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How to Stand Out in a World Of Social Media Noise with Brian Fanzo
Episode 375th November 2018 • Your Dream Business • Teresa Heath-Wareing
00:00:00 01:02:38

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  • Small businesses are where the passion is, and that’s who people want to spend their money with. It’s no longer big companies and high budgets, so everyone has an equal chance.
  • Tell your personal story with social media and people will want to buy from you.
  • People that are listening to speakers want to be a part of the conversation. They don’t want to be talked at, but instead brought along on the journey with you.
  • It’s not about knowing your audience and knowing your subject matter, its about conveying things in way that makes people want to listen, learn and do.
  • Whatever you’re doing in store or in person, you need to do online. Tell stories, care and show you’re interested in your clients and customers.
  • 3 out of 4 people would rather buy into an ‘experience’ than a product, so tailor your website and social media to reflect this.
  • Limitations inspire creativity.
  • It’s important to have good relationships with people to help grow the speaking side of the business. The more times you speak, the more speaking gigs you will get. Put yourself out there and be willing to immerse yourself into events to show your worth.
  • Own everything that makes you a success.
Although it may not seem like it, digital marketing and social media creates a level playing field for both large and small businesses. You don’t have to have big budgets to succeed where it comes to marketing as it’s all about telling your story and focussing on where the heart is.
  • Introducing Brian Fanzo – 03:50
  • Tell your story with marketing – 14:00
  • Brian’s story and how he got started - 20:09
  • Being a natural on stage 30:30
  • Being the same person offline as you are online 37:30
  • Growing the speaking side of your business 44:00
Transcript below


Hello and welcome to episode 37 of the Social Media Marketing Made Simple Podcast and as always, I am your host, Teresa Heath-Wareing. This week there's gonna be no hanging about, we're gonna jump straight into it, because I am batching content right before I go to the States. I'm heading off to California and Laguna Beach for a conference, so I'm trying to get ahead. By the time this airs actually I'll be back, but I'm trying to get ahead, get these podcasts recorded so that I can then relax, maybe, for a little bit while I'm in California.

So the inspiration for today's episode is all around how we're standing out in a really noisy environment. Social media world in particular is very noisy. There are a lot of people that do it, there are a lot of people that do what I do, lots of people trying to build their businesses, and I'm sure in your world, unless you're in a real niche area, there are also lots of other people that are trying to do what you do.

Back on episode 26, which we'll link in the show notes, we talk about the five tips of building a personal brand, which if you're trying to stand out in a noisy industry, building a personal brand can be a great way for you to do that. And one of the areas we looked at when we talked about the ways to build your personal brand was speaking, and how if you're willing to speak and put yourself on stage, this can really help you stand out. Now personally, I love it. I know it's not for everyone, I know some people ... I think there's a stat that more people would be willing to bungee jump than speak on stage, I think. I could have just made that up.

Anyway, I love speaking and it's an area that I wanna grow in my business. That's why I was so excited to interview today's podcast guest, the amazing Brian Fanzo. Now he spends about 80% of his time speaking and travelling all over the world to speak, and about 90% of his revenue now comes from speaking on stage. And to think that my business could be predominantly spent speaking would be like a dream come true.

So Brian is the founder of iSocialFanz, and he says that he translates the geek speak and is on a mission to empower great people to connect with great people, and ideas to create life changing experiences. He's a millennial speaker and he mainly talks around change, collaboration and community. He's the proud dad of three beautiful girls, and is the host of the podcast FOMOFanz and SMACtalk. He used to work for the Department of Defence in Cybersecurity, so has taken quite a leap to do what he does now. As I've said, he speaks for a living and has travelled to over 70 countries, and has spoke at some of the world's largest events, including Social Media Marketing World, SXSW, CES Mobile World Congress. And Brian is a huge advocate of being authentic and showing up as his true self. He was a pleasure to interview and I know you are going to love him. So I'll waste no more time and we'll jump straight into that interview.


Introducing Brian Fanzo


Well it gives me so much pleasure to welcome you, Brian, to my podcast. Thank you so much for coming on.

My pleasure, excited to be here.

Oh, and honestly I am really, really excited. I've been following you for quite some time and watch your stuff, and actually last year you were meant to speak at Marketed Live weren't you, and-

I was.

There was a problem with your flight in coming out and you didn't, and you sent a video. So this feels like it's been a long time coming, which is cool, because I've been watching your stuff ever since.

I know, I missed out on that opportunity but I'm glad we're able to still make connections and I get to watch the event from afar for the last two years, and very proud of those guys so maybe I'll have to make a trek out there next year.

