Social media is an incredible way of marketing and making more money for your business. If you do it right.
After spending thousands of hours on social media content across very old (MySpace) and very new (Musically, Snapchat, Vine, Peach, etc.) platforms, I want to share with you what you need to know on social media to succeed in business and more importantly prevent failure.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the results social media can bring for a business. But when you simplify it, there’s only four.
1. Social Media Amplifies How You Treat Your Customers
If you treat a customer horribly or delight them, their experience will be amplified and spread much further thanks to social media. It’s the biggest revolution in the century for businesses.
In the old days, if a business pissed you off, you might might tell a couple friends or family. Now, that customer can tell 500 friends on Facebook, 5,000 on Twitter, or 100,000 on YouTube. You don’t know who’s walking into your store; it could be an influencer.
Notice how I didn’t say “millions of people.” While there are social media influencers who can do this, don’t believe the people who hype it up. It’s possible for posts to hit a viral reach that large, but it’s rare. Those events usually can’t be manufactured and numerous factors have to align. A YouTuber or Instagram influencer can have millions of followers but only maybe tens of thousands engage with an average post they release.
Here is an example of amplification in a good way:
Karim took a joke about his last name by the receptionist at the Hyatt the wrong way. He tweeted about his frustration, and the Hyatt responded with a handwritten letter and complimentary food and beverage.
Let’s put aside whether or not he should have been offended. The point is that he shared his story and how great he felt at their response. It quickly went viral and 13,580 people commented, 61,438 liked it, and many more probably saw this. Now, that’s incredible, free, positive PR that couldn’t have happened any time before in history because it was started completely by a consumer.
Here are examples of amplification in a bad way:
United Airlines offered money for passengers to get off an overbooked flight. When everyone refused, they had security guards forcibly drag a passenger off. Another passenger immediately caught the experience on his smartphone and shared it online. The video got millions of views.
Thousands of people reacted in outrage to the incident. PewDiePie, the most subscriber Youtuber with 55 million+ subscribers, parodied the video. It got over 3 million views. If you look at the video, there are plenty of Tweets bashing he shows in it bashing United that got thousands of likes. Plenty of other influencers like Ellen, Joe Rogan, and Jimmy Kimmel covered the topic, attracting millions of views.
Another parody on Facebook got over a hundred thousand likes. Just one comment expressing their disgust towards United got thousands of upvotes.
A day after the incident Emirates Airlines released their own video addressing (and maybe even poking fun) at the CEO of United Airlines and explaining why they’re better, which got over a million views. Emirates is known for its premium flying experience. Many of the comments praised Emirates and got hundreds of upvotes.
Thanks to the mass market of smart phones and 4G, any customer can capture a customer experience and upload it to social media or the Internet in a matter of seconds. That is huge for businesses. It essentially punishes horrible businesses more and rewards good businesses more.
But there’s also a time when copying should be done:
When you’ll be left behind by the competition if you don’t.
When you know it’s better for the consumer to make your product this way.
When it’s perfectly legal to do so (therefore, you should not copy when there’s a patent or it’s a song).
Sam Walton didn’t start Walmart initially. He ran a convenience store. Then, he saw all the other convenience stores go out of business when discount retail stores started coming in. He could’ve moped and complained like everyone else while he watched himself go out of business. But he started his own discount retail store instead.
I’m not saying it’s right at all for a relative to rip off your idea behind your back. I think that belt guy will rightfully face some consequences from his family because of his dirty actions. It shows how low self-esteem he is that he can’t come up with his own idea that he’d steal from his family.
What I am saying is that business can be cut-throat and you need to expect that someone will copy you. I’ve discovered a lot of successful CEOs, like the billionaire Martha Stewart, has said that she never cries over money or business. It’s not something to feel like you’re wronged. When you screw up and lose money, you assess what you did wrong, learn, and try again. Sitting around crying does you no good.
It was a dick move for that guy’s cousin to copy the belt design… but someone would have copied him eventually. In fact, many people will copy you. To sit around and complain about it for too long on the Internet is a waste of time. It implies that you haven’t considered the possibility that new competitors will come in and copy you.
Literally every industry has been like this. Where there’s money to be made, competitors will emerge.
China is rampant with copying:
They’ve made copycats of the iPhone.
