Social Media Strategies From The Woman Who Helped Make Shaq Twitter’s #1 Sports Star

Vanity Fair said Amy Martin was the “tweetheart” with “1.2 million followers, who taught Shaquille O’Neal to tweet.” I invited her to Mixergy to talk about how she helped Shaq become one of the most engaging Twitter users and to learn how she’s helping brands like The Chicago White Sox, Discount Tire and The Cleveland Indians build communities and customers through social media.

Amy Martin

Amy Martin

Digital Royalty

Amy Martin is the founder of Digital Royalty.



Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Before we get started I hope you celebrate with me that I’ve got two new great sponsors because I know they’re going to be useful to you if you’re building a business. The first is 99 designs; they are the largest crow source design company and the best way to describe what they do is to tell you that I recently use them when I needed a template design and what I did was I described on what my ideal template needed to have, next day I had a batch of designs, I gave them all feedback, all the designers that created it, the day after that a got a new batch of designs I gave them feedback again, next day I had a new batch of designs I finally pick the perfect one for me and that’s the one I paid for.  99 designs even let me picked the price that I paid and you’re going to be blown away by how many options you have but if you don’t like any of them, 99 designs guarantees and you don’t have to pay for  any of them. Check out

Second company is DNAmail, if you’re running a business you’ll be a fool to also try to manage your own Microsoft Exchange Server, I know because I was that fool taking on too much when it came to my email system, let DNAmail take care of it, they’re going to guarantee a time, they’re going to give you 24/7 support, you can call up somebody in Los Angeles where I was recently living, not in foreign country, not limited to certain number of hours, you get all the support that you need so you can collaborate with calendars, tasks, contacts, make sure your email is dependable and so much more and if you need google apps, they take care of you with that too.
Finally you already know about grasshopper the virtual phone system that entrepreneurs love, I’ve been talking here about how I have a grasshopper phone number so I can be reach no matter where I am in the world, so I can have extensions, so I can have all the features that I need. will do the same thing for you, check them out.

Here’s the program.

Andrew: Hey everyone, is Andrew Warner founder of home of the ambitious upstart and today’s guest is the woman who made Shaquille O’Neal the number one sport star on twitter, her name is Amy Martin she’s the founder of digitalroyalty which does digital integration and social media strategies for clients like the Chicago White Soxs, Discount Tires, Cleveland Indians, Shaquille O’Neal and a whole lot of other people who I can’t list over here because is only an hour long program.

Hey Amy, good to have you on.

Interviewee: Hey Andrew, thank you for having me.

Andrew: Hey Amy, how many people, how many followers do you have on twitter?

Interviewee: I have about 1.3 million.

Andrew: Do you laugh at people who call themselves social media experts on twitter and only have 2 thousand followers?

Interviewee: No, you know, I think is the term, the semantics of expert and what that means and goes along with the amount of time everyone has been in this space, so those are kind of counterproductive terms, they don’t really drive, but I don’t think it’s about the follower count, it’s really more quality versus quantity, just recently I’ve heard Jack Dorsey himself, the you know, co-founder of twitter, talk about that, we were at a panel together and truly is, that is the concept, it’s much more about the quality of content…

Andrew: Alright, alright…

Interviewee: Then the quantity.

Andrew: I’m going to say that I laugh, and the reason I laugh is that everybody that thinks that they know this stuff but the really don’t, they just, you know, play around for a couple of hours a day, which is a waste of time from their work, and you know it’s fine if that’s your hobby, but you just can’t call yourself a social media expert unless I believe you got the experience and the track record of an Amy Martin, can I say that?

Interviewee: You’re welcome to say whatever you like…

Andrew: Exactly, you have to be a little beyond that, a little more modest then I would be about the compliments I get.

So, Let me start off with this, so what’s a random act of Shaqness?

Interviewee: A random act of Shaqness is kind of a surprise and delight type thing for fans, it’s an umbrella concept, that digitalroyalty took to Shaquille an idea of “Hey, let’s proof that this is really you behind this twitts” and bridge the digital world with the physical world to add that level of engagement or to increase the level of engagement. So an example of a random act of Shaqness would be when Shaquille stands on a corner of a cross section and twitts out his exact location and fans are able to then come and find him, meet him, and often times there’s a sudden involve in terms of the first person to tag me gets tickets to the game tomorrow night or that’s one example, there’s times when he’ll call a fan send add reply and tell a fan to pm him with their phone number, he’ll give them a call and we record the conversation full circle so that the entire follower base can hear and witness what it’s going on to be able to add value to the entire fan base …

Interviewee: add value to the entire fan base, not just a following friends base, not just that one individual fan.

Andrew: Okay. I’ve heard of this and I can see the value of it because when Shaquille O’Neal stands on the corner and says, ‘Any fan who wants to come over and touch me is welcome to do it,’ that’s shocking. It’s something that grabs people’s attention and gets articles written. Beyond that though, what’s the value of having just random fans come up and say hello?

