and grow with you if you guys are about to both embark on that together. I think it’s really, really important.
Shannon: Yeah, Tony and I talk about social media having that dual relationship. Followers engagement is probably the fastest and best way to find something like good influencers, to find affiliates you know, to find people who are going to be brand ambassadors. And Tony says, look, if you want to find affiliates, he’s like, the first place you should start and see who’s following you. Look at the size of their audience.
Shannon: We think of affiliates or influencers in this you know certain context that they got to have a million followers, they’ve got to be this. He said one of his best affiliates is a 14-year-old girl, who is like cooks at home. She’s like a chef. Again, right back to our first part of our conversation, she sells his olive oil all day long just because she uses it. Right? And so, I think that not underestimating people, not overvaluing members but looking at relationship, engagement is so huge.
The one last comment I want to make in terms of posting is, again, I don’t know why I wouldn’t have thought of this before but if I’m writing the social media post, if I formatted and wrote in such a way that I’m just communicating that information to a friend of mine, would I feel comfortable with that? Or, we could be like, why did you send me this? And understanding who your audience is, you know, when you do a mark – like a commercial for example, they always say envision the person that you’re selling to, you know? So…
Shannon: …envision the person in front of you as you make that speech or that pitch and I love the principles again that you’ve conveyed today and relayed to our audience. So Jun, thank you so much for joining me. Your website, Plus 1 Crew is going to be below and we will go ahead and put this on our social platforms. If you have questions, you can reach out him through the website. And again, we’ll tag him in all those stats. So, Jun, thanks again for joining me. I really appreciate your time today.
Jun: Awesome. Thanks so much.