They’ve made their version of Google called Baidu, which dominates.
They have their own WhatsApp-type service called WeChat.
Rather than complain or freak out if someone copies you, you should consider doing what Warren Buffett suggests:
“In business, I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.”
What the heck does that mean?
A moat is basically your competitive advantage. Buffett suggests that you should be looking to increase that advantage everyday. Apple is generally unphased by the Chinese knock-off products because:
They’ve build a ton of brand loyalty and recognition. Something that performs the exact same will be passed over for one with an Apple logo.
They’re constantly staying on the cutting edge of new technology. Rather than only being the reactive copycat, they’re always coming out with something new.
Copying isn’t anything new. Microsoft copied the iPod with the Zune and stole parts of their graphic user interface from Apple. Google tried to copy Facebook with Google Plus (and failed).
Facebook Ripped Off Twitter’s Periscope Too
If you weren’t plugged into social media news, Periscope used to be the hottest thing ever during the start of 2016.
Well, kinda. I think it was a bit over-hyped and it seemed like it was mainly marketers and adults with online followings who wanted to get “ahead of the curve” who used it.
…And around May 2016, Facebook really went serious with Live video and then stole the emoticon feature.
Will It Work Or Will It Flop?
I don’t know. Research has shown that expert predictions in most fields (from economics to finance) tend to be wrong so I’ll keep my predictions to a minimum.
I will say this:
The Periscope copy was more subtle and something they could (and seemed to) get away with. And the potential was clearly huge: I literally see girls my age glued to Facebook all day. They’ve never heard of Periscope. By simply adding a Periscope-like feature to the Facebook mobile app, they’ve got the best of every world:
Individuals have a pre-existing following of their family and friends to spread their Facebook Live video too.
These set up Facebook to stamp out possible reasons for Periscope to exist and take over market share (Periscope still has the “discover people by location” option as one of its unique features though. But they do seem to have lost quite a bit of ground other the other big fronts.)
As far as the Snapchat copycat… That’s may be another story because Snapchat is considered one of the big social media platforms already. And this type of blatant copying is a slap to Snapchat’s face. They’re not even trying to hide at all the fact that they copied.
I’m wondering how the people at Snapchat HQ are reacting to this right now.
Arguably, it may be similar to when Google Plus came out or when Facebook copied Twitter by allowing status updates. But maybe bigger. I don’t know.
It’s interesting to see how it’ll progress. Will Snapchat file a lawsuit? Will they have to rescind this or will they still get to keep this feature even after a long, drawn-out lawsuit? It’s clear that Instagram is going for a similar strategy of “take their features and build it on our pre-existing social media infrastructure to allow for more discovery.”
I personally like this change. Things were starting to slow down a bit in the social media world. Snapchat seemed to be (or may still be) at the height of its popularity. It was getting old for me.
I like a new change. Plus, it’s arguably more convenient for some of us. We might be able to just build a following on Instagram rather than having to build one on Snapchat AND Instagram.
The fact that it’s basically an exact clone could make it less appealing though. If it simply does everything Snapchat does, then what’s the point? It’s not adding anything new and there might not be much of an appeal. I’m curious to see how followers engage with this new feature. If it’s good, it could do well.
In the book Rework, the author said that if you’re simply copying, you can never be #1 because you’ll always be a reactive clone at best that’s just like somebody else. In fact, Instagram Stories is currently a worse version than the original right now because it doesn’t have any of Snapchat’s iconic face filters (which are obviously harder to copy) or any filters at all yet.
An article by Next Web argued that it’s better because it makes it clearer for tech savvy adults who aren’t into social media, which helps them understand Snapchat easier. First off, I don’t think those people are even on Instagram – Insta isn’t that straightforward. And the features they say make it easier are stuff like “a button that says Submit rather than just an arrow.” Minor stuff.
I’m excited to see what the future holds but I really have no idea. I’m just guessing. But this is definitely an interesting year for tech and social media businesses with Virtual Reality and all this other stuff.
What do you think about all this?
P.S. It wasn’t just Zuckerberg behind this. Facebook has thousands of employees. I’m sure it was a multi-person decision to do this.
Why do some people get millions of views per day while others get none? It’s actually quite simple.
