How To Build Relationships and Stand Out On Social Media with Expert Mike Stelzner

This week’s episode is an incredible interview with Mike Stelzner, the creator of Social Media Examiner and Social Media Marketing World. As an expert in the social media marketing world, I wanted to speak to Mike to find out how he uses his platform to stand out in a busy industry. We look at what makes people successful, giving his formula for creating content that people will want to engage with.

  • The speed in which social media moves is one of the biggest challenges for those working in a social industry, as well as those using social media to grow their business. Luckily, it’s starting to slow down.
  • You don’t have to be on every single social media platform. Instead, you need to ensure you’re putting your energy into the spaces where your customers are.
  • Social media is great when it comes to tracking your results. If you’re struggling to track your results, however, you need to ensure you’re making goals to ‘stop’ things as well.
  • If you want to stand out in a noisy industry is to understand exactly who you are trying to reach. Who is that somebody? What struggles do they have? What do they do? When you create something, remind yourself of the person you’re creating it for.
  • Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you need to ensure you’re creating content for that person. This could be a podcast, written word, video or live and in person. Think about what you’re best at.
  • If you don’t know what your customers want, ASK THEM. Once you have asked your audience, you need to see if their actions are matching their statements. Clear signs are the messages you receive from your followers.
  • Not everyone is supposed to be in your tribe.
  • If you’re not putting information out there, someone else is. You want to be the resource that people come to every single time they need information.
  • We should all be doing stuff that makes it easier for people to remember who we are.
  • The formula for success is ‘great content + other people – marketing messages = growth’. When it comes to your business you need to ensure you have amazing content, strong connections and less of a pitch. This is the Elevation Principle.
  • The best way to make an impact on someone in person is to meet them in person.
  • Social media is called social media for a reason. If you’re not a nice person, you won’t survive.

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to social media is be yourself. Successful people are authentic.

  • Introducing Mike – 06:00
  • Social Media is Ever Changing – 12:10
  • Tracking Your Results – 17:15
  • How to Stand Out in a Noisy Industry – 21:10
  • Creating Connections Through Details – 33:15
  • The Importance of Relationships – 37:38
  • The Future for Social Media Marketing World – 49:30
Transcript below


Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the podcast. I hope you are having a wonderful, wonderful week. I actually cannot believe we are cracking on so far into the year and we are nearly done. It feels like not many weeks left now. Also, I'm on episode 94. I've nearly hit 100 episodes and I've got some exciting stuff coming. I'm going to be recording a very special episode 100, which I'm super excited about. Obviously I want to see what you guys think, but it's going to give you a different view into my world and just into maybe a side you have not seen before or conversations that I haven't had before. But I am really excited about it. It's going to be extra special. So, that's something to look forward to.

Also, just while I was on this week, I just wanted to remind you that last week's episode we talked about the 2020 goal planner that I've got that it's a free download, it's a great workbook, 10 pages packed full of questions, suggestions of how you can review last year, things that you should note down, things that you should think about, and then those all important goals for 2020, and the actions you're going to need to take in the first 30 days, because obviously what are you going to do the minute it hits, and how are you going to get your year next year off to an absolute flying start.

So the workbook is there to download. Head over to as in the numbers 2020. You can get your free download there. Then, on the thank you page, look out for the video I've got on there and the opportunity I've given you to join me for a live workshop and coaching call. So I want you to do this workbook with me. I want to sit with you live on a call on the 12th of December, and I want us to work through it together. Not only that, you're going to get access to a Facebook group that's going to stay open from the minute you join until the beginning of February. So first of Feb, it will close, but the idea of that Facebook group is that I can support you going into that first year, and I've got a few little surprises and little exciting things along the way for you if you are in that group.

So I really, really hope to see you there. I want an amazing 2020, and I want all of you to have an amazing 2020 as well. Okay, on with today's episode. It's an interview, and it's a really good one. I know I say that every week and you must think, oh come on Teresa, constantly. You must have done some bad interviews. No, maybe there are some I wasn't too keen on, but this isn't one of them. This week, I am talking to the amazing Mike Stelzner. Now you may not know his name. I'm sure lots of you will, but if you don't, you are likely to know Social Media Examiner, and/or Social Media Marketing World.

Social Media Examiner is an amazing website that basically puts out content every single day written by world experts. I've been very lucky that I've written for them as well a little while back. As you know, I'm not a big fan of writing, so that was quite a job. But I have written for them. Also, they have Social Media Marketing World, which is the world's biggest social media conference that goes on in San Diego every single year and I have been flourish years, maybe five years in a row now, and I have made loads of connections. I've met loads of people. I've learned lots of stuff in the past from that event, and it's a great, great event. It was the first international event I went to, or no was it? Actually, it might have been converted. I think maybe it was converted from lead pages as my first event. Okay, I can't remember.

Anyway, it was definitely near one of the first. I'm sure it might have been the first. Anyway Teresa, get on with it. So yeah, it's an amazing event. It's a great, great event. Basically, Mike Stelzner heads up this whole thing. He's almost a bit like, I don't know how to describe him. I'm sure someone could tell me, but you know when … he's in charge of social media in the world. I know it sounds ridiculous, but if you want to get on in the social media space, you need to know Mike Stelzner, because Mike Stelzner is very influential because, like I said, he runs the largest social media website and the largest social media … Well, I just said the largest social media website. I don't know that that's for fact, but it's very, very big.

One of the largest events in the world for social media. So yeah, he was amazing, but we had a really good chat about how could you stand out, how can you become the expert in your industry, because that's what he does on a day to day basis. He is classed as an expert, and he's right at the top of his industry. But also, he works with people who are doing the same. So what he talked about was great. We looked at ways that, what makes those people successful, how do we get to be where they are, what do we do in our businesses to get to that level? He gives some really good practical advice and also talks about how you can stand out. He has this formula that he talks about in terms of creating contact plus other people, minus marketing messages, equals growth.