Interviewee: Well, two things. What that did was it allowed Shaquille to resonate with a new audience. So he became entertaining not just a basketball superstar. So we do a lot of listening and the campaign was developed as a result of Digital Royalty listening to his fan base. So constantly hearing feedback along the lines of, ‘I wasn’t even a basketball fan or a Shaquille O’Neal fan for that matter, maybe didn’t even like sports but I have an afinity to this person now because he’s funny, entertaining. I see the value.’


The other thing that it did was allowed him to become accessible. You know, kind of humanizing his brand, the person behind that big personality because when that influence grows and that engagement spikes, it’s very valuable to his endorsement brands that he works with. So we use those metrics and all of that measurement to then monetize influence and that’s basically where the give and take in balance works.

Andrew: You said, ‘Use those metrics.’ Do you actually have metrics, ways of measuring success here?

Interviewee: Absolutely.

Andrew: What are some of them?

Interviewee: We measure a variety a different metrics and have a formula that allows us to take into consideration the affinity and sentiment along with the kind of black and white cold metrics of your standard traditional web analytics. So it’s…

Andrew: I’m sorry. Is this what you call the ROI, return on influence?

Interviewee: Correct. Correct. So it’s taking the warm, what we call warm and tangible -it used to be intangible analytics like sentiment, ecosystem size, adding in semantics engagement- and then also marrying that with the cold analytics which are kind of the old-school standard, amateur Google analytics that you would use.

Andrew: Okay. I’m going to come back to that question because I want to find out about numbers because, to be honest with you, my audience of business people really understands numbers I think more than they understand some of the examples we’re going to go over. But I want to go through the examples because I think it illustrates what happens that leads to the numbers.

So you talked about Shaquille O’Neal standing on a corner Tweeting out, ‘The first person who touches me gets something.’ What other ideas have you had? What other random acts of “Shaqness” have you guys used?

Interviewee: Sure. So Shaquille will go ahead and, for example, go to lunch, Tweet out his destinatation, again buy lunch for fans. There have been situations where in Cleveland he will, we’ll have him autograph a Sports Illustrated, the cover that he was on a few months back and basically hide it. So it’s kind of a “hide and tweet,” what we call it. So we have Twitter tag, we have hide and tweet: these are all concepts that Digital Royalty has come up with and we use them in various ways for other clients such as Dana White from the UFC and the White Sox. We did some things with their fan fest, for Sox Fest. And so it’s a way again to bridge that virtual world with the physical world and create an increased amount of engagement.

Andrew: Okay. So I’m going to have somebody in my audience right now who’s on Twitter and is active and is going to want to learn from Amy. He’s going to want to use what you’re using to help Shaquille O’Neal build his brand. And they’re going to say, ‘All right. Hide and tweet, interesting idea. I’ll take something that’s valuable for our company, I’ll hide it somewhere out in, I don’t know, Silicon Valley where I know that many of my followers are going to be. And they’ll go and they’ll find it.’ The one thing they’re going to ask themselves before they actually implement is, for what? To what end? What’s the goal here of doing something like a hide and tweet?

Interviewee: Sure. In a lot of cases the brands that we work with, they’re entertainment brands or sports organizations, professional sports. They have marketing partners. So these sponsorships they are in the form of, you know, location-based brands where they have stores or, you know, outlets and so to drive traffic to their store, hide and tweet a valuable item, offer that incentive in that location. And it brings value to the sponsor as well. The other thing is, you know, social media is very much about brand play in the beginning

Interviewee: …in the beginning, so if you don’t provide that value and engagement, listening and reciprocation, your ability to convert that following base or fan base on Facebook, whatever your form is, won’t be as successful.

Andrew: OK, actually that brings up something that Dan Blank in the audience is asking.   He’s saying, do these tactics only work for hugely established, celebrity name or brand?

Interviewee: No, not necessarily.  It depends on the audience, and this is where it also gets back to quantity versus quality.  So, I was recently speaking in Italy to the most talented and well-know designers and architects.  And it’s this huge summit that they come together for every year.

And of course the question is what’s in it for me?  How do I apply social media?  Their clientele is extremely high end and a lot of times they don’t want to be exposed.  So the idea of building their personal brand is important and the quantity of fans and followers is not necessarily.  In fact, in some cases they want to keep it very exclusive, their communication.

So, thinking about your objective and your audience is really the key.  What does it take to consider that effort to be successful is of course what you want to think about, but providing your audience with value can be in the form of reaching one person or millions of people.  It depends who that person is.