There’s a thousand free tutorials online about things like how to set up and create a Youtube channel.
This is not one of them.
This is for intelligent individuals who already know how to create a Youtube account and upload a video. Even if you don’t, you already know that there’s a thousand free tutorials online for basic, beginner stuff like that.
This is on how to Successfully Promote your Business on Youtube.
Although I am writing this guide specifically for a business who wants intermediate to advanced strategies on successfully use Youtube marketing, this guide will also be useful for people who want to start a Youtube channel and grow it to a large audience as a personality or brand.
Why this is different:
Let’s be honest. I am not a marketer or want to be.
I am a millenial, who understands Youtube from the consumer perspective and business perspective as well.
I grew up in the social media space. Over the years, I have become a fanatic about social media platforms. I know more about growing a following and the ins and outs of platforms than some of the most tuned-in teenage girls. I have went through the Top 500 most subscribed Youtube channels, all of which have over 1 million subscribers and hundreds of millions of views, and studied all the small nuances people don’t notice ( titling, metadata, tagging, production, engagement, endcard, etc.). I have consumed hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of content from the top podcasts, articles, and paid courses from the top social media experts. These include people who have grown Youtube channels from scratch and helped others grow it. One of those is Tim Schmoyer, who helped a recent gamer go from 0 subscribers and 0 views to making six figures this year and a projected 7 figures (that is over 1 million dollars) in 2016 on Youtube. I enrolled in his $1000 Youtube Academy.
You can find Tim at videocreators.com I have also worked with Derral Eves, another Youtube expert, who helped a young girl who is still in middle school go from zero subscribers to paying off their parents’ large mortgage with her Youtube channel. I recently attended a VIP summit with him which costs $500, not including room, board, and food. You can find Derral at derraleves.com In addition to this, I have watched thousands of videos from Top Youtubers who have made their own 30 minute courses on how they achieved success. I literally sat down day after day and watched anyone who had a Subscriber count of 50,000 or more teach their strategies. These are free on Youtube but I think I am in the top 1% in terms of the amount of advice content I have consumed. People don’t have the time, interest, or patience to go through the tens of thousands of channels with 100,000 subscribers and watch each of their content. I have. I’ve tested and tweaked numerous things myself. And I still do constantly.
I have got some very valuable advice from some of the top creators on the back-end, from Google Analytics personnel to Google’s very own Creator playbook detailing what the analytics and statistics tell you about engagement, their algorithm, and so forth. I have studied other social media platforms in depth and have gone similarly deep. I have gotten some great advice and strategies from some of the top players in these platforms as well. From there, I have seen incredible results in terms of growth on my Instagram, Vine, and other platforms. However, Youtube is my bread and butter. It is probably one of the platforms I love the most.
Long story short: I have consumed an extensive amount of paid and free Youtube advice from the best in the industry and have learned a lot about the business side. I have also watched over 10,000 Youtube videos in my lifetime, if not more, on almost every topic imaginable under the sun: toy unboxing, beauty, make-up, and so on. Why? To learn more about the platform and culture. And because it is fun.
I have run into countless small business owners who want to expand their reach online. Some of them work as a solo act and are paid per hour or per gig for their services. Others are part of a small business but they are not tech-savvy and do not understand social media, making websites, or the internet.
People have been searching for someone to teach them or manage that for them. They realize that tens of millions of eyeballs are going onto social media platforms like Youtube and Facebook every single day.
In this post, I will do a couple things.
Youtube Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide to your first 1000 Youtube fans
Imagine getting thousands of more customers discovering you every month and willing to pay. For FREE. You are missing out on enormous potential. This strategy is all about organic growth. That means that everything can be down for free. It’s all Youtube SEO and Youtube channel and video optimization.
First, let me not lie to you.
This is not easy. This will not happen overnight.
In fact, tens of thousands of customers means tens of thousands of viewers. That is actually tough to get. It takes years of growing your platform online to get to.
So let’s begin with a more tangible goal: 1,000 subscribers. This will equate to maybe 50 to 100 views per video. And will set you up to keep growing exponentially.
A general rule of thumb is ~1% will purchase.
That is still 1 new customer per week assuming you are posting only one video per week.
Again, I am trying to be really conservative here as you will probably get more but we need non-overwhelming goals to get started.
