Today, I have something very, very different. As you know, I usually don’t do interviews, but when I find something that’s this true gem that I feel that people can really truly benefit from, I think this is something really special that people need to hear. Particularly in this case, because most people looking to either augment, increase, or change their career want to know how they can enter.
A person I have today, Amy Schmittauer, is the curator and developer of Savvy Sexy Social, which is video blogging, also Social Authority. Social Authority gets beyond the blogging, beyond the video, into the rest of the social media world, and how that fits in.
Amy: Hello, Thomas. How are you?
Thomas: I’m doing great. Thanks a lot.
Amy: Of course.
Thomas: Thank you for sharing your info with us today.
Amy: I am so thrilled to be an exception for your show; it just means so much to me.
Thomas: I’m glad you’re able to contribute, because I’m sure they can benefit. Give us a little bit of a background. Let’s say somebody all of a sudden hits 48 years of age, they’re taking a look, and they’re saying: “Gee, I don’t know whether I’m going to be around in this job or this career. What might I do to start getting out into another business or career?” How might they use social media?
Amy: First and foremost, it’s like the step before social, digital, and the internet. When you’re already going through this mindset shift and you’re not quite sure how to approach it, there’s a lot of barriers in your mind already. The first thing I would recommend is just really think about what you know very, very well, and what your time so far has offered you to become really, really, really smart on.
What I find is a lot of people that even want help from me, they could have a very, very clear path or a goal set, but then a lot of other times, there are people that just come and say: “Oh, I hear this social media thing is hot. Can I start a business there? How am I going to monetize my blog?” These sort of questions are frustrating for me, because I would rather hear: What do you have to offer the world that you do better than anyone else? Because that is going to be very important. The product has to be awesome. Then let’s talk about how we’re going to show off your amazing personality so that people will even care about that awesome product.
I think first and foremost, you have to understand what value you bring to the world. You need to think about that first, because before you go and get distracted by all of this ADD society of social media, like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter – you really need to be very clear about that value proposition, and: Who’s even going to care about it? Who is that perfect follower, end user, customer, potential advocate for you? These are the really important questions before you can start tweeting.
Thomas: That’s interesting. One of the things I find there, and for a lot of people, I’m always hearing: “Passion. Follow your passion. Go in this…” That, well as you may remember, I have an episode, “Passion Sucks …. the Life Out of You.” You have to pick something that really is, as you just said, marketable, something that people really want. It can be there. In many cases, it can be a hobby or something you do.
Thomas: At the same time, what you’re saying, you have to really have value. While you have it as a hobby, you then also have to make sure that you master it or become an expert at it.
Amy: Absolutely, because I think a hobby that is just to please you is one thing, and I know that that could be totally satisfactory, but I think when you go to a place like social media, which is essentially these built-in cocktail parties where you’re going and you’re meeting people who are already talking, already having conversations, finding those conversations that you have in common, and gravitating towards them. It’s going to be really hard to justify. I don’t care if people are following, because essentially, we’re putting things out there in order to help others. That’s why that value proposition needs to be very clear, because even if there’s not necessarily a clear return, which is another part of this whole plan, you don’t necessarily have to have that figured out if this is really just enjoyable for you. But it’s enjoyable for you, and you need to be able to frame the messaging in a way that that person who is going to appreciate it with you will find you, and receive it, and you can come together in this community.
Thomas: I like your analogy, there, of a cocktail party.
Amy: Yeah. It really is, because we go to other people’s parties to meet them and meet other people, people that we have in common with other people. That, in turn, gives us the opportunity to invite people to our party. “I want you to come to my website someday. I’m going to go to this website in the meantime, and you’ll get to know me there, and then maybe I’ll have a party and you’ll like to come over because we’ve gotten to know each other and our relationship is building. Sure, yeah, you want to check out my space.” They’re all just parties. It’s just a matter of who’s in charge and who’s connecting everybody.
