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How to Build Social Capital for Business Growth

In conversation with Aaron Templer

In this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Matt Fraser, our Chief Strategy Officer, had a very uplifting conversation with Aaron Templer, Founder and Principal Strategist at Three Over Four, a boutique brand and marketing agency located in Denver, Colorado. Watch the interview as Aaron shares his insights on building Social Capital that will help businesses of any size grow into enterprises of the future.

Social Capital is built on reciprocity, which is both an outcome and a requirement

Aaron Templer
Founder and Principal Strategist at Three Over Four

Everyone, thanks for joining us today on E coffee with digital web solutions. My name is Matt Fraser. And on the show today I have with me, Aaron Templer. Now Aaron is the founder and principal strategist at Three Over Four, which is a boutique brand and marketing agency located in Denver, Colorado. He’s been doing marketing for over 20 years, and he’s involved with the American Marketing Association as a Professional Instructor, Past President, and volunteer for their national Professional Chapters Council. Aaron is the author of Leading In A Social World: Stop Social Media Marketing and Build Social Capital Instead. And in addition, Aaron is a trained Percussionist who attended the Berkley College of Music. He is the live music director for the Indian dance troupe, Mudra dance studio, performing regularly on Dhol and other percussion instruments. So welcome, Aaron, and thank you so much for joining us.

Thanks, Matt. I love that you’ve dug up the cool music stuff.

Yeah I found it so unique that you are a; Is it Dhol is it? I looked up the pronunciation of the word.

 Yeah, you can sneak a little h in there, that’s Dhol.

I was very intrigued with the fact that on your profile it said that I don’t know if I’m saying this right on your Twitter profile it says some call you the Gora Dhol Wallah. I don’t know what that means. Could you explain to us what that means?

 Yeah, of course. It’s a fun nickname that the Indian community here in Denver has kind of given me, the Dhol is a drum from North India. It’s used in Bhangra music, very celebratory, very dance-centric music. And so I learned to play it here in Denver, a while ago, maybe almost 10 years ago now probably. And it’s used in a lot of weddings, where there’s a procession that brings the Groom into a wedding called the Bharat. And so I started getting calls to play these Bharat. And there’s no one else here in Denver that plays this drum, where there wasn’t before I started playing it kind of teaching some other folks. So it was kind of odd. This is a strange hobby. But I’m this odd first called Dhol player for Indian weddings throughout the summer. And then as you mentioned, I also played percussion for an Indian dance studio, including playing the Dhol for it. So then the community started calling me the Gora Dhol Wallah, which means the white guy who plays the drum.

That’s awesome. Man, I gotta ask him what this means, that is so amazing. How did you gravitate towards that instrument? And just what made you get started with wanting to play such a culturally unique instrument?

Well, it’s just I’ve been gifted and privileged to be kind of lead into the Indian community by way of my wife, she is of Indian descent, through this dance studio in the community that she’s involved in. So yeah, as you mentioned, I went to Berkeley to learn how to play drums and was going to be a professional musician for a while in my life. And then there are Indian weddings, there’s often a tradition where a family member will dance at either the reception or an event that precedes it, called the Sagai. And my wife once was asked to do this for a very close friend of hers, essentially a sister, and she said, you’re gonna have to dance with me in this. Usually, the husband does it too. And I said, Well, I’m not much of a dancer, so why don’t I learn how to play Dhol, and you can dance around me, and that’s sort of how it started. And then word spread pretty quickly that I was playing the drum. And that’s how it all came to me.

Oh, wow. So did you learn about music before you learned about marketing?

Yes. Music came first. Berkeley was my first foray into college. And then I ended up deciding to not pursue music full time, got an English Lit degree, was working in the mailroom for a marketing software company, and then just sort of worked my way up and built a career in marketing that way. So I would say that kinda like the Dhol marketing kind of found me more than I found it. It’s probably more

That’s very interesting so that leads me to my next question, which is like, how did you make that transition? You went to school, you got a job working for a marketing software company in marketing, and then it just grew from there. What was the first thing that you said, hey, I want to do marketing? This is this isn’t for me.

Yeah, that’s a good question. I’m not sure that it was ever a thing. It just sort of kind of built one step on top of the next I guess; At the time I was a musician looking for a day job and got a job in the mailroom of this marketing software company called Cork. If anyone remembers Cork Express out there, it was at the time kind of the leading Graphic Layout Software, where it was before InDesign was around.  So I ended up kind of doing technical training for them and a bunch of other stuff. It just sort of opened up the world as a way to make a living for me. And it made sense that kind of connected in my brain, and I just kept at it. So like I said, I think it found me more than I found it, but it’s been a good fit. There are a lot of creative minds in it. I love the teamwork that’s involved in marketing. I love the ability to take these concepts of influence and leadership and where they kind of meet together and use those powers for good. I think there’s a lot that marketers can add to the world and make it a better place.

