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How to Use Social to Grow Your Popularity with AJ Kumar, The Limitless Company: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Dec 19, 2023

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking how to use social to grow your popularity with AJ Kumar. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts: How to Use Social to Grow Your Popularity with AJ Kumar, The Limitless Company

Have you thought about using social media to grow your popularity? It helps to view social through a marketing lens – whether you’re using it for your business or your personal brand. When you take this approach, it requires intention, a narrative, and a strategy. But what are the best ways to make your brand pop on social media? We wanted you to learn from a true thought leader in the space, so we welcomed on AJ Kumar, The Digital Maestro at The Limitless Company. They transform your thought leadership into entertaining short-form vertical videos designed to create attention on social media. This episode covers everything from social media to video content. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you use social to grow your popularity?
  • Why is social such a key platform for building popularity?
  • How do you get discovered on social media?
  • What type of content stands out on social media?
  • Why is short-form content so popular?
  • How do you let your personal brand shine on social media?
  • What would AJ do with $500,000?
  • Where would he fly?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you missed anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it.

Welcome to Marketing Smarts. I’m Anne Candido, and I am April martini, and today we’re gonna talk about how to use social to grow your popularity. So whether you’re trying to grow yourself as a business or yourself within a business, your social channels need to be approached with a marketing lens. So this is way different from the rest of the population, who may use their social channels as ways to capture and share their life and their thoughts. But wherever that might be, but when you approach social with a marketing lens that requires intention, it requires a narrative and you guessed it, it requires a strategy. Yes,

and it’s really important to recognize, too, that this is a test and learn practice, you hear us talk about testing and learning all the time on the show, this is a nother situation for that because it takes time to really see what resonates. And what we can say is you always need to start from a place of authenticity, because in the day we are in people audiences sniff it out when it is not authentic. So really, what that means is your social media presence needs to be rooted in your personal brand. Another topic we discussed a ton, and you need to know what success looks like so you can appropriately evaluate and refine as part of that testing and learning strategy. And

today we’re gonna bring on a guest to discuss this topic. It’s somebody who is lives it in a very much a day to day standpoint is AJ Kumar, The Digital Maestro of The Limitless Cmpany. Hey, AJ, would you like to say hi, and introduce yourself?

AJ Kumar 1:52
Hey, yeah, nice. Nice to talk to everybody here. Yeah, I’m AJ The Digital Maestro. So I help thought leaders create viral content on social media. Essentially, what we do is we help them understand what kind of content is working and evaluate their content by a methodology we call ROAC Return On Attention Created. I’ve been in digital marketing for a little bit over 15 years now. I came from the real world of working with gurus in the seminar space, and then transitioned to working with gurus in the online space, I actually started working with corporate brands at first, helping them primarily with SEO. And then as I saw the opportunity to work with personal brands, I took it, one of the first personal brands I worked with was a woman named Kimberly Snyder, who was a celebrity nutritionist helped take her blog from 30,000 visitors a month to like 500,000 visitors a month. And that opened all sorts of new doors for her and for me, in the sense of understanding what’s possible with the internet for a person. So that eventually led me to really honing in on helping thought leaders build their personal brand on the internet, and leverage that to, to grow their business to grow their audience to grow their brand. And today, I have the limitless company that helps people do just that. I

Anne Candido 3:13
love it. So all you have to do right is just snap your fingers and then you just go from 25,000 to 500,000. Right? That’s, it’s just that easy. That’s

AJ Kumar 3:22
like that stop snap. All right. So are you could rub the lamp.

Anne Candido 3:25
Okay. All right. So we went, if you can find the lamp, you can grab it. And you can get that too. So this podcast episode is now over, right? That’s all we got. That’s all we got. Guys.

Speaker 1 3:35
We’re good to go. All right, oh, actually, we’re gonna jump into all those details. Because I know everybody is very intrigued by what you had to say. And I know everybody is more like, Well, okay, how do you do it? And how do I do it? More importantly, so AJ, let’s start with why is social becoming such a key channel for realizing popularity, because there’s been a shift in the way that people show up when they want to develop thought leadership, when they want to develop that credibility when they want to grow their, their awareness. So how social I kind of changed the game.

