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User Generated Content with Tyler Anderson – Casual Fridays
Our guest is a social media marketing entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Casual Fridays, the social media agency. He’s the host of Casual Friday’s podcast and a keynote speaker who I heard at Social Media Marketing World. He’s a rock star. I’m pumped to welcome Tyler Anderson to the show. Welcome, Tyler.
Jesse, I’m super happy to be here.
You inspired me at Social Media Marketing World. I was like, “This guy is speaking my language.” I took more notes from your presentation than any other presentation. There were a lot of superstars at that conference. Your day job is social media marketing, but your focus is not on what brands have to say but more on what customers have to say. Share with me how this whole shift came from.
I started my business a while ago. I started my agency in 2009. I had this in my presentation. Surprisingly, a lot of people in that room are newer marketers. A lot of them were less than three or four years. The reality to them is it’s been tough to get organic success on social the last couple of years. That’s what they’re used to. Some guys like myself who did this way back in the day, we used to have it so easy. I was telling this to a client. It was a rooftop bar overlooking Petco Park. Back in the day, in 2009 or 2010, we would look at our watch. At 4:59, we’d be looking. The minute 5:00 hit, we post a picture of beer. It could be stock photography beer. Our caption would be like, “Happy hour starts now!” That thing would get 100 likes within 30 seconds. It will get shared 100 times within the hour. Social media was so much easier back then. You didn’t have to work that hard as marketers to get a lot of traction. Over the years, it got a little harder.
It was happening on Twitter back then. People were tagging this location, this rooftop bar, and taking all these amazing shots of Petco Park. They’re tweeting it out. We would see it. We said, “This is cool. That photo is way better than what we could even promote or take on our own.” Through the Twitter account back then, we would say, “That’s a cool photo. Would you mind if we use that?” They’d say yes. We’d right click and save that. We use that on Facebook, for example, too. That’s how we got some of our best content was leveraging back then what we called User-Generated Content. Over time, we’ve also seen that stuff is way more impactful. It’s more trustworthy. People have done research studies on this. It’s more engaging. It’s more trustworthy. We can rattle off tons of those stats.
At the end of the day, I use the eye test for my own personal experiences. I trust stuff. If you told me you did something and you’re posting about it on social media, I’m going to believe that way more than what the brand tells me about it. I have so many examples. My wife always makes fun of me. She’s like, “You are a walking salesperson for products that you love.” If somebody does something or has a product that they like and I see it and I enjoy it, I will sell that thing on social media.
It gives us social currency. There’s a difference. It makes us be more important and it makes us feel special. When people say, “What should I do on social media marketing?” Focus on your experience first. That is the big thing in evolution, which so many people don’t understand. It’s not what you’re marketing. It’s what your customers are saying about you. It starts with the experience. Tell me one of the first a-ha moments that you may have had with a brand. You work a lot of brands that was like, “This works.”
We love hotels. Some hotels have it a little harder. Maybe they’re in a business part district of some rural part of the country, which is maybe a little harder. The ones that have been easy are all the resorts in Florida or on the West Coast or Hawaii. Who doesn’t want to take pictures there? The a-ha moment was back when we worked at this place called ALTITUDE Sky Lounge. They have those sweeping views of Petco Park and the San Diego Bay. We could go up there and try to stage photo shoots as much as we want, which we did back then like, “We need to do a photo shoot. Let’s go up there.” We’d hire some models and take pictures. I even made fun of this in my presentation. There’s a local taco shop. They hire models to eat their tacos. They take these pictures. This is what they’re posting on social media. It was so cheesy. It was some guy who had this big smirk on his face. Who eats tacos like that? Nobody does. Not only that, he was at the beach eating the taco. I know this taco shop. I’m not going to go buy their tacos and drive 40 minutes to the beach. It’s going to get cold, wrinkled out taco at that point.
The best content we got for ALTITUDE Sky Lounge was all the content created by their guests. It wasn’t just the views. For us, it was always so easy. “Let’s take the view shots.” For them, you talk about the experience. It was them having a blast. It was them having a good time. It was celebrating a bachelorette party or they’re going there for a baseball game in the opening day. It’s a bunch of buns, having fun, enjoying a baseball game together. They didn’t want to buy a ticket at the stadium. They’re going to this rooftop bar to get the bird’s-eye view in there and have some beers at happy hour. Those photos told the story so much better than what we could’ve done. That was cool from a client perspective.
Even your business with The Savannah Bananas, it’s an experience at a baseball stadium. ALTITUDE was an experience at a restaurant or bar. People have experiences at hotels. I like the brands too that get you to feel a certain way with products and services. The one I gave was YETI, which is the cooler company. Those things are not cheap. Yet, they make these coolers that range from $200 to $1,500. The commercial fishermen have to buy those. It’s a lot for a cooler. They also have mugs and wranglers. They have a massive fan base, people who take the hashtag use like, “Built for the wild,” and this whole feeling of like, “This thing is indestructible. It’ll keep your coffee hot and your beverages cold.” There are people sharing photos of them by putting ice cream in these things when it’s hot to keep it from melting. People love the product. They are the epitome of a brand ambassador. The best part about it is the captions that people share when they post that stuff on social is, “We’re not marketing. It’s testimonials.” It’s like, “This is the best product ever. I love this. My coffee has been hot for days.” People have that strong emotion. I’ve probably spent way too much money on Gandy products. It’s sad.
Where do you start? This is something that we think about constantly with the Bananas. How do you create this experience? It’s like, “YETI created a great product.” If I’m a heating and cooling company or if I’m a restaurant, you’ve got to look inwards on the experience but think, “Is it sharable? Will people want to talk about this?” You gave great examples of presentations. Share a little bit to someone that’s reading, it’s like, “Our customers need to do the marketing more. It can’t be us.” Where do you start?
I was talking about how we used to have it so easy to get our content out there. The reality nowadays is a lot of businesses struggle to get their content out there. We see it. YETI has this massive following and they have this rabid fan base. If you go look at a lot of their organic posts, for example, on Facebook, they have about a million fans. They’re lucky if 1% of that audience is even engaging with their content. That means they’re not reaching that many people. The challenge is businesses nowadays on social media are having a hard time getting in front of their audiences organically. That’s why we want to embrace User-Generated Content. It’s because that’s where you can still achieve success organically and you do not have to do it. You’re having other people do it for you. It’s more authentic and more believable.
User-Generated Content is the new organic market.
UGC is a new organic social for business.A happy customer does not necessarily mean they're going to refer you out, but a successful customer 100% will. Click To Tweet
Facebook posts everything. It’s not happening anymore unless everyone else is talking about it or you get a lot of shares. You can’t try to make something viral. Your customers can intentionally make something viral.
We’ve known that. We talk about it. UGC has more influence. People find it more trustworthy. We have statistics that say it affects purchasing decisions. You said, “What do you do? How do you get more of it?” You got to have a strategy. That’s where a lot of people fail. They hope fingers crossed. “I hope our customers are going to share some content.” They might try to do a strategy. They might say, “We promote a hashtag.” Is that your strategy? Do you have a call to action to use that hashtag? Many times they’ll blast the hashtag on the bottom of something and thinking that people are going to share it. Why would they share it? You got to have that strategy. You got to ask yourself, “What are your goals? Is it to grow your account? Is it to get more reach? Is it to sell products?” That can differ, but you got to have some goals. You got to determine how you’re going to try to measure those goals. Is it website traffic? Is it people showing up? If you want to leverage this content and get permission to use it, is it building a bigger database or a photo library of all this content you might want? You got to do that.
Before you write out your plan or your strategy, where a lot of businesses fail is, this isn’t even with the UGC strategy, but with marketing in general. They don’t properly have their target market identified or those customer avatars. You got to determine those brand personas. You’ve maybe done it to some degree. When you ask somebody, “Who’s your target customer?” They say, “Everybody.” “No. Who is it? Get more detailed.” They’re like, “It’s men, 25 to 54.” They treat it like a broad demographic. That’s what they did as traditional marketers when they’re buying television, radio or outdoor. You go even deeper. I would assume you’d go through proper exercises. At Savannah Bananas, you might have three avatars. One avatar might be Wayne. Wayne is a 38-year-old father of three children. He lives in Savannah, Georgia. He maybe is an auto mechanic. His wife works at the local grocery store. They make roughly $60,000 a year as a household family.
They love baseball, but they’re also looking for quality fun entertainment that’s affordable, that they can take all their kids to. It’s super detailed information. You might have that for Wayne. You might have that for Wendy. You might have that for Tommy. Those are your three avatars. When you’re coming up with your strategy and you’re putting yourself in their shoes, it makes it easier to like, “What can we do that’s going to create a shareable experience that Wayne’s going to enjoy, that he’s going to talk about?” That might be coming up with promotions. It could be having activations at the baseball stadium. If you’re a business, it might be packaging for the products. You got to put yourself into your customer avatar’s shoes to start. That’s when you build out that strategy.
We’ve always kept it simple. Is it to create a fans-first experience? Is it fun? That’s what we ask. We do an undercover fan. We go undercover, put ourselves in our fan’s shoes and go through the experience. Our brand is simple. It’s fans first and has fun. The challenges for the heating and cooling company or a certain restaurant, there may be a certain demographic. We have three-year-olds dancing and we have 80-year-olds dancing. You need to know what that experience that you’re trying to provide is. I’d love to go with some of the examples. You talked about shareable experiences and the donut bar. A lot of people like donuts. They’re trying to make it where it’s shareable for everyone. Explain some of these.
We have what we call a checklist. If we talk about the shareable experiences, this goes back to when people who use hashtags and stuff. You have to ask for it. Some people will instinctively share content, especially if it’s a no-brainer like a beautiful view shot of a baseball stadium overlooking Downtown San Diego Bay. Some people don’t have those. You need to ask for it. One of the examples I gave is a restaurant group in Irvine called The Ranch. No one would ever have any idea that this place is even a restaurant. The building looks like the building from The Office, the television show. There’s a medical device company, which also has the whole office complex on the bottom floor. The owner is from North Carolina. He wanted to build a high-end steakhouse called The Ranch. You never know it’s there. People like to take pictures while they’re at The Ranch, but they don’t always maybe think to share it.
What they did is they made an operational procedure. They’ve trained their wait staff. When they see people out busting out their smartphones taking pictures of whatever it is, the wait staff was all trained to walk up to those individuals and say, “Would you like me to take a picture of you two tonight or your group tonight?” As they would hand the smartphone back, they’d say, “Make sure you tag us on Instagram. Our handle is here.” They also had it printed on the menu. We see a lot of businesses that might print it, but are you asking for it? That’s where it is, that subtle ask. If you go search the hashtag for The Ranch or their location tag on Instagram, you’ll see tons of photos of people from the vantage point of the server or a bartender. The first thing is asking for it.
You were at a music festival. Everyone that works for a company and they see people together, a family, it’s like, “Would you guys like your picture?” Even if they don’t even ask to tag, taking their picture, they’re probably going to ask to tag at where they’re at. That’s the minimum you could do.
You gave me an idea. We’re all yellow, maybe not your tuxedo. We don’t want them to copy you. You could have somebody wearing all yellow. You’d call the Savannah Bananas photographer. They run around and say, “Do you want me to take your photo?” They ask.
They don’t have a camera crew. They only use all people’s phones.
That’s my point. They’re out there, the photographer without the camera. They’re going to grab your camera and do it.
We name it your phone photographer.
You got to ask for it. Even at this music festival I was at, I was talking about this with a client because it’s cool. This music festival is called KAABOO Texas. It was at the Cowboys Stadium. There’s some cool stuff in there, but they built this giant oversized logo of the word “KAABOO.” It was this huge giant oversized cool design. They strategically placed it. They lifted up the field turf, but they took that Dallas Cowboys’ star and put that right in front of it. Instantaneously, people could look at this. They knew that was a selfie spot. “Let’s go take a picture there. We’re letting everybody know where at KAABOO. That’s that branding. If they didn’t do that and if they took a picture of a random photo of a stage, it could have been one of the bazillion festivals. Now we know we’re at this one festival. It says, “KAABOO.” They made this cool artistic version of their logo. That’s why people took selfies. Sadly, we had a few clients who even come to us for this. They’ll say, “We want to create a selfie spot.” We’ll do it, but they put the verbiage, “Selfie spot.”
If you have to say it’s a selfie spot, it’s not a selfie spot.
Nobody wants to take a picture there when you tell them to do that. Ask for it. You got to create those environments where they’re going to want to share.
We got a wooden banana made like our logo. At first, my partner told me. I go, “How much was it?” He goes, “$1,500.” My mind was like, “$1,500?” I saw everyone putting their arms around it and taking pictures. When someone says, “I want to spend $1,500 in marketing,” it’s okay. If someone says, “I want to spend $1,500 on a monument that people are going to do the marketing for you,” they were like, “No.” It’s crazy. Every single company should have a mascot. I don’t care if you’re an accounting firm. I don’t care if you’re insurance. Have a mascot that goes around and gets pictures with people. It will pay for itself times ten.The little wins can move or inch you towards other things. Click To Tweet
You mentioned the donut bar. Who doesn’t like to take a picture of a donut? What the donut bar does differently is they make the experience. When you go to buy donuts, it’s an experience in itself. First of all, they create these elaborate donuts. They sell out every morning by about 10:00 AM. There’s usually a line out the door at 6:00 in the morning. People want to get them. If there are special events that are happening around like I’ve seen in San Diego, for example, when Comic-Con is happening, they’ll do Darth Vader themed donuts or Spiderman, stuff that’s comic related. If it’s a national event, like when Avengers was out, the movie that everybody in the world saw, they have themed donuts for that. If it’s the Super Bowl, they’ll do custom donuts for that. They’re not standard donuts. They’re massive. They’re four donuts in one. If you ate one, you die. You have to share it with somebody.
At Social Media Day, I called them up and I was like, “I want to talk about this because I noticed you crush it on social, you’re always featuring UGC, people are sharing everything from the line out the door, they’re taking pictures of your product. They’re also taking pictures and having fun at your location.” He has the experience. He doesn’t have a selfie spot that he tells people the selfie spot, but he knows that people are waiting out the door all the time. He painted this beautiful mural outside of the store that people are always taking pictures, with donut bar branding and all that. For my event, he gave me custom Facebook and Instagram donuts knowing that I’m going to be at a social media conference and I’m going to be talking about them. What are people going to do? They’re going to go up and take pictures of those Instagram donuts because it’s at a social media conference. He got tons of press from my presentation that day.
It knows your customers, making your customers know what’s going on and what do they care about. It’s all about you. What are the people that are coming to your games or coming to your company? What do they care about? It’s creating things for that. You got to ask for it, number one. You got to create shareable experiences and a few others.
Let me give you another example too. This is not as obvious. It’s a shopping mall. It’s not a huge mall, but it’s a little shopping complex plaza. This place was a dump several years ago. It’s called Flower Hill. It’s in Del Mar, California. They went through a massive renovation. They decided to put an artistic approach to it. They bring in local artists to create all these activations. It’s not just doing this once. It goes back to what I was saying about having a strategy. You also need to test this stuff out. If you spent the $1,500 on the banana and no one is taking a picture of the banana after a few months, you’re probably going to bore it and do something different. You got to do that.
This one place, they would do all these cool activations, where they would buy an old, broken down pickup truck. They had the artist paint it and made it look cool. They put planters in there. “Instead of having a standard flower bed, let’s have this flower bed built in this beautiful pickup truck.” Tons of people are taking pictures and sharing that. They continuously have new activations throughout the year. They have this wall. This pillar is to evoke emotion. You want to get people to feel emotion about something. When you’re talking about fans first, there’s probably an emotion on there too. They would paint on these murals phrases and words. One of them was, “Good vibes only.” It sounds so simple, but it looked beautiful. People are walking in there and taking pictures of this mural and sharing that. They had a wall full of succulents. They’re continuously updating their activations at this little strip mall and people were sharing it like crazy.
Everyone on our staff read a twenty-minute read, Johnny the Bagger. It’s by Kenneth Blanchard. It’s about this young man with Down syndrome. He works at a grocery store. He decided to write messages with his dad on pieces of paper. He put them to every single grocery bag. They notice that the people would go to their car to put the bag, then they’d read this note from Johnny and start laughing or feel good. The lines started developing like crazy at this one station to go for Johnny the Bagger. Stacey was the name of the cafeteria a woman that started writing on bananas. It went viral. We’ve reached out to her. We’re bringing her into a game. For kids, she wrote positive messages on all the bananas and would give it to kids. It’s such a simple thing. Think about anything that you have a touch point. You can write a cool message that evokes like, “They care about me.” That is so simple that anyone would say, “If you’re not doing it, you’re missing the boat.”
You can connect with people in the heart.
We’re going to get into a game. I want to talk briefly about the one that I ran out and told our president that you started talking about Soapy Joe’s. I said, “This is epic. We’re going to do it.” Tell me about Soapy Joe’s.
It’s probably the easiest one to some degree is having contests. If you have a business where it’s going to be hard to get people to share UGC maybe, if you have a type of a contest that is something that’s beneficial to them, then it can work for you. The example I gave you is a car wash. Who’s happy about going to a car wash? They have anywhere from twelve to fifteen locations in Southern California. It’s called Soapy Joe’s Car Wash. They’d been doing this promotion for a couple of years. It’s been so successful. It’s called Car Wash Karaoke. It’s simple. Car washes can vary. This one is one of those old fashioned ones where you drive in and you sit in your car as you’re going through the car wash. You come out and it’s up to you if you want to towel dry it off.
You visit any of their locations. You record a video of your best car wash karaoke performance while you’re getting your car washed, which anybody can do because you’re already playing the radio. You belt out some song. You would post that. You’d tag them in their Instagram handles. They gave a great prize. They gave $1,000. They also gave you annual membership. They have memberships to their programs. Do they get millions of entries? No. They got some hilarious entries. I shared some of those examples. Go search Car Wash Karaoke or Soapy Joe’s. You’ll see some of these things on Instagram. They’re hilarious. Some people made it a family affair. They’d have their kids dressed up like from Wayne’s World. They’re all doing Bohemian Rhapsody.
The easy thing to do is to bust out your phone and do it. Some people want a $1,000 prize. You could tell they’re using multiple cameras or using somebody to do the editing for them and making it look like a Beyoncé production. They had over 500 entries. Think about that. That’s a car wash. Do the math. If you went out and got permission to use some of that, that’s a lot of content that you can use and repurpose. It’s entertaining. I never heard of Soapy Joe’s. I stumbled across this. I live in Southern California. I’m now a customer. I have monthly subscriptions in social media to Soapy Joe’s. It’s interesting. I’m excited to see when they launch this promotion again. I might have to enter myself.
You inspired me. I went back. I called a golf cart company, making a deal to get a golf cart traded for free for the summer. We’re going to have our players pick up fans in the parking lot and do a golf cart karaoke coming up to the stadium to drive it. That was inspired by you sharing this story. Anybody can do it. How much did that cost? Zero. Every single company has an opportunity to trade. We don’t talk about it. There are ways to partner. Soapy Joe’s is our first game. It’s truth and dare. What would you like first?
I’ll take the truth.
This is real. What’s one thing that’s holding you back from greater success?If you know what winning is, then you are set up for success. Click To Tweet
Sometimes I have a tendency to be a bottleneck and everything needs to be perfect. I need to delegate more. That would make a huge difference.
Many entrepreneurs and leaders don’t know how to let go. They keep wanting to do it. I heard maybe at social media that it’s okay if we’re doing 80%. If what’s getting done is 80% but you’re not doing it, that’s how your company can still grow. Are you ready for your dare? This is done in our games. This gets shared pretty well. It’s 4,000 people singing against each other. It’s 2,000 people in the main grandstand versus 2,000 people in the other grandstand. It’s called Sing in the Blank. When the song lyric finishes, you have to finish that song lyric. I will start a song and you’re going to finish that song lyric. The song is fitting to what we were talking about, Soapy Joe’s. “This ain’t no place to be if you planned on being a star. Let me tell you it’s always cool. And the boss don’t mind sometimes if you act a fool at the.”
“Car wash. At the car wash. Yeah. At the carwash.”
You nailed it. You won the dare. Is that the first time you’ve sung Car Wash on a podcast?
I’ll make sure that our users share that to get some more User-Generated Content. We’ve got some great ideas, incentives evoke emotion. I’m intrigued about how you get the team to embrace this.
I do want to talk about Talk Triggers. You’ve had Jay Baer on your show. That’s a great one. I mentioned earlier The Ranch Restaurant. They made an operational procedure. That’s what a talk trigger is. You have a purposeful operational differentiator that can create that conversation amongst your customers and recruits potential new customers. This is an example I gave. We work in a lot of hotels. This is not a hotel we work with. It’s called Graduate Hotels. They have these hotels. They’re near college campuses of larger colleges, college towns or in cities like Minneapolis by the University of Minnesota or in California at Berkeley, rural places like Nebraska, the University of Nebraska. They have these talk triggers. Things that people would never share at hotels, they share when they’re at the Graduate Hotels.
For example, if you go in the room at any Graduate Hotel, no room is the same amongst the other locations. It’s nothing against Marriott. I’ve worked with Marriott. If you go to a Marriott in some cities, they look exactly the same as another Marriott in another city. I’d get people like that. I asked that at the conference, “How many of you’ve taken a picture of your hotel room key card?” Only one person did it. The room had about 600 people in there. The one person who did it was only because they had to take it so they could activate the mobile entry. That was the only reason they took a picture of the hotel keycard. I’m like, “Do you know who takes pictures of their hotel room key cards? The Graduate Hotel guests.” Every city, they’d have a location. This is one of 50 talk triggers they do. Every city they have, they make their hotel ID cards unique to that area. They make it look like a student ID card. They’ll feature upwards of fifteen various local celebrities from that area.
For example, if you go to the Graduate Hotel in Minneapolis, you might get a room key card with a photo of Prince. It looked like his student ID card when Prince was a younger guy or Mary Tyler Moore, Loni Anderson. They’re featuring local people from Minnesota. If you went to the Graduate Hotel in Atlanta, it was Dominique Wilkins who’s a legendary basketball player there or it was some musician. They had tons of those. They’re getting people taking pictures of their lamps, wallpaper in their rooms, artwork, tons of stuff. That’s another one that is underutilized. What’s that operational procedure you can do? That’s where you do a lot of them internally with The Savannah Bananas. I would challenge businesses to think of that one.
Even invoices, you can get unique on so many different things. What was the one near a college that did the urinals?
It’s the University of Berkeley. I asked the crowd, “Who went to Berkeley?” Somebody raised her hand. “Who’s your biggest rival?” She’s like, “Stanford.” If you go into the men’s restroom at the lobby at the Graduate Hotel in Berkeley, the urinal has the Stanford Cardinal Logo on it. It’s all red. They’re basically saying pee on Stanford.
We’ve done the same with our Macon Bacon rivals. We’ve purchased 100 urinal cakes for that. It’s worth it. If you can look at all these different points, I love it. Talk triggers are huge. Jay was in an episode here. How do you get the team to think of all these ideas to create a better user experience?
It goes back to getting them involved from the get-go. When we talked about the strategy, anybody who has a lot of face time or interacting with your customers, I would get them involved. You’d be surprised. They’re the ones who are going to know what is going to resonate with them. They’re going to know when maybe people have the opportunities to share content about your business because they’re more involved with it. One other example I gave is making your customers successful. If you have a customer who is happy, that does not mean they’re going to refer you out. If you made a customer successful to some degree, they’re 100% going to refer you out. Other people are going to say, “I noticed you’re doing this well. Who do you use for that? What helped you to solve that problem?” They’re going to refer you out.
The example I gave was a pediatric dentist, a business called The Super Dentists. This aligns with what you said earlier about having a mascot. They were way ahead of the curves. They had somebody design cartoonish characters of them. They gave their whole personalities. They did this back when the first Incredibles came out in 2004. Their customers are parents. First-time parents have no idea what they’re going to do when it comes to that first dentist visit. Kids hate the dentist the first time. They don’t want to go. This particular pediatric dentistry, when they went through this rebranding, they involved their team. They got everybody involved. They’re like, “What can we do?” Through a collection of brainstorming, they’re like, “What if we made this more of a comic experience for young children?”
They made it a playful experience. They’re not going to the dentists. They’re going to this fictitious land where there are superheroes. They’re doing all these fun things. They made their entire practice this farfetched land far, far away where there’s the super dentist. It’s an experience. Those parents, they’re successful because their kids had an amazing experience, first experience with the dentist. What are they doing? They’re referring it out. They’re writing amazing five-star reviews. That only happened because it wasn’t just that they came up with this idea or hired somebody. They got the input of their entire staff and to bring that full circle. When they’re talking to some of the hygienists, they’re like, “The kids like comics. We know that a lot of them are in The Incredibles. What if we came up with this new theme where we had you guys as superheroes?” That’s where it came from.
There are two great things there. Number one, do you know what winning looks like for your customer? If you don’t know what it’s like, you can’t provide it. Good luck. People need to write down what is the perfect experience. What if someone’s saying, “You won’t believe what happened with this company. They saved the day. They made the day. They did this”? Companies need to map that out. Map what people are saying about it. What are their testimonials? Write it out. What’s that ideal script that they’re writing? Backwards that up. The number two thing is about the dentist. Think about how Walt Disney started. They started solely with a picture, an animation of a mouse. The mouse went on TV. The mouse became a character. The mouse became larger than life. The mouse went on everything. It started with a character. Why doesn’t every company look at, “What are these characters?” Start with kids and start going from there. If you get the kids loving what you’re doing, the parents fall in love as well. That’s winning. Your parents win if your kids win. Any company that’s trying to take care of parents, think about the kids first. That was an a-ha moment for me. It’s like, “I should do more with our mascot. I should do more, not just about our character.”
What is winning like to your customer? If you can’t even answer that question, you got a huge road ahead of you.
We’ll finish with some Rapid Fire here. I’ll give you a plug to your awesome podcast, Casual Fridays. You had me on it. I’ve been grilling you, now you get to grill me with one question. It’s Flip the Script. You are the host of Business Done Differently.
What was your biggest UGC failure? I’m a big believer that you learn from your mistakes.
The one that I’ve talked about a lot is our world’s largest tickets. In 2014 with our former team, I created tickets that were the size of huge posters. I thought, “This is going to be a great item for kids, people to put up on their walls.” We had Russell Wilson play for us. I had him on a poster. I had all these pictures of players and the fireworks and everything. Our fans hated them. They were like, “What are we supposed to do with these? They don’t fit in our pockets.” No one shared them because they weren’t practical. I thought that was going to be something that everyone’s going to be talking about. That failed miserably.
You learned from it. The lesson there was probably like, “Whatever you do, be practical for your audience.”
What are some other great questions you’re asking companies? If you want better answers, you got to ask better questions. What are some other questions you’re saying like, “This would get us to where we’re trying to go?”
With most clients we always work with, whenever I have my initial calls, I always ask them, “What are your short-term goals? What are you trying to accomplish in the next few months?” A lot of times, people get so fixated on the big grandiose goal. I’m a big believer that those little wins can move you or inch you towards those other things. What does winning look like on the next couple of months? I always ask that. What are your goals? What’s your biggest problem? What’s keeping you up at night? What’s the one problem that if we could solve, you turn around and refer me out to ten different people? When I get those questions answered, you now know what winning is. That’s how you’re set up for success. If that’s how you’re setting up and you’re solving people’s problems, you’re going to have a successful business without a doubt.
Everyone’s so afraid to talk about problems, but you got to start there. If you don’t know what people’s problem is, you can’t solve it. Talking about problems is good. I heard Carly Fiorina talk. She’s like, “The difference between leaders and managers is leaders run to problems. They want to solve. Managers are okay with the status quo. Leaders look for problems.” What are some of the best service you received? It’s anything that stands out, either at a restaurant, hotel, airline, anywhere.
I can always give the easy ones, but I want to try and see if I can think of something that’s different than that. I have had great experiences with some of the bigger brands. Are you familiar with Casper, the mattress company? They launched these things called Glow Light. My wife’s into health and fitness and organic this and, “Everybody should have eight hours of sleep every night.” She’ll do device-free weeks with my kids and trying to keep them off of iPads, iPhones, and all that. She knows that the devices are bad and screen time after 8:00 is bad because of the blue lights. Casper came out with these special lights. You flip them over and they turn on. You flip them over again and they turn off.
They don’t plug in. They automatically recharge. They gradually dim. You can set the time cycle. It’s supposed to mimic sunrise and sunset’s natural flow. I decided to buy that for her gift. I went on their website and it said, “Promo code.” I’m sure we’ve all done this. You see a promo code. You go over to Google and search promo code. “Is there anything out there? Am I going to save any money?” There was nothing. I sent them a message on social media, “I see a promo code. Do you have anything you can offer?” They respond in minutes. I got a 20% off discount code. I thought that was cool.
How was it shipped? I hear they do a good job with the presentation too.
It looks cool. It wasn’t a mattress, but the Glow Light packaging was awesome. We loved it. It was expensive, but that was my birthday gift to my wife. It was important for her to have better sleeping patterns for our kids. We bought five, one for everybody. The kids love them.
Is there a moment that stands out for you, either business, personally or professionally?
I’ll give one. My magic moment goes back to UGC with ALTITUDE. Without a doubt, that was the first hotel group to give me some context. That’s a rooftop bar. It’s owned by a hotel. When I started my agency, I was a solopreneur. I was doing it by myself. I get a lot of people. I was the one writing all that copy, doing all that. That’s why I was leveraging UGC because I didn’t have time to go and do photo shoots all the time. We were doing such a good job for that one hotel that, after a while, they asked us to refer the bar. They asked us to take on social media for the hotel. That opened up the huge opportunity to get my foot in the door with that ownership group, which owned other hotels. The next thing, they asked me to work with properties on Atlanta. Fast forward, now my company is not one single entity or a solopreneur anymore. I have a full team of over twenty people. You look back at that client and doing what we did in that magic year. It was 2011.
Do you still work with them?
We work with them to this day.
What is one thing you’ve done in the business to stand out?
It’s taking a chance on social. I worked in traditional media. I also worked for a radio station, the top 40 radio station, the hits. When I was 25, I created a radio station with Myspace profiles. I was using it to help promote my clients like Pepsi and vitaminwater. They loved it. We would do these remote grocery stores. I’m sure you’ve all seen it where the radio station shows up and they’re doing promos. Pepsi would give us these merchandising cans of X boxes. Sad to say, a lot of people didn’t show up to these remotes. You promote on the radio station. We call them prize pigs. Ten people who show up to every single remote. All they’re trying to do is get the prizes. I started promoting these events through Myspace. We will get 100 people showing up. I’m like, “There’s something to this social media thing.” That’s when the light bulb went off for me to go and start my own agency. I was ahead of the curve. I started my business in 2009. It’s early. That was way ahead of the social media marketing curve by far.
If you were to go back when you started, what’s something you would do differently?
There are two sides to that. I started spending time with people like Mari Smith and Amy Porterfield and a lot of them. They all went from a personal branding route. I went to build an agency route. I see a pro and con to both sides. One of my mentors always said, “You keep it small, keep it all. You’ll have fewer problems. The more people you employ, the more problems can happen.” Some days I’m like, “Should I have gone the personal branding route in creating coursework or something different?” The other thing if I had to go back and do some things differently, I wish I would have pushed a little bit more on the ads game sooner with clients. We got a little bit more resistance. “We can still get successful organically.” We talked about that. You can with UGC, but it’s tough sliding for brands now. We speak to some clients. You have to have a huge ad budget. When you’re starting out, it’s tough.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Keep it small, keep it all. That might be one of it. I’m all about scaling and growing a business, but I’m also about a quality lifestyle. If you don’t want to go and build a business you’re going to sell or get acquired for millions and millions of dollars, if you want to have a lifestyle business, there are some that that’s what I want. I want to have that ability to be around my kids and take them to school every morning, which I do, and pick them up at 2:30, 3:00 every day and coach them in sports. There’s nothing wrong with keeping it small. That was from my mentor back when I worked in 2002. He had his own business. He’s like, “Here’s what you want to do. You keep it small and you keep it all. Less friction, fewer problems.”
A great book that changed my mindset of that was Company of One by Paul Jarvis. It covers that thing. It’s like, “You don’t have to grow for growth’s sake.”
I’ve heard this from numerous people and we alluded to it earlier. It’s, “Make people successful.” It’s not just clients, but it’s everything. It’s your family. It’s your friends. If you go through life and you focused on like, “Every person who I interact with that day, how do I brighten up their day or make them successful, make them happy or whatever?” you’re going to live a much better life.
Zig Ziglar said it best. “You can get everything you want in life if you give everyone else what they want.” On the back of our Fans First playbook that we share with the whole staff, it says, it says, “Be patient in what you want for yourself, but be impatient with how much you give to others.” That has been a game changer. How do you want to be remembered?
The legacy is my kids. I want to be remembered by the impact my kids make on this world because then I did my job. A lot of people get so fixated on making money. A lot of times people forget that at some point. My legacy is going to be my children. What can I do as a parent to raise the most amazing kids? If they’re going to make a positive impact on this world, then I’ve done my job. They can pass it on the future generation.
I’ve loved connecting with you. We’ve done both each other’s shows. I was that guy in the back row in a yellow tuxedo, hearing you at Social Media Marketing World. You’ve made an impact. Now we’re going to have new urinal cakes. We’re going to have golf cart karaoke and a brand new Savannah Van-ana, which is a 1960s old school van that we’ve decked out. It’s there in the ballpark all because of your talk. Tyler, where else could people learn more about what you’re doing? You need to put these things in your business. That’s how you’ll start growing and making an impact.
You can check me out at CasualFridays.com. It’s our agency website. That’s where you can find the podcast. You can hit me up on social media. I’m @TylerJAnderson everywhere, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. Reach out to me. I’m approachable and easy to connect with. If you are leveraging UGC and you need tools to help get that legal permission, I also have a product called Tack. You can find it out at FoundOnTack.com. That streamlines the process of one acquiring the User-Generated Content and also managing it too. We’d love to connect with anybody. I got to get down to Savannah someday and check out a game.
We’d love to have you. We do a lot of pressure on us to generate a lot of content for you, but I think we can do that stuff. You’re a rock star. Thanks for everything you’re putting out in the world.
I appreciate it. Thank you.
- Casual Fridays
- podcast – Casual Fridays
- Social Media Marketing World
- ALTITUDE Sky Lounge
- The Savannah Bananas
- The Ranch
- KAABOO Texas
- Johnny the Bagger
- Soapy Joe’s
- Talk Triggers
- Jay Baer – past episode
- Graduate Hotel
- The Super Dentists
- Carly Fiorina
- Glow Light
- Mari Smith
- Amy Porterfield
- Company of One
- @TylerJAnderson – Facebook
- Instagram – Tyler Anderson
- LinkedIn – Tyler Anderson
About Tyler Anderson
Tyler Anderson is the founder and CEO of Casual Fridays and hosts the Casual Fridays Podcast, a top-ranked social media marketing podcast.
Casual Fridays is a social media and digital marketing agency that works with brands and businesses in the hospitality, tourism, and entertainment industries.
Casual Fridays also producers the widely successful event, Social Media Day San Diego.
Tyler has played huge roles in the launch and management of over hundreds of businesses social media initiatives, including top hotels by Marriott International, SeaWorld, KAABOO, Penske Automotive, Deloitte, and much more.
Tyler has assembled an extensive resume of achievements in advertising, marketing and public relations since 2003, including management at iHeart Radio and media/public relations for Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego.
Specialties: Social Media Marketing Strategy, Social Media Content Strategy, Social Media Marketing Campaigns, Social Media Consulting, Social Media Platforms, Social Ads via Social Media Channels, Generate leads, How to use Social Media, Marketing, Public Relations, Branding, Facebook Marketing, Digital Media, Inbound Marketing, Negotiation, Management, Customer Service and Social Media Customer Care.