Hey, that’s awesome. Yes, a lot of people think that we as Marketers just are out to get money out of people’s pockets. So ah, it’s awesome that you have that view, that philosophy that we can use for good because I do think we can solve it.

 Just like anything else it’s a decision to make. 

So what was your first Marketing project, I guess that you were maybe assigned to or that you took on yourself that you remember working on? And did you have like, an overwhelming moment where you’re like, oh, my gosh, I don’t know what I’m doing?

That happens. It’s happening right now. It happens all the time to me. I don’t know what a first Marketing project would be. It was back working with the software companies just a fascinating place to kind of cut your teeth and, and learn because it was not only doing Marketing, essentially. But we were doing Marketing for Marketers about Marketing. So it was just this immersive sort of situation. We’re doing technical training for some of the world’s you know, best ad agencies and creative agencies and worked with brands like Rolling Stone magazine, and kind of all of their creative teams that were just, you know, mind-boggling with, with what they were doing what they’re up to. So I just remember that experience as being very immersive and giving me the vocabulary and kind of understanding of what marketing was and where it sort of lived in the world. And, and that sort of creative spirit that attracts a lot of really fun people to work with.

That’s awesome. What was that like working with the Rolling Stone that must have been kind of like surreal, is what I’m thinking.

Yeah it was pretty cool. I mean, I had sort of a periphery peripheral, I guess, role at the time, Cork was making this software called cork iMedia. This is if anyone is out there that knows anything about Cork Splash in the past, it was this multimedia authoring tool. And we were doing things with it like creating CD, interactive CD ROMs, and crazy things called websites back in the day. So yeah, brands like Rolling Stone magazine would give us content, we would develop these multimedia tools for them. And then in exchange, we could use it to demo the software. So we were kind of building these presentations with their content. And now and then we get to kind of hop on a conference call with some of their creative folks. But again, I was kind of on the periphery of some of that, but just being around it and seeing how they went about creating video and using multimedia and crossing over their industries and genres. I gained an appreciation for cross-pollination and mixing things up a lot. I remember that.

So how did those experiences shape your, Marketing to what it is today, and how you do marketing today?

 Yeah I know, it’s a good question. First of all, for somebody like me my age, because it was a Software company, I learned pretty quickly that most Marketing, if not all Marketing today, but even back then is digital. So when the term Digital Marketing came around, that was always a little strange to me, because I always thought of it as digital. And I didn’t know that it needed the adjective. That’s the first thing the second thing is I kind of learned that you can push buttons, technical buttons, back ends of WordPress and MailChimp and whatever and not break things. So first, again, somebody that’s kind of my age and isn’t necessarily a Digital Native so much that gave me a nice foundation to try stuff and to learn and to not be intimidated by the technology. Those are, I would say the two kinds of big takeaways from that time that and not to sound like I’m repeating myself, but just sort of the creative juices that are around Marketing and that gets a Marketing attracts.

Do you find that as Marketers we have to use both sides of our brain? Some people debate if that is even true or not, but the left brain is analytical and the right brain creative. If so which one do you find you gravitate more towards, which one is more your strength?

 It’s interesting. I think I’m probably one of those people that believes it’s more of a bounce and a mix. And that reflects, and that we different networks, our brains, and it’s not necessarily the sides, but I think I understand the spirit of your question, which is,  there’s the logistics, there’s the data, there’s the sort of analytical side of things, and then there’s the creative side of things. And, oddly, this is gonna sound strange, it’s probably the analytical and kind of logistical side that I use the most when I’m executing on marketing. I would say that I tap into the creativity, or at least the empathetic side of my brain, when I’m building teams and leading teams, which is the thing that excites me the most about marketing, finding good people and putting them in, in places that they’re good at, and kind of watching that succeed and facilitating that process was exciting. And that’s an empathetic, probably way of approaching work that is probably on that, tapping into more of the creative neurons. But yeah, I mean, I think coming from a music background, I don’t find the creativity to be necessarily expressive in marketing. It just is a different starting place, when you’re doing something like making music than you are when you’re making sales or trying to make conversions. I just think it’s like a set a completely different sort of set of motivations and drives. But the empathy side, especially when it comes to working with teams is, is a highly creative, I think pursuit. And frankly, so is strategy, I think the strategy is all about seeing disparate data and making meaning of it and then creating something richer than before you considered multiple datasets. That’s a highly creative sort of pursuit. And some people might call that kind of analytical, but really, it’s very creative. So it probably is just kind of a, you know, you sort of swim in and out of those streams. I’d say, Matt, more than anything in marketing, maybe that’s what attracts me to it. Now that I’ve said it out loud. Because it’s fun, isn’t it? It can be for sure. Absolutely. Yeah,