You'll understand what he means by all that as we go through the podcast. Like I said, he was a great episode. I really, really enjoyed chatting with him and was very lucky the following day to have another hour call with him to talk to him about something he's planning to help him, which was wonderful. But he's a really great guy. He gave some great advice, so I really hope you're going to enjoy this one.


Introducing Mike


It gives me so much pleasure to welcome today the very formidable and wonderful Mike Stelzner. Mike, welcome to the podcast.

Teresa, thank you so much for having me. I'm very excited to be joining you today.

I am super excited. So Mike, I've already done an intro about you, but let me just reiterate and explain. Social Media Marketing World was the one thing I had on my kind of vision board when I started the business. So I have started my own marketing consultancy. I've worked in marketing for like 15 years and the start of my own consultancy was doing social media. I saw this event and I watched the video, and I was like, I've got to go there. But it was in San Diego. It's like five and a half thousand miles away from where I am. I remember thinking one day, one day I'm going to go there, one day I'm going to be sat in that room with all those amazing people and all those amazing speakers.

I remember seeing it for the first year, and the next year it came out and I just booked my ticket. I had no idea, in the early days of running my business, how I was going to afford the flight, how I was actually going to manage to go to San Diego, because I hadn't done anything like that on my own before, and how it was all going to work out, but I just knew I had to be there. I just knew I had to be in that room with everybody else. For me, especially in the UK, I had to raise myself above everybody else and go, look, this is how seriously I'm taking it. I'm going all the way to San Diego to sit in a room with these amazing experts. It blew me away. It was honestly, and still to this day, one of the best events I've ever been to, and to be in that room and meet those people was just phenomenal. So thank you.

Thank you. Thank you for making the investment. That is so cool.

Honestly, for me it was like how do I stand out? That's how I stand out. I go and sit in a room with those people. You were live there, which was great. But anyway, I've jumped straight into that. So if my audience haven't heard from you, which I'm absolutely adamant they have because I share a lot of Social Media Examiner stuff. I talk about Social Marketing World. But just let my audience know who you are and how you got to do what you're doing today.

Well, first of all, I'm a marketer. Secondly, we just turned 10 years old literally about two weeks ago. Actually, about a month ago as of this recording. I started Social Media Examiner back in October of 2009, and it was an experiment as all great things often start as. I didn't know what it would become. It was a blog, and I figured this social media thing maybe has a shelf life for three years, so let's just get on that train and start to get out of the station. Man, was I wrong. That thing just exploded.

As we started, in the early days, it was just writing articles. It turns out that that was the kind of stuff that went viral on social. So little did I know, back then you could write something about how to do social media on social media and it would get shared thousands of times on Twitter, it would go crazy viral on Facebook, and these were the easy days for things to spread. This is when Facebook only had maybe 300 million people, which still sounds like a lot, but it was really small back then. Things grew. I eventually started a podcast and eventually started getting into video, and now we have two podcasts, we have a live show, we publish articles almost every day. We have our videos on our YouTube channel that we're publishing multiple times a weekend. Millions of people are consuming our stuff every year, it's pretty crazy.

That is crazy. For me, you are the pinnacle of it. You are the … if I ever speak to anybody or train anybody about social media and I say, this is the direction you need to go, or this is the site you need to look at, it's your site. It is amazing, and how you maintain that in this crazy busy huge world that we're in now, how you still maintain that today is amazing.

Thank you. Is that a question or a statement.

Both really. You can answer it. That's fine.

Yeah, how do I maintain is it the question. So first of all, it's being aware of the challenges that are faced by our core audience which is marketers. So the main audience that we're attracting is a marketer, typically whose job is marketing in a small business typically, less than 100 employees. Some of them are solopreneurs or own agencies, but the vast majority of them struggle with the java marketing, and social is a key part of what they do. It's not all that they do. The reality for us is we're keeping up on the news, so we have to kind of watch what Zuckerberg changes with Facebook, what's happening with up and coming platforms like TikTok, and then of course we also have to really be aware of our core audience to what their challenges are, which means we have to survey them every year. We have to really understand the customers that belong to the various … we have a professional organisation called the Social Media Marketing Society, which thousands of marketers belong to, and there's a Facebook group.

We kind of study what are they complaining about, what are their struggles, what are their challenges? We kind of look at all of that, and then of course I interview people on my podcast every week who I think are doing it right. They tell me things, so all that data comes in, and then we kind of make projection and hypothesis about what we think our audience is going to need for the next couple of months. Then we go ahead and develop the content, recruit the people to be on the show and, dot, dot, dot. We just kind of are always … if you will, we're like a ship out to sea looking at the weather patterns. When the weather pattern changes, then we need to change the direction we're going.


Social Media is Ever Changing


Yeah. I think you hit on a couple of things there that, one, the speed in which it moves is just … in fact, and I'd sent you a DM and you replied to my DM once when I did a Ted Ex talk. I quoted you in my Ted Ex talk because you said, at one of the events I'd been to that we're in one of the fastest moving industries in the world. We are. It doesn't stop. I think that is a challenge itself. Secondly, for all these marketers that you're dealing with, the overwhelm in this industry is just immense. Do you ever see it ever changing or ever slowing down, or ever feeling a little bit calmer?

I will say that, over the last two years, it's slowed down a little bit, only because Facebook has been so distracted with lawsuits, all the world and government inquiries, that they have not innovated as much. As a result of the largest social media platform not innovating as much, the competitors slowed down their innovation. It's only now that we're starting to see a lot of new stuff coming from Facebook's fastest growing platform, which is Instagram, and that's going to begin the competitive wars, if you will, across the social platforms as other platforms are beginning to say, all right, I'm going to add this or I'm going to do this just how Facebook does it.

