This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Brendon Kane. Brendan is the business and digital growth strategist to the stars and the guy who generated over a million Facebook followers in less than 30 days. In fact, he has over a million followers on Facebook and a million followers on Instagram alone.
Brendan works with Fortune 500 corporations, brands, and celebrity clients such as Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Xzibit, Charles Barkley, Michael Strahan, supermodel Adriana Lima, and pro skateboarder Ryan Sheckler. He also served as vice president of digital for Paramount Pictures and helped scale one of the largest social optimization firms in the world, working with brands such as Disney, Fox, NBC, Xbox, LinkedIn, and many other notable Fortune 100 companies.
He is the author of the best-seller, One Million Followers, and that strategy is just one of the many things we are going to talk about in this episode.
Brendan initially went to film school to learn how be a producer and the business of movies. He quickly learned that they don’t teach much about it. So, he decided the best way to learn was to create his own business. He started a few internet companies and then moved to LA after the Dotcom bust. He started to work with producers and directors to leverage how to grow brands and get more reach for their projects.
He began to help craft strategies for films from $15 mil to $100 mil budgets. In order to be more efficient as he grew, in 2006/2007, he built one of the first influencer marketing platforms for Myspace. He continued building technology and setting up partnerships with companies like MTV, Paramount, Lionsgate, and others. The JV partnerships with Viacom and MTV opened the doors to work with celebrities like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and others.
He then got into the paid media space with a company that was managing paid spend on social networks. Brendan helped them craft their growth strategy from $1 million a year in spend to over $100 million. A lot of money was being wasted by these companies as they didn’t have a way to really tell if they were advertising in the right ways.
That is when Brendan decided to create a system of testing methodologies on top of social media that allowed to test content at scale and see which audiences really resonated, etc.
Over 3 years, he optimized the process working with the top people and brands.
But, he had the idea that “What if you took someone from scratch, who didn’t have the start power or anything – could you grow their following like you can the others?” And that is where the 1 million followers in 100 countries in 30 days experiment came from.
How did you create 1 million followers in 30 days?
- First is the mindset of it. You need to understand why you are doing, what return on investment looks like, etc.
- People underestimate the work it takes to do it.
- Brendan’s system was built on top of the Facebook advertising platform – but Brendan uses it as a tool for market research and then push people into action.
- Brendan test 5000 pieces of content
- Every night at midnight, he would test 150 different variations of content.
- He would then measure to results in the morning and use what he learned to make the next set at midnight better and so on…
- o It’s kind of like the “Double a Penny” experiment. If you double a penny every day for 30 days, how much do you have? Over $5 million dollars!
- It’s not as daunting as it sounds. He spent 1.5 hours a day on it when he did it.
- There are 5 keys elements to a variation:
- The content itself: Video, image, text, etc. o The description: Above/Below
- The demographics: Male, female, age group, etc.
- The interest level: What are they interested in? Products they use? Etc.
- Geolocation: Targeting to zip code
- All of them are interchangeable – you can take 1 piece of content and create tons of variations by changing one thing in 20-30 mins.
- The key is testing content at scale and rapidly iterating.
What did you learn about content to consistently generating the most interaction? What should people do in their posts?
- Look at the content like an advertisement for your brand. Like a TV spot. It must be captivating. What would make them click the follow button?
- You must be very strategic in your approach to inspire and motivate people to say – “I have to follow this account…”
- Videos are more powerful and effective but are harder to pull off.
- The track Brendan took was image based content to quote based content, and then video-based content – but still used all 3.
- Video will get higher opt-in overall
What other things should people know to maximize their footprint?
- You need to separate which category you are in
- Are you looking to drive leads, sales, and conversions or are you looking to build a brand that you will eventually leverage?
- If you are E-commerce or want to market a product, build revenue first, then invest it into follower growth.
- If you are creating campaigns for follower growth, make sure you are focusing on changing content to be different than the way you normally post. It needs to stand out and make people click follow.
- The algorithms lend to the virality of it and the engagement of people clicking to follow.
- • Instagram has shifted. It is not about hitting the explore page and driving growth. The best way is to distribute content out onto other channels and drive that content that back in.
At the 20 min mark, Brendan gives an example of different types of posts and how they work and grow following.
- • Don’t do much with Twitter
- • LinkedIn is huge – cold outreach has generated over $20 million in deals from LinkedIn.
- Success has come from focusing on targeting very specific people in organizations and being all about value to them.
- What is going to make their life easier? What is going to make them look like a Rockstar?
- You must test messages, but always have the intent to utilize your product to bring the most value to them – not “sell” them.
- • Use engagement groups, use video, and be active.
- • YouTube has 2 primary ways – collaborations, search and thumbnail game.
$20 million on LinkedIn? Is there a process you use? How are you doing this?
- It depends on the deal size.
- When you are going after million-dollar deals, it is a much different hook point than a smaller deal. A free report doesn’t work.
- Think in terms of headlines. What is a headline that will grab them and bring them in. Get 5-10 or more of them.
- What will differentiate you from all the other clutter and messages.
- For example – We can save you up to 60% on your paid campaigns and increase your performance 3-4X
- You must have good hook points that are specific to the individual you are targeting.
- Create enormous curiosity! You 3-5 seconds max to show how you solve their problem.
Posting guidelines for platforms?
- Quality not frequency for Facebook and Instagram.
- There is a ton of ways to grow – not just one.
- Invest more in each piece of content to increase engagement and virality.
- Brendan posts early in the AM pacific time once a day.
- You also need to post in the way that resonated best with your style. There really is no right or wrong way…
Paid advertising? What should we know?
- It is a tremendous asset to every entrepreneur.
- The biggest organic entrepreneurs on the planet used paid as well.
- Learn as much about paid to fuel your growth.
- The biggest mistake people make it to put a ton of money behind a few pieces of content and “hope” that it works.
- It is better to put smaller amounts of money into a bunch of different tests
Where do you put your dollars?
- Facebook and Instagram are colder traffic. You need to warm it up in some way, re: retargeting, etc.
- Search engine traffic is warmer because they are looking or interested.
- Search engine costs more, but it being warmer makes it worth it.
- LinkedIn advertising is better for deal sizes that are $10k or more.
Any tools that you recommend people use?
- Facebook Advertising Platforms
- Upwork for creative work
What is the most important lesson you have learned for entrepreneurship?
- The first question is “Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur?”
- You must learn patience and play the long game. It is hard, but so important. What is one thing you wished you knew when you first got started?
- Being naïve is a benefit. If people know everything they need to know to do it, they may not.
- Be a naïve optimist!
- Entrepreneurs go through crazy amounts of pain and stress to get to success.
- You have the highest highs and the lowest lows, but it is worth it.
- As you get through each issue, problem, or setback – it makes it easier the next time, etc.
Anything you’ve learned from working with top stars, pro-athletes, etc.?
- Taylor Swift is a great example
- The important learning lesson is that she grew her fanbase one by one. She understood the power of foster and relationship with fans and turn them into brand advocates.
- Growth comes from people sharing your message at the highest possible velocity. Taylor has done very well because it is genuine, real, and that is what matters to people.
Best Quote: The thing that really separates the successful is that they will find the answers. They know how to find answers and create solutions and they will not give up.
Brendan's Misfit 3:
- Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing. What is the purpose behind it? Take time to really understand it as it drives your decisions.
- Constantly be learning and testing. Never get complacent.
- Do not give up.