I think it’s fun finding out. I think it’s fun when you see the work you do make an impact on a business. And you think of the creative ads to write or the creative copy, and then implementing it and then looking at the data and seeing what the data tells you and then having to use your creative side, think about ways to make the data conversions better. That being said, what made you, first of all, start your marketing agency? How did that evolve? What was the progress?

That’s a good question. It wasn’t a single sort of decision point. But I’d say a couple of big factors. One, I sort of took inventory of all the bosses that I had had, in my life, some good people, and realize it out of, you know, dozens of them, I could probably think of one or two that I genuinely respected. That struck me as me problem, more than a they problem. There were some good people there right out to people. So I sort of thought, I’m gonna be miserable trying to be managed, I’m not very easily managed, and I can’t seem to find that gear. And then the second thing was the desire to want to make more of my own decisions around the work and the people that I’m doing work with and building the kinds of teams that I want to work with. Just being able to control that, to say no to the things I don’t want to do, and to be able to craft the kind of organization, it’s sort of centered around the values that I believe in and that I want to just sort of be surrounded with. So I’d say those two things, not very well managed to create myself a lot of stress and heartache around all of that, and then just a desire to want to control things particularly as it relates to values and people.

Were you always wanting to be an Entrepreneur in that sense, like always wanting to be your boss?

I could remember every time, I’ve sort of that personality where I see something and think, yeah, I think I could probably do that, I want to do that. And it’s gotten me into trouble. And it’s a little narcissistic at times but I think when it comes to business, I’ve always sort of looked at that and thought, yeah, it’s probably something I could do. So I think I probably had that in me. And then I remember talking to my brother-in-law about it when I was just starting in my career. And I tried it once actually, right around the time that I was working at Cork, and kind of failed because I didn’t know what I was doing. And then kind of came back to it. So yeah, it’s always been, I think, in me, even if I wouldn’t have called it entrepreneurial.

So your agency is called Over Four. Now, I looked it up and found out what that means and why it came to be. But could you share why your agency is called Over Four? I think it’s a fascinating story.

Thanks. Yeah, sure. Well, first of all, we thought it would make a nice brand like there wasn’t much in the agency world that was called Three Over Four. It was relatively sticky and felt like something we could build a differentiated brand around. But the origin story for it, I guess, the pressure underneath it, refers to a polyrhythm, which, as we talked about before, is something that strategy is all about, you take multiple datasets and make richer meaning out of them. A polyrhythm is when you play the same different amounts of beats in the same space and time. So if you can imagine, let’s say three seconds, or let’s say that whatever, eight seconds pass, and in that eight seconds, you play three beats, and you also play four beats at the same time, that’s called a polyrhythm. So three over four is a very simple polyrhythm and pretty basic one, one that sounded good, I think, as a brand. And I think it reflects not only the strategic sort of foundations that we have as a firm but also the multiplicity that we value and embrace and I think differentiates us. We kind of value ourselves and try to find folks with different backgrounds and perspectives, and varying backgrounds perspectives, we value independence, and the people that do work for us, which gives us even more, I think, sort of polyrhythmic ways of approaching work, they’re not the sort of stuck to a, you know, an agency ethos, or some sort of dogmatic way to approach marketing based on a corporate sort of culture. So I think that also sort of is reflected in the name that we value multiplicity, and in polyrhythms and poly learning.

Hey, that’s awesome. So what does Over Four do differently from other Marketing Agencies?

