Podcast Episode 311: Gavin Hammar
Founder & CEO, Sendible.com
Sendible.com is a social media management platform for small businesses that makes it easy for them to engage with customers across multiple channels at any time.
Sendible was founded by Gavin in February, 2009 and is currently being used by tens of thousands of businesses around the world - including by GowerCrowd.
Find out in this episode Gavin's fascinating insights from his experience working with so many thousands of companies, the majority of them agencies, best of class practices for putting your real estate capital raise on overdrive using social media automation.
See below for more information on Gavin and a link to Sendible.
In Today's Episode
* Broadcasting your message
* Making social easy
* How to identify the optimal time to post
* Using social media to build trust
* Don't overproduce your content; just be you
* Defining the 'funnel'
* Motivating your team to produce content
And much, much more.
Listen To or Watch the Full Podcast Here
Broadcasting Your Message
Adam Gower: All right, tell me the high-level idea of what does Sendible do today?
Gavin Hammar: Yes, it does a lot of things. I guess, today, I think the key use case is for brand awareness - how can you get your message out there on the social web? How can you be seen? How can you write your content once, but distribute it across multiple platforms in different ways?
We have the ability for agencies, and content companies to get together, and collaborate with their teams, craft the content, and easily automate the distribution of their content on social media.
You can also measure the impact of their content. You can also monitor what's being said on the social web about any keyword that you monitoring. In real estate, that might be a location-based keyword that you want to monitor. You can then use that to engage with those opportunities, and those leads.
It's a tool to help you manage social media at scale, and it's designed to save you time, and make the most of your time on social media. The other important feature we have is, obviously, we understand the people are running businesses ...
What we do is we bring in ... All the engagement comes into a single Priority Inbox, almost like your email inbox, where you can respond to every incoming comment, post that you receive, and respond, whether it's from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, in a single view. I think that that should cover most of what it does, but there's a lot more.
Making Social Easy
Gavin Hammar: Let's start by looking at what you would have to do if you didn't have a tool like Sendible. If you didn't have a product like Sendible, and you wanted to get your message out, you would have to open up Twitter. You'd have to copy and paste the content into Twitter, and send it. You'd then have to go to Instagram, copy and paste, attach an image, send it out. LinkedIn, Facebook, the same thing.
The amount of time to do that, if you think of every single platform that's out there to get your message out, and say it takes you five minutes per platform, you're talking about half an hour just to get one message out.
Sendible gives you a single Compose box; think of a place where you can write one message, you choose where you want it to go. In one step, you choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and you can attach an image once, and Sendible will publish that content at the time you choose across the various platforms.
You can plan a whole month's content in an hour. You can sit there ... You can either import it from a an Excel file, or use our bulk-import grab, and you can essentially spend an hour, and get your month's worth of content published for you, or scheduled in advance, so that you aren't having to go every day and manually post that content out.
If you guys are running businesses, you just can't be doing that. We facilitate the ability to kind of create the content once, hit a button, and decide when it goes out, at what time, and across the various platforms.
Now, recently, if you are familiar with social media, you would know that every platform has different needs in terms of the content you post. For example, Instagram would not allow you to post links, so every link's unclickable, but they promote posting of imagery, and videos, and content that really engages an audience; whereas LinkedIn, you might have a long-form post that tells more of a story, that would require a different piece of content.
We allow you to craft one piece of content, but customize it per platform in one flow sort of thing. You would create the content, choose your platforms, customize it for each platform, and then schedule it, or publish it as you wish. It's really- it's a way to save time, create the content once, and re-purpose it across various platforms.
How to Identify the Optimal Time to Post on Social
Adam Gower: Let me ask you this, because there's one feature that's really fascinating, and it's really a deep-dive feature, and that is this concept of optimal time for getting a message out. I know that, on the platform - because I love using it - there's a button there that I can send it now; I can schedule it to go out at a particular time on any day that I choose it to go out, but then, there's also an option to select an optimal time. Can you talk about that a little bit, please?
Gavin Hammar: Yes, obviously, because once you connect your social profile, we're able to collect all the data on that profile. We can determine, using that data, when the best time is for you to post, when you're likely to get the most engagement.
What we do is we look at all your previously posted posts. whether it's LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and we can determine the probability of when you're going to get the most engagement based on the hour, and the day.