Andrew: I see, OK.  What do I have here for…  Talking about Hide and Tweet, I know that one of the things you measure is engagement, time with the brand, re-tweets, comments, sentiments, Facebook and so on.  How do you get something like a Hide and Tweet to increase engagement?  To not just be something people watch passively to say, well, who’s gonna find this thing that Andrew hid, but to interact with each other.

Interviewee: Sure.  Let’s take for example the White Sox.  Prior to every season they have their fan fest, it’s called their Sox Fest, and about 10,000 fans physically come through the Sox Fest in Chicago.  One of the things that we wanted to do was build discussion and engagement among the White Sox community, both in Chicago, but also all over the world.  We had fans from Australia, Europe, and everywhere, to get them excited about the season.

So with the Hide and Tweet specifically, we were able to increase momentum and awareness about the Sox Fest by hiding tickets around Chicago landmarks and get that discussion going, but telling the story virtually.  So we would have basically Tweet Wheel or TwitVid, video on Facebook of course, explaining what was happening along the way.

Also, for Sox Fest, being able to have the virtual audience ask questions to the players themselves as well as coaches, manager, and build engagement that way.  So it was one collective campaign and approach versus one hey, this is where the tickets are, blast them out.  It was very much a cohesive strategy.

Andrew: That’s still the brand explaining to the audience what’s going on.  We’re not seeing the audience interact back with the brand or with each other are we?

Interviewee: Oh, absolutely.

Andrew: How?

Interviewee: You would see fans in Australia talking to the fans that were on their way racing to find the tickets, saying hey, would you…can I come next time?  Please tell so-n-so hi, or can you get a picture with Southpaw for me?  All of the sudden it became glue that was helping the community stick together.  And we would foster communication back and forth by kind of connecting certain fans with each other.

Andrew: How do you do that?

Interviewee: For example, someone would make a comment about something that was happening during the town hall meetings, where we would provide the virtual audience with the full description of what was going on through video.

Someone would make a comment and we would say hey, we recognize that you said that, so-n-so just said it as well.  You guys are like peas in a pod.  Did you know each other?  And connecting those two as well.

Andrew: OK, do you watch to see who has the most followers and therefore, has the biggest voice and interact with them more than you would with somebody who doesn’t have as many followers and a big of voice?

Interviewee: We are aware and we monitor where those areas of influence are. So influential touch points can come in the from of individuals on twitter, blogs,you know news media articles. and they are part of the strategy to make sure that we have them engaged. were building a relationship with them virtually and physically. it doesn’t mean that we only respond to fans with quote unquote influence though. so no i mean that’s for me to build a base of one point three million followers my strategy in the beginning was be social and make these relationships with everyone. And not that it isn’t still it’s just  much more difficult to deal with that  volume. You have to listen and be genuine and truthful about you know your communication and your relationships.

ANDREW: and you have a large part of the reason that you have such a big following on twitter is because you were on the suggested user list right?

Interviewee: I was placed on the suggested users list after i launched some of these campaigns.

Andrew: I see so twitter probably  saw that you were engaged that you were showing other people, that you were someone in the know, one of the leaders in your space they said lets put her on.

Interviewee: Correct so this was after developing the random acts of shagness getting a lot of national and international media attention for building some of these creative concepts.

Andrew: How did you get Shaquille O’ Neal as a client?

Interviewee: He was my very first client actually. After leaving the phoenix suns previously worked with the team for about three seasons and in sports pretty much all my career. I had built the report of coming up with these creative ideas. And anyone that’s kinda witnessed Shaquille hes definitely the right personality and has the perfect fit for twitter in general and is willing to take risks and experiment with me. So his willingness to color out beside the lines with me was kinda what created the success.

Andrew: I see so he was referred to you as a client by i think it was his PR company at the time who saw that somebody else was tweeting on his account and wanted him to start taking action?

Interviewee: He worked he had a pr company kind of a media company i would say. that worked with him prior when i was at the Phoenix suns. And after i started my own company he started working with me in terms of social media efforts.

Andrew: and they referred him to you?

Interviewee: Not that it was necessarily a referral it was after coming up with those campaigns and concepts the results were there and the proven success and track record was there.

Andrew: Who did you come up with the concepts for, for him and he used them and then he  said ok I’ll hire you?

Interviewee: Correct.

Andrew: ok.

Interviewee: Yeah so.

Andrew: Uh huh.

Interviewee: Yeah

Andrew: Alright i think i see.

Interviewee: I’m not following your question.

Interviewee: you havn’t talked the random.

Andrew: I’m always interested in how a new company ends up with a top brand like Shaquille O’ Neal with somebody whose a really hard to get celebrity. And i think im seeing it. that you pitched a few ideas, sounds like he used them, and then he decided to work with you more closely, be your first client?

Interviewee: Absolutely. Absolutely, it was all about experimenting and coming up with, that’s our unique selling proposition at digital royalty is creative ideas the ability to measure them.

Andrew: How many people at the company?