Yeah, we do a lot of things differently. I think the first thing we do differently is, we’re very flexible in terms of our size. So we’re able to not think of the ongoing tactical execution in a way that a lot of agencies are. We’re not boxed in by tactics. And I think that gives us an objective and sort of agnostic way to approach how are we going to add value for clients? I come from the client-side, and I used to wonder, you talk to an ad agency about marketing strategy, and you’d get a lot of ideas that had to do with advertising.  So I wanted to take that off the table, and give people a much more sort of agnostic like I said, and objective look at it. So I think we do that well. And I think we are because of our sort of poly and multi-dimensional staffing model, if you want to call it that, we can look at what’s going to drive the most value for clients better. We also I’ve got, you know, a decent background and leadership. And I’ve taken an awful lot and learned an awful lot from that discipline and applied it to the marketing one. And I think for things like rebranding that’s more of a leadership exercise as it is a marketing one. So I think we bring that to the table as well. There are some other things too, we don’t mark up, things that other agencies do, and some other sort of smaller things. But those are the two main things that and again, this sort of ability and desire to be value-centric, and, and polyrhythmic in the way that we look and staff and act.

That’s awesome. So who would you say is your ideal client?

Yeah, our ideal client is someone who has at their center something other than profit, so they’re sharing the center of their operations and their purpose with some values. That tends to be who we align with. We tend to serve clients when we are a full-service agency and I am a strong believer that marketing is integrated, it requires multiple touchpoints and requires multiple tactics. So if we aren’t at least collaborating with the folks who are doing other types of activities, we would prefer to be doing it all in a way that then, makes all the tactics work together a lot more effectively. So we’re full service. So value-centric, full service. And then yeah, that I think, really gets us in our wheelhouse.

So you mentioned some of the things that connect. What would some of those activities be? For instance, are you talking about the entire funnel of a campaign that doesn’t convert and then a retargeting pixel with a retargeting campaign and a video campaign on YouTube to retarget and things like that?

Sure, yeah, that’s definitely in the right area that I would say everything from public and media relations to traditional advertising to the digital, all the work that you’re talking about on digital to websites to email the content. You mentioned that I’m involved in AMA and my involvement in AMA has given me a deep bench of incredible talent to pull together for all those types of activities. But that’s the idea is to integrate all of the tactical areas as much, obviously as you can.

So not just digital, like I mentioned, but also television and radio and other non-digital, like more traditional, they would call them marketing channels you can help with as well?

Yeah. And like I said before, I don’t see it as not digital, right? Like, we do reputation management for a client, where she was sort of the victim of some nefarious activity. So we’re trying to bury a lot of those links that you see when you google her name and bring up all the positive things that she’s doing in the world. And we’re making more headway with that with traditional media relations than we are with any of our digital marketing activities. So it’s just, I think it all is the same, we do traditional ads for a b2b client, in trade pubs with digital landing pages, right? That measures the results of it, and we submit all of the documents digitally. So yeah, it’s all the same to me. It’s all digital feels like,

That’s cool. So what’s your process for working with clients? And what I mean by that is, what’s the first thing you do when you bring on a client to find out; or maybe even they’re not even a client. What’s the first thing you do to find out if they’re even the right fit for you and your team?

 I don’t think that there’s a really specific process other than trying to get to know them a little bit beyond their work. I think social contracts are a lot more binding than any kind of transactional one. So we want to make sure that we’re, that we’re connecting and that and that we’re aligning, that we are not sort of talking over each other.  I would say, that’s a really important part of the process, to make sure that we’re not going to have miscommunications down the line. We spent some time asking for value statements and diversity statements, and all of that to make sure that the values align as we talked about earlier. And then if there’s like a strategy alignment, as well, so not that they need to have one, but that they value strategy so that we can spend some time on the strategic side of things without actually executing. That’ll give us a good sense if we can add value or not. And then we build out a scope and get to work. Hopefully,  if it’s right.

That is awesome. So what are three of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your business?

Hmm, that’s a good question. I think one of the things that people don’t talk about with entrepreneurs and how to be successful with your own business is how to set your life up outside of your business so that it facilitates that.  If you are trying to start something up, you need to sort of understand how much you’re willing to burn through, and how you can tolerate lean months. And if you need that outtie and personal shopper, or whatever. So some of those challenges, I would say early on, we’re okay getting the life sort of in order so that I say I truly need, my wife and I to be able to kind of manage that and clear expectations and communications between the two of us so that we’re not having fights over money and sort of being vulnerable around failure and how we can talk through that and work through that. I think that was important. There was some really important sort of obstacles there I would say. The next things are probably pretty typical finding and keeping clients. Growth is really difficult in our business. I feel like right when you’re about ready to try to scale up and hire more people,t that means less margin at that first while you’re trying to kind of get over that hump. So that can be a real challenge. And you sort of having to figure that out. I feel like as you go, or at least I did.

Waves thing.