Thomas: There’s a couple of key things, there, that I’d really like to bring out that’s kind of neat. You’re mentioning, as a party, the difference is, of course, it’s much easier to get into one of these parties, but it’s also easier for people to leave. So, you do have to really be careful and know how to be sociable as part of it.
Amy: Yes, absolutely.
Thomas: The other thing is, which I think you were trying to emphasize there, was the fact that eventually somebody will be curious and want to see your stuff. How many times…? I guess most of the people, it seems, out there that end up friending me or sending me something, it’s always I met the person the first time, or they tweet something back to me. They’re tweeting: “Oh, here, I’ve got something just for you that you would love.” Immediately, the first thing is they’re selling you, which it turns you off at parties, get-togethers when you’re at the local store, somebody walks up: “Hey, you might want to take a look at this and look at my card.” That’s a turnoff. It’s certainly a turnoff on social media.
Amy: It is. Again, another analogy: If it’s not a party, it’s a networking event. There’s that guy who shows up to networking events (or girl, not trying to be one way or the other), who has that stack of business cards that are their own, and they just walk up to you, they start passing them out, and they just put them out on tables and they let everybody know: “Hey, you need my card, you need my card. Everybody needs to have my card.” Why? You haven’t earned anything from me. I don’t care what’s on this card, because you haven’t even bothered to introduce yourself to me or talk about something semi-interesting, which would probably be something about me, not even about you.
It’s the same thing. You’re going to these online spaces that are essentially parties or just places where people are connecting, they’re coming to this middle ground and they’re connecting, and you haven’t even offered the value that needs to be there in order for somebody to say: “Tell me more about yourself and what you do. How would you be able to help me if we dove into that?” That’s what people don’t get. They go to social media, and they get on the soapbox right away and they just say: “Yada, yada, yada, I do this, and I am the best at it,” but nobody really cares. They’re there to have a good time and meet new people, and they don’t want to be sold because that’s truly the place they’re coming from. You’re basically invading on that feeling of safety that people have at social media, where they are hanging out with people, and you’re invading that.
Thomas: Let’s declare death on the 30-second elevator speech.
Amy: Oh, please and thank you.
Thomas: That has got to be the worst, and yet, it’s taught all over the place. I have people walk up to me: “What is your 30-second elevator speech?” I hate them.
Amy: I know. Who asks that? That is so crazy.
Thomas: It was weird. It was weird. I’ve had that several times where somebody would ask me… Instead of saying something like: “Oh, gee, what do you do?” or: “How are you?” or: “Where do you live?” or something like that, they started: “What’s your 30-second elevator speech?”
Amy: It’s so funny, because I feel like my response to that would be: “Here’s my elevator speech: What’s your name? And tell me something that gets you excited every single day.” No matter what you’re about to say that first 30 seconds… First of all, it’s like getting up on stage and saying: “I have some housekeeping items.” Everybody immediately stops paying attention to you, and looks at their phone. For you to say: “I’m about to give you an elevator pitch,” I’m spacing out immediately. The most interesting thing that you could possibly present to me in that moment is by asking me what’s important to me, and then finding a way to bring all of that back together to who you are and why you matter.
Thomas: I have to relate this to you, Amy, being the woman. When I was younger, I had heard about how important it was to talk about the other person, and that that really made them show interest in you. Lo and behold, I started doing this as I would meet women. I would get feedback where they said: “Oh, he’s so interesting. There’s so many interesting things that he does and says.” I had purposely had the entire discussion where I never said anything about myself; I just asked them about them, and continuing to ask them about them, and they felt more comfortable about me.
That’s actually getting into the whole idea of social media, as well as elevator speeches or other things, is that you have to build up the know, like, and trust. If you want to start a business or are thinking of starting a business, there’s tons of places out there on social media with people that you can start testing out or start finding out: What are their needs and wants? So go with people that you’ll build up a know, like, and trust factor before they even get interested in your product or service, or what potential product or service you might have.