But yeah, I always say internally that, as long as social is changing, we have a very solid business model. Because the moment it stops changing is the moment when pretty much we're not in a good spot.

We've got nothing to say.

Yeah. But it's slowing down for sure. I think that, as a result of it slowing down, there's a little bit going back to basics with a lot of marketing right now. Rather than just going here because it's new, now the deeper questions are being asked, well what is this doing for the business, what's the actual trackable ROI for something like this. I think a lot of marketers right now are using this slightly slowing season to kind of make smart decisions about what to stop so that they can start something new.

I totally agree. I think sometimes what happens with the social space is that everybody thinks I've got to be on everything, I've got to do everything. You mentioned TikTok. That comes out, everyone's like, oh God should I be doing that, should I be on it. Actually, sometimes for me, and when I speak to my audience, it's more about doing what you do with consideration and being consistent at it, and being where your audience are, and focusing on that platform, and doing what you can manage, because otherwise you will completely overwhelm yourself with all these platforms and try and do all these things, and keep up with all these changes. I think all the platforms have got so many amazing things that they can do, and probably you might agree, disagree. Lots of businesses are just scratching the surface of it.

I would agree. Most marketers are doing social wrong or bad, and that might mean they're doing just Facebook ads for example, and it's kind of working, or it might mean that they're going live on LinkedIn or using LinkedIn video, but they don't really know if anyone's watching. But yes, I don't even remember what the original question was. What was the question?

Just the fact … I've forgotten as well.


[inaudible 00:15:24].

The reality is we are in a changing world, but I think what a lot of us need to do is step back and answer the question why first. Why go do this? Why continue to do this? One of the things we've done at Social Media Examiner over the last year is we've stopped some things. We've decided we're no longer on Pinterest because, in our particular demographic, it wasn't spurring our Christmas objectives. We've also scaled back some of our use of live video, and instead we're producing podcasts and we're doing live taping, if you will. It just really comes down to cost benefit analysis. We have a team of X number of people in the company, and I think there's five people in our marketing department, which is a decent sized marketing department, but they're all overworked and overwhelmed. It's like there are a lot of things that we'd love to do more of, YouTube being one of them, and we just haven't been able to do it because we've been distracted doing what we've always done.

So one of the things that I keep preaching to people is, if when I ask you why, you say it's because that's the way we've always done it, that's a legitimate reason to stop, because that means you don't really know why.


The hardest thing in the world for a lot of people to do is to stop something just because they've always done it. You almost feel like you're compelled you must do it. I say you actually must consider whether or not that's a complete utter waste of your time, because you will never be free for the next big thing when it does approach.

The other thing … sorry.

Yeah, go ahead.


Tracking Your Results


So the other thing I was going to say that's really interesting. When you have been in marketing a long time … when I did my degree 15 years ago, well one, marketing then and marketing today looks nothing the same. But we couldn't prove this stuff. We couldn't prove whether … I used to head up corporate marketing for Land Rover in the UK. We would … our budgets were massive, and we would then go in and do an ad in a paper that costs hundreds of thousands, or whatever it would cost. They'd go how many cars did we sell, and I'd be like, I don't know, because we couldn't track it. Whereas now, we can. That's kind of the frustration. It's like, when you say why are you doing, well this is what we've done, and I wouldn't want to stop that just in case. Well, you don't know what you're getting from it, so what do you think is going to happen if you stop there?

I think, like you said, the fact is we're in a world now where we can see all these things, that it's ludicrous if we do not take advantage of those various different things that actually prove to ourselves that this is actually working and not working.

I advocate that people come up with a stopping list. I advocate that you come up with a stopping list maybe once every six months, and make a goal. Just like you make a goal to start something, make a goal to stop something. We're at the end, as of this recording of 2000 … what is it?


19. We should have come up with … my goal is to stop this. You don't need to know what you're going to start next. You just need to know what you need to stop, because when you stop something, that newfound time could be put back into something you know for a fact is working. This is what I think a lot of people get wrong. Let's just say email is working, or let's say Facebook ads are working. So you decide you're going to go off and explore something brand new. Instead, why don't you say how can we make email work better. How can we make Facebook ads work better? There's so much room for improvement. You can run more split tests. You could do more analysts. You can try more things.

I think instead, we say to ourselves, we fool ourselves, I've done all I can do with X. Now I must find something new in order to be successful. I'm here to tell you that is a complete and utter lie. It is never true. There is always more that can be done, and that's where I think so many marketers get it wrong is they don't strive for the next level, because the reality is you could double, triple or quadruple the output of one thing if you spent more time on it.

Yeah, I absolutely agree. I think we are all in the world where it's that shiny object syndrome. We're like, oh this is the next thing we [inaudible 00:19:35], and we must be doing this and we must be doing that. Funny enough, I've been talking a lot about this recently. If you double down on that one thing, if you really put all the effort in … when I started the podcast, my assistant said to me, how long are you going to do it for until you work out whether it's going to be any good or whether it works for you as a tool? I said, 12 months. I'm going to do it for 12 months because I want to be consistent at it, and I absolutely gave it my all. In month nine, it suddenly … I'd been tracking along pretty nicely, and then month nine, it was like a hockey stick. It literally flew up in the air, which was amazing.

Suddenly then it got all the traction. But like I said, I focused all my attention there. I didn't do a podcast and YouTube, and live video and something else.