Yeah, exactly. So those are the things that come to mind, I would say. But it’s interesting that because I don’t think a lot of people do talk about the personal side of it. And that’s, for me far more, that was far more challenging getting my armor down and having meaningful, rich conversations with my wife about what we were doing together and not having up the defenses and feeling like I needed to be all things all the time. And getting to that point where we could talk honestly, about that kind of thing. And I’m still working on that. She’s, I’m lucky to have her. She’s patient.

Sounds like an amazing woman. So you said that you work with free agents, rather than I think; how you put it was you work with free agents? And I checked out that book, you mentioned trusted agents, I believe it was called?

Or a free agent nation, maybe?

Yeah, something like that. I think I’m gonna read it. But anyway. So you talked about working with free agents, rather than in being having the freedom to assemble, I guess, would be customized teams, rather than having a staff or an army of staff? Can you tell me more about that?

Yeah, yeah, happy too? Well, I think it’s a model that just adds more value to clients. And it starts there, underlined by my desire to be kind of small and nimble, with my own business and not be tied down to a giant payroll. But the reality is, is that business and especially marketing needs for clients scale, they come up, they come down you have some time when you want to invest, you’re in a time of execution, where you’re not spending very much, you need to launch a new product, you need to cut back on some products on the dogs that are second revenue out of your business. So it never made sense to me why a giant agency would be staffed with a bunch of people that would be not flexible, like businesses and the businesses that they serve and the people that they serve. So there’s that we can flex up and down, depending on our clients, or prospective clients’ needs, growth becomes an outcome and not a goal for us. And we can, and we, I think, can just add more value for the reasons I just talked about earlier, which is we don’t have any sort of preconceived notions of the tactics we can deliver across a lot of different tactical areas, will do a puppet show if that’s what it takes to reach an audience. We’ve got the freedom to think that way with our model. And what I find interesting about all this, Matt is that agencies, marketing firms, and agencies work with free agents and contractors to one degree or another, all of them do. They just don’t talk about it very often. They sort of hide it for some reason if it’s as if it’s something to be embarrassed about. We like it, we think it adds value. And we think we do it well. We curate teams of people just like you would full-time staff, we try to invest in our people and our teams, just like you would if they were on a payroll, and we just put it out there. This is who we are and we think it adds a lot of value. If you’re impressed by an agency with a large payroll, then we’re not for you. And we’re fine saying that. But yeah, that’s why I’m attracted to that kind of model.

Yeah. And it is interesting, a lot of agencies do partner with subcontractors, if you will, just like a general contractor, would you see your position then and the philosophy, I do take this philosophy, because there are so many different facets and skill sets involved in executing proper marketing and impactful marketing, if you will, that you need to be a general contractor is if a building house where you’re looking at the plan and the blueprint of the marketing, and you got to find all the subcontractors to be able to execute the certain parts that need to be done. Do you look at it from that perspective?

Yeah, yeah. I mean, I’ve heard that and I’ve thought about that analogy before. I think it’s not inaccurate at all. I think there’s just something sort of more heartfelt that’s missing and the way we do it anyway, which is remembering that these are people and that, you know, contractors a little bit of a cold term in some ways. These are independent, fiercely smart, and creative people that I’m privileged to be working with and I just see my role is bringing them together for their expertise to do great things. Yeah, it’s more so I think then Yeah, here’s a contract do what is in your silo. But yeah, it’s, it’s true. And that’s why I kind of use the word Polymathic and polyrhythm,  you’ve got to think in that way and sort of being open, I think to a lot of different things. We aren’t just your SEO firm, we need to be involved in all of these activities and integrate them.

That’s Awesome. So I am guessing then that each client. There is no real typical marketing strategy. You approach each client with their uniqueness about their business to develop something.

 Absolutely. We are very high touch. There are a few things that are templated. For sure dashboards and things are project management tools set up in instances and things like that that we can leverage. For the most part, I touch very unique, the scopes of workers are always different. Making writing proposals feels like a nightmare at times because every time it’s different. It’s the way we like it.

I tip my hat to you because every proposal would be unique and those people who are outside of the scope of what we do probably don’t understand that. But yeah as someone who has had to do that, I know exactly the amount of work and time that you have to put in and TLC. You do that for every client. You recently published the book When I say recently I mean in the last little while. Leading in a Social World – why did you decide to write the book I guess if I could be so bold?