Interviewee: There are 6 of us now.

Andrew: Wow. And when you started how many people?

Interviewee: It was just me.

Andrew: what made you decide to.

Interviewee: Me and my dog, the c.e.o. chief dog officer.

Andrew: what made you start your own company?

Interviewee: The desire to experiment and i think i mentioned it before you know to really color outside the lines as far as you know  social media, there aren’t any rules and the attractiveness is to really be able to create concepts that work and not have guidelines necessarily. So it’s a great space for experimenting and connecting with people in general.

Andrew: how did you get into social media?

Interviewee: Actually i was at a summit in San Diego and i listened to one of the VC’s that originally invested in twitter. talked to the group about this new company that he was all excited about. I think on that day it was probably the fourth vc i had listened to about this platform. But what struck me was how engaged and excited he was personally to use it.

20 min – 25 min

Interviewee:  And so I decided to go back and when I got home I set up an account and started experimenting.  So it was really, from the beginning it was trial.  It was ‘let’s go in and listen to what’s going on, listen to the fan base’.

Andrew:  So it was first Twitter and then blogging for you?

Interviewee:  Yes.  My position with the Phoenix Suns was centric to digital, anyway it was more traditional digital and been able to monetize the Phoenix Suns’ influence online and building a social media plan in general was the next step for Phoenix Suns.  So it was a natural progression.

Andrew:  And how long ago was this when you first tried Twitter?

Interviewee:  Mid 2008 so I think it was September of 08.

Andrew:  Okay, so Chamillionaire is going to be here and I actually was at a conference with him for a little bit and I was watching the way that he used Twitter.  He would never say where he was or where he was going, he would always say where here just had been, where he was on the way out of because he said there are stalkers or people who here just out to harass him.  When we are telling where we are, when Shaquille O’Neal, one of the world’s biggest stars is staying I am here on a street corner, what’s the danger there?  And I ask because a lot of people now are going to be doing the same thing through services like Foursquare, Gowalla and even Twitter now is broadcasting out your location.  So what’s the danger that you guys thought of where Shaquille O’Neal?

Interviewee:  I just read first about this a few weeks ago on  With Shaquille a lot of it was testing the timing of things to, so physically there is a certain of time it will take for people to receive and update a tweet and get there.  So you have to take that into account.  There is a valve, you can turn it on and off to a certain extent in terms of the amount of people that show up.  The danger, private social media is opening yourself up obviously and if you decide them to tweet about your whereabouts then you are providing that access.  It’s just kind of a natural transition from the very beginning, start of getting yourself, giving yourself a voice, exposing your brand of persona and then naturally progressing to that type of geo tagging if you choose to do it, just being smart about it in general, there is situation where, I had said something on Twitter when it wasn’t even telling people where I was but now people will say I saw you at this, on airplane or at the restaurant and this is happening more and more frequently.  So I think it is being smart about your whereabouts in general and what you are saying and who you are but you have kind of selected that path if you decided to be a part of this communication, so there is the ability to control it to a certain extent.

Andrew:  What’s the most dangerous situation that you have had, you or one of your clients?

Interviewee:  Yeah, there haven’t been too many specific dangerous situations and we have been doing this for a year now pretty frequently, so yeah fingers crossed, anything can happen it’s not just social media that’s doing this.  At that point it’s just the nature of life in general, so I would say that social media isn’t the problem, it’s being smart about it regardless of, if you are using these tools or not.

Andrew:  Have you had a situation where someone just approached one of your clients, someone creepy, maybe saw him online and decided to go see him in person based on a tweet or based on some other’s interaction online?

Interviewee:  Now, there is a certain level of celebrity that they have used [24:09] and things happening regardless of social media, so but nothing specific.

Andrew:  Okay, alright, I remember the post actually, that’s why I asked you because I saw the post that you wrote recently and I saw the picture that somebody took of you and they said is this Amy and of course it was.  So far, yeah nothing has happened to me either and I say I am in Buenos Aires, I say I am in South America, I try not to be too specific when I leave Buenos Aires just in case because I hear about kidnappings going on down here in South America but so far so good.  People in the audience are saying they love Chamillionaire, they are looking forward to seeing Chamillionaire on here, I like him too, the guy actually is using social media very cleverly also.  Have you been following what he does, what Chamillionaire is doing online?

Interviewee:  Not very closely but I will be now.

Andrew:  You will, you should see and we are going to talk to him and find out what else he is doing.  Alright, one more thing before we get into measurement.

Andrew: I saw a video that you apparently shot on YouTube for UFC where this mob of people just flooded into what looked like a hotel room to get tickets. How did you get a mob of people to all show up on the same day and just like that <snaps fingers> come into the place? What was that?

Interviewee: That was Dana White, the president of the UFC. He—

Andrew: I should say, what is the UFC for people that don’t know it?