Amy: Absolutely. Absolutely. It all comes down to: What’s in it for me? It doesn’t matter how we like to approach things, like: “Oh, no, I’m really just trying to help other people.” At the very, very base level, we are all here to survive on a daily basis, make sure we have a roof over our head, eat, and do things that make us happy every day. No matter what, this is always going to come back to: What’s in it for me? That can still mean very, very good things.
When I think of what’s in it for me, I’m thinking of: How am I best using my time so that no matter what I’m doing, I’m either helping somebody or helping myself; ideally, both? When you do that, you get really, really strict on how you spend your time, and it’s always about what’s in it for me. If somebody were to come to me and say: “What gets you very excited?” Oh my gosh, I’d go to town on that, and you’d be the most important and interesting person I talked to all day, because you just don’t see it.
Thomas: Right. That’s such a key, important thing. If somebody was to venture out into the social media world, and a lot of people are trying… At the same time, god, some of the stuff people put up, do they realize this is in there for posterity and people think of them in terms of what they put up there? What would you do, say, as a priority for people, with all of the different social media, now? We have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Amy: I think it goes back to: What’s your value, and who is the person? No matter what, I’m not here to tell you to go and get on everything that’s important right now. If we are going to go through all of the social media networks right now, we’re going to name Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat. There’s a ton. Pinterest is really, really great. But I don’t know for a fact that you should be on any of those, much less on all of them. It’s very important to know where your people hang out. Where are your end users? Where are your customers? Where is your audience? If it’s just a blog we’re talking about for sheer enjoyment, where are those people? What do they like already? What are they talking about? You will find where those networks are.
I don’t recommend that you join more than one or two at first(social media). Maybe it makes sense to reserve handles, if you have a brand name, you want to make sure nobody steals it – great. Go reserve those handles, and don’t worry about managing the accounts yet; just make sure you have them. If Instagram and Facebook are the only ones that make sense right now, then do an amazing job on those two networks before you ever think about going elsewhere, or start with one. Just do an A+ job on one social media network, and you will be far ahead from the average brand that is on social media marketing.
Thomas: Right, and that’s a key thing, but each of them do have a slightly different perspective, so take a look at them, sort of wander through them to see… For example, Pinterest has tons of things on recipes and stuff like this. It almost seems like it has, I think it’s something like an 80% female population.
Amy: Yeah, but what’s crazy about Pinterest and the reason I bring it up is… First of all, I’ll say that I’m terrible at Pinterest. I have no interest in specializing in it, because I think there’s brilliant people out there that do that, and they should be advising brands on how to do it. What’s cool is that it actually has way more to offer than you would think, and their search capabilities are incredible and they guide you through it. I’m actually moving into a new apartment next month, and when I want to look up décor, I can add more words and they will guide me through those additional words, like: “Oh, do you want modern? Do you want beige tones?” and they will guide me through the search process so I will get the best results, and see nothing but perfection and potentially what my next apartment is going to look like.
The most amazing thing about Pinterest is that it’s similar to YouTube. In that, it’s full. It’s an archive. Anything that you upload to Pinterest or to YouTube could work for you, and send traffic to you for years ahead, if it performs well in search. I know a lot of other social media, we don’t see that. Instagram is going to be fully dependent on who your followers are right now and what they just saw. My average photo on Instagram maybe will get 200 likes, but my photos from back in the day when I didn’t have any followers, they have gotten zero traction. Nobody goes back to the beginning to see what’s going on, and they’re not going to show up again because the archives don’t work the same on Instagram.
It’s not just about: What is there to offer, and is that aligned with your content? Because you’re going to need a content strategy, here, if you want something fun to talk about with these people. Are they hanging out there, and how are these platforms going to work for you so you know what the strategy even is? I happen to make three videos a week on YouTube, but I could do less than that if I wanted to, because each individual video can work really, really hard for me for years. One of my most popular videos is two years old, and it’s still bringing in tens of thousands of views on a regular basis. It’s really, really important not only to think about: What is the platform looking like on average, but does your audience hang out there, and how exactly does it work at its greatest level that’s going to benefit you?
Thomas: There’s a controversy going on right now: YouTube vs. Facebook for your videos, and I think it’s a new one because of the way Facebook is handling it today.