 I don’t know if there is one answer to that. I have been consulting and speaking on this topic for a long time. During the stay-at-home orders, at the beginning of the Pandemic, I lost all of my music gigs as many musicians did and I needed a creative outlet. I needed to create something and I had intended to write this book for a long time so I decided to bust it up. That sort of logistically is I guess why. Broader than that I have always believed and been on a mission that Marketers need to elevate the way that we think about what we do. And what we do is about influence, which is a discipline, again it is shared with leadership and I think to get fired up to find those intersections and crossover. There is a strong crossover with Social Media Marketing and how we build value and Social constructs like Social Media. So I wanted to articulate that. I wanted to bring that to life. What are the leadership skills that drive value in Social constructs like Social Media and not the Social Media Marketing perspective that we tend to be so myopic around? And then how do we break down the biases that are associated with how we deal with the data. Most of the data around Social Media Marketing is screaming for us to stop using it and I feel like we as Marketers just have really strong biases cloaked up to not see it for that. So that was another strong motivator.

I know exactly what you are talking about. Could you elaborate on that a little, because I think I know what you mean but when you say – All the data is telling us that we ought not to be doing it. Could you elaborate on that a little bit so that people can understand where you are coming from?

Yeah. I know Sure. The book looks at over fifty different Marketing studies, around Social Media Marketing and the data is very clear that Social Media Marketing returns very little value most of the time. It can damage your brand in reality. One example of this at the top of my mind right now- The University of Maryland studied that looked at thousands of brands on Facebook and hundreds of thousands of their followers and found that the larger the following on Social Media, these brands, the more negative and biased the comments were to be about the brand. So we as Marketers are falling over ourselves to show growth and followers and fans on a Social media platform but in many cases, it’s damaging our brand.  We look to cross all of the different types of activities that markers are responsible for from lead gen to awareness to funnel conversions and objective studies continue to demonstrate is very little value in moving the needle in those areas.  So I think there are just really strong biases around all this. If people don’t want to buy the book it is also on my blog. Templer.com/blog. you can read that part of the book free if you want around all of the studies that show that Social Media Marketing is ineffective. 

ok. I agree with you and as a Marketer, people think we are out to lunch, and those watching this, all those Social Media Marketing Consultants out there are just going to be pulling their hair out and probably be mad at us, but I know some very successful Marketers that I respect and they don’t they tell their clients we don’t do Social Media Marketing because you cannot tie; Number one it is very hard to scale and they should do it in-house if they are going to do it. And it’s very hard for attribution to tie the bottom line increase in business activity to those activities.

 Yeah for sure. you brought up the business sector when other studies demonstrate the malaise that we are stuck in as Marketers who do Social Media and Social Media Marketing. One study showed that less than 20% of Marketers tie results for Social Media Marketing to business results. And around 75% of them use the tools that are reporting themselves to talk about what the effectiveness of this is. It begs the question like; is this the fox running the hen house? That you are asking Facebook and Hood Suite who have vested interest in you continuing to give them money to tell you whether or not the work that you are doing is effective or not. It’s quite the ruse in some ways. 

Do you think there is a differentiation between the organic side of Social Media and the paid side? For instance, can the paid side be effective in the sense of targeting a specific audience? whether it’s your email list or a lookalike audience or demographic interest with some kind of offer or they say build up an audience with content first and then retarget them with an offer. But building up an audience first, and this is all paid I am referring to. Is there a place for paid versus organic Social Media Marketing?

 Yeah. First off I think the place for it is if you can demonstrate that your business benefits, there is a return on what it is you are doing from Social Media Marketing, I am not here to tell you to stop doing it, keep doing it. So if you have a paid Facebook campaign that is generating value for you, how you define value, then by all means keep doing it. It’s hard to souse out the difference between paid; the results anyway from these studies, between paid and organic because not a lot of people are taking the time, and you cant rely on the Social media platform to do this for you. But the studies don’t do a good job of sousing it out. My senses from looking at all of this if you can create a platform to advertise on, then that’s an advertising discussion not how you generate value in Social constructs. So if you can build some kind of platform and Facebook is driving value for you through ads, again kind of different. focus than the focus of my book, which is how to build social capital in Social constructs. this is something very different and I am probably not the best expert in that.

