Larry Weidel: I am with social media expert Matt Gore. Matt can you share some insights with us today how to use social media platforms wisely? What do you think about Zoom?
Matt Gore: Yeah sure. If you’re not communicating with your clients right now, you’re going to get beat.
That’s sort of my firm hard, fast belief right now is that whenever uncertain times and stuff are happening, no matter what business you’re in, you need to be communicating with your clients, your constituency and Zoom was a fantastic vehicle for that.
LW: I know that Andy young took last year’s Covid quarantine very seriously. Since he knows you and your business real well he decided to take a professional approach. He got you involved with not only the production side of his zoom meetings but helping to organize the content to create real events. You put whole shows together. Programs with lots of big speakers and entertaining formats and features. Taking the professional approach to solving this communication issue paid off big for him. You even had social media posts at the end and a Saturday Night Live type of news desk for updates. While most people were just running by the seat of the pants, he took the professional approach and showed that with just a little bit of money and some professionals you can really dress up your communication, especially your live streaming. That’s the takeaway I had from that. Did I understand that correctly?
MG: Absolutely. Andy was creating events big events every other month. We would have a smaller event on the month in between.
We were at 2000 people every other month in Winston Salem, and suddenly that was all getting shut down but the problem was everybody’s businesses were growing and people were responding to the event.
There was no way we were going to just stop because we knew that people on a regular basis needed that communication.
So basically we just decided to do a broadcast instead of a live event. And we used Zoom to be our vehicle. We also use YouTube which was free for everyone. The reason we actually chose YouTube was because almost every smart television on the planet right now has the YouTube app built into it. The result was that you could watch the event on television.
Essentially for the user, it was like actually getting to watch a sports event. So you weren’t having to set kind of hunched over at your desk to watch a Zoom like we see so many companies doing now that want to do everything on Zoom.
We were actually pushing everything out on YouTube so that you could sit at home or even in your office and watch it like a sports event.
We’re using zoom just as the vehicle to bring in our guest speakers. So it’s really about kind of analyzing what you want to do from a communication standpoint. And then you’re just going to pick up the tools that you need to do it.
Having a good communication plan and knowing that you must be communicating, we’re sort of the fundamentals to that play and everything else was just choosing the right hammer and screwdriver to make that.
LW: And so much of this also, where you get to where you have answers is you just have to dive in and start doing it. Just kind of like when you started your business and all of a sudden you have to become an expert in the field.
MG: Exactly. We sat down on a Monday and we had not been doing any virtual. We had never done a virtual event ever in our career.
We were not doing much streaming stuff because we were more production based where you go in and you do all your shooting and come home and do all your editing. Then you push the product out.
But streaming was going to be the play and the actual equipment that we had purchased to do our live staging and events, or was a great base for us to use that year for this. And like I said, we were shut down on a Monday and that Sunday we streamed our first live event.
About 10 days after that, that same event that would have gone to 2000 people in Winston, Salem went to about 7,800 people on a Saturday. So not only did we not skip a beat, but we literally took the number of people that we were reaching from 2,000 to almost 8,000 in less than 10 days. And that’s the power of what this gives you.
If you’re talking about only talking to people, one-on-one, we need that to do that from time to time.
But if you’re having to travel to a certain place start working some of this technology out, your reach is just amazing.
LW: As I understand it, people watched the entire event. It wasn’t like you had 8,000, the big number, that kind of came in at the beginning and then they dribbled out to a few hundred.
A lot of times you could do a meeting for two or 3,000 people, but by the time you start early in the morning by the end of the day or the evening they’ve dribbled out and you’ve got like two thirds of the crowd or half of the crowd left, they just kind of drift off.
But what I heard was that people, your audience, was still strong all the way through the end. When you were rolling the credits and you were showing the social media posts at the end, people even stayed around to see that.
MG: Yeah, that was a kind of a big surprise to all of us. We found a new word. It’s called a social media aggregator. That’s a big word for, they found one place that if you tag any post or picture anything, it would gather it up and you could display it all in one webpage.
And we plugged that service into what we were doing on the broadcast and just use it just like another camera source.
And we started showing that an integrating that again, this is about community and everyone wants to be a part of something big and being able to show people’s faces on the broadcast was a big, big deal.
The first time we did it we rolled the social media page just at the end to sort of let everything wind down. And one of us went back and watched the counter, probably 15 minutes after the show was over and everyone was startled that a big portion of the people were still there.
It’s really about putting all those pieces together and you’re making a show and making something to engage people just like you were doing a live event.
LW: The takeaway here that is that if you’re going to be successful over the long term you can’t be rigid in your attitudes and your methods of doing business. That’s an operating principle that we all have to pay attention to. You can never get away from your fundamentals and your goals, but how your techniques of how you accomplish those things will always be changing.
MG: When COVID hit, we had a staggering amount of work canceled in just 10 business days.
I had a gigantic 18 video deal that we were supposed to go to Canada in the middle of March for a very, very large, large national company.
It was a big contract for us and it’s gone. Until travel is back on and we’re able to get to other places all of that work is gone. I set my team down and said last year we gained a lot of ground, it was a stellar year. Our growth was really obvious. We were on this great trajectory.
And I told our team the day after the lock-in, I said, look, guys, I am not giving it back. We are not giving it back. We fought too hard to get to there in 2019.
I don’t care what it takes. We’re not giving it back.
We started settling down and coming up with ideas and content ideas. There was a big joke around here about me playing the role of Jerry McGuire for about two weeks . I was calling all of our clients and explaining the ways that we could create communication vehicles for them to get out to their people and their clients. They needed new ways to communicate and I wanted them to know we had the right answers.
It’s been successful. We’ve had two of our clients call us last week and said, we have increased our mailing list and the number of people that we can market to three fold in less than a week.
It’s turning into huge numbers for them. Another organization called and said that they are getting big results as a result of tripling down on all of this communication and putting so much new information out there.
LW: That’s really the thing about being a leader.
It’s easy to be a leader when everything’s going great. You wave to the cheering crowd, everybody’s applauding, but then whatever things going down the toilet, that’s really when you earn your money in that, right?
MG: That that’s exactly right. I looked back on the top that we were able to overcome some of those things as my proudest moments, way more than the times that we had record setting months.
And just that determination of you’re just not going to beat me. You’re not going to beat me until I decide we’re quitting.
It’s never as good as you think it is and it’s never as bad as you think it is. That is an absolute universal truth in business.
LW: Fantastic. Matt, thanks so much for sharing and I can’t wait to bring you back again and see how your company now is going to explode moving forward. Thanks so much.