So let’s begin.
Here is a FREE 20 minute video showing you how to optimize your Youtube channel and what potential that holds. This video was made for a comedian who is doing fairly well offline but doesn’t understand how he could utilize social media. For a business or online service that is scalable, the potential is even greater.
What they don’t tell you
What no one tells you is that what’s really important are views, not subscribers.
Subscribers are not useless. Subscribers help grow the channel because they keep coming back, which hopefully leads to more views.
However, for some people, it is better to just create Youtube videos that get a lot of views and drive it all back to your website or capture emails with it to sell them stuff later.
I’ve seen a lot of strategies on Youtube. There’s two I want to highlight.
1) This is my type of strategy. It works well for a lot of fitness or sports topics like Athleanx and quite frankly, my suggested method for everyone who wants the biggest long term benefit. The downside is it takes time and hard work. You really have to enjoy it.
What you do is you treat your Youtube channel has your home base, almost like a blog. You post a high quality video at least once a week for a few years. You use the high-level strategies I will mention later, and your growth will be exponential: the first year will be quite slow but you will have tons of traffic over time.
2) The second strategy is more of a one-shot type thing. It can technically be used in conjunction with Strategy 1.
Here’s the idea: You don’t care about anything: Youtube banner art, channel trailer, etc.
You’re just going for just views. You don’t care about consistency.
To do this, you utilize the highest source of Youtube traffic: Youtube SEO.
You craft titles, thumbnail art, and descriptions that are really good. And you’re aiming to capture a good chunk of search traffic. You literally post when you want and not post again for many months if you want to.
I don’t prefer this one because it’s missing a few elements that might get you more traffic and brand recognition in the long run (years down the line).
High-level Strategies: Maximize Viewers, Subscribers, and Earnings
Here’s a YouTube video explaining the process if you’d prefer to watch:
For Youtube videos, these are the big hitters that matter:
Thumbnails (the pictures that show to preview your video)
Secrets of Youtube Thumbnails and Graphics
Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world. So treat it like a search engine.
In fact, a lot of big channels on Youtube still get a large majority of their traffic from search. (Not every single one but a decent amount)
Therefore, it is important to utilize this.
Spend a good hour studying the thumbnails of the best Youtube videos with a large amount of views.
You will notice that they have spent a ton of time crafting them to be eye-popping and engaging.
Imagine having a giant image be displayed under every listing you have on Google. What would that do to search engine optimization?
That’s exactly what Youtube is like. You are competing with others with your thumbnail, not just your title.
As you’ll see, the best on Youtube know its power and so they spend an excruciatingly large amount of time crafting eye-catching thumbnails that make people curious and want to click.
The more I study thumbnails, the more I have an appreciation for it.
It’s easy to understand but hard to execute one. Everyone seems to have a bias that makes them think their thumbnails are better than they actually are.
Here’s a video I did on Youtube thumbnails:
Now, imagine reading an article you found on Google Search and having a large sidebar of related articles you can click on that are from other websites not affiliated with the website you are reading right now.
Youtube is even more awesome because you get a free chance to get people to click on your video through the Related Videos on the right. This is the #2 (and sometimes #1) source of traffic for Youtube channels.
The crazier part is that for Related Videos, all you have to compete on is Youtube Thumbnails and Titles. That’s all that you have to get people to click on your video versus someone else’s. That’s why they are so important.
Almost Everyone Gets this Wrong: Proper Youtube Titling
You know how some top bloggers spend up to 50% of their time writing an article on the title?
Well, the same thing is true for Youtube.
Listen to this:
Titles are one of the most important things to your Youtube video:
They are one of the biggest factors for Youtube SEO and what people search for
They are one of the first things viewers read
It can be the biggest think to drive someone to click (you can use curiosity, mystery, excitement, awe, etc.)
They can make or break a video. The same video with different titles can get wildly different number of views. I’ve seen results like this all the time with cat videos.
Long story short, really spend some time on your titles. Study other Youtube videos.
Enough said. If your video doesn’t provide tons of value in the form of entertainment, community, story, information, or something else, it’s a flop.
The best measure of this is Youtube retention time: how long the viewers on average stay on the video. You can look this up for free using Youtube Analytics.
