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Replay: How to Build Relationships and Stand Out on Social Media with Mike Stelzner
Episode 25622nd August 2022 • Your Dream Business • Teresa Heath-Wareing
00:00:00 00:53:46

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Today’s episode of the podcast is a throwback to an incredible interview with Mike Stelzner, the creator of Social Media Examiner and Social Media Marketing World. I had a great time chatting with Mike about out how he uses his platform to stand out in a busy industry – so much of which is still relevant now!  


  • You don’t have to be on every single social media platform. Instead, you need to ensure you’re putting your energy into the spaces where your customers are.
  • Social media is great when it comes to tracking your results. If you’re struggling to track your results, however, you need to ensure you’re making goals to ‘stop’ things as well.
  • If you want to stand out in a noisy industry you need to understand exactly who you are trying to reach and what they struggle with.
  • Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you need to ensure you’re creating content for that person. This could be a podcast, written word, video or live and in person. Think about what you’re best at.
  • If you don’t know what your customers want, ask them. Once you have asked your audience, you need to see if their actions are matching their statements.
  • We should all be doing stuff that makes it easier for people to remember who we are.
  • The best way to make an impact on someone in person is to meet them in person.


One of the most important things you can do when it comes to social media is to be yourself. Successful people are authentic.


  • The Elevation Principle that outlines the 3 things you need to be successful.
  • If you’re not putting information out there, someone else is. You want to be the resource that people come to every single time they need information.
  • Social media is called social media for a reason. If you’re not a nice person, you won’t survive.



  Mike Stelzner Instagram Social Media Examiner  


Hello, and welcome to the last in my summer series of replays. So this summer we've been doing a few replays because I have done a lot of episodes. In fact, on the last episode, I actually said that I would check when I started my podcast and I did. It was the 5th of February, 2018.

Like what? That is crazy. I can't believe it's been going that long. Like, yeah, that I just can't, it's crazy. But I love it. And I get to interview the most amazing humans and hear the most wonderful stories and get the most amazing advice. So that's why I'm doing this replay for you. I'm picking my most favorite and the best episodes that I've done.

And I'm sharing them again with you because even if you've listened to them the first time, these are so good to listen back. I dunno about you, but I've been listening back to lots of books that I've listened to previously and podcast episodes, because often when we're in it and we're listening to, we're like, yeah, yeah, that's brilliant.

That's brilliant. And then you kind of move away from it and your focus changes. So it's really good to revisit some of these things. Now this interview today, is the one I did with Mike Stelzner. And the reason I picked this interview to come up in these replays is because it's actually one of my most popular episodes from download point of view.

So if it's obviously one that really attracts people and people really wanna listen to. So I wanted to include it in this, and again, like the others I've gone back and rewatch the podcast. And what's lovely about the fact that I get to watch it is Mike and I have so much fun doing this and like we're both smiling all the way through the podcast, which is brilliant. It, and it was great.

And he gives some great advice and we'd tell some great stories. I really enjoyed chatting with him. And I remember being a little bit nervous to chat to him cuz it was Mike Stelzner and he heads up social media marketing world. And at the time, not at the time of the interview, actually previous to the interview, I really wanted to speak there as it is.

I now realize why I could never have spoken them because I'm not a specialist and they have specialists. So, you know, I'd need to be an all out Instagram expert or an all out Facebook ads expert. And obviously I am, I was gonna say a Jack of all trades, but that would, you know, lead me to say master of none.

And, and I think I do all right. I think I'd know a lot of stuff. So anyway, so wanted to include Mike's episode. It's a really good one, lots of good practical advice. And like I said, some really cool stories. Here is the last in the replay season. We are back next week for a solo with me, but I hope you enjoy. Here's Mike.

It gives me so much pleasure to welcome today. The variable, medieval and wonderful Mike Stelzner. Mike, welcome to the podcast.

Mike: Teresa. Thank you so much for having me. I'm very excited to be joining you today.

Teresa: I am super excited. So Mike, I've already done an intro about you, but let me just reiterate and explain that social media marketing world was the one thing I had on my kind of vision board when I started the business. So I had I'd started my own marketing consultancy. I'd worked in marketing for like 15 years and I started my own consultancy, was doing social media and I saw this event and I watched the video and I was like, I've gotta go there.

But it was in San Diego. It's like five and a half thousand miles away from where I am. And I remember thinking one day, one day, I'm gonna go there. One day I'm gonna be sat in that room with all those amazing people and all those amazing speakers. And I remember seeing it for the first year and the, the next year it came out and I just booked my ticket and I had no idea.