I put all my efforts in that one place and just went for it, and went, I'm going to do this. Do I think I've got it sussed? Not in a million years. In fact, today, I was just reading … weirdly, I was reading some notes about Social Media Marketing World and my first year when Pat Flynn was there, and he was talking about ways in which he could boost his podcast. It was all these different things like do a special episode, do a random episode, and I just happened to stumble across it while looking at something else. I was like, oh these are good ideas. So again, even on episode I think yesterday that's just come out now, is 90 or 91. There's still so much to learn, and yet someone else might look at that and think, no you've got it. What's next? Move onto the next thing.



How to Stand Out in a Noisy Industry


Which is not the case. Okay, we are in the most noisiest space ever. Social media is huge, and there are so many people doing this, and you are really at the top of it. You are at the top of the tree in terms of who knows what and who is connected to who, and your event is, in my eyes and lots of other eyes, and I'm pretty sure that this is true anyway, the world's leading social media event. Social Media Examiner is probably the world's social media websites. How on earth do you stand out in that noise, and how do you become that leader? How do you set that precedence so that you could pretty much knock on any door or pick up the phone to any amazing person in this industry and they will come and speak to you and speak on the stage and do that? How on earth do you get to that point?

So great question. I'm going to answer it so that it doesn't matter whether you are a plumber, or whether you're a consultant, or where you are an ADHD specialist, that you could get exactly what I have. The key to the entire thing, first and foremost, is to understand exactly who you're trying to reach. You have to picture in your mind, I don't want to reach everyone. I want to reach somebody. Who is that somebody? You really have to build a really clear picture of what that person looks like, what kind of job that person has, what kind of struggles that person has, and you want to remind yourself every day whenever you're thinking about creating anything, that this is who you're creating it for.

The second thing is you need to create content for free for that person. So that content could be, in my mind, one of four different types of content. The first one is a podcast, which we're listening to right now. Second one is the written word, which is obviously in its truest form a blog post. The third one is going to be a video, and obviously the biggest platform for that is YouTube, but it doesn't have to be YouTube. It could be Instagram. Then the last one is live and in person, speaking in your hometown, at conferences or whatever. So are you a good writer? Are you a good talker? Are you good on camera? Are you good in person?

So first and foremost, decide where you're going to focus. Right now, you have put your focus, Teresa, on the podcast, and crushing it. But you know you have your sights set beyond the podcast.


You absolutely do. So once you get to the point were you decide on your medium and you decide on your audience, then the next thing is you've got to ask a lot of questions of this ideal audience. You need to ask them what are your struggles, what are you pain points in relationship to this. So you can ask those questions by simply saying it out loud on a podcast, by posting it on Facebook, by putting a question post up on an Instagram story. Whatever it takes, ask the question and make sure that you're ignoring the questions from the people that fall outside of that audience that you're trying to reach. So the way you do that, in an ideal world, is you put a survey together and you do something like Survey Monkey. You ask these questions, and then you also ask some demographic questions.

Those questions might be how long have you worked? What is your job? I think I asked is social media marketing important for your career, yes or no? If they say no, then I discount that.

Then it's not for them.

Yeah. Are you a marketer? I ask all these questions. I ask about gender, age, what part of the world they're in. Even if they've been our customers. Then what I can do is I can filter down to the specific audience that I'm trying to reach. So if I know that I'm trying to reach women who are in marketing, who are between the ages of 35 an 50, I can just look … and who are also interested in marketing, I can look at how they answered the questions differently than everyone else. I can see, oh, fascinating, Instagram is really high on their list. Oh, YouTube video is really high on their list. Oh, analytics is high on their list. Now I know exactly what content to create.

So then I go out there and I start creating that content. Then I measure it. So I ask myself, all right, they've said they're interested in this. Let's see whether or not the action meets the statement. The way you do that in a podcast is you look at downloads, or you log into Apple podcast connect and you look at average listen duration. Or you go into Spotify and do the same thing. You just look to see whether or not they're listening a little bit longer to these episodes, and it'll show you a YouTube retention graph.


Then the stuff that everybody cares about is the stuff that should have a longer listening time or have more reads on your blog or whatever. Then you just continue to create more and more of that content. You also watch for signals. Just like if you're out in the wild and you see a smoke signal. The smoke signals that you're looking for are going to be private messages on Instagram from people saying, you freaking crushed that episode. Or emails from people saying, oh my gosh that was so awesome, or comments on your blog post saying, more of this please. You take those signals, and that's your affirmation that you're heading in the right direction. I see you shaking your head a lot.

Yeah, yeah. No, I'm literally just sat here going yes, yes, yes, yes, because it's everything you said. Like you said, if you don't know who you're talking to, then how on earth are you going to create anything for them. I love the fact that the bit that you said that actually I probably don't spend enough time doing is the bit with the signals. So I say to the audience, I give them the content they want. We look at all those things. However, perhaps when we get to the signals bit, I think sometimes, especially when you start, because people are … they're not sending messages, they're not replying to your stuff. Then when they start to do, I think you're just so, oh that's amazing, but maybe I've not taken the time to go actually on that episode. Now I know which was my highest ever episode on the podcast, and interestingly enough … I say interestingly, not for any good or bad reason, because I've had some flipping amazing people on, but Jasmine Star absolutely blew everyone out of the water.

She's a rockstar.

She was phenomenal.

She is keynote in Social Media Marketing World. I don't know if you're aware of that or not.

Oh my goodness. I don't know how I didn't see it, but I didn't know. She honestly is one of the best speakers I've ever seen. It's really funny. When I talk, I get told I talk too fast. Well I don't get told, but when I did my Ted Ex, they told me to slow down. My one thing is every talk I ever give, I know I'm very pacy. So now, I say I talk fast and it just is what it is. Jasmine, one of the first times I ever saw her actually said, I don't talk fast, you listen slow. I just thought that was the best thing ever because she's completely … One of the things I love about her as a speaker, and I would like to emulate and hopefully do, because I'm not the most … When I look at Pat as speaker, he's so polished, he's so slick.