Always strive to get this higher as it is probably the biggest factor in determining if Youtube ranks your video really well or puts it in the trash.
Titles matter a large amount. I try to go for two things in a title: Good keywords and phrases that will be searched and an intriguing title that gets people to click on your video to find out more.
You can do both but if I had to choose, I would go with just the former.
There are vloggers who go for just the second one but I don’t recommend this for 99% of people because these vloggers already have large followings and they are now banking of related videos.
For anyone with few subscribers, you want to go for evergreen, search-engine friendly content.
If you’re going for the long haul, this one is huge.
The same thing applies to any blogger.
For whatever reason, the most successful Youtube channels have posted one video per week and done that consistently for years.
Those who drop the ball end up sliding.
Bloggers have done the numbers and the same thing applies to them. In fact, Neil Patel has had to put in 3 months of extra work for the 1 month he forgot to post on his blog.
There’s many reasons why this is the way it is: your audience subscribes for a reason, possible SEO ranking reasons, etc.
The point is it is important for people who want a long-term brand.
Can you still succeed without doing this? As I’ve mentioned, it is. But you will have to go for extremely interesting viral content or evergreen content that is searched very often that you can rank for.
But what about engagement numbers?
There’s probably a hundred other things you may be worried about: what about number of likes, dislikes, comments, shares, etc. on a Youtube video?
Just do this:
Work on the 5 fundamentals I have mentioned. They make up the bulk.
Most people don’t even have those down or even close to decent quality. If you focus on the big wins, the rest will take care of itself.
The other stuff have a minor impact and aren’t worth the effort compared to what I have mentioned.
Only if you are really doing well and thriving should you even consider worrying about the other stuff.
In fact, engagement in terms of likes and comments are close to negligible in terms of Youtube rankings. source: Tim Schmoyer
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm upon it’s release. I’ve personally been waiting for it for months ever since the trailer came out.
Tons of top influencers on social media and every media outlet has covered it. And for good reason. It’s going crazy. People are stampeding the streets in major city to play this game. It brings tears to my eyes.
See these videos as examples:
What is Pokemon Go?
It’s basically a mobile app game that requires you to travel around in real life (using your phone’s location) to “catch” Pokemon. It plays on the nostalgia of the Millenial generation, which I love since I am one of them.
… for now. It may be a trend. I’ll talk more about that later.
How you can use this to make money for your local business
Buy a Lure. A lure costs $1 an hour. In a major city, it can attract hundreds of real players to your chosen location to catch Pokemon. In a town, you can attract dozens.
That’s pretty cheap.
Note: just because they are there doesn’t mean they want to buy your product (yet). You need to merge your offer with the traffic somehow.
Find a creative way of getting them to buy your product while they are there. If you don’t do this right, you could get cheap traffic, but it won’t convert.
Multiple zoos, like the San Diego and Maryland Zoo, are setting up lures inside their zoo. You need to pay entry to get in.
Restaurants who know the lifetime value of a customer and value of their service know that they can make more money on the back-end if they can just get the first purchase. Therefore, give free menu items to Pokemon Go gamers depending on their level in the game (level is determined by how far they have walked and how many Pokemon they caught). See the video below for an example:
This video below explains why this means so much to me. I was a huge Pokemon nerd and back then, I was one of the only people in the world to be crazy about it in school. It was a niche hobby. I’m glad it’s gone more mainstream.
Towards the last 2 minutes of the video, you’ll see what I don’t like about the game:
The Pros and Cons to Pokemon Go
The pros (good stuff):
Pokemon Go really brings a lot of enthusiastic fans outdoors.
The frenzy unleashed was an ingenious move by Nintendo. I saw it coming for a while and they were a bit slow with releasing it, but I applaud them for it.
Nintendo has created an ingenious global sensation that’s also a symbiotic relationship for any local business to straddle off of. They’ve created a local advertising platform for any business based off a globally recognized game. And, right now, it’s cheap. Wow!