In the early days of running my business, how I was gonna afford the flights, how I was actually gonna manage, go to San Diego, cuz I hadn't done anything like that on my own before and how it was all gonna work out. But I just knew I had to be there. I just knew I had to be in that room with everybody else.

And for me, especially in the UK, I had to raise myself above everybody else and go look, this is how serious I'm taking it. I'm going all the way to San Diego to sit in a room with these amazing experts. And it blew me away. It was honestly, and still to this day, one of the best events I've ever been to, and to be in that room and meet those people was just phenomenal. So thank you.

Mike: Thank you. Thank you for making the investment. That is so cool.

Teresa: And honestly, for me, it was like, how do I stand out? That's how I stand out. I go and sit in a room with those people. So, and you are like there which is great. But anyway, I've jumped straight into that. So if my audience haven't heard from you which I'm absolutely adamant they have, because I share a lot of social media examiner stuff.

I talk about social marketing world, but just let my audience know who you are and how you got to do what you're doing today.

Mike: Well, first of all, I'm a marketer. And secondly, we just turned 10 years old, literally about two weeks ago. Well, actually, no about a month ago after this recording and I started social media examiner back in October of 2009, and it was an experiment as all great things often start as right. And I didn't know what it would become. It was a blog and I figured, oh, this social media thing maybe has a shelf life for three years. So let's just get on that train, starting to get out of the station. And man was I wrong? I mean, that thing just exploded. And you know, as we started in the early days, just writing article.

It turns out that that was the kind of stuff that the social that went viral on social. So little, did I know back then, you could write something about how to do social media on social media and it would, it would get shared thousands of times on Twitter. It would go crazy viral on Facebook. And these were the easy days for things to spread.

This is when Facebook only had, I don't know, maybe 300 million people, which still sounds like a lot, but it was really small back then. And, uh, things grew. I eventually started a podcast and eventually started getting into video. And now we, we have two podcasts. We have a live show, we publish articles almost every day. We have our videos on our YouTube channel that we're publishing multiple times a week. And millions of people are consuming our stuff every year. It's pretty crazy.

Teresa: I mean, that is crazy. And for me, you are the, the pinnacle of it. You are the, if, if I ever speak to anybody or train anybody back to social media, and I say, this is the direction you need to go in on, this is the site you need to look at, it's your site.

And, and it is amazing. And how you maintain that, you know, in this crazy busy, huge world that we're in now, how you still maintain that today is amazing.

Mike: Thank you. Is that a question or statement?

Teresa: Those really. You don't answer it. That's fine.

Mike: Yeah. No. How do I maintain it? Is the question. Right? So first of all, it's it's being aware of the challenges that are faced by our core audience, which is marketers, right? So the, the main audience that we're attracting is a marketer, typically, whose job is marketing in a small business, typically less than a hundred employees. Some of them are solopreneurs or own agencies, but the vast majority of them struggle with the job of marketing.

And social's a key part of what they do. It's not all that they do. The reality for us is we're keeping up on the news. So we have to kinda watch what Zuckerberg changes with Facebook. What's happening with up and coming platforms like TikTok. And then of course, we also have to really be aware of our core audience to what their challenges are, which means we have to survey them every year. We have to really understand the customers that belong to the various. Like we have a professional organization called the social media marketing society, which thousands of marketers belong to. And there's a Facebook group and we kind of study, what do they complaining about?

What are their struggles? What are their challenges? And we kind of look at all of that. And then of course, I interview people on my podcast every week who I think are doing it right. They tell me things. So all that data comes in and then we kind of make projections and, and hypotheses about what we think our audience is going to need for the next couple of months.

And then we go ahead and develop the content, recruit the people to be on the show. And, and we just kind of are always if you will, we're like a ship out to sea looking at the weather patterns and when the weather pattern changes, then we need to change kind of what we are, the direction we're going.

Teresa: Yeah. And I think you hit on a couple of things there. That one, the speed in which it moves is just, you know, and in fact, and, and I'd sent you a DM and you replied to my DM once when I did a TEDx talk and I quoted you in my TEDx talk, because you said at one of the events I've been to that we're in one of the fastest moving industries in the world. And we are, it doesn't stop.

And I think that is a challenge itself. And secondly, for all these marketers that you're dealing with the overwhelm in this industry is just immense. I mean, do you ever see it ever changing, you know, or ever slowing down or ever feeling a little bit calmer?