Interviewee: The Ultimate Fighting Championship. The UFC has also adopted this concept that we’ve developed and we’ve built a strategy to increase awareness of events during the event weekend as well as just give access to fan to some of the personalities behind the brand to increase loyalty. So, that was Dana White himself, tweeting to fans, saying I have tickets, meet me right here right now, and so what you were seeing was fans coming down the escalator, I believe at Mandalay Bay or MGM, I’m trying to remember which one it was, and they were ready to go. So, Dana himself, passes out those tickets and is one-hundred percept engaged and spends a lot of time with fans.

Andrew: I saw that fans were shaking actually. Not only was he giving them free tickets, but he was there, the real person in person, and they were standing there just kind of shaking as they took the ticket from him.

Interviewee: Yes it’s a very unique relationship for a president of an organization that size, a sports organization, to have with fans. You don’t really see that with commissioners in the traditional leagues, but it’s working really, really, well for them. Dana has well over a million followers on twitter and the ability to start to really look at pay per view and marketing partnerships and tickets sales and merchandise, and find the way that they work into that level of influence, and that layer that he’s creating is the step that we’ve been taking, the next step.

Andrew: This isn’t really about engaging with the community? I mean, there’s only so much time that a person can be available to a big audience, be available to the public. Isn’t this just creating the impression that the person is accessible? By doing one or two off events, by tweeting back at one or two people a day?

Interviewee: Absolutely not. Since Digital Royalty’s been working with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, we’ll take that as an example. We’ve been too more than ten events and I see it first hand every time. Whether the cameras are on or the cameras are off, being right next to Dana White and seeing his demeanor and the commitment and true affinity that he has towards the fan base is very clear. You can’t fake that.

Andrew: So they really are—him specifically—but the people who you’re consulting and who you’re helping really are engaged. If we were to send them an email they would see it and at least considering responding? Or are they actually…or have a second to answer that question.

Interviewee: Absolutely. I mean you have to take into account the medium and volume and how you’re reaching out to them in terms of correspondence, but we can’t work with brands that don’t have that commitment because it won’t work. If that desire to connect with their consumers, their fan base, their audience, viewers, whoever, isn’t there and isn’t genuine, social media won’t work.

Andrew: Well, I would like to learn how and I’ll tell you why. Here I am, just a nobody, I’m putting out videos, one a day, and I get flooded with emails I can barely handle. And, of course, on top of that you get tweets, you get Facebook messages, you get requests on new services that you’ve never heard of and all of that in edition to dealing with the accountant, dealing with the lawyer, dealing with coworkers, it’s a whole lot of freaking work. How are these guys, who have a big following, lots of people screaming for their attention, how do they manage it? Because if you can tell me how they manage it, I should be able to manage my own little small ecosystem here. My audience should be able to do the same with theirs.

Interviewee: I’m not saying that these brands are able to respond to every single inquiry by any means. But the genuine desire to and the ability they have to communicate that they care and that they’re listening is there and that’s the biggest thing. So I’m not sure what your business model is, but sounds like you could use more help. I experience the same thing. You do your best and if your truthful and

Interviewee: You’re able to connect with these individuals through this new communication tool, they understand. You know, we’re humans and the other thing is to make sure that there’s a balance of humanizing the brand and not just promotion. This is social media after all and so there has to be a nice balance and the tonality is very different, obviously.

Andrew: Is there any software or any tool that you’re using to manage all the incoming messages that you get. Like I said, you got 1.—I don’t know how many—million people who are following you, you must have emails. I see the people just want to job from you because you opened up a job apparently, recently. I saw the level of work people did just to get a job with you. And then I emailed you and I said, “Would you do an interview here on [inaudible]?” and you responded. I said, “There’s no way Amy’s going to be able to respond”, but, you responded pretty quickly. In fact, you’re one of the best communicators I’ve talked to before an interview. So, what do you doing? How are you managing all the incoming mail and being able to respond to it?

Interviewee: Do you not see my eyes that are red until 2 a.m.?

Andrew: I don’t.

Interviewee: You know, I have an awesome team and that’s been the biggest part of building trust and being able to learn how to delegate…

Andrew: Have they been reading your email and helping you decide which email to answer?

Interviewee: In some cases, not necessarily which one to answer but, in terms of where it needs to go next to make sure that it does get answered, whether it’s me or someone else on the team. The other thing is, we really thrive on our creativity but, I learned a long time ago that if you can’t our smart them, out work them, I can definitely plan to be the smartest—or I mean the hardest working person in the room and that’s gotten me to a lot of places to be honest. So, I think that it’s tough to start a business and to have that level of responsibility and communication coming at you at every different angle but you learn how to juggle it. And it’s just a matter of listening to and keeping you eye on some things.