Thomas: Is it something that somebody should think about or worry about, picking A or B?
Amy: I think so. Here’s where I stand on it at the moment, because this is a hot topic for me. I’ve been on YouTube since 2008. When I wanted to start sharing my content on Facebook, and they didn’t take too nicely to YouTube links – that’s fine, I would rather share my blog link anyways, so here’s a link to my blog where the video is embedded. You can watch it on my site. Facebook has been really stingy with newsfeed space for brands. They want you to pay to play, but when you upload video directly to Facebook, they want to give you reach for days, and it’s free reach. Yeah, it’s probably reach to people that have already said they like your page, but that is just the way the platform is working these days.
It’s tough for me, because initially, I was saying: I tested it, and the views on Facebook are nowhere near as valuable as they are on YouTube. For a couple of reasons. One, when the video is playing, it’s on a newsfeed; it’s not on a watch page. It’s not like: “This is the only thing that’s going on.” It’s: “There’s a lot of things going on, and there happens to be a video in the middle of it.” That’s what Facebook is.
Not only that, the video just starts playing automatically, no audio. Somebody like me that I’d like to say I’m not a talking head because I preach that I’m not a talking head and I take my content very seriously to make sure I don’t come off like a talking head, but if I don’t have my audio turned on, I could come off like a talking head; I’m just a person talking to a camera. It’s not that compelling. If I do get somebody to click the audio button and watch longer, the views, the audience retention on Facebook is just dismal, so calls to action aren’t happening.
Basically, what I’ve determined from this, because I’m still uploading those videos to Facebook, is that I want to constantly get as much organic and free reach from Facebook as possible. To do that, I need to upload video. I’m not counting on those videos really making an impact with that audience, other than just brand awareness, because it’s extremely shareable and you’re going to watch it as soon as it starts playing. It’s just a matter of if you watch with the audio turned on. With YouTube, I’m going to get an incredibly higher conversion rate, let’s say, when I say at the end of a video: “Hey, I’d love it if you went to my website, or join my email list, or do this, or do that.” The people on YouTube are watching until the end. People on Facebook are seeing your face, liking that they saw your face, but then moving on to see what their ex-boyfriend is doing or their Mom.
You just have to remember that Facebook is great for brand awareness right now, because the videos are so shareable and they’re doing really well on the newsfeed in terms of getting that space that Facebook is giving you, but the value of the views is just not where it is on YouTube.
Thomas: That’s interesting.
Amy: That was a lot of video marketing talk. I really hope that was okay.
Thomas: It was okay, but what’s interesting about it is that it makes me wonder about the idea that somebody could possibly use your Facebook, then, for the brand awareness, and possibly have something, maybe an overlay or something that sends somebody to the YouTube video or send them to the website, but it’s really only going to be if they click on it, they’ll hear something.
Amy: Right. As long as you use an image or something to help a link pop… Because if you’re saying: “I really want the value of the views, I want people to watch the whole video,” then yeah, you really have to get them off Facebook. You’re going to want to also have the best possible crisp image that’s really big and pops, and then even then, you might have to pay Facebook to boost that post because a lot of times it’s such high competition, it can be really difficult to get in front of your own following.
Thomas: Yes, that’s a very critical need. Yes, and even on our own posts, because we see Facebook really doesn’t provide very much reach at all. I don’t know what they do now, but it was down below 6% of your actual friends, for example, your likes actually even see your post just so that they can throttle the traffic back, very much like the ISP your local internet provider throttles back your bandwidth. They do the same thing in order to not have the newsfeed fly by, in the sense of like Twitter does.
Amy: Yeah, and then it looks so impressive when you paid, and then they’re like: “Look at all this reach that you’ve got. Here’s how many people saw it, and how many people clicked on it.” It looks so giving, and it’s like: “Okay, but we used to have this, so…”
Thomas: Right. “Is that it?”
Amy: “You basically just took it away, and then you sold it to me.”