He practises like crazy, yeah.

Yeah, and he is amazing. I remember him telling me that he'd had coaching on it and this various thing, and he takes it so seriously and perfects it brilliantly then you've got someone like Jasmine who is like … she just gets up there and she just blows you out of the water and is 100% herself. I love that. I love that she's so unapologetically, well this is who I am, and just gets it all and does it. She is just amazing. Anyway.

A couple quick things. First of all, you have to ask for the signals in order to get the signals. So it's really important that you do something in your podcast, from now on, if you're not, which is at the very beginning. Say, tag me on Instagram or email me. Just say that every single week, and eventually the signal will be received that … say, I would love to hear your feedback. You have to ask for it. This is marketing 101.


You have to ask for it, or they won't give it because, think about it. Most people who listen to our podcasts, and we both have … I have a lot of people listening to my podcasts. They're not in a spot where they would ever think to give it to you when they're listening. They might be jogging, they might be driving. But if you ask for it, some day they're going to pull over and they're going to give you feedback. It sounds crazy, but if you do not ask for it, you likely won't get it. The second thing is being yourself is so important. So many people feel like they need to be someone else. They pick somebody and they say, in order for me to be successful, I have to be like Jasmine with these little isms.

Jasmine gets up there and she's got these crazy figures of speech that are just hilarious. She's full of energy and super charismatic and pretty. You might say, well I don't have those things so I can never be like that. It's like, no, instead what you want to do is you want to look at why Jasmine is successful. It's because she's authentic, she's who she is, she's imperfect, and she's okay with that. As long as you can be okay with that, then you can also create content for whoever your tribe it. Not everyone is going to relate to it, but that's okay, because not everyone is supposed to be in your tribe.

Yeah, and again, I completely agree with that. I think that takes time and confidence, and maybe … I've had my business out five years, and maybe in the beginning I didn't feel like that. But strangely enough, I was being interviewed this morning for a magazine, and she was saying to me don't you get concerned about other marketers when I said I have lots of marketers. I have marketers and social media people in my academy. She's like, don't you get concerned about having them in there and sharing your knowledge? I was like, not in the slightest. In fact, I'm more than happy to help anybody along the way, because the only thing that I have got different from anybody else is me.

Like you said, if people love it, great, amazing. If I'm not for them, then there are loads of other people that they can get this from, and that's cool. Go get it from them. But I think in every industry, we automatically look to someone and go, oh they're amazing. I want a life or a business like them. Like you said, but we have to sit in our own this is who we are rather than try to emulate them, try and look like them. Like you said, if I stood on stage and came out with some of the stuff that Jasmine says, or said y'all, people would laugh me off stage because it's the most inauthentic thing ever I could say.


So yeah, totally, totally.

Real quick, if I could comment on something that that woman who was interviewing you said. Aren't you concerned … Sounds like she was implying, aren't you concerned you're kind of giving your secrets away.


I think it's really important for everyone who's listening right now to understand that's what separates successful people from unsuccessful people. The people that you think about that you most respect are the ones that have empowered you with knowledge and wisdom that you did not find on your own necessarily. You found from someone else. Those are the people that you hold up. Those are the people you evangelise. Those are the people that you love. That is the smartest marketing in the world, which is to give everything away for free, no matter what, because there's no one like you in the world. No one is ever going to do it your way. The reality is that there's a lot more where that came from.

A lot of think that if we just share that one tip, then someone's going to steel that tip. Instead, you're going to empower lots of other people and they're going to credit you for it.


Creating Connections Through Details


Yeah, and you are the epitome of that because every single day, content comes out, and you are literally … there was no end of content on the Social Media Examiner website. Literally nothing you couldn't want to know is on there. That's the thing though. If you're not giving it them, someone else is. If you weren't putting that out there, they'd find it somewhere else, because we live in this world where you literally can google anything. So the best scenario that you can have is that they google something and you come at the top of that list, isn't it?

Yes, because you want to be the one that they come back to. You want to be the well, the resource that they come to every single day or whenever they have a challenge, because then eventually some of those people will find such value in you that they're going to say, I want to buy whatever it is the company has to sell.

Yeah, absolutely.

Best marketing in the world.

The other thing I was going to comment on actually is, you know when people do the engaging and they do comment, and they do reply, and they do come back to you, often I find it's on the surprising stuff. It's either on … so I send that email every Wednesday to my list and the way I write my email is that it's very personal. I write it. It's not written by one of the team. I joke that I am not the best writer, hence why I speak and have a podcast because I much prefer to do that. I send this email out and I see it as a different bit of content. So I normally talk about something that I hasn't put on the podcast or that might have just come up that week, or something to do with running a business or marketing, or whatever.

Sometimes I will send something out, and I will … the other week, I wrote about jet lag because I was really suffering coming back from California. Suddenly it's like ping, ping, ping, ping. All these emails are coming in, and they're like oh yeah, I know what you mean, and I know this. Sometime those connections aren't necessarily on the stuff that you think, but it's just the fact that they've had the willingness and the want to kind of reply and have that conversation with you, which is just amazing.

Yeah, and you can do this today with Instagram stories. This is the easiest thing in the world to do in seconds with Instagram stories. I have been experimenting a lot with this lately. I was walking to my car and we have a job opening for director of operations. I said just something casually on the way to the car, and over the weekend I asked the question, that is such an easy platform to experiment with talking about things that you would not normally talk about. But you'd be surprised how many people are interested in the backstory. They're interesting in getting to know who you are. That doesn't normally seem interesting to us until people start interacting with us.