Andrew: I see Dan in the audience is saying, “Good question”, on that. I’m glad that people think that’s a good question. Sometimes questions I ask about this small tactics are the ones I’m most fascinated by but, it feels a little too petty to ask, I’m glad I asked. You’re saying there’s no secret software that you can tell us about, but other people do check your email before it gets to you and you out work everybody.

Interviewee: No.

Andrew: No.

Interviewee: No, not necessarily they check-in before…No one manages my email. I’m completely the 100% “BM”. The only person that’s doing that, I obviously have a team that helps with communication but, developing systems and procedures and kind of short-hands and rules that something that Tony Shea has taught me. I mean, he answers all of his email, every single one and he gets thousands a day. So, getting in sync and getting into a formula with your team is a great way to create efficiency.

Andrew: All right, let’s take some questions from the audience. “Cover Cash” is asking, “All right, you have a lot of sports connections, how did you then branch out into Double Tree and Discount Tires and other brands outside the sporting world?”

Interviewee: Well, some…Most of my experience in sports dealt with marketing partnerships so that always helps because you’re also working with the big corporate brands but, probably more specifically we have received a lot of business leads and that has resulted in actual business through social media. So, having potential clients reach out via DM because they’ve been able to monitor and watch what we’ve been doing. It’s basically like an interview process without you knowing it. It’s very open and they see it happening so that’s been a lot of where leads have come in. We have yet to have a true seeking new business plan due to a proactive one. Due to the level of inquiries and business [inaudible], we’ve been very lucky.

Andrew: Tanya’s asking, “Did you have any ideas for campaigns that failed?”

Interviewee: Sure, I would say, “fail” is a strong word. I think the key to our approach has been to listen, to experiment, to listen again and to measure; go through that cycle and make adjustments. After you get through that cycle, try it again. So, by all means, have we tried stuff that hasn’t worked the best? Absolutely, that’s how we’ve gotten good but, repeating that cycle is…has definitely

35 – 40

Interviewee:  Is this that [35:01], a key to developing campaigns that result in positive increases, leads, whatever may be.

Andrew:  Give an example of that, of something that you tried out didn’t exactly work, you listened, you improved, you came out with something else that was a little bit better and something else that was incredible?

Interviewee:  Sure, I am trying to think of something specifically out of the top of my head in terms of campaigns.  Well, I wouldn’t say that something that we are doing right now that we are improving week over week, it hasn’t been found that it started really great but we are using this process is a Friday virtual happy hours with Tony Shay the ‘Delivering Happiness’ book, so we developed this concept called the Virtual Happy Hour and every Friday afternoon we go on Ustream and invite his audience, the book’s audience, my audience, anyone that wants to join us to have a few cocktails that they want, talk about all things happy in the book, so Friday was our fourth week and we have listened to feedback and applied it each time and our engagement, our time spent during the show per viewer has increased substantially.  So that is one example.

Andrew:  So what did you improve, what did you learn as you were listening?

Interviewee:  The format what people wanted to hear is responses to certain statements, asking, the ability to ask Tony questions.  Really it’s getting down to the details of what specifically are people commenting about, what trends are we noticing.  So we do the same or we give away a book.  For an hour you can use this promo code and get a book, and learning when to talk about that throughout the show and what type of a draw that is was important.

Andrew:  So everybody gets the free book if they happened to be watching that time?

Interviewee:  It’s an advanced copy of the book, that’s correct.

Andrew:  Wow.  And they all want to ask questions, they want to interact with Tony?

Interviewee:  Yeah, in just segments, there are certain segments throughout the format that we developed and tie into the book and listening to the amount of responses and comments on each segment and being able to really focus on whether or not we want to create new ones or change things up, what we want to enhance on that has been really sticky.  So that has all been a part of the listening process.  It’s always almost always goes to back to listening to audience.

Andrew:  What segment didn’t work?  Or people less enthused about?

Interviewee:  I think early on, there wasn’t so much of what didn’t work, it was where to focus more time.

Andrew:  Okay, so where did you focus more time, what section did you want to focus more time on after you heard the audience feedback?

Interviewee:  So there was, we had the idea of Tony reading those small portion of the book.  That worked really well.  People commented on it.  So it’s something we bring back.  The last Friday we had Tony’s parents.  They came on to the show.  Amazing response.  So that’s something we are going to expand on.  You have to get out and listen to those comments and our feedback to be able to realize that.

Andrew:  I see.

Interviewee:  Because metrics may not show it.  It is not like people knew that his parents were coming on, so viewers aren’t going to spike at that time necessarily, it’s all about engagement and listening and responding.

Andrew:  And you guys have a recorded version of the program online too right?

Interviewee:  Yes we do.

