Brent Csutoras has been in many different roles in the social media game. As an entrepreneur, he’s founded several marketing companies. As a strategist, he’s on advisory boards for several companies including Thomson Reuters. He’s probably most recognized as a public speaker, having presented at virtually every industry conference including SMX, Pubcon, SES and many others.
Brent’s current roles include chief social media strategist for SEJ publisher Alpha Brand Media, leading his marketing agency Kairay Media and CMO for Pixel Road Designs.
Brent is the keynote speaker at SEJ’s very first Local Social, a networking meetup in Dallas on August 21. Please join us for dinner, sessions and conversation about the latest trends in internet marketing and how they can be leveraged for the DFW market.
So what’s one of the biggest mistakes that social media marketers are making today?
Trying to do everything all at once. Not taking the time to identify and target which channel is going to best suit their market, reach their audience. So in trying to throw darts at all of them, they succeed at none. In my Dallas meetup keynote, I’ll be walking through my strategy on how to succeed at social media with only an hour a day.
Speaking of biggest mistakes, let’s say your newest client is Amy’s Bakery, the infamous restaurant on Kitchen Nightmares that subsequently had “the most epic brand meltdown ever” on Facebook. How would you handle them?
Heh. First of all, I would not allow them anywhere near their social accounts. I’d coach them to think before reacting, then apologize to the world. In helping them to turn over a new leaf, I would restate what they are about, and get back to discussing their food and the industry, but not respond to anything negative. They can help promote other local businesses and people as a way to give back and show humility. They need to rebuild community and loyalty, which is possible even for them, over time.
What career advice would you give to a social media marketer just starting out?
[pullquote]Just because you are sitting behind a computer doesn’t mean the rules of society don’t apply.[/pullquote] All of the social rules you’ve learned in real life, apply online and especially in social media. I’ve seen new marketers, eager to get started, make the mistake of violating basic social rules or etiquette. They’ll walk around conferences and hand out business cards without even introducing themselves, or spam their network with self-promotional campaigns. In real life, you make friends, expand your network and audience by building up engagement and history. In real life you get to know people before you start asking for favors or asking them for advice.
When I went to my first conference, I knew I had to expand my network. So I identified people that I thought were similar to me in style and personality, and I made an effort to get to know them. I didn’t ask them a bunch of questions or try to get free advice. When you take the time to engage with people properly, they will notice and it will create a positive impression.
Again, just like in real life, if it feels like cheating or unnatural, it probably is. Just because you are sitting behind a computer doesn’t mean the rules of society won’t apply. For example, buying Twitter followers instead of “earning” real ones naturally through engagement, is short-sighted and a waste of your time and money.
What’s the #1 question that people ask you after a speaking session?
They always ask the same thing: “OK, but how will social media work for MY situation?” They understand that social media works and they have a desire to participate. But they always seem to think there is some exception as to why social media won’t work for them. They’ll say they have legal limitations, or they are in an industry that doesn’t participate in social media. They’ll say they have nothing to give away for promotional campaigns, or that they have no one on staff that can write.
But I’ve never found an instance where the roadblock was really legitimate. This is more about the asker who is second guessing themselves and their abilities. They think there must be some secret sauce to make it work. But the secret sauce is just hard work and dedication. Those are the keys to success with social media, or actually just about anything in life. If you’re willing to put together a strategy and commit to executing on it, you will learn, evolve and do well.
Who do you see out there that is consistently doing it right?
Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive. He’s got high energy, dedication. I admire how he’s grown his company through the years and become entrenched with the biggest players in the game.
Danny Sullivan. Always been impressed with him; it seems that Danny’s on top of everything, involved in everything that matters and has managed to continually evolve his personal brand.
Shoemoney. Jeremy doesn’t pull punches, does whatever he wants, but does it in the most intelligent way I’ve ever seen. He’s been at ground zero for some of the biggest controversies, successes, failures, even has stalkers. But no matter what he says or does, the negative stuff never seems to stick to him, and he is handy at using it all to move an agenda along.
Who in the industry do you like to hang out with?
Greg Finn. I feel like Greg is a down-to-earth, hidden gem kind of guy. We both got involved in social early on, and have similar views on what it can or can’t do. He has a unique way of looking at the industry holistically, is smart about identifying what elements of marketing are worth his time and will produce tangible results. He doesn’t get caught up in the hype, doesn’t try to be a jack of all trades.
Next outing: Greg and I need to catch a baseball game or UFC fight, or both!
Todd Malicoat. We’ve got a ton of history together, good and bad. He and I are two of the original co-founders of Alpha Brand Media, and we met back when I was first getting started. He’s extremely respected, he has amazing depth and breadth of marketing knowledge, but he doesn’t chase fame or need recognition. He’s also lots of fun, we go fishing and drinking together. You’re not going to have a boring time hanging with Todd.
Next outing: I’d love to hit up Jamaica with Todd, that’d be a blast.
Virginia Nussey. Virginia’s really smart. She’s also got a great work ethic, drive, dedication and common sense. She’s established herself in this industry and has the potential to go all the way, to have her own agency or whatever she wants to achieve.
Next outing: I haven’t been to one in years and years, but I’m betting Virginia would be highly entertained by the scene at a legit, underground, old school rave.
Come see Brent get real in his keynote presentation at the Local Social in Dallas on August 21: a special meetup by Advice Interactive and Search Engine Journal.