I am glad you brought that up cause that leads to my very next question, which is; You mention Social capital in your book and I know what it means because I read excerpts from your book, but can you explain to the viewers what you mean by that? What is social capital? Where did it come from? How did you coin the phrase or get the phrase from?

 yeah absolutely man. I spend an entire chapter talking about what social capital is, the nature of it is such that it’s a lot more interesting and fun to explore its meaning as opposed to trying to define it. But essentially there are different types of capital so, there is financial capital, there is human capital, and Managers and leaders in organizations if they can measure and manage those areas of the capital, will want to do what they can to maximize their return. In organizations, there is a thing called social capital which generates value for organizations. Leaders are aware of this and there are all kinds of literature and studies around it. And you can derive a significant amount of capital and value for your organization by managing it. A decent working definition of social capital is, but again it is so much more fun to think about it broadly instead of swimming in and out of its meaning. We are social creatures so the word social is not an adjective as much as it is sort of everything that we are. and how we see the world. But anyway I think a decent working definition of social capital in an organization, is so different from countries and communities that the social capital comes to play in those areas as well, but it is a resource of relative wealth or relational wealth for individuals, but also collective working professionals. So I can gain social capital as a person if I take part in the American Marketing Association but I can also generate it for my brand and my organization. Individual or collective working professionals are created by investing in managing the configuration and the actual working operation of your networks and their durable social relationships. So the relationship that’s durable, lasting, and exchanges value.  So that is what social capital is. It generates value in organizations across a myriad of places, from knowledge sharing to innovation even supply chain but also access to privileged networks which is the myopic focus of Social Media Marketers. Our eyeballs get big and we start to drool thinking about having friends and friends do the selling for us. And we think that by accessing those networks we are going to be able to somehow market effectively.  Which is not the way social capital works and social constructs works. and why the marketing data, that we were talking about earlier demonstrates that.

That’s amazing. So you wrote in the book that businesses, and you wrote an article that was published on Marketing Cross about why you should stop doing Social Media marketing, and correct me if I am wrong, and where you should go instead. And you mention that it should become instead of a Marketing task a customer care task. Why is it that you think it is important for businesses to transition all the businesses and organizations from Social Media Marketing in the Marketing department to the customer service department?

There are a couple of answers, but, simply, your customers are demanding it. So you better be doing customer care on Social Media. There are a couple of really interesting studies about how organizations seem hell-bent on ignoring the data that we are demanding that customer care be done on  Social media now. I think it’s because Marketers have their hands on the levers and are unwilling to let go of it, but probably for a different discussion The broader and more interesting answer is that it’s a better fit. Social constructs the value that is generated on social constructs is social capital and that it drives through learnable leadership skills, as the book details. And one of them, just to give you an example, is reciprocity. So reciprocity is both an outcome but is also required to build social capital and it flattens a relationship. So you and I met, might need something from each other, and we are going to come together to provide that value for one another. That’s what customer care is. A brand necessarily has to step back, listen and become an equal partner with their customers in that type of relationship. And that’s exactly what a social construct demands. Any kind of hierarchy or even perceived hierarchy within the social construct and social capital is killed. Brands who are trying to work somebody through a funnel or thinking of themselves as being in control of activity in a social construct, that’s a very different pursuit and that sort of reciprocal flattened relationship in customer care. And Social Media is built for that. It’s a social construct just like any other social construct that is built for it. Does that make sense I hope I explained that well?

There is more value in; number one customers are demanding it. If I could repeat what you said earlier. It’s interesting because there is a company that I won’t name, I couldn’t believe it, well I guess I can believe it, but someone complained about their product and the company replied with; Social Media is not one of our support channels, so, therefore, we are not going to ever reply. Go to our support channel. I don’t even know if they said to go to our support channel. It’s crazy to me that in this day and age customers are ignored. You said customers are demanding it and yes they are. And you are saying no. You don’t say no to customers. Also, it is a place for social construct and social capital. It’s what can make people, you can reach them more easily by providing that customer service with that avenue than just trying to sell them something.

Yeah. I think that’s true.

Are there examples of businesses and organizations that have done this? I know you had mentioned one, which I think is probably, I didn’t even know until I read your book and I am speaking of Xbox. It went there. Could you tell me a little bit about that? I read a little bit about that but I had no idea what they did. I found it fascinating

Xbox is a cold story and we were lucky enough to talk to the person who could have created their social media channels. She was wonderful and she was telling me it’s not the social media technical skills that matter, she didn’t have a Twitter account when she created this incredible support system. Xbox is a good example they have met their customers right where they need to be and they have created a really powerful and valuable customer care team and process on Social Media. So that’s detailed in the book.  The other one is Zappos I spoke to several people on their senior customer care team they have a ton of lessons to learn. They have been doing since the beginning`, it’s really what has driven them to be involved in Social Media and it’s deriving all kinds of value from that. The Senior Director of customer care told me that the CEO Tony Hsieh, RIP, told him to just get on Social Media and start Interacting with customers and he said we didn’t invent the phone but when it rang we picked it up. That was his opinion about that. And then there is a big case study in the book too – British telecom which saved several billion pounds on moving resources from their traditional channels over to Social Media. How and why they did that is interesting also too how they measure it. Several examples of that and there is more data around, again the expectations that customers have and how brands are falling short in meeting them and ignoring those cues.