Andrew:  I got to tell you about a software called Wistia, if you use Wistia you can see where your audience is fast-forwarding past a segment that they don’t like, you can see when they are rewinding to maybe watch Tony Shay’s family again.  I have got a partnership with them and I love them.  Incredible and you can see exactly what parts of the country are people watching in, who specifically is rewinding, how many people are rewinding specific sections.

Interviewee:  That’s great, especially for an hour long show like yours and like ours because it is a tall order to expect people to go back and watch the entire thing.

Andrew:  Yeah, I find that people will rewind for numbers, like if I say, how much money did you make last year and the person gives that answer, always rewound right back to make sure.

Interviewee:  Did I hear that right, did I hear that right, yeah.

Andrew:  Yeah, exactly.  So we ask it is.  How much revenue did you guys bring in last year.  How big a company is this.

Interviewee:  But going we have been profitable since day one and our numbers are private at this point but definitely happy and have brought on a lot new talents.

Interviewee: new talent, so.

Andrew: Can you give us a sense of the size of the business? Maybe revenues?

Interviewee: Yeah, you know, like I said it’s private at this point, so.

Andrew: Okay. All right. I thought I’d ask. Did you see how I kept a straight face on though while I asked?

Interviewee: I saw you trying, and I tried to keep a smile on my face for you.

Andrew: I saw that. I saw that. I’m learning. Usually people are a little too focused on the question to pay attention to my poker face, but I try to keep that poker face up. Didn’t exactly work today. All right. Let’s talk numbers then that we can talk about. How do we measure success in social media?

Interviewee: Well, first you have to define what you will consider to be successful, so objective wise. One of the biggest mistakes we see happen with brands is that they jump in and they don’t have a baseline. They don’t know where they started. And then the CMO comes in and says, ‘Okay, you’re spending all this time on Twitter and Facebook, what results have you generated?’ So making sure that you are consistent about measuring also is key.

I’m always talking about key performance indicators, in the beginning establishing KPI’s that everybody agrees on. So pre and post campaign, you know, a month down the road, whatever with your ongoing measurement, you all have agreed that this is how you will determine success. And they can adjust but that’s important too. And then, you know, it depends. We have clients that are just doing this for awareness building and branding. We have clients that, specifically individual celebrities, that just want to garner new endorsement deals and engage with fans on another level.

So measurement, you know, increase in sales, whether that’s merchandise…another metric is decreasing ad spend or the ability to save dollars in other areas like research, formal research, customer service, digital ad spend, you know, traditional digital or…

Andrew: How do you suppose that our key performance indicator is sales? What do we do now that we’ve identified that?

Interviewee: So you need to build an audience and a relationship, figure out what it is they want, and deliver that value when, where and how they want to receive it. And then, depending on what the concept is, getting creative versus just, you know, some standard call to action, discounted offer with a link, adding value.

You know, you’ve seen the Tweet-ups. Just recently we did a Tweet-up with the New York Knicks and brought in Discount Tire to be the marketing partner, the platform marketing partner. The value ad there was really to provide a social media panel that fans could come in a watch prior to the game. They also received a ticket as well as an experience on meet and greet with talent on the team. And it became a full evening not just from the Knicks providing value but also the Knicks were connecting people who had met online, connecting them with each other in person. So that is also value.

Andrew: Okay. First thing that’s interesting that you said, the first thing is to build that audience. The next thing is to build the relationship. How does a tire company build a relationship beyond…I mean, I can see now they’ve partnered up with the Knicks but… I see, so…actually why don’t I leave it at that question. How does a company build a relationship?

Interviewee: Like the tire company, for example?

Andrew: Yeah, exactly.

Interviewee:  That’s a great question and we get that often. So that’s, you know, humanizing the brand, showing that the people behind the logo is what is important, especially for a company like Discount Tire. And what they’ve been able to do is listen very well and respond especially when their customers are least expecting it. So if a customer has an experience in one of their stores in their locations, which happens a lot: you’re sitting waiting for your tires to be serviced and you’ve not much else to do maybe and so you’re Tweeting, you’re on Facebook, whatever, the opportunity to respond is definitely there.

And so they make a point from a customer service angle to do that. If a situation comes up where they are dissatisfied with their experience, Discount Tire will reach out [above board], make sure that they address it

45 min – 50 min

Interviewee:  In a lot of cases, take it to a draft message level, after adjusting it kind of above board and showing that they are listening and they do care and that’s where the personality comes in, it takes a human to convey concern and attention to that and also if you follow along you will see that it’s not just about tires, there is Nascar that they are involved with, they are involved with NBA Teams, with drifting, car shows, and the ability to connect with those personalities and entertainment brands adds a lot to their brand.

Andrew:  Okay, so we both are audience, I could see how I can measure that, we built our relationship, I guess the way that I can measure that is by using engagement metrics to see how many people are re-tweeting, how many people are responding to our comments, listening to see what they like and we stop doing what they don’t want, now how do we measure that the sales came from all of this, came from social media?