Oh do you know we'd love that, and honestly it's a great event. And one other thing that's really interesting, because one of the things I really want to talk to you about in a bit is about you speaking, but the funny thing is the UK does not have a lot of good events. We are not very good at it. You guys in the States do an amazing job, whereas over here we are terrible at it. We tend to do quite boring conferences, so we're starting to see some of that cool stuff coming over from that side of the world and actually Marketed Live is one of those that are really trying to up the game. We've got a couple of others that are over here that are quite good, but yeah, I think that's gonna be a really nice thing to watch and hopefully grow and see how that goes. So fingers crossed you can come across for that again.


Brian I love your story and I love hearing where you've come from, and what you used to do, and how you got to do what you do now, which seems a little bit of a jump. So I would love it if you would share with my audience where you started and how you got to do what you do now.

Sure. I guess I'm known for digital marketing social media today, but I went to school, I went to University for Computer Science, and I then I actually worked in Cybersecurity for the Department of Defence here in the United States for nine years. So it's definitely not your tradition path to marketing. I actually joke a lot that my guidance counsellors in school didn't really tell me very much about marketing. They always positioned it as, you just help the sales people sell. And to me I was like, eww I don't wanna do that, so I loved computers, I fell in love with computers, and then I had an amazing job. I had 32 direct reports that worked for me, employees that are on my team, and we grew a giant cyber security team that we were deploying training courses at all different military bases around the world.

And so I got to travel, I've actually been to 74 countries, which is a tonne of countries, and it was great. I worked for the government, I travelled on government money, I did three trips to Iraq and two to Afghanistan during the early war years, and I got to work with the military. And I know you said your husband is in the military-


And I have so much love for the military, I have military families that I love. I wasn't in the military, but for me it was my little ability to be able to educate them, help them do their job better. I believe the sacrifice that the military makes, anyone that's in the military, is beyond amazing right? It's something that I was able to do. I fell in love ... I went to school, I thought I loved computers. But what I learned in that job over my first 10 years of my career, was that it wasn't computers that I loved. I loved collaboration, I loved community, I loved changed, and really computers were what were facilitating collaboration, facilitating change, facilitating ... and so computers ended up being the byproduct, and I started working outside that realm and people would come and tell me, "Brian you don't really help me with technology, sometimes you help me remove technology, but what you're helping me do is be better at connecting in this world that is around technology".

I think that's the quick segue of how I left the Department of Defence. I decided I just needed a change. I went and worked for a little small data centre company. I became the face of that company, started speaking as the face of that company. And then about five years ago, actually a little over four years ago, I become an entrepreneur with the goal of how do I help connect people? How do I help people understand emergency technology? And marketing just made sense, it was not only because they have budget, but I think marketing today is so much more than sales enablement. It's so much about building trust, it's so much about collaboration, it's about connecting with your community.

And so it's very interesting, 'cause for me I think I was always a marketer in my soul and what I loved doing, I just didn't really understand what marketing was. And maybe I wasn't ready for marketing, marketing wasn't ready for me and I now for the last-

[crosstalk 00:08:26]

Yeah, I think it's the happy medium because now I talk about trust, I talk about how do we work together, how do we build authenticity, how can we be transparent online? And I don't think transparency and marketing was a thing 10 years ago right?


I think if I had jumped in at that ... so yeah, that's where I've been. I did a little bit of agency life as a marketer. Really wasn't a big fan of that world, for me personally, just the way that I like to deliver and the type of contracts and collaboration I like to enable. I love long term partnerships in a lot of things. And so the last three and a half years I've done some consulting and strategy work, but mostly I'm a full time public speaker now so I speak at about 45 events a year around the world. I'm very blessed, I get to come to the UK a couple of times. This year I was in Scotland, I was in Newcastle. I am working right now actually on a gig that might be in London in early December, but for me I get to travel the world now and speak. I host two podcasts myself, I create a lot of content, but I'm a team of one so for me I kind of practise what I preach, I try to get out there and do that side.

It's a weird journey but it's allowed me to kind of, I'd say disrupt marketing a little bit as well, because I haven't been trained in it for years, I'm not corrupted by the old way of doing things and I'm not afraid to say that the way we did it in the past is not working, and it's a heck of a lot of fun. I get to enjoy being a little bit of a disrupter.

No, I love that. So there's a few things there you just said that blow my mind. First off, that you've been doing this for four to five years, and I've had my business for four years and I am nowhere near as successful as you are, or as well known as you are. So I'm just gonna go and cry a little big tonight. But that is crazy success, that is phenomenal.