As I explained in my video, the technology is still primitive. The server overload makes the game barely functional. It’s been like this all week. Plus, you can’t challenge others on the street. You can’t really battle Pokemon before catching them. The main premise is that you just throw balls at Pokemon that appear based on your location in the world. Having said that, there’s a lot more potential in the next 20 years though. I’m excited to see what they will do when they merge virtual reality and whatever product wins in the space (Occulus Rift, Google Glass, etc.), 360 degree cameras, and mobile apps. I expect to be riding a Pink Gyarados that’s battling my neighbor’s MewTwo in 20 years. And it better be indistinguishable from real life.
It’s most likely a trend that will get old in a few weeks. The amount of players will diminish. As explained in my video, this has been proven fairly true with past video games like WiiFit and GBA games that tried to get people outdoors with solar energy technology. People prefer sitting indoors with their XBox controllers… right? Yes and no. I think time will tell but I’ve been severely surprised over the years. As a gamer and Internet addict, I saw a lot of proof that showed that the world was the same. Everyone from sorority girls to gamers are addicted to computers. Having said that, I’ve also met a lot of people who LOVE the outdoors: beach tanners, sports fanatics, Crossfit athletes, etc. Perhaps Nintendo will be able to leverage this group efficiently.
Great moves Nintendo! You have done it again.
You have kept with change by not sticking to just consoles and delighting your customers. You can’t go wrong if you keep pleasing us and over-delivering. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are very interesting companies. And they hold deep places in my heart from years of gaming, especially Nintendo.
Nintendo illustrates the power of a brand. Gary Vaynerchuk said another business could have created the exact same game without the Pokemon brand. It could be called “Creatures” but wouldn’t have recognizable Pokemon, just creatures. And it would get 1/1000th of the attention. Pokemon is a recognizable brand that brings nostalgia, pre-eminence, and economic goodwill. There’s a whole story line behind the framework and people get it, trust it, and love it.
When you think about getting your work out there in a bigger way or coming across interesting, do you ever get caught by thoughts like…
“But what if the hobbies I love to do are boring to other people?”
“What if my business industry is the most boring industry on earth? I’m having a really difficult time seeing how my products or work would seem interesting to anyone besides me!”
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” -Seth Godin [Tweet This]
While that might be a bit far to say that people buy stories, people do have a genetic connection to story and have for thousands of years.
By putting your words into a story, people are more likely to listen. People have passed information down this way by a campfire for thousands of years. Books and computers are a new thing in the grand scheme of things.
Most of us have a hard time valuing what we do, especially if we do it everyday. We let awesome, interesting things in our life slip by unnoticed.
I’m a culprit of this myself. I’ve found myself painting my life as much more boring than it should be to others.
It’s can be tougher if what we do is generally seen as “boring” by outside standards… or is it?
What if you could turn what you do into a beautifully, interesting story that wows anyone you share it with without changing a thing about how you do things?
If you’re an artist, you’re known for being interesting and creative. But even you have periods of writer’s block or blank ideas.
If you want to look at creativity in a new way and learn how to be more interesting with stories, watch this now. It will work even for boring lifestyles or industries.
Here are the books mentioned in the video (affiliate):
Today’s challenge is important and should take you less than a minute. Please don’t be the lazy person and actually take action on this one.
In the comments below, give me at least 1 story about your life. Make it as interesting as possible. If you’ve got more, keep writing.
It doesn’t matter how successful or amazing your life is or isn’t. I’ve started to realize that the most interesting people in the world make what they have interesting.
Having said that, I bet there’s another level of potential waiting for you to unleash. Actually having a more interesting life helps.
My second challenge is to commit to making your life more interesting on a weekly basis. Maybe that means going to the farmers market or signing up for an archery class. Come back in a week and tell me your story.
One extraordinary thing I have found studying the history of success in a lot of successful businesses is simplicity.
Businesses succeed by keeping things simple and easy to understand and use for the customer.
To drill down even further, what they do is increase ease of use and lower user wait time.
Market share is what percent of the industry your business is in that you hold as a total of everyone in it, including your competitors. To gain market share or increase the quality of the product or service, sometimes it is as simple as keeping it simple:
You reduce unnecessary wait time.
Many businesses have grown bloated or slowed in their profits because they got overly complicated.
Can you think of that have?
Here’s a few: Infusionsoft, League of Legends, Runescape, and Yahoo.
These are services, software, and video games, that have got overly complicated for the new user as they kept adding on new features.
To this day, Google.com is super simple.