Interviewee:  Was there a specific campaign, I mean then naturally you build your strategy.  After listening and asking, it is okay it is coming out and asking, if we are to do this, would you participate, do you like to say yeah, that is something I did with the Phoenix Suns and then we forget locking into the ones they wanting right in their meeting at the Suns with the [46:30] person in the team, and it’s my turn to provide digital media revenue update and I say I want to plan a tweet up and they say you want to what, I want to tweet up, and let’s start.  This was a year and half plus ago, and they say how do you know it is going to work, how are you going to monetize this, and I said we are going to sell tickets, how do you know that, well because I have already asked the fans, and hundreds of them responded and said they would come to it.  So listening drove me to ask to the idea which drove me to asking them about the specific details and then made the offer and was able to monetize.  So that’s where the [47:14] in that situation.

Andrew:  How did you monetize tweetup maybe I didn’t follow every part of that?

Interviewee:  Selling tickets to the actual game.

Andrew:  Oh, From the tweetup you sold tickets.

Interviewee:  And then also through marketing partnerships.  So you have a brand that’s the presenting partner of the tweetup.  So it’s a social media component.  Those are two examples.

Andrew:  Alright, let’s talk a little bit more about Tony Shay, his new book ‘Delivering Happiness’ is coming out soon, you are helping him, you social media to promote the book, you talked about using U-stream and having the cocktail hour together, happy hour with him, what else have you done with him?

Interviewee:  Also, we have a blogger program, through this sitting we have noticed everybody wants to get their hands on an advanced copy and what you can do is apply to receive in an advance copy, and we just ask that once you receive it we give out one a day and in some cases more than that, but you are then asked to just blog about it.  It’s a review, why I ask him to say anything specific like tell us what you think and it is working really, really well because we are generating more discussion and awareness about the book.  Some of the other things we were doing last week you might have seen Tony sent out a message on Twitter and for a very finite period of time you could use a promo code to go in get an advance copy.  We mentioned obviously of dailybooth, I am not so familiar with dailybooth but readers are starting to do is take their book and take a picture of them and their book in random places that they are reading the book or different locations all across the world, so it is a kind of like where you are reading ‘Delivering Happiness’, those types of things.

Andrew:  Oh cool.  I am looking, here are my questions.  I have got all my questions in, how do I do with the audience, you get everything you want to know?  Spree wants to know about how you would use, you know Spree?

Interviewee:  I know Spree, yes.

Andrew:  From Zack’s Sports.  She was asking earlier about e-commerce, say you have got a new e-commerce site you want to use social media to help it grow, how do you do it?

Interviewee:  So, I guess figuring out depends somewhat on the product and what that is, and whether or not you have a social media presence to begin with, but starting by that base and asking questions to that base and testing using that experiment.

Interviewee: …list and measure, even if it’s small.  The space is alive.  Social media is real time, so you can experiment very quickly and it’s painless.  Maybe it’s some sort of offer, giveaway type thing, it depends on what the product is too.

Andrew: OK.  How much of this depends on having followers already?  If the brands you’re working with didn’t have you with your big following, I don’t know that they’d be able to do that much on social media.  They would have to buy that following wouldn’t they?  They would have to spend a long time developing that following for themselves.

Interviewee: Like I mentioned, and that’s great question, but you do have to think of this in terms of a brand play.  It’s a new form of communication.  This is where marketing is headed in general, so to expect to be able to monetize tomorrow is unrealistic.  You have to develop those relationships.  So using existing, traditional mediums to convert and build that following awareness that you have a place and presence is important.

So it’s working it.  There isn’t a magic answer necessarily.  It takes time, you have to listen, and care.

Andrew: All right.  Well, I’m spending my time, I’m listening, I’m caring, and I’m trying not to ask too many tough questions about money or too many intrusive questions about money, but just enough to win over my audience and to learn.

Let me ask you this, Amy, the final question.  Will you be tweeting this interview out after I post it?

Interviewee: Good question.  I’ll have to think about that one.  You like these questions.  Interesting.  Absolutely.

Andrew: Absolutely, you got it right there.  People I know have access to over a million followers.  These are really loyal followers.  I’ve been watching this in preparation for this interview to see how far they’ll go to get Amy’s attention.  These people were actually putting in a lot of effort.

Amy, thank you.  I’m now one of your followers who’s going to be putting in a lot of effort to keep following and keep listening and to keep on I don’t know what, trying to stay in your tribe.  Thanks for doing this interview.  As I said during the interview, thanks for being so easy to work with and put this interview together.

Interviewee: Absolutely.  Thank you for having me.

Andrew: All right, sure.  And guys, follower her at DigitalRoyalty and

Interviewee: Yeah, absolutely.  Thank you!

Andrew: Thanks.  Bye.

Interviewee: Bye.

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.