All of the sudden they love us because we're interacting with them, right?

Yeah. Like you said, it's the unusual stuff. It's the … for me, I remember what I interviewed [inaudible 00:35:46] I was talking to him about the fact that he's always walking to Whole Foods, which I'm very jealous about because we don't have Whole Foods here. But I know that detail, I know those things, because they're the stuff we remember. Those are the things that … the kind of small details that we can relate with, and the reason I related to that is because I've been in Whole Foods when I'm over there and I love it. So it's all these kind of little details that we can … doing something like Instagram stories, it's weird. Instagram and Instagram stories is the place I'm most personable, I think is the right … to say it that way. I will share the most about me.

I'll be honest. I don't do enough of it, probably because I've got a pretty decent team. I just haven't figured out how to work my personal brand into the corporate brand that we've got here at Social Media Examiner. But I know, when I do do it, people find it very interesting. Pat Flynn has been doing this for a long time. He shares these random factoids at the beginning of his podcast every week, and it's just kind of one of those kind of things that people remember. In a world, as you stated earlier, where it's very competitive, we should all be doing stuff that makes it easier for people to remember us and who we are. Maybe, just maybe sharing more of these real kind of random factoids about our lives just might be the key to really connecting.

When I think about Pat, I literally can tell you his son's name. That's how much I've seen stuff and it sticks in your head. It's like, I know his son's name, and I'm just trying to think of his daughter. It's Kioni and I can't think of his daughter's name.

Now you're seriously putting … I'm in a Mastermind with him and I should know the names of his kids.

I'll have to tell him.

Yeah, I'm drawing a mental blank right now, but yeah.


The Importance of Relationships


Honestly, these things do stick in your head, don't they?

Oh yeah.

The next thing I want to ask you is how much is the importance of relationship in all this, because in this industry there is definitely a group of, or there are groups of people, and I don't mind sharing that one of the ways … and I get asked this all the time actually. I was being interviewed the other day and someone asked me how did you get Pat Flynn and Porterfield back to back on your first two interviews? Granted, they weren't episode one and two. I'd been doing like 20 something episodes. I said, and people think I'm joking, and I'm not. I invited them for coffee and then said, and I'm going to fly half thousand miles to take you for a coffee. That's exactly that I did. I flew to San Diego and met them both, and they both very graciously met me, which I am very honoured that they gave me the time.

I went to Pat's studio. I was very lucky. Pat and I have spoken on the same stage, and he was on before me once for converted, the lead pages, so I had met Pat. I said to myself, I'm going to go and meet them and, if it goes really well, which I suspected and hoped that it would, but if it does, I'm going to then get back to the UK and then I'm going to ask they'll come on the podcast. I didn't want them to think I just did that to get them on the podcast. So anyway, met them for coffee separately over a couple of days and, without even asking, they both offered straight off the bat, which I was-

That was Pat and who was the other person?

Amy Porterfield.

Oh yeah, cool.

I was just blown away. So then what I did is I looked at their network and there is definite networks of who's connected to who. So let's take Jasmine and Rick Mulready for instance. Jasmine's friends with Amy. Rick Mulready is in Pat's thing and is friends with Amy and was on her podcast. So how important … For me, I felt like it was worth that effort to go over and have that conversation, to the point now where I can see Amy and she knows who I am, and we chat, and she'll text me and that sort of thing. How important do you think that is in order to put yourself out there as an industry expert and get in front of those key people?

I think it's absolutely the key to success. In my second book launch that I had this formula called the Elevation Principle, which is great content, plus other people, minus marketing messages, equal growth. Great content, you know what that is, plus other people. Somehow they're involved, minus marketing message. No pitch. Whenever you pitch, all the sudden it's like the flaps on aeroplanes , slow down. So I think it's absolutely essentially. What I did when I started social media examiner was I took a camera crew to a conference. I was friends with someone from my prior life who said, these are the people you want to interview. So I went up to those people and interviewed them, and they were people like Chris Brogan and Scott Monty, who are really big wigs in our space back in the day.

It was very professional. I made content staring them. I went out of my way to make sure that I was providing value to them, period, end of story, never asking for anything in return. It's the key to everything. John Lee Dumas, who you may know who's got Entrepreneur on Fire, he was trying to get into my network. In the beginning, when he first started his show, I was one of the first four or five people he interviewed. It was because of someone I knew and trusted that I accepted that interview. So it was Cliff Ravenscraft who said, John Lee Dumas is one of my students. I strongly recommend you consider him. He's a good guy. So that network is really important and leveraging that network. For example, you could ask Pat and/or Amy right now to put in a good word for you because you've already built that kind of relational equity with them, and they could help you get someone like Michael Hyatt, easily on your podcast because Michael's hard to get to.

So that's kind of the key to everything is to be really strategic and provide a lot of value. But back to John Lee Dumas. I got him on the podcast and I forgot about him. Then what he ended up doing is he recorded a private video with some feedback on how I could improve my podcast by making a couple of changes to it.

Oh that's great.

It was awesome, and I did it.


I did it, and he never asked for anything. I just remembered that. I've done this with Seth Godin for example, where I emailed him and I said, hey you need those social share buttons on your blog. Blah, blah, blah. Now I wouldn't say Seth is a friend, but he's been on my show like five times, and it's just how can you provide value to somebody in a way that they'll remember who you are? That's kind of how it starts. Really, the best way to make an impact, as you know, is to meet them in person.


The best way economically to do that is to go to the events where they're all going to be. I'm not saying this just because I happen to have that kind of event, but that's how I started with my thing. I went to an event that's no longer around, and they were all there, and I met them, and that was the beginning of relationships, partnerships. These people that ended up speaking at my event, that's how it all works.