Thomas: A couple of times I took a look at that, and when they did the reach, it ended up to be people from India and Pakistan.
Amy: Yeah, that’s another big controversy with Facebook advertising, is the value of who you’re targeting and who those people are who are actually coming in and following through on that ad.
Thomas: Yes. Where are they showing it, or to whom are they showing it?
Thomas: Which is a big factor. Thinking of somebody with a new business or a new business idea. One of the things, this is a topic that has been released already, about this whole concept of buy local. There are so many businesses out there that are local and need more business or need more awareness. What have you seen in local businesses, using either YouTube videos or other social media, in order to market themselves or to increase their reach?
Amy: I think in terms of local business, and really any business, but definitely local, is you see an opportunity with any marketing, but specifically your social media when you tap into the community. The community can be potential customers or just people in the neighborhood, in the city, but even your own employees. The most important thing to think about is that you’re telling a story. When you’re telling a story, there are usually humans involved. The hard thing for brands that they don’t realize they’re having a struggle with is putting a face on camera sometimes. They’re not even sure who that is, what it’s going to look like, or if it’s going to be representative of what they want. The reality is: Your audience just wants to see people, and how people relate to the brand. You can’t just be a logo forever, and especially not on social media. That’s also why we see things like brands who tweet, and then when they’re replying to somebody, and maybe it’s a customer service thing, or they’re just saying, “You’re welcome,” or whatever it is – they’ll sign off with initials or a name, and it’s to give an identity to that main social account to the person that’s helping another person, because again, this is always going to be people talking to people.
It doesn’t matter what tools you’re using, if there’s any automation involved – you have to talk from being a person; you’re not a logo. No one believes that you’re just a logo. There are people behind there. Anytime you can leverage the people that somehow are associated with your brand… Or maybe they’re not. Maybe you’re just doing a really good job of telling someone else’s story, and just taking a little bit of credit for getting that story out there. That works, too, but you have to integrate people in what you’re doing.
Thomas: Actually, what’s interesting there is you’re a local business, you’re a local brand, and being there. Then you can turn around and make your business be a little bit more real in the sense that somebody will come in to see you or to see your employees that have been on that video, or talking, or responding. Social media can actually also be there in a way to service, customer service your own clientele.
Thomas: That doesn’t matter if it’s a store or a service business. It could be a dentist or a chiropractor, it could also be a small grocery store or specialty organic store or somebody that sells little nifty things for the kitchen or whatever.
Amy: Yes, this is a brick-and-mortar that’s posting photos to Instagram, and this is a services that’s saying: “Hey, we want everybody in the company to contribute to the blog.” When you give people permission to be a part of your voice, it’s very powerful. This is why I get sad about businesses that are more afraid of, especially their own employees being the message for their brand. They’re some of the best content you’re ever going to have. They know your company inside and out, they know the upsides, and they can talk about that from their own experience. Using that as an opportunity is so huge. I see it missed a lot, but it just adds that personal aspect to this whole thing, and that’s really what this is about.
Thomas: Right. Actually, that’s one of the key things that when you’re there as that local business, what you then turn around and are able to do is really be more than just local, because as you’re doing this and making your business a personality… First, you’re appearing and appealing very well to the local community. Now, nobody outside that community knows how small or big you are. You can literally expand your marketplace much beyond your local community, as long as you’re able or willing to ship your goods.
Amy: Absolutely, absolutely. Everybody loves some good smoke and mirrors. Allowing your friends, and your colleagues, and your employees, and your customers to tell your story just makes you look bigger than life, and that’s better than anything else, is seeing that that’s how much impact that you have. Who are your ambassadors? Who are those people advocating for you? Because they will be the best content strategy you could ever find.
Thomas: Great, good. Thank you. Amy, thank you very much for a ton of useful information for a whole bunch of people that are either starting out or already sitting there in business, wondering how to stay alive or how to expand into the marketplace.
Amy: No problem, Thomas. Thank you for having me. It was so much fun.
Thomas: Thank you.
Amy Schmittauer can be found on at both: