Brian Carter

Brian Carter, Author, Funny Guy, and Facebook Expert Talks About Social Media

I met Brian Carter thanks to an introduction from an old friend, Alan Bleiweiss, when I was looking for an answer to a Facebook marketing question that no one else seemed able to answer.

I was reminded again why I always trust Alan’s recommendations.

Brian was able to answer my question immediately, clearly, and in depth, just as I expected. But since I had lots of time to kill thanks to a nasty back injury on the eve of my 40th birthday that left me immobile on the couch for 2 weeks, I poured through dozens of Brian’s blog posts.

It quickly became obvious that he was a really smart guy. I found his recent article “How Not to Suck at Live Video” especially useful because I’m uncomfortably working my way into video, and to be honest, I suck at it right now.

He’s also the author of The Like Economy, LinkedIn for BusinessFacebook Marketing, and The Cowbell Principle, a great presenter and a pretty funny guy, which makes sense  since he has a background in stand up comedy.

So, Mr. Author, Funny Guy, and Facebook expert, let’s get started…

How did you get your start in the digital marketing industry?

It started long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, called Dayton, Ohio, when I was just a very small nerd boy alone in my room with a Macintosh computer designing my own font. I was a nerd reading Star Trek novels and I designed my own font called Times No women. I got the women later.

Eventually I became an acupuncturist and ran a website called The Pulse of Oriental Medicine. I learned how to get traffic from Google through SEO.

Then I put ads on the website, and in the first month I made $1,200, so I started looking at more keywords I could target and the next month I made almost $5,000.

I found more keywords based on my own proprietary keyword ranking formula, and I realized I couldn’t write all these articles myself so I teamed up with about twenty writers. We wrote a thousand articles in 6 weeks, and in the next two months, Google sent me over $20,000, which I split 50-50 with the writers.

I was having more fun and making a lot more money than I was in acupuncture, then Google changed their algorithm and all my traffic rankings went away. So I learned something about SEO.

I’d been bitten by the digital marketing bug.

I met somebody locally in San Diego that had an alternative medicine store, and they hired me to do that and their Google AdWords. Then I went freelance, but I wasn’t getting enough clients, so I took a job for an outdoor store called Adventure 16. They hired me to set up an e-commerce store for them, and we worked on that for about a year before I went freelance again—and again I wasn’t getting enough clients…

So I took another job, this time I went to Myrtle Beach South Carolina because the job opportunity was huge—I got hired to really build an entire digital department for an advertising agency. I got to shape that department, train people, blog, go to conferences, and speak…

It really started to build some awareness in the search industry of me as a thought leader, and my employer, Fuel Interactive, paid for the travel.

We got great results, and took a lot of clients from 300% to over 2000% ROI. Some of the clients were spending over a million dollars a year on AdWords and were OK with lower ROI because they wanted a lot of volume, while others were only spending a few thousand a month and wanted 1000-2000% ROI.

Then I left that company—I would say mutually. I wasn’t totally ready to leave, but they gave me a good severance package. I’d set up a good department there that could pretty much run itself at that point, so I left and started to investigate Facebook marketing more, which is something that one of our clients pulled me into.

I was resistant because I thought Twitter was cooler, and everybody in social media thought Twitter was the thing at that time, but our client was pretty right on when he said “no we think our customers are on Facebook.” For a pretty typical hotel, that was true, and that’s also true for a lot of companies that market to the average consumer.

I actually worked with several people who were already experienced with Facebook advertising, and they taught me some things they did, and outsourced some work to me, including work with Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, Universal Studios, Lucky’s grocery in California. I got to see some work that was being done with Cabela’s.

I blogged about it a lot, and clients hired me. I began to try to systematize it, because that’s what I always do, whether it’s consulting, or speaking, or online courses. I identify what works reliably every time and put that into a simple system that can be repeatedly executed. Why? I don’t want people to waste time doing things that have a low chance of working for them.

I teamed up with one of the guys who had showed me a few things about Facebook ads to start a course called FanReach.

The first course was just about Facebook marketing strategy. Then we taught how to do Facebook posts, then we taught Facebook ads, and then all of a sudden three of our students reported getting sales and profits from doing those things!

That was at a time when nobody was profiting on Facebook, and a lot of the social media gurus who were still in love with Twitter were very skeptical of Facebook. They said, “No, it’s not for business, and no, you’ll never make profits from Facebook—you won’t get sales from it.” I heard a well-known social media guru say that just near the end of 2015, even though this was 2011 when we published our case studies on Search Engine Journal.

What’s interesting to me, is that having a background in academics and medicine, the way those industries work is they do research and they write about it, and their work is publicly reviewed by their peers.

But marketing is like the Wild West. People just write their opinions and throw out all these assertions that are not backed up by any science or data, and there’s no peer review. Compared to medicine, it’s a really irresponsible industry. Everyone in marketing has a conflict of interest because publicizing their work shows their competitors what works.

There aren’t government grants available, or a lot of universities funding academic researchers into digital marketing, who can make objective assertions or put out objective research to balance all of this out. Of course, in medicine, you have people who are in the FDA but also on the board of directors of certain pharmaceutical companies, so they’re not perfect either.

So anyway, we did this FanReach course, but I began to realize that despite all we had achieved, I still wasn’t getting very much attention or kudos from marketers and other people—at least compared to some of the social media gurus that had written books.

I thought, “Writing a book is not that big a deal!” This was just my personal opinion, and it turns out I was wrong. It is a big deal. It’s a lot of work, it’s hard to do, and not everybody can do it.

But I realized I had to do it if I wanted to get to the next level of influence.

I submitted a proposal to Pearson Education, which is a big academic publisher—one of the biggest publishers in the world, for a Facebook marketing book titled The Like Economy.

The book both did really well and came out at the exact right time. It eventually went into a second edition, became an international best-seller, and got me on Bloomberg TV twice. I wrote several other books for Pearson including the Third Edition of their Facebook marketing book and a book called LinkedIn marketing, which for the most part, just taught me that there are not a lot of effective things you can do on LinkedIn.

What do you like most about the industry?

You know it’s hard to have perspective on your own industry because you’re so deep inside it, right?  But sometimes I wonder, “Isn’t this the coolest industry to be in right now? Is it the most visible?” I mean we’re not like real rock stars or movie stars, but the people who are moving cloud computing forward are not as visible as we are.

I can tell you from having been in SEO and Google AdWords that it’s not a lot of fun. It’s extremely geeky. One of the most viable parts of SEO right now is technical SEO—making sure that your website doesn’t screw up your SEO. So you’re looking at sub domains, and URL structure, and meta tags, and robot.txt, for example.

Let’s just say that conference is going to be a room full of guys wearing glasses who think Spock is pretty cool.

But with social media whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, the niche is filled with pretty creative interesting people.

Don’t get me wrong there are some awesome people in search—really cool people, but there’s a kind of brain that is bored with dry technical skills that is fascinated with engaging other people’s brains.

In social media you have to be interesting. You have to be attention-grabbing. You have to be entertaining. You have to understand the value of novelty newness. You can’t be boring.

Probably the only boring thing about social media is that when you want to make sure that your social media is getting your results, you need to use a system that’s not new. You need to use a proven system that has worked for multiple businesses.

But even within that system you’re going to be using new creative, new images and new ideas because your customers’ attention span is only as long as you are interesting.

A lot of brands use social, but few do it well. What are some of the most common mistakes you see?

The biggest mistake that any company makes in marketing is creating things based on what they personally like or understand—not what the customer likes and understands.

That’s the most important thing. If you get that right you’ll be fine. But if you get that wrong, you’re screwed.

So many marketers and executives sit in meetings talking about what they personally like, when they really should be thinking about what the customer likes.

We have the tools to find out what our customers like—better tools for this than we’ve ever had. We have free tools like Facebook Audience Insights that will tell you who all the people on your email list are in terms of interests, income, net worth, home value, what devices they use… all kinds of things… for free!

You don’t want to guess about your customers because you’re probably wrong. This goes back to that research thing. Think about it like a conversation. If you’re talking to a real person right now, when you say something wrong, you can see it in their face, but with marketing, you can’t see their reaction because you’re not there, so you need to find a way to measure it.

For example, if you put an ad out you can measure it in likes, or if you put a post out you can measure it an engagement rate. A low engagement rate or a low click-through rate is like a frown—it’s like you said the wrong thing. The way you listen to your customer is by looking at the data.

If you want to be an expert in something, you should be an expert in what your customer likes.  Be an expert in what makes them take action. You’re not going to figure that out by looking at what makes you take action or what you like because rarely is the marketer at a company or the executive at a company the same person as their customer.

A lot of times companies are marketing to someone in a different economic bracket, someone who likes very different things than they do, someone who lives in a different subculture, someone with a different educational background. Even if you buy some of the things that your company sells, that may be all you have in common with your customer.

When you show people using your products or enjoying your products that gets a bit closer to what they care about, but it can still seem a little bit self-serving and too obvious and activate their defensiveness. So to get around it you have to portray their dream lifestyle which speaks to all of those things that they like. It looks like their life not yours.

You have to put content out there and see how customers respond. Have theories about who they are and what they like, then see if you’re right or not. You’re a marketing scientist. You’re trying to get results, but the way you’re going to do that is by learning every day.

That’s how you’re going to continually improve your results, get your customers more excited, and generate more profits. It starts by understanding that the answers aren’t inside your likes and experience. They’re in the data that comes from the customer.

What misconceptions do people have about social media?

Some of the biggest misconceptions we see are:

Facebook is only for B2C—we’ve seen a lot of successful case studies for business to business.

LinkedIn is the best for business-to-business- total myth. Their ad platform is not effective unless you spend $30,000 a month and get access to their enhanced ads

Creating a calendar of social posts is all you need to do. This creates mediocre results. If you’re not looking back at metrics to see what work better or worse you aren’t learning and you’re really just sort of yelling at people and walking away. That’s not real marketing. I’m not sure what that is. I might call it “check box marketing.” It’s like you’re saying, “Yeah, we’re doing social posts, yay!”

The fact is they’re probably pretty crappy and until you look at the metrics, for example, engagement rate, you won’t know for sure.

If you’re below 3% engagement rate on average that’s not very good. We like to get clients up in the 5 to 8% range. Some of them we get regularly to the 10 to 15% range. And we’ve had individual post to up to 21% engagement rate. So getting 1-3% is not really good enough. If you don’t know what engagement rate you’re getting, you’re not even playing the same game I am. You’re not a results-focused marketer.

I don’t know if everyone thinks about social media being active in every part of the marketing and sales funnel from awareness-building to engagement to lead generation to sales to loyalty, but particularly Facebook can help you do all of that. It’s a Swiss Army Knife. Which is ironic because really nobody uses Swiss Army Knives for anything.

Believe it or not, I find by doing my keynote gigs that there still are a TON of people don’t understand how Facebook works, and that you’re not really that visible to your fans without ads because Facebook is pay-to-play now.

Pretty much all of these misconceptions go away when you start looking at your metrics and making your goal to drive prospects down the funnel towards sales. If you do that, you can figure out all this other stuff on your own.

Are there any brands that you think are really killing it on social media?

Intel is doing a great job getting engagement from programmers. Check out the Intel developer Zone Facebook page.

PayPal did an interesting thing by looking at their Facebook audience insights they discovered that their customers really like The Walking Dead.

Dave Peck, who is head of social marketing at PayPal, remembered they had a zombie video someone had created that they hadn’t used yet- so they ran that video on Facebook and it became their most watched video- it did 50% better than any other video they’ve posted.

If you want to look at a non-enterprise example, a large Small Business, we have a newer client called Big Sandy Superstore. They’re quite daring with their video—they even hired at a local comedy duo who has created some of their most-watched videos. The average Facebook video is watched for about 12 seconds based on our data across a bunch of different clients. But Big Sandy has a couple of videos that were watched for 3 minutes and 5 minutes on average. That’s just huge video retention.

Not every company has the guts to create their own videos—especially funny ones, and not every company that tries to create funny videos is successful at it. The willingness to hire comedians is exceptional because you’re basically hiring an expert in comedy which is definitely a smart move, but it’s not something that a lot of companies do. I think a lot of companies are scared to do it, but it’s paid off for Big Sandy.

You’ve worked with some amazing clients and delivered astronomical results. Can you share any specific success stories?

We got 2,200% ecommerce ROI for a pizza delivery chain using Facebook ads, and those results required creating and testing 160 ads because 76 of those ads did not sell any pizzas. I always use that example to tell people that you have to create a lot of ads. There are a lot of people who say that Facebook ads don’t work and when I look at their Facebook add account and they’ve only got 4 ads in there I say, “It’s not that Facebook ads don’t work, it’s that you didn’t do the work!”

We did a number of pilots on Microsoft’s behalf for their cloud computing partners, including Intellisuite, where we created a white paper and drove leads from Facebook ads targeting Chief executives and it system administrators.  Those leads can cost anywhere from $29 to $78, but the cost per click in this campaign was under $0.76 each. When you look at Google AdWords or LinkedIn cost per click you’ll realize that that’s phenomenally affordable.

We’ve driven Facebook leads for business-to-consumer as well. One of our funnest clients is a music Cruise Company and we drove $0.10 leads for their Def Leppard Cruise. We’ve also gotten them bookings for their cruises and a whole bunch of different cost per sales from $38 to $200.

There are a ton more case studies on my website.

It’s always funny to me when I’m talking to a prospective client and they asked if I’ve ever done work in their niche. Because most of our clients we’d succeeded with we never had an experience in their niche before. But we apply a system where we learn about their business and research their customers and test marketing targeting and creative and discover what works. And that process works regardless of what their industry is or their niche.

What can someone do to improve engagement on social media?

Watch your metrics and try different things.

What should you test? Facebook Audience Insights is a good place to start because you can look at either your email list, custom audience, or your competitors to find out what your customers like. That may help you think about your customer in a more three-dimensional way. Who are these people as real human beings? That may give you a better idea of what should be in your posts and ads.

I like to think about themes that the audience might like. What are their values their beliefs or their likes?  Themes can be things like freedom, family, gardening, fun, or teamwork. Your ideal customer may be interested in three to five different themes. Start brainstorming what those might be and then think about what kind of images would represent those. What kind of images would make fun of those themes? What kind of images would exaggerate those themes? What kind of situations would happen for those themes?

If you’re not advertising, you need to, because you’re not going to get engagement unless people are seeing your posts. You need to experiment with different targeting for those ads because different targeting settings are going to work differently and some of them are going to get you better engagement than others.

How should marketers prioritize their social media activities?

I start with the 80-20 rule. I want to spend 80% of my time doing the 20% of things that get 80% of the results.

But to be more specific:

  • You need to list out your goals.
  • Then rank them in order of priority.
  • Then look at all the things you could do.
  • Assess which ones are best at achieving your highest priorities
  • Then prioritize those activities platforms strategies and tactics.

If your goal is sales, and Snapchat is not very good at that, then you shouldn’t be spending very much time on Snapchat.

If your goal is to reach millions of people, but it’s hard for you to get a lot of Twitter followers and reach more than a few hundred people, then you probably shouldn’t spend a lot of time on Twitter.

Start with your goals and priorities, understand what the platforms and strategies can do for you and then allocate your time that way.

Wide or deep; is it better to do a little on several social networks or focus on just one or two?

This depends on your resources. if you’re a gigantic company with a large marketing department, you might be able to have people working on every social network. Even if you are just one-person solopreneur with 5 hours to market a week you still might want to own all those social media accounts, even if you’re not actively using them.

But a solopreneur really needs to prioritize and focus.

There’s a lot of assessment behind this but I would say that given all the different social marketing platforms the sizes and capabilities you need to start with Facebook then look at Twitter or LinkedIn depending on whether you’re B2C or B2B respectively, and then maybe consider the rest. However, you may not have time to get to the rest.

The only time I would consider other networks instead is if what you do so well suits a specific platform like Pinterest or Snapchat and you’re able to achieve the reach you need in terms of how many people you need to reach and you’re able to reach them quickly and easily and maybe your particular talents really fit a specific platform… If it’s working for you then go for it.

But for the average business, it’s going to be Facebook then Twitter or LinkedIn.

Facebook’s algorithm has steadily reduced organic reach for pages over the last few years—how can marketers compensate?

You have to advertise. It’s that simple. That’s been true since 2013.

What should someone know before launching paid social ads?

For Facebook ads, you really need to be in the ad manager or power editor. Boosting posts is not enough because it only creates one ad type.

There are 10 types of Facebook ads.  The ads are pretty complicated but if you take my course which is about four and a half hours long one of the modules is specifically about advertising and it’ll give you the basics you need to get started. I recommend you do that because a lot of people make the same mistakes and waste a lot of money doing the wrong things. A lot of these things are counter-intuitive, and that’s why people make the same mistakes. which is why I created the course.

With Twitter ads, you should manually bid rather than doing automatic bids because you’ll get lower cost per click.

You can test LinkedIn self-serve ads if you want but your biggest problem will be getting enough impressions because the ads don’t show up on very many pages on the site. Without Impressions you won’t get a lot of clicks. Without clicks she won’t get a lot of leads or sales.  I’ve almost always felt like the time I spent creating LinkedIn ads was wasted. If you have $30,000 a month to spend and you’re a business-to-business company, then contact LinkedIn and considerate because then you can get their enhanced ads which may actually work for you.

How should marketers integrate social with other marketing channels?

Often we find that Facebook is the way that customers first hear about a company and Google may be the way that they finally search for the company when they’re ready to buy. So make sure that your analytics are all in place so that you can this. I would recommend Google Analytics, Facebook conversion tracking (specifically custom conversions), and Hotjar (or Lucky Orange, or the like) so that you can see heat maps and recordings of what visitors are doing on your site. Hotjar will also allow you to create surveys if you want to get feedback from your customers.

Once you drive people to your site, you want to have a reason for them to give you their email.

The traditional email newsletter is the weakest way because typically people never give customers a reason to opt in to that newsletter. What’s going to be in it? why should they care?

A lead magnet is another way to go. A lead magnet is like a list of tips for a white paper or an ebook or a webinar or a quiz that requires you to enter your email and possibly phone number in order to proceed. You have to give them some value, information, or entertainment in order to get that contact info.

Are there any tools you use to manage social media?

I use to varying degrees: Buffer, Post Planner, BuzzSumo, AgoraPulse and Sprout Social. But we’re re-assessing how we spread our blog posts into social right now and I’m looking at a number of options.

(Editor’s note: Spartan Media highly recommends Edgar.)

What metrics do you typically look at when measuring a campaign’s effectiveness?

The right metric depends on your goals, and usually there are multiple goals, so we have to go back to priorities. We’ll have multiple goals each with at least one metric.

We’ve found that even if the key goal is lead gen or sales, and our key metric is cost per lead, cost per sale, or ROI, that doing other things like posting an engagement helps us with the performance of other channels.

Social media is a rapidly-changing industry. What trends do you think we should prepare for over the next few years?

Okay well first thing is that I don’t have a crystal ball and human beings are really bad at predicting the future. For example from 2007 until 2012, every year everyone said that mobile was going to be the next big thing—and it didn’t truly take off in the U.S. for years. Not until 2012 or 2013 did it really skyrocket. We tend to think that the future is either going to be a lot like the present or something really weird.

When Google was the main channel, people used to ask me “What’s going to be the next Google?” And nobody predicted it was going to be Facebook. No one foresaw that. People look at things like second life and virtual reality and augmented reality and flying cars and they’re often wrong. So we think the future is going to be a lot like today or like some weird UFO thing.

What’s more, people end up looking at the latest shiny new thing that may not really be that effective at getting people results… like what’s the ROI on Snapchat right now? How many people are making a profit with Snapchat?

Now that we’ve been doing Facebook marketing for 5 or 6 years, we have a pretty good system that allows us to to reliably get results, affordable leads, and sales for companies, because we’ve been doing it for so long. If you look at Google AdWords that’s been around a long time, and because of that, it’s so competitive that it’s very, very expensive, and it’s even harder to profit from. That’s why I think looking at what’s coming next is not the most profitable thing you can do. Looking at what’s been around and is reliable and systematized is the smartest thing to do. Being distracted by the news and the future can be very costly.

That said the trends that I’ve seen happen that I expect to continue are:

  • Companies need to learn to be more interesting, to grab attention, to be more entertaining.
  • People talk about whether a company can become a media company or an entertainment entity. And if you can’t do that internally you have to hire people who can create that kind of content. If you don’t do that other people are going to steal the attention of your customers and maybe their business.
  • It’s expensive and risky to be boring.
  • Video, whether edited or live, is really important because we’re a television and movie culture. Podcasting is celebrated amongst a small segment of people, many of whom are vocal thought leaders in social media, but podcasting does not affect the mainstream nearly as much. Video is much more powerful for most people.

But don’t overlook photo posts on Facebook and Instagram posts because they’re one of the most powerful and most efficient forms of content. Images are very quickly consumed—in just seconds they’re already into your brain. You can’t not see them. You can create a lot of them quickly. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money or a studio or expertise or genius or training. So from a cost-effectiveness standpoint and ROI and volume, photo-posts are the meat and potatoes of social content.

Video, especially live video is really taking off. What should marketers know before getting started?

The biggest pitfall in live video is narcissism. The reason someone’s not on real TV already is probably because they’re not that talented and maybe not that good looking. All of the really good-looking, talented people get told they should be on TV and thrown onto the theater stage or into acting careers early on. The rest of them maybe go into comedy or become character actors if they really need a lot of attention in their lives. I’m being autobiographical here ;-)

Some people go to Toastmasters or do stand-up comedy but most other people don’t feel a need for that kind of attention or don’t want it. If they don’t really need attention from people, they don’t care how people respond to them, so they don’t get better at performing.

You have to care how good you look on camera. You have to care how long people watch you. You have to look at your metrics and be dismayed that people only watched you for 15 seconds. Even if you don’t take it personally, you do have to look at the metrics and realize that you need to be interesting and you need to provide value.

Not everybody is interesting or entertaining or charismatic naturally. It’s possible to learn to be more interesting and charismatic but it takes study and practice. A lot of people are boring. And that’s the biggest problem with video in general and live video just makes it much more obvious, because if you take bad video and you have a chance to edit it you can edit out all the boring parts but when it’s live, there’s no chance to edit it out. You have to be interesting every moment.

If you really want to be good at that, and you’re not a natural, you should try improv.

Who has been influential in shaping your career?

Well to some degree the answer is me.

The other part of the answer isn’t a person, it’s data because I always look at how people respond to the things I put out there if I can get metrics on it or if it’s getting laughs or not. But then of course there’s how my parents raised me to be responsible and to work hard and have a career. That’s why I didn’t just go become an artist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but that’s the way they raised me.

And then there were a whole bunch of people who helped me grow in character in my twenties and learn to serve other people.

Then there’s my wife who has been incredibly supportive but also raised the bar on me when my freelance career wasn’t going well enough and she spurred me to take employee jobs until I was at the point where my independent career could drive.

And then there’s Garrison Wynn, who was mentored me a ton in the paid speaking profession. Without him, I would have made a lot of mistakes. I’ve gotten a lot further a lot faster than I would have without him, and he’s helped me merge comedy and business in a way that doesn’t make business people think I’m crazy. Where the comedy can serve the business, the audience, and the customers.

And then there’s the comedy community that I found in Charleston South Carolina from Theater 99 to my improv troupe The Improvables my writing partner Andy Livengood.

And a ton of people that I’m constantly networking with and interviewing and learning from… which always feels ironic to me because I’ve always felt like that introverted socially phobic kid that never wanted to leave his room but nevertheless keep talking to people and meeting people and going out and speaking and communicating and growing and learning and having fun helping people.

How should a business owner decide when to hire someone like you to manage their social media?

Well they need a certain level of profitability in order to afford my fees. (Several thousand dollars.)

We also do Google AdWords and Facebook, though it’s always best for us to conduct an audit before social media management.

It’s different for every company.

It’s a good idea to discuss your situation and goals with us. We’re always happy to talk to someone for 15 minutes to see what their situation is and where they’re headed. If it’s too early or not. I had a guy come to me recently who had just wasted $5,000 with a company that was trying to set up an affiliate program for him before he even had sales for his product. I said “Well that sounds a little cart before the horse to me,” and he said “Yeah, I learned that subsequently too.”

And so it’s frustrating sometimes having been in digital marketing for 17 years—that now I’ve been pigeon holed as a social guy. That’s not all I am. I can tell you, strategically, what you need to do even if it’s not a service that we offer, and refer you to another specialist, if need be.

You do a lot of speaking for large and small clients. What kind of client typically gets the most out of your presentations?

That’s a tough question to answer, because I customize for every audience that hires me, and I usually get audience members coming up and saying, “Great talk” or “Best presentation I’ve ever seen!” or “Wow, now I get it that finally makes sense.”

With keynotes you never really know what the long-term effect. The goal is usually a mix of things from inspiring to informing too entertaining to motivating and sometimes there are specific goals for an event or a theme that we’re trying to fit into. The meeting planner or the company may have specific goals for the event or for the audience. So it’s different every time. But often the meeting planners will put me in the slot with the audience is tired or falling asleep because they know I’ll wake them back up. Because of the amount of humor and energy in my presentations you can put me after lunch or at the end of the day where you couldn’t put the boring speaker.

Like most speakers, I’d love to go first when the audience has the most energy, kick things off, and get everybody excited. And sometimes the meeting planners want me to do that, but I just try to serve the event and the meeting planner and go wherever they want me to.

I’ve spoken to help marketing department make planning decisions to help companies make strategic decisions, to help groups of business owners plan before expansion, to help sales people Understand how to leverage social marketing better, help sales people use social media for sales, help customer service people understand how social media keeps customers and can lead to upsells and customer loyalty. I’ve spoken about innovation and creativity.

So I don’t really know who gets the most out of it but it seems like I’m getting better at it and they’re getting more and more satisfied with it. A VP from Wells Fargo told a meeting planner recently, “Wow your social media guy not only knew his stuff, he’s one of the funniest speakers I’ve ever seen.”

How can people get in touch with you?

Homing pigeon is probably the best way. Or telegraph. If you don’t have either of those you could Google me. Or if you don’t feel like working that hard you could just type into your address bar if you know what that is. If you don’t know what an address bar is, you really need me, so you should just put out some really strong vibes in the direction of Charleston, South Carolina.

(Editor’s note: you can also find Brian on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and I suggest you do, because he shares a steady stream of valuable information.)