But you're exactly right. I don't want it to sound like a pitch because we're not pitching, but I'd say if for moral honestly, the first time I saw Pat and Amy and Jasmine, and all the other amazing people that've been on podcast is through Social Media and Marketing World, is sitting front and centre at their sessions, making sure I go and speak to them, making sure I connect with them, making sure that, like you said, didn't ask them for anything.

Ask them for a selfie though because you're going to want to email that selfie later, right?

Always. Always. Luckily, if you are in the UK and listening to this and thinking should I make the effort, one of the great things about going over is you do stand out, because I'm British, and we sound a little bit different, and therefor Jasmine will joke that I'm her favourite British person and that's one thing … and she'll know who I am because obviously I have a differentiator because of my voice and because I'm British, but that's the whole point. The thing is it is more economical to do that. It is more economical to go and be really strategic about whose rooms do I want to be in, who do I want to get in front of? Just like I said, and don't go with … or I didn't go with any agenda the first couple of years. It wasn't like, I didn't know then I was going to have a podcast, so it wasn't like I'm going to do this to get this thing. It was just because … this is going to sound the saddest thing in the world, but it was like I want to be their friend.

I think I could sit down for coffee with Amy and we could just talk, and we did, and we sat for two hours chatting like old friends. She met my husband, he came up, she invited us to drink [inaudible 00:44:40], and it was awesome. But it had to be face to face, as much as I love social media, and I do love it, and it's great for getting that initial connection, there's nothing more powerful than them following it up with stood in front of someone or having that conversation or making that effort to be in front of them, is there?

There isn't, but I also think that it's really important that a lot of people look at this like they're planting seeds that might take years to germinate.

Yes, for sure.

Because not everyone is going to be able to do … they're not going to all have the result that you had.


Also, don't overlook the people sitting around you when you're at these events too.


You might be sitting next to the next Jasmine in the front row because, just like you, and they're there with a purpose. You'd be surprised at the calibre and level of individuals that go to these kinds of events. You might just find your next business partner. You might just find your next boss, or you might find your next client and that's where it gets really fascinating, because I've been in this for a long time. Just to see some of the people that were just total rookies back in the day are now absolutely crushing it, and the key really is just to develop those relationships, provide as much value to everyone around you, knowing that not all those seeds are going to grow. But some of them will, and all you need is a couple of them to grow and you can be very, very successful.

I couldn't agree more, and I think often, in an online space and an online industry, we think this is a quick win. We think we're going to send out a tweet, do a Facebook ad, put up a blog post and suddenly we're the next Seth Godin. That isn't the case. Like you said, everything I did, I did with I'm taking a step forward, I'm taking a step forward. Even now, every stage I speak on, every interview I do, every person I have on my podcast, every month I have a list of you must ask to go on three podcasts, you must ask to get on three stages, you must do this to test myself, to make sure every time I'm moving forward and making those steps because, like you said, this isn't a short term thing.

Also, look at the people. You must have seen this way more than I have. The people that come and go and the people that are just still-

Still here, yes.

Amazing, and people still love them because maybe they were the ones who took the longest to get there, but when they were there, they're in.

Well, it's not just that. They continue to do the work. The people that are still on stages today, that have been on stages five years ago, are the people that have changed with the times or understand how they need to change. Jasmine was a wedding photographer and obviously she shifted. She had to shift, and she got into Instagram and went all in, and then started doing a lot with live video on Instagram, and went all in. The future of Jasmine I'm sure is totally different then it's going to be today. The key is to just be … I don't know how to say this, but I find that the people that are the most humble and willing to help others are the ones that go the furthest in this industry.


The ones that are the most primadonna jerk, to use guy language, they don't last very long. They might be like magnesium and get really bright for a little while, but then that flame burns out and they're left wondering what the heck happened. Because in the end, this is called social media for a reason. There's a social component, and I like to say that the world of social media has a pretty long memory. If you're not a nice person, you will not survive in this world. Go find a different career.

Jasmine keeps getting shouted out, but I must mention one more thing before we move on about this. She was … The last Social Media Marketing World I was at, she was speaking. She had a jam packed room. She'd given a talk, someone got up to ask a question and they said … and this is going to make me laugh a bit. They said how many followers they had on Instagram. I think it was a business account, and it wasn't as many as Jasmine. They said, we get loads of DMs and I don't know how to deal with them. Should I just get a VA to deal with them? She's like, how important is it that you deal with them? She's like, well I should, but … SHe's like, so you respond. Yeah, but how do I get time? She's like, you just respond.


The Future for Social Media Marketing World


When Jasmine is sat there going, I respond to all my DMs because that's the most important thing for me to do, and I outsource something that isn't' important for me to do, that's how you deal with that, and this woman just wasn't having any of it. She was like, yeah, but I'm really busy and I get all these DMs, and Jasmine's like, so do I. Just respond. I was like, that's perfect, because she's at the point she is now where, like I said, she scaled huge. She's probably getting loads of messages. I DM'd her a few weeks back and she immediately DM'd me back. But she still does it. She still puts in the work. She still cares, she's still giving, she's still kind of on the culface if you like, and it shows, and it pays. I'm a huge fan because of that. So she's just phenomenal.

So obviously when you started 10 years ago, and this just proves how time takes, what was your vision? What did you imagine that you were turning this into? What was the … and I want to then ask you what do you want? What's the vision for the next 10 years?