We'll look at your various posting activities, and see when you get the most likes, comments, shares, and when you click the button to optimize your times, we'll then suggest the best time based on that posting behavior, or the posting behavior in the past that's [inaudible] to the most engagement.
Adam Gower: Is that platform-specific, or is that overall - it kind of aggregates all platforms, does it?
Gavin Hammar: At the moment, when you're publishing it'll look across all platforms. If you look at the the measuring section, where you can track your analytics, you can go deep into each platform and see which profile ... You can see, per profile, what time of day is the best time to post.
Adam Gower: Per profile meaning per client, or per platform-.
Gavin Hammar: Per platform. If you're generating reports within Sendible, and it's for Instagram, you would select your Instagram profile; you would get a report, and in that report, you would see what time, and what day of the week gets you the most engagement; for each day of the week, what time on that day is the best time to post.
Using Social to Build Trust
Adam Gower: This is the context that I think most people think of it ... I think the old-school way would be direct mail, or to advertise in a newspaper, or radio, or television advertising - this kind of scatter-gun approach to getting your message out.
Remember that the audience that's listening is an audience that has not been allowed to do any kind of advertising. Why would you even think about social media to raise capital, for example, online? What are the key benefits of adopting that kind of strategy?
Gavin Hammar: I believe that social media is a way to build trust. I guess what's happened over the years, with marketing, and how businesses have communicated, people haven't had access to information. You've been told what to believe; you've been advertised to, and all you've had in the past is the messaging that comes from that those big companies.
Social media has broken down all of that. You now have access to the truth - what's really going on, with all the facts. You have access to reviews; you're hearing from people who are talking about other brands.
It's a way to build trust. It's a way to connect with your customers, your audience, in a more human way, and it allows people to connect with each other. It allows businesses to connect with their customers, with their potential customers, with whomever they're trying to target.
I guess what's happening is, because there's so much competition ... There's a lot of competition. Everyone can start a company in a heartbeat, these days. It's really easy, but what people aren't focusing on is the brand.
Social media is all about brand, and what you stand for. It's less about your product, what you sell; it's more about why you do it, behind the scenes, how you go about building your product - the stories behind that - is what people want to hear.
They're sick of being sold to. They really want to hear the human side of a business, and of a brand. That breaks down barriers; that builds trust; that builds loyalty - customer loyalty.
I think what social media does is it allows people to connect with people, which is what this kind of work was designed to be, and become. Whether you're B2C, B2B, whatever it is, ultimately you're able to connect with the people behind those businesses.
Social media allows you to be human, and tell the stories behind the scenes, to build a following based on what you believe, and what you stand for.
Don't Overproduce Your Content; Just Be You
Gavin Hammar: You have to build an audience that trusts you. People will think that you have to produce this- that you have to use this overly produced, polished content, but it's not even that. It's about just being human.
The way we are trying to educate our users is just about telling everyday stories. Just explain your day-to-day, like if it's something- some challenge you had in the day, how you overcame it, what you learned from it. Then, have a call to action. Stop trying to send links to people just to click, and drive them back your website to get a sale, or an opportunity.
The key here is to just focus less on quantity, and more about just being human, and building a habit of telling stories. I think that issue we have is that people's attention spans are shorter. Anyone on social media, they're consuming social media on mobile. They're one push notification away from an interruption.
You need to be able to craft a post that drives some sort of emotional reaction. The best way to do that is through storytelling. That's what we believe. That's what we're trying to educate our users to do. It can be across any industry.
The easiest thing is just to get into a habit of jotting down something that happened in the day. Anything. It can be anything that's happened behind the scenes in the day that relates to what you're about, what you stand for, what you believe in, what your values are. Use that to tell stories.
I can go deeper into the storytelling side, but the key trend is to stop interrupting what people are interested in, and BE what they're interested in. This stuff is [inaudible] them, and that's why advertising is becoming less useful for brands. It's more about just being human; just being what people care about, what they're interested in, is key.
Defining the 'Funnel'
Adam Gower: Just describe for the uninitiated what you mean about 'top of funnel,' or 'higher up in the funnel,' versus 'lower down.' These are terms that ... To somebody that doesn't know what a funnel is, can you explain that concept a little?