Mike: I will say that over the last two years, it's slowed down a little bit only because Facebook has been so distracted with lawsuits. All over the world and government inquiries that they have not innovated as much. And as a result of the largest social media platform, not innovated as much the competitors slow down their innovation. It's only, now that we're starting to see a lot of new stuff coming from Facebook's fastest growing platform, which is Instagram.

And that's going to begin the competitive wars. If you will, across the social platforms. As, as other platforms are beginning to like, say, all right, I'm gonna add this or I'm gonna do this. Just like, you know, Facebook does it. But yeah, I, I always say internally that as long as social is changing. We have a very solid business model.

Because the moment it stops changing is the moment when pretty much we're not in a good spot. Right.

Teresa: Got nothing to say.

Mike: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, but it's slowing down for sure. And I think that. I think that as a result of it slowing down, there's a little bit going back to basics with a lot of marketing right now. Like, rather than just going here because it's new. Now, the deeper questions are being asked like, well, what is this doing for the business? What's the actual trackable ROI for something like this. And I think a lot of marketers right now are using this slightly slowing season to kind of make smart decisions about where to stop. So they can start something new.

Teresa: And I, I totally agree. I think sometimes what happens with the social space is that everybody thinks I've gotta be on everything. I've gotta do everything. You mentioned TikTok, you know, That comes out. Everyone's like, oh God, I, should I be doing that? Should I be on it?

Should we, you know, and actually sometimes for me, and, and when I speak to my audience, it's more about doing what you do with consideration and being consistent at it and being where your audience are and focusing on that platform and doing what you can manage. Because otherwise you will completely overwhelm yourself with all these platforms and try and do all these things and keep up with all these changes.

And I think all the platforms have got so many amazing things that they can do. And probably, I mean, you might agree, disagree, you know, lots of businesses are just scratching the surface of it.

Mike: I would agree. Most marketers are doing social wrong or bad. And that might mean they're doing just Facebook ads, for example, and it's kind of working, or it might mean that they're going live on LinkedIn or using LinkedIn video. And, but they don't really know if anyone's watching. So, but yes, I don't even remember what the original question was. What was the question?

Teresa: Just the fact do you know, I've forgotten as well. Yeah, the answer it's gone.

Mike: Yeah. It's the reality. The reality is we are in a changing world, but I think what I think, what, what, what a lot of us need to do is step back and answer the question why first, right?

Like why, why go do this? Right? Why, why continue to do this? Like, one of the things we've done at social media examiner over the last years is we've stopped some things like we decided no longer on Pinterest because in our particular demographic, it, it wasn't serving our business objective. We've also scaled back some of our use of live video.

Um, and instead we're producing podcasts, you know, and we're doing live tapings if you will. And it just really comes down to cost benefit analysis, right? Like we have a team of X number of people in the company. And I think there's five people in, in our marketing department, which is a decent sized marketing department. But they're all overworked and overwhelmed and it's like, There are a lot of things we would love to do more of YouTube being one of them.

And we just haven't been able to do it because we've been distracted doing what we've always done. So one of the things that I keep preaching to people is like, if, when I ask you why you say it's, because that's the way we've always done it, that's a legitimate reason to stop. Because it means you don't really know why.

Hardest thing in the world for a lot of people to do is to stop something, just cuz they've always done it. You almost feel like you're compelled. You must do it. And, and I say, you, you actually must consider whether or not that's a complete waste utter waste of your time. Because you will never be free for the next big thing when it does approach.

Teresa: And the other thing, sorry.

Mike: No, go ahead.

Teresa: So the other thing I was gonna say, that's really interesting when you have been in marketing a long time. When I, you know, I did my degree 15 years ago and well, one marketing then and marketing today looks nothing the same, but we couldn't prove this stuff.

We couldn't prove whether, you know, I used to head up corporate marketing for Land Rover in the UK and, you know, we would, our budgets were massive and we would then go in and do an advert in a paper that cost hundreds of thousands or whatever it would cost and they'd go, "How many cars did we sell?" And we'd be like, "No, I dunno."

You know, because we couldn't track it. Whereas now we can. And that's kind of the frustration that it's like, when you say, you know, why you didn't, well, this is what we've done. And oh, I, I wouldn't wanna stop that just in case. Well, you don't know what you're getting from it. So what do you think's gonna happen if you stop it?

So I think like you said, you know, the fact is we're in a world now where we can see all these things. That we're, it's ludicrous if we do not take advantage of those various different things and actually prove to ourselves that this is actually working and not working. So.




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