From TikTok to Pinterest and Snapchat to Twitter, there are a ton of social media platforms out there — and the number just keeps growing. Does every company need to be on every platform to succeed? Ken Whitinger, the owner of digital agency Mid Michigan Interactive, says no. Hear why he thinks when it comes to social media, less can be more.
[00:00:00] Seth: Hello, and welcome to the Bad Marketing Advice podcast. This is the show where we invite marketing professionals to come on and share with us the worst piece of marketing advice that they have ever received. I’m your host, my name is Seth Resler and I am also the founder of Community Marketing Revolution.
[00:00:24] We produce branded podcasts for organisations. So if your company has ever thought about creating a podcast, maybe as a way to engage with customers or clients or, or even employees, maybe you need a way to get. Information out to a lot of your employees. Podcast is a great way to do that. We can help go to communitymarketingrevolution.com for all the details.
[00:00:43] Our guest on the show today is the owner at Mid Michigan Interactive. Mid Michigan Interactive is a digital marketing agency that has been working with local businesses since 2009. They offer a comprehensive range of online marketing services. They can do things like build your website, help you with search engine optimization, pay per click ad campaigns, manage your social media, all that kind of stuff. Please. Welcome to the show, Ken Whitinger. Hi, Ken, how are you?
[00:01:09] Ken: Great. Thanks for having me. How are you doing today!
[00:01:12] Seth: I’m good. I’m good. Thanks for coming on the show.
[00:01:14] Ken: Oh my pleasure.
[00:01:16] Seth: Look, you work with local businesses. Give me an example of the types of businesses that you’re working with and helping with their digital strategy.
[00:01:22] Ken: So local business is so broad. I mean, granted, the government says 375 employees or less, but the majority of the businesses I work with are your, I call it your true mom and pop shops. I mean, they’re either two employees all the way up to 12, they provide quality services. People love them. They need help getting through, I call the minefield of marketing online for your business, because there’s so many things out there that are packaged differently, but really when it comes down to it, all the products are similar.
[00:01:55] It just depends on what you call it. So I do work with a lot of local contractors here in the Greater Lansing area and towards the grand rapids area. But it’s mostly those smaller mom and pop shops that they know they need to be on there, but they know they cannot spend what these bigger small businesses can afford.
[00:02:13] Seth: Are you normally working with customers who’ve been doing it on their own or at least trying to and have just gotten to the point where they’re like, I, I need to bring in some experts to help me with this. This is too much. Or are they typically already working with somebody and looking to move to you?
[00:02:29] Ken: So it’s a combination of both. So on the first, the people that are doing it on their own, the internet marketing has grown so much over the past four years that it’s getting harder for them to keep up with everything. And the main thing with advertising online is being able to handle the communication pathways.
[00:02:49] because now you have facebook, messenger you have, oh, the chat widget on your website. Then people can also request a quote or ask questions on your google local listing. So there’s a lot of avenues and they just can’t keep up with those technologies for people inquiring about their service without it getting lost.
[00:03:08] Seth: You know, I was talking to somebody from Yelp, a sales rep from Yelp the other day, and they started talking about how there’s now a Yelp feed.
[00:03:15] Ken: Yep.
[00:03:15] Seth: Honestly, the last thing I need as a small business owner is another social media feed to monitor.
[00:03:22] Ken: Yeah. To keep track of it. And there’s a lot out there. And the big thing with the businesses I work with is just targeting down to where the majority of their clients are. I’ve always said it, and I probably won’t change my mind about Yelp, but Yelp is great for restaurants. Anyone in the food industry. Yelp is great for, and people in the food industry probably should monitor Yelp, get a little bit involved with Yelp. But outside of that, with all the analytics that I’ve seen, Google is still king and Facebook is right behind them and inquiring new customers.
[00:03:54] Seth: So when you sit down with a customer for the first time, What does that conversation look like?
[00:04:00] Ken: The first thing I ask them is what are they trying to accomplish? Do they wanna grow their business? Do they wanna maintain? And then I follow that up, asking them what are they currently doing? And are they doing an in-house or are they paying someone to do that for them?
[00:04:15] And then I ask to take a look at it and analyze it and make sure they’re getting what they’re paying for, and then find out what they don’t like about it. 75% of the time, it comes down to communication. They feel they’re not getting enough calls or things like that, but then it comes down to they’re sold a disservice, but they really don’t know how to follow up or see how the customer’s reaching out to them.
[00:04:38] So I help them put in those processes and then the ones I can’t help. Because if they’re, uh, getting great service from another company I’m not out there trying to steal the business, I just wanna make sure that they’re in the best possible spot and it’s working for them and I’ll be honest and tell them, Hey, this is working for you.
[00:04:55] There’s really no need for you to change. You just need to add this process into your system to be able to utilize it more.
[00:05:02] Seth: You know, you’ve hit on something that I’ve had a lot of discussion with folks about 10, 15 years ago, getting the technology to do the things that you wanted it to do was difficult. But now as the tools have gotten better, they’ve gotten more user friendly. We have better ideas on how to use them. It tends to be the human processes, which often comes down to communication. Which is where a lot of the snags are not in the fact technology, doesn’t do what we wanted to do.
[00:05:29] Ken: Yeah. It’s human error because there are a lot of great internet marketing tools to get your business out there.
[00:05:35] But if you don’t have a process in place, I was working with a client a couple years ago and we did a display, a campaign form. And he’s like, this is how much I wanna spend. And this is what I’m looking to accomplish while two weeks into it, I called him up and asked him how it was going and he goes, I can’t handle all the calls.
[00:05:55] We need to shut it down. I just can’t handle all the incoming calls. And I’m like, well, that’s a good problem to have I said, what process do you have to handle these calls? Whether it’s automated or things like that. So you don’t lose that potential lead. That you’re paying for. So we did shut the
campaign down and then we met with them a week later and we were able to set up some type of automation process to where, when people were calling in, if it went to voicemail, then they were automatically followed up with some type of text message or email.
[00:06:24] If they left their email on the voicemail, but 90% of the time it was text message that a sales rep will be getting back with them in the next 24 hours,
[00:06:33] Seth: Right.
[00:06:33] Ken: To schedule their estimate. So that helped him out a lot, but it’s just that human error people think they can handle as much as you throw at them until it comes.
[00:06:42] And then it’s like, oh my God, what am I gonna do? This is just too much. This is just too much. So I tried to make it as easy as possible for them. I’m a big believer of when staples were running their commercials of the easy button.
[00:06:56] Seth: Yep.
[00:06:57] Ken: That easy button has gotta be easy for your customers to reach out to you, but it also has to be easy for you to talk to your potential new customers. So it’s gotta go both ways. I like to remove the complication between all of that to make it as easy as possible.
[00:07:14] Seth: You sound like a process guy, like you’re focused on the process and helping your customers build the right processes to handle the incoming leads from customers.
[00:07:24] Ken: Yeah. I mean, it’s important. I mean, if you’re spending, even if you’re spending as little as $500, if you can’t handle the influx of calls or inquiries, then, then that’s a problem. In my mind, you’re just wasting your money because you’re putting a bad taste in someone’s mouth when you’re not able to get back with them in a timely manner. You know, you wanna get your car fixed, you saw this ad, you call them and then you don’t hear from them for three days. You’re already off to the next repair place.
[00:07:53] Seth: Yeah.
[00:07:54] Ken: And it’s just like, I’m never calling them again.
[00:07:56] Seth: I have run into it lately with basement guys. I’m trying to get my basement refinished and I have had about 10 guys come through. Take all the measurements. They do all the things. They spend an hour here. And then I never see a proposal because they’re so busy working on jobs that they never have the time to sit down and get me the numbers I need. And tell me what, and it’s ridiculous to me ’cause I’m sitting there going, why would you come out and do all that work and then
[00:08:20] Ken: Right.
[00:08:21] Seth: Not follow up and get the job, but
[00:08:23] Ken: So they’re missing a process, a low process step there.
[00:08:25] Seth: Absolutely. And the one that has come through is gonna be the one that refinishes my basement.
[00:08:30] Ken: Yeah. And that’s the way it happens.
[00:08:31] Seth: Yeah.
[00:08:31] Ken: And, but if people know that you’re gonna get back with them by a certain amount of time,
[00:08:36] Seth: Yes.
[00:08:36] Ken: They’re willing to give you that. But once you pass that time, they’re on to the next person.
[00:08:40] Seth: Well, not only that, the company that is getting back to me in a responsible manner is definitely not the least expensive company. They are charging a bit more, but I feel comfortable with. And so they can, so let’s get into your worst piece of marketing advice. What’s the worst piece of marketing advice that you’ve ever heard again?
[00:08:57] Ken: So the worst piece that I heard was probably six years ago, I was starting to get two or three calls. Well, at least one a day for my clients. Hey, there’s a salesperson here today. And they said, I need to be on every social media channel there is, and I need to be active in posts on a regular basis on all of them. and, and I just started laughing and I’m like, seriously. So an electrician called me and told me that. And I’m like, and this is when Pinterest was really starting to take off. Right. And I said, look, what are the chances that your customers on Pinterest looking how they can put in a new organiser in their closet?
[00:09:35] To where they’re gonna look at your Pinterest page and give you a call. How many people do you think are gonna actually call you or reach out to you from Pinterest and, you know, he thought about it and he goes, you’re right. And so also let’s look at your analytics and what they’re being offered. Wasn’t a, I wouldn’t say it was real expensive, but what they’re being offered was just someone saw a golden opportunity and they were jumping at it.
[00:10:02] Seth: Right.
[00:10:02] Ken: Because you know, social media was big. It’s big. It’s a big thing.
[00:10:08] Seth: Yes.
[00:10:08] Ken: But we got into his analytics and I said, all right, this is where the majority of traffic is coming from. This is the second place where your traffic is coming from to your website. And yeah, about a year and a half before we implemented a process at the office, whenever somebody called, they always asked how they found us or heard about us and it amazes me how many businesses don’t do that either. But, and I said, so you don’t really need to be on every social media platform. This is your demographic. These are the platforms that your demographic are on.
[00:10:40] Seth: Right.
[00:10:40] Ken: And this. Where your traffic is coming from. So if you wanna spend $1,500 a month, these are the areas where you should spend $15:00 a month.
[00:10:49] Seth: Right.
[00:10:50] Ken: Should you have a Pinterest profile for your business? Yeah, you should because it’s good for SEO for your website, but do you need to be posting on it on a regular basis and monitoring it? No.
[00:11:01] Seth: Yeah.
[00:11:01] Ken: You don’t. And I did the same process with my other clients and I had one client where really Pinterest was good for her.
[00:11:09] And so we set her up a Pinterest paid and some boards and got some things on there. And..
[00:11:14] Seth: What type of client was it that it was good for?
[00:11:16] Ken: That was a florist.
[00:11:17] Seth: So somebody who’s got a very visual business?
[00:11:19] Ken: Yes. But after three years she finally gave up on it because of those three years. She only got one car.
[00:11:26] Seth: Wow. Yeah.
[00:11:27] Ken: And I remember when Twitter was real big.
[00:11:29] Seth: Right.
[00:11:30] Ken: And I had a client yesterday. Called me. He said, Hey, do I need to be posting on Twitter? And I said, well, do you plan on writing, uh, political articles and news stories like that? And he says, no. And I said, no, then you don’t really need to be on it.
[00:11:43] You already have a profile for search engine optimization purposes. But you know, I look at your profile every month and no one’s really messaged you. I said, because Twitter has moved into that realm of being news.
[00:11:56] Seth: Yeah. I mean, I find it useful for certain things and certain things, like, when I want to talk to other podcasters, Twitter’s a good tool, but I’ll have others. Like when I want to talk to Detroit artists and entertainers, Instagram is the channel that they all use. They’re not on Twitter.
[00:12:09] Ken: Yeah.
[00:12:10] Seth: I love this piece of advice in part, because in my experience, a lot of businesses like social media are sexy. So, as a category, businesses tend to overemphasize social. And I think underemphasize, like you mentioned, search engine optimization, basic email marketing 101, you know, some of those things.
[00:12:30] And then even within that category of social media, You know, there’s always a hot new thing. It’s like, oh, the clubhouse is out. We need to be in the clubhouse or discord or Twitch or whatever. And look, there are some cases where that makes sense, but there’s a lot where yeah. Facebook is now a social network that your parents are on, but it’s still the 800 pound gorilla.
[00:12:50] Ken: Yeah, it is. And the thing that I like to make sure that my clients are clear on is you wanna be where your customers are.
[00:12:56] Seth: Right.
[00:12:57] And if you’re not there, then be there, but if you’re not gonna participate, then why start it? Because if you start it and people are interacting with your page and you’re not responding to it. That’s worse than you not answering the phone right at the business. So it’s the lesser of two evils. You should be on this. You should be doing this, but if you’re not gonna monitor it and do anything with it, then you’re better off not.
[00:13:23] So do you recommend that your clients start small and then grow once they realize that they have the capacity to do more?
[00:13:30] Ken: Yeah.
[00:13:30] Seth: As opposed to biting off more than they can chew?
[00:13:32] Ken: Yeah, I do. Depending on what they do. So I work with a restoration company here in the Lansing area. So we started them with Facebook. I worked with their in-house person and putting in some processes in place where it’d be easier for them to manage. And then we moved to Instagram because that’s nice, since Facebook owns Instagram, that’s a nice interaction ’cause you can post to one place and it goes to both places and then they start doing some videos. And so we tied in YouTube ‘because YouTube is really big in home improvements. Granted people go there mostly for the (Inaudible) howtos, but halfway through the howto (Inaudible) you’re like, yeah, I can’t do this.
[00:14:10] Seth: I’ll be honest. I have no idea how anybody owned a house before YouTube existed because anytime I need to fix anything, YouTube is where I go.
[00:14:19] Ken: Yep. Then I was able to set them up on a platform where they can post everything in from one place and monitor everything from one place.
[00:14:26] Seth: Right.
[00:14:26] Ken: Instead of having to log into Facebook and then log into YouTube and Google. So it’s all in one dashboard for them. Twitter made it easier.
[00:14:35] Seth: Yeah.
[00:14:36] Ken: And they said last week when I met with them they’re like, yeah, if we had to log into all these different places, we probably would’ve just stuck with Facebook. And that was it.
[00:14:43] Seth: Do you have a favorite social media management tool? Is there one that you use or does it depend on the client?
[00:14:48] Ken: So I have one in the house. I have it right now, it’s very basic. But if I were to recommend one, it would be a cloud campaign.
[00:14:55] Seth: Okay. I have not used that.
[00:14:57] Ken: And the one I’m developing here in house is based on my experience with cloud campaigns. Because I have been using a cloud campaign for three years.
[00:15:05] Seth: Yep.
[00:15:05] Ken: And then I was like, you know what? So I talked to my developer and slowly worked on that, but I really enjoyed using the cloud campaign.
[00:15:13] Seth: All right. Good to know. Good tip. I was on Hootsuite until one day they jacked up the price like a thousand percent.
[00:15:18] Ken: Oh yeah.
[00:15:19] Seth: And I was like, I’m outta here. yeah, it was more based on principles than anything.
[00:15:24] Ken: Oh yeah. I used to use Hootsuite too with all my clients all in one dashboard. I have all the tabs across the top and, and then, yeah, there’s gotta be an easier way. And then I,
[00:15:34] Seth: yeah, so I’ve been in the hunt ever since. And I found a few that I like, but I’m definitely open.
[00:15:38] Ken: Yeah. So I came across a cloud campaign. They had some really nice features in it. It made it easy, which I like, ’cause I’m all about it as easy as possible. And then, you know, like I said, after using it for a few years, I talked to my developer and said, Hey, let’s try to make something like this.
[00:15:56] Seth: Yep.
[00:15:57] Ken: That I can just offer to my clients that they can use.
[00:16:00] Seth: Got it. So your advice here is that you don’t have to be active on every social platform. It does sound like you are telling people that you should register for SEO purposes. And frankly, I think for names squatting purposes, you wanna make sure that somebody else doesn’t register with the same to set that clubhouse account up. Even if you. Use it right now
[00:16:18] Ken: Right.
[00:16:18] Seth: It also sounds like you are not necessarily recommending the exact same mix of social networks for every client. It can kind of depend.
[00:16:24] Ken: Yeah. It depends on who their clients are and that’s who I recommend and their bandwidth to be able to handle it.
[00:16:31] Seth: Got it.
[00:16:32] Ken: Now I do manage some of my clients’ social media, but my ultimate goal is for them to manage it all in house.
[00:16:39] Seth: Got it.
[00:16:39] Ken: That’s my end goal with every client I have in regards to social media. because if they wanna post something, if a client called me this morning and said, Hey, Ken, can you get this posted for me? And I, my reply will always be, I’ll try to get to it by this afternoon, but it might be tomorrow morning.
[00:16:54] Seth: Right.
[00:16:54] Ken: And it might be too late, right. It might be a little special they’re running or something that’s happening that morning. Or so every time I meet with them the ones that I manage, I sit down with the person in their office that will eventually take that over. So I’m working myself out of a job.
[00:17:10] Seth: Yeah.
[00:17:11] Ken: Because they will be more beneficial and advantageous for them to be able to handle their social media in house. Let me take care of the SEO and website staff. and in the online paid advertising area and you take care of the social media part. And I still monitor once in a while I do have a client, they handle it in house, but I have to remind them, Hey, you have a Facebook message on your Facebook page. That’s been there for two hours and you haven’t responded yet.
[00:17:35] Seth: Right.
[00:17:35] Ken: So I still monitor a little bit, but I’m not as involved.
[00:17:38] Seth: But yeah, it sounds almost more like coaching or consulting.
[00:17:41] Ken: Yeah.
[00:17:42] Seth: Yeah. All right. Good. Well, Ken, thank you so much. I love this advice. I think it’s really important. It’s something that I’ve sat down and told people I’ve worked with as well. It’s like, look, it’s okay if you’re not on Snapchat yet, or if you haven’t gotten to TikTok yet, it’s okay. Like, you don’t need to be there right this moment. And because I’ve never run into anybody, who’s like, you know, I’m sitting around, I got too much time on my hands and I don’t know what to do all day long. I’ve got all this budget
[00:18:06] Ken: Right.
[00:18:06] Seth: I don’t know how to spend it. Well, you know, nobody’s ever said that to me. So this is great advice, Ken Whitinger you are the owner at mid-Michigan interactive. What’s the website if people wanna learn more about the business?
[00:18:18] Ken: midmichiganinteractive.com
[00:18:19] Seth: Easy enough. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
[00:18:22] Ken: Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure!
[00:18:24] Seth: Again. I am Seth Resler. I’m from Community Marketing Revolution. We produce branded podcasts for organizations just like yours. If you’ve been thinking about maybe including a podcast in your marketing mix, please go to communitymarketingrevolution.com we’d love to work with you. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll talk to you next time.
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