Also, I love the fact that you have come from the kind of tech side, that you saw that it was a way of connecting people, and I think you're right. I think actually ... because I am a traditional marketer, or I was a traditional marketer, I have a marketing degree, and it looks nothing like it looks today. And I think for me, one of the reasons of my success in my business is that I have moved on and I've realised that although the degree was great and it gave me a good standing initially, the marketing I did even six, seven years ago is nothing like I do today, and I have fully embraced the changes 'cause I love the tech side. Now I'm not the most tech savvy but I love the fact that we can prove things and track things and follow people through these journeys, and connect with people. It's amazing-

Well I think that's a good point you brought up there, just to jump in. You don't have to be great at tech to understand the value of technology or the value of tracking. And I think the old days of selling unicorns and rainbows is what I like to say ... but of fluff right? Like marketing was through a billboard, project the amount of cars that drove by and then link that to some number, which I still to do this if someone can figure out and explain to me how billboards were proven ROI, I would love to figure that out, 'cause to me that still is the biggest marketing sham of all time because there's no way you proved ROI of a billboard based on cars and purchases. But you're right, in today's day and world it's you market and you have the ability to track and prove that what you do is valuable. I mean how cool is that? I think that's also part of what ... and I also think it's part of that world now where marketing always wanted that but technology now finally has caught up.

Now in some cases you throw technology at problems that we probably shouldn't even involve technology. Even for me a lot of times people assume because of my background that I am so tech heavy and I believe that technology should be in all these different places, and I don't. Oftentimes I will tell people, for me it's that personalised video right? It's being able to have a hand shake with somebody. That to me is still the king of the goals. I just think that we can do better things online to reach those right?


I think that's important. And I love that one of the things you said there was getting myself out there, telling my story. This is also, we're living in a world now where you have to be okay with telling the good and the bad right? You have to be sharing. And that's not traditional marketing, that's not traditional business. Business was always about putting out there how great you are, how you're better than everybody else, you talk at people. And now we've learned that we don't trust anybody who says they're perfect, we don't trust anybody that talks at us. We trust people and we trust people that are willing to admit when they're wrong, and in this world we're living in right now, there's so much wrong, so many things that are going wrong, people that are doing wrong.

I think people end of being ... for me, I think one of the secrets to my success as far as visibility, was that I was unapologetic about who I was. I was willing to share ADHD, I was willing to share things that I wasn't good at, I was willing to admit marketing wasn't my first love, it wasn't my background. For many people advising me early on, they're like, "That's gonna crush you, you're not gonna be able to follow the path of Seth Godin or what Malcolm Gladwell did". And I was like, "I know and I don't plan on it, and I don't have any goals or aspirations to be in their exhaust. I wanna do things my way". And I've been very blessed.


Tell your story with marketing


I can say it's not always easy. I've had lots of backlash, even organisations that are like, "you're a little too diversive for me". And they come back a year later and they go, "Well we've been doing things the same way for a year and nothing's working, so maybe we need you to be a little bit ..." So sometimes people aren't ready for me and I also have to balance that. But I think that's the fun world. I think right now marketing is as best placed there is, because we're able to highlight good stories, good people, good products, good services. And if we're doing it right, it trumps the bad. You don't have to worry about your ... If you're the best in your industry and you're the best person, you're doing good things, you don't have to worry about your competition because if we're able to do our job as marketers, we can put that story out there and you'll beat Amazons, you'll be better than the big Goliaths that are out there.

And no one would have said that 10 years ago. If Walmart came in your town, you're screwed. But I think now, if Walmart comes into your town, it's your job to tell your story and get people to understand why they should buy from you compared to buying from Walmart. We have social media and digital marketing and content marketing to do that. I think it's fun times.

And I think it's giving the smaller business and smaller people and those niche businesses, the voice isn't it? Because you know what ... gosh I bet it was pushing at least 10 years ago, I used to work for Land Rover. I ran their corporate marketing.

Oh wow.

And I did exactly what you said. Our budget was massive, and I would do a campaign and we'd go, "How many did we sell?" And we'd go, "Oh, we're not really sure". And then it makes me laugh that we did that, because in those days that's all you could have done.

Right, there was no option.

No. So we were doing the best of what we had, whereas obviously now the fact that ... funnily enough one of the things I was gonna mention because we're gonna talk about your talking, is that I've just done a TEDx talk, which is kind of-

I know, congratulations.

... Really cool, and I'm proper excited about it. I gave an example in that talk, because my whole premise of the talk was how social media has changed marketing and how I want people to love it, 'cause there is lots of negativity about social media. Don't get me wrong, it's perfectly justified, but there is some really positive stuff. And one of the examples I gave was the Dollar Shave Club, how much they paid for their first video - four and a half thousand dollars, and the fact that it went viral. Because they dared to put themselves out there, they dared to do something different, and now a business that potentially 10 years ago wouldn't have even got a look in 'cause there was no way they could have advertised on TV, there was no way they could've got any kind of traction, but now for businesses and marketers I feel this is the best time ever.

[crosstalk 00:16:24]

We are so blessed.

It is. It's a level playing field. And not only do you not have to have the big budget, but oftentimes I think the big budget gets in the way of doing the things that are most value ... I'm a Dollar Shave Club member. My package came Monday this week. I've been a subscriber for them for a long time, and I also think it's one of those...




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