Gavin Hammar: Yeah. Higher up the funnel would be people who have just been made aware of you, or maybe not even aware of what you do, but aware of your content, aware of your messaging, aware of what you stand for, why you do what you do - not your product, not what you're trying to do in business.
Essentially, top of the funnel is, if you think of a website, they've read some of your content; they've seen a blog post. They don't know what you sell, what product you offer, but they're interested in the content that you're providing.
The way to attract the attention on social media is to engage, kind of tell a story that drives engagement. Get people to share, or like the story. Obviously, the more likes and shares you get, the more you reach a larger audience, because the people who've shared it, their connections see that they've shared it, and that's how you drive this virality. Similarly, you can use Facebook ads very cheaply, at the awareness stage, to drive awareness for what you do, why you do it, that kind of thing.
Then, as they progress through the funnel ... If you think of the website, they read a blog post at the top of the funnel; they then fill in a form to download something. You might have a white paper, an e-book, you might have a webinar, a podcast they subscribe to.
Then later on, once you've nurtured them lower down, they're eventually ready to buy from you. You've built the trust. They value what you're providing. They've seen some value. They realize that you know what you're talking about, and they're then ready to buy from you.
It's the same as, I guess, if you're trying to raise capital, to raise raise funds. Same thing. You get them at the top of the funnel. They hear about you. They understand that they can maybe trust you, because of the value you bring. Then, gradually, over time, they get to know you with more content, more nurturing, more social-media posts. Then, when you go to them to raise the money, they understand what you're about, and they can then trust you more.
Motivating Your Team to Produce Content
Adam Gower: You mentioned that you have co-opted your staff, as well, to produce content. Tell me about that, because I do think that's a really ... In fact, I've been having conversations with clients' staffs about that, trying to encourage them to take photographs, and record stuff, and just email me stuff that's going on - birthdays, or whatever it is on-site, or whatever. It's a bit- candidly, it's a bit difficult to get people to actually do it. How have you done that, and what have you found successful in encouraging staff to participate in this?
Gavin Hammar: I'm still working on it. It's not natural to most people, unfortunately. It's just not natural. What I did was just to drive this whole vision for the company. We believe in storytelling. That's where things are going.
Want to help our users become better storytellers, because what won't change is storytelling. It's in movies, it's in books, it's everything. Social media is becoming about high-quality content, and stories. What I did was I said, "Right, we're going to have a contest ..."
Adam Gower: I was hoping you were going to say that! That's exactly what we just suggested - hundred bucks a week to whoever gets the most likes, and comments, basically.
Gavin Hammar: We had a webinar with a screenwriter; she's a Hollywood screenwriter who's also a content producer, and social-media marketer. She did a webinar for our customers, and explained the various techniques about storytelling tactics you can use. I showed you one, but you can use many others.
I said to the team at Sendible, I said, "Great, can you guys watch the webinar, and you take one of those tactics, and you create a post on Friday morning at 10:00 a.m.; schedule it through Sendible, using one of these techniques to tell a story; any story you've experienced while working at Sendible, and whoever has the most engagement, we'll give you AirPods, Apple AirPods." They all were very pumped to win this competition. They all thought of their stories, and they put a photo, and everything; the values behind the company came through.
They had to tag Sendible in the post, and from that we got just tons of customers just leaving comments on employees' posts, saying how much they value what they do, how much they love Sendible. We got so many testimonials out of it. We didn't even expect this.
Just by every staff member telling a story about what they experience at Sendible, about what they do, day to day [inaudible] how they've overcome the challenges, we suddenly had these customers just loving us, and loving what we stand for, loving our message, because they saw behind the scenes, and they believed they could follow a company that is more human, and more trustworthy, and real, and authentic. That's what's come from that.
I think having a contest, showing them how storytelling can really drive engagement, which it definitely can ... I can show you some stats that prove it from that contest. Since then, we've had staff who are now trying the same techniques on Facebook, and Instagram.
They've come to me saying, "Wow, Gavin, this storytelling stuff really works." It just was one little tip, one little trick that they now believe in where social media is going, and they can see it firsthand.
I would say if you get your staff to hold the contest, tell a story about their experience, while working for your company, and whoever gets the most engagement wins a set of AirPods, or something else ... Maybe a day off.