The vision was just a three year experiment. Well, I didn't even know if it was going to last for three years. The vision was just to create a blog, a better blog than what I previously had. That was it. There was no idea to do a podcast. There was no video. None of that kind of stuff mattered. All that mattered was just writing really good content. So the goal was to have a really big business blog, and we achieved that vision. Now, obviously it's so much more. As I mentioned at the start of the interview, 10 years from now, I have no idea. To be honest, I don't really look out more than about a year. The reason I don't is because it's so hard in this industry to make any plans. I don't want to be so silly to say that there couldn't be another major social platform in the next year that we've never heard of before, and it could blow up literally overnight.

So for example, if Amazon or Microsoft, who owns LinkedIn, or Salesforce, or one of these multimillion dollar companies decides to put the right kind of money behind something, all of the sudden the whole world could be talking about that. It could be something we never even fathomed before. So the one thing I do want to do is I definitely want to continue the podcast. I definitely want to grow up our YouTube channel. That's my short term next two year strategy. We're investing heavily in creating really, really great content on our YouTube channel. Two days a week, we're publishing video tutorials directly from a lot of the people that we've mentioned in this podcast, and some others that we haven't. But Jenn Herman, who's an Instagram expert, Rick Mulready, who's a Facebook expert, [inaudible 00:51:51] who's a Facebook groups, Dennis U, who's a Facebook ads expert. Amanda Bon flew in from Toronto to film a bunch of stuff.

So we're doing a lot of really good direct to camera YouTube tutorials that are right now live on our channel, and I'm going to be doing a lot more content on the channel, dealing with some of the issues we've spoken about today. So, for example, how do you stand out? How do you become the person that the whole world thinks about when they think about your industry. I really want to focus in on impact and I really want to focus in on influence. Not influencer, but influence and how to yield it, because I've seen so many stars rise and I've been involved behind the scenes with so many of these stars rising that I said to myself, I think I'm going to come and teach a little bit here.

So watch for that coming from me, lessons on a lot of the kind of things like … some of the stuff I've got written down is, even from today's interview, how to analyse the success signals.


I'm going to do a video on that. How do get better at stopping, how to know the world is ready for my message? How do I talk about myself without bragging? How do I deal with resistance? Resistance is a concept that is in a book called the war of art by Steven Presville. It's that little voice in our head that says, you're not good enough. How do we deal with that? So these are all the concepts I'm toying with. You hit me up at the early stage of this, but in about a week I'm going to start filming, and I'm really excited to bring some of this content to my community through YouTube videos.

That's just great. That's such good … I love those titles. I love the one about the confidence thing because that was a big one for me, having the guts to actually do these things and to be like, who cares. I asked Seth Godin to come on the podcast and he said no very politely and very quickly. He said he was busy, and you know what? A year ago, I wouldn't have even asked him. I would have been like, he probably won't come on. There's probably no point asking him. Instead of being … I wasn't at all upset or concerned that he said no. In fact, I was ready for it. But it was a case of, do you know what? He now knows that I exists.

Next time he has a book come out, I guarantee you he'll say yes if you ask him. He probably will.

I was a little bit late for the last one.

Yeah. Just so you know about authors, you want to hit them up when they're in their cycle. So once he's in his next cycle, you hit him up and there's a high likelihood he'll say yes.

He'll be coming on.

Do not let a rejection stop you.

No, and I think that's a big thing because I think that stops loads of people. Then the other one which you said, which is perfect, and especially for a British audience because we are a little bit more reserved with how we talk about ourselves is saying, I am actually really good at this, without feeling like check me out, I'm amazing.

You're bragging, yeah.

Yeah, that's a really difficult thing to do. So I think those subject titles are perfect.

Yeah. So those are the things I'm going to test and we're going to see if people resonate with those. If they will, then I'll talk more, maybe on my podcast, about some of those kind of things. So, that's what I'm kind of excited about. I'm excited to actually, instead of just bringing experts to my tribe, to bring a little bit of me to my tribe because, for the longest time, it's been other people, and I'm finally going to come out … I have something to add to the world, and let's see if anyone wants to pay attention.

I'm absolutely positive they will. Mike, it's been an absolute pleasure to have you on the podcast. I've really, really enjoyed our conversation. Thank you so much for giving me your time. I know it's very valuable and I really, really appreciate you coming on so thank you.

It's been my pleasure.

So there we have it, the lovely Mike Stelzner. I really enjoyed that conversation, and I think there was lots to take from it. Not just if you're trying to build your own personal brand, but generally how to market your business. So I thought that was really cool. I really enjoyed chatting. So just as a really quick reminder, if you haven't yet hit subscribe, make sure you do that so you know when a new episode is coming out, and if you haven't given me a review, I would love it so very much if you wouldn't mind. Head over to iTunes and give me a lovely five star review over there. I would love you forever. As always, come and say hi. I love saying hi to you guys. I love receiving messages from you. If you've sent me a message, you'll know I send you a message back, so please, please do that.

Anyway, I am going to leave you alone for today. Next episode, we're getting really, really close to Christmas now, and I always get a bit kind of like what should I do around the Christmas period because obviously having busy Christmas life gets in the way of listening to podcasts, as we all know, it really interferes with our businesses. So what I'm going to be doing next week is I'm actually going to bring you another interview, and this one's a really, really good one. It's with a very lovely lady called Jill, and we talk all about emails and how you can do your emails, and what you should put in them, and the types of emails you should write, so that's really cool.

Then I think I'm going to do a solo on Christmas Eve just because, like I said, you may not get a chance to listen straight off or not, so I'll do a solo. Then we'll carry on. We've got some great interviews lined up for next year. I'm literally looking at it as I speak. I literally have one, two, three, four, five interviews already recorded and in the bag. So we're going to kick of 2020 in a great, great way. Don't forget, if you haven't yet gone and downloaded your workbook, head over to, numbers, not words.

Okay guys, I will leave you to it. Have a great week and I will see you soon.