Do you think that that’s going to change?

Yeah. I think for the most part this part of the book isn’t necessarily groundbreaking. I think it already has. I think a lot of people understand it and are on it. I think that there are good examples and bad examples. I do think that the reason I wrote that part of the book was to illustrate how social capital is generated in social constructs and how that stands in contrast to marketing first of all. And secondly to try and shed a light so CEOs and those who are making decisions where their Social Media dollars are going. And to listen to some of the other Marketing folks who are clinging to those budgets and those FTEs and all other reasons that we have for resisting change.

Exactly. What are some tips that you would give to a business that wanted to follow this path of transitioning from the Marketing Department to customer care?

That’s a good question. I get that question quite a bit. I am not naïve to think that all those conditions change. You have a lot invested in these agencies and budgets and FTEs and I get that. But I think the place to start is to have an honest conversation about data. Look at what and how you are measuring the value of your Social media activities. and every single data point that you are seeing ask, does this demonstrate value? and as importantly, where is it coming from? If it’s coming from a Social media platform start digging in and see if you can start measuring differently. And the tools are there. We can goal set with analytics and tag manager and follow channels to follow the people who come to us through the various channels,  like Social Media, and then if they click on a contact us form or however you are measuring value, you can get to that. So t start having honest conversations about the data and then the second thing is to take some time and think about social capital. Social networks are extremely complex, they are a funnel, they are a channel the way that we think about them in terms of marketing.  They act in different ways, the book takes a look at some of that. There are other books out there that can help you with understanding the nature of Social grooves and social construct. And then hold that up to your plan `of how you are using social media and ask does this match? Does this make sense? Is this how people are interacting in these social groups, the way that we are meeting them and the way that we are wanting to engage them does this match up. Those are probably the two places to start.

Where can people find the book if they wanted to explore that more? Is there a website they can go to? Is it there in bookstores?

Yes. aarontempler.com\book. You can also go to leadinginasocialworld.com. The aarontempler.com\book will also give you my blog, so you can check out some chapters there if you want before you buy it.  There is a link on both leadinginasocialworld.com and aarontempler.com\book all the links to the online stores there and again on the blog there are sample chapters. Thank you for asking that.

No problem. So I am just going to ask you some rapid-fire questions if I could. We like to do this at the end. If you could turn back time and talk to your 18-year-old self, what would it be and why?

Quit smoking. That was a tough one. It’s been a long long time since I smoked. It was the company and stay in shape. How about that.

Those were awesome. Tell me about the three most influential people in your life and how they impacted you.

My wife, she is like my north for sure. There is a drummer named Jeff Watts. He taught me about polyrhythms. We only met once but he had a huge influence on my life. And then a third person who has had a big influence on my life? Probably my father for a lot of different reasons.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

I would hope it would be compassion.

Besides where your living now, which is Denver, If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Since I’ll be living with my wife and she is a big Skier, It will probably have to be up some mountains. Maybe up where you are at. Maybe in Europe near the Alps. I’m not a big Skier but my wife is, so we would have to have some mountains around.

Jasper National Park and Bams were on the top ten list of best places to ski in the world. Someplace in Sweden came first. If you could have coffee with any historical figure who would you choose?

I would go with a musician. A younger Wayne Schroeder

ok What was your favorite subject in school.

Music. If Jazz Band wasn’t in the morning I’m not sure I would have gone to school. They did a smart thing by putting jazz band in the morning.

What was your favorite trip that you ever took.

This is going to be recency bias. We went to Mexico City not too long ago. That was a really fun trip. We also traveled to India to see my wife/s family. Those are always great trips. It’s become familiar to me, seeing her family and everything. So those are great trips too.

Are you an Introvert or an extrovert?

I am an overt. I think I flex between the two pretty well.

What is your favorite color?

Color? Blue I guess.

Aaron I want to thank you very much for joining us on the show today If you bear with me ill end the recording and have them edit it, But I want to thank you for joining us today and being on the show. I appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Thank you, Matt, it was a real privilege to be on with you and share your platform here. So thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Thanks very much.



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