Two buttons. (Honestly, I think they could cut the Getting Lucky button)
And this is Google we’re talking about. There’s a thousand things you could be tempted to add to the homepage.
And that’s precisely what Yahoo.com did.
And who won in that search engine battle?
Tinder is a dating app that swept the world by storm.
Because it did not require a lot of time to understand and use.
A new user could easily understand:
Swipe left if you think they’re hot, right if you don’t.
If you both match, you chat.
Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank
Shark Tank is a show where these millionaires (and sometimes billionaires) sit in a room and decide on whether or not to invest in business ideas and businesses.
There’s one episode where one judge, Kevin O’Leary, goes ballistic.
This guy has a decent business selling pies, but…
He’s stressed out working hard producing numerous different flavors of pies.
Even though one flavor accounts for 95% of his profits.
Kevin blew up and told him to stop making the other flavors. And double down on the one flavor.
Sometimes, variety is not what you need.
You need to drill down on that one thing that will double your profits. You don’t need 50 items on your menu when 49 of them are taking up 90% of your time and making you 1% of the profits.
Kevin O’Leary’s book Cold, Hard Truth – good book about money and life. 4 out of 5 stars. There’s a part about getting a pre-nup, gold-diggers, and marriage that’s 5 out of 5 in terms of advice given.
Five Guys follows Kevin O’Leary’s formula to a tee.
It’s my favorite burger place.
And I’m sure they’ve been tempted to add more items to their menu because of how large and successful they have become.
However, even to this day, they have kept their menu very minimalist.
Businesses That May Need To Work On This:
This is a social media type app created by billionaire Mark Cuban.
I think he’s a cool guy, but here’s my thoughts on the app after trying it out for the first time from the perspective of a millenial:
Too overly complicated. Too many things going on.
There’s too many bells and whistles and features and things you can press.
I wouldn’t know what it actually did if I just stumbled across it.
I knew ahead of time because Mark described it succinctly in a video: send text messages that are erased moments later.
It’s a Snapchat for text messages.
And yet, when you open the app, it’s this monster of things and hard to figure out.
Apparently, you can send videos and photos too with other features.
People are busy.
You have to expect that they’re only to give your app 30 seconds or less.
Some tweens and millenials I’ve seen will give it much less than that: 10 seconds. 5 seconds.
You have that much time to get them to understand it and like it.
Burbn – Instagram’s first prototype:
Instagram succeeded by listening to their users.
The first model was called Burbn. It failed.
It was overly complicated. A jumble of confusing features.
How did they succeed?
They used analytics to monitor what their users did.
They keep tweaking their app based on how users were using it.
They found people only used it to share photos.
They double downed on JUST photosharing.
They saw people liked filters, they added filters.
Simplicity was their main focus: They made is to that you could post a photo in 3 clicks.
They saw a GAP in the market and drilled it down: Facebook’s app sucked at the time for photo-sharing. Hipstamatic was the other big competitor, which had good filters but bad photo-sharing.
Too many people try to make a social media app, just to make one. There has to be a gap in the marketplace and need. You have to listen. Stop trying to make one simply to make money or drive up your ego.
That’s why I think Casey Neistat’s beme will fail too. It’s just too similar to Snapchat. People haven’t been going crazy about it because it doesn’t provide much greater value than other things out there.
Make it 10 times better than anything else out there
Billionaire investor Peter Thiel said in Zero To One, there has to be a 10x order of magnitude greater value than your competitors.
A small change or advantage or convenience isn’t good enough for people to turn their heads or leave the brand that they’re loyal to.
My family and many others were really against Apple and iPods. My parents said that using earbuds were bad for your ears.
Years later, we all own many of their devices. Like many others, the change occurred because of the magnitude of convenience Apple’s products provided beyond any competition.
An iPhone is literally a computer in your hand that lets you browse the internet, listen to music, watch Youtube videos, go on social media, text, call and more from almost anywhere on a simple, convenient touchscreen.
It’s just too appealing.
make It Free. Even If It Mean’s That You’re Not Making Money.
It’s simple and obvious, but not everyone does it. Not everyone is willing to. Companies, especially big ones, are pressured by stock analysts and investors who think short term. Although it may sound easy on paper to “think long term”, the pressure from ill-informed people for short-term profit results can cripple a leader who can’t ignore them or doesn’t know the importance. Alibaba vs. Ebay is one of the best modern examples. Alibaba is now a monopoly and one of the largest Internet companies in the world but it wasn’t always this way. The founder was rejected from over 12 jobs including KFC. He was laughed at by the “experts of the Internet” back in the 90’s. Alibaba used to be a tiny company competing against Ebay, who had 90%+ of China’s market share. How did he do it? He did what Ebay did but decided to charge zero percent in fees and commissions. Ebay was unwilling to do so because of its size and all the reasons I just described. In the short term, people made fun of Alibaba. For years, they called Alibaba stupid because they weren’t making any money. In fact, they were losing money keeping up their services. But over time, they pushed the foreign giant away. Over 5 years, Ebay slowly lost market share until they went from 90% to 0%. Despite Ebay trying to form a partnership, the native Chinese company had won. The lesson is clear. For the Internet or tech industry, certain niches are winner-take-all. Alibaba forced Ebay out by playing the long-term game by giving the best service to its customers possible: a free auction service for goods. In the short term, it seemed like they were making a stupid move because they weren’t making any money. In the short term, it seemed like they were making a stupid move because they weren’t making any money. But over time, customers naturally flocked over to the free service that the more expensive service did. Also, be careful of “Internet experts” especially on such a new field. Note: this advice is exclusive to the Internet tech companies listed. It probably won’t hold true completely to other industries. Sometimes, raising the price gets more sales surprisingly. I think this works especially for tech-based mass-scale companies because they depend on tons of people buying small purchases. The few dollars really matter there. For something like a luxury product worth thousands, things could be different. However, the core principle of doing what your customers will like best may still apply.
Make It Cheaper
Walmart is a great example of this.
Sam Walton and his company were the underdogs. People don’t know that. Just like Microsoft, they had competitors who were 10 times bigger when they got into the game.
Sam was smart. He realized how discount retailing was changing the world. Rather than letting it run his little shop out of business, he got into discount retailing himself.
Even to this day, we know his slogan: “Everyday low prices.”
That level of quality products and affordable prices was so appealing that they made up for the small profit margins by sheer volume.
Costco has used a similar strategy in recent times with bulk purchases and more premium products to great success.
Henry Ford did the same thing with the Model T car. He kept reducing the price of his car while almost all of his hundreds of competitors raised prices every year.
Note: This strategy isn’t always the best way. Sometimes, if you want to position yourself as a premium brand, you don’t want to be cheap. The point is to understand the big theme behind all of this, which I’ll go more into detail in the conclusion.
Long story short: provide long-term convenience and value to the customer beyond anyone else.
Conclusion and special note
You don’t have to use these suggestions listed. In fact, they may not exactly apply to your industry.
What should be done is to understand the big theme behind all of these: exceptionally convenient, valuable customer product and service.
Companies like Walmart or Alibaba did this by having ridiculously low or free prices. Other companies like Five Guys or Tinder this with simplicity and ease of use.
Netflix made things convenient by providing affordable, instant-access to movies.
See how you can do this 10x better than your competition. In the short term, nothing will change. In the long term, they will flock to you.
Give the customer and user the best experience possible. You can do this by lowering the price, increasing customer service, increasing quality of the service, increasing quality of product, and many more areas.
Make things simpler and easier to understand and use for the first-time user and repeat user.
Listen to what customers and users tell you. Your opinions and ideas are often not what customers actually prefer.
In conclusion, how can you make things simpler and easier to understand and user for the first-time user?
Some industries and businesses may be better off with complexity.As a special note: this is not a conclusive rule that applies to every business under the sun.
It may depend on your specific situation.
It’s a theory.
However, I think it personally holds true for a lot of businesses in a lot of industries, as I’ve illustrated.
An example of how it would not work would be a company that has decided to go after the market of gamers, customers, or software users who delight in advanced, complicated services or video games.
Arguably, other businesses like Facebook didn’t focus on simplicity. Facebook focused on growth and their service wasn’t exactly simple: there was photo sharing, chat sharing, and all sorts of stuff (though it was still fairly simple and easy to understand).
And you can tell my examples have been mainly social media and tech based, so it may not apply outside of this area.