AJ Kumar 4:05
And it has evolved so significantly over the past decade or so. Right. And, you know, traditionally people that are, you know, wanting to be thought leaders, old media, traditional media, you do seminars, you go to events, and if you’re lucky, you even get to some kind of television position in some way, shape or form. But obviously, that, you know, that model has changed and evolved. And social media at first was very much of novelty to most people. People are getting used to it, they’re trying to figure out how it works. I know I kind of understood it right off the bat, and like 2009 2010, because that was already in the internet space. But a lot of people were really just intrigued by it, right? Like, like, Oh, these are the people that I knew in high school and you get to see what they’re doing or what they’re up to. And social media originally operated with a social graph, right? Which means that you’re essentially seeing people and content from people that you know, or people that they know. So it was a very Lo way to discover new content. And people are, we’re very much familiar with Google. Right? Google has been around for a little bit. And that was primarily the way we operated. We searched for stuff on Google, we found different websites. And that’s how we discovered people and people that were thought leaders uncertain topics. But over the past decade or so, as technology advanced, and really a perfect storm of so many different things like even the bandwidth to be able to handle video content at scale, even with the pandemic, and what that happened, made social social media so much more sophisticated. And today, it social media is at a point where it’s now an interest based algorithm. So before where it was very much like, you know, the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, we’re we’re thinking about, how many degrees are we away from Kevin Bacon, right? Everyone’s at least six. And that’s just how you thought about it. Whereas today, it’s way beyond that. Now it’s based off of interest. And now you’re seeing content, not just from people that you know, but people that are interested in the same types of topics as before. So that is what’s referred to as the TikTokification of social media. Tick tock was originally who started it with their short form vertical videos, people were so amazed and intrigued that all the other social networks were like, Hey, let’s do this. And I don’t know if you guys are familiar with Google land. But in Google land, if you have a website, and you want that website to rank at the top of search engines, you essentially need to get other websites to link to it. And by other websites, linking to it, you know, that other people voting for you to be that trusted source. So in social media land, it’s similar in the sense that people are engaging with your content, and a person that has content that people are engaging with, is considered popular and reliable. It doesn’t mean it’s the ipso facto of what it is, but it definitely puts you in that position to where you can become a thought leader on new topics that you didn’t before.

Anne Candido 6:57
Yeah, I mean, I love what you have to say about the level of sophistication. I mean, for whatever reason, and anecdotally, lately, my Facebook has been reminding me of posts that I made very early on, right. And I have been shuffling because it’s like a random comment between me and one of my sisters. Right? That like, I would not cringe, because I’m like, I would never post that out there for people to see, right. But when I look back on that, it’s exactly what you’re talking about. Versus now. Where we are fast forward, and you’re looking for really more to me, it’s more of like the community space, right. It’s like, I’m trying to build beyond just the people I know, the like mindedness and also looking for people to feed what I’m looking for at the same time, but it’s less about me knowing and, you know, I think this is a hard thing for people to let go to is for me of like, letting someone in that I don’t actually know for the benefit of what we’re talking about here, which is building your overall popularity and the personal brand you want to put out there, which I think there’s so many, you know, complications and so many different lenses for this, which is why I think this conversation is so important. You threw out a whole bunch of them, right? I’m sure our audience is like, oh, geez, I have to you know, make a bunch of notes and maybe listen to this one a few times. But I think there are tons of reasons that we are, where we are and why social media is such a fruitful place to be building your personal brand and popularity now versus what it was at the beginning.

AJ Kumar 8:25
Yeah, like it’s become a much more trusted source. Right? You probably heard of this tick tock Instagram, YouTube is a new ABC, NBC, CBS right. And now you have reports and studies coming out saying that, you know, 20% of adults are getting their news from Tik Tok or 50% of Gen Z is getting their news from Tik Tok or social media in general. And those are indicators that are telling us that, hey, these platforms are legitimatize now, and there’s all this doubt and uncertainty when it comes to traditional media because they skew in one direction or another. Whereas social media seems to be a place where you could get a variety of different opinions, right? There’s this whole like supply and demand thing that’s happening where there’s so much demand for short form content, that now the average user is spending about 2.5 hours a day on social media consuming content. And if you’re consuming, you know, 510 2035 60 seconds of content, you can only imagine how much content you could be consuming in that that period of time. So it’s playing such a critical role. And the opportunity is so massive, like there’s not enough supply to currently meet the demand. So there’s still a lot of opportunity for anybody out there. That’s just even barely getting started now.

Anne Candido 9:41
Yeah, and I love what you had to say about discoverability because I think that’s the crux is F does what everybody’s asking, right? How do I get discovered? How do I get discovered? I mean, I put all this stuff out there and why don’t people like it or why are people watching it? I think the thing that you said right before the is the crux of that it is it’s all about interest based content, right? Because cuz that’s how people are getting new content and getting and getting exposure to new people producing the content where before we might like follow our quote unquote favorite people, or celebrities or stars or athletes or whatnot. But now it’s being curated based on what I’m interested in. And that’s what you taught like the TikTokification basically of social media in the way that people are scrolling, because it happens to us all the time. And sometimes we it happens without us even knowing yet. I mean, obviously, what you had said about the crosslinking is absolutely right. But there’s also the retargeting, which happens a lot, or it just happens, like these algorithms that, you know, the metes making code starts tracking what we’re interested in, and it feeds us more of that, like, I must have clicked on a gorilla post one time a baby gorilla post. Now I get fed, like baby gorilla posts like nobody’s business, right? So somebody said, Oh, she likes baby gorillas. Here’s more baby gorilla stuff at every single kind of format. You could think of it from the Congo to like, the whole entire world. Yeah. So I think it’s really, really important to be very intentional how you creating your content and making sure its interest based on the community that which you want to reach as April was saying, and that’s very, very different than the traditional way that we think about using social media, which is, I have this thought, and I want to put that thought out there. And I hope the whole world loves my thoughts. So maybe he you could speak to a little bit more about the strategy of trying to figure out how do I figure out what I want to say, that’s going to help me get that quote, unquote, discoverability, or that awareness,

AJ Kumar 11:31
everyone’s taught to niche down right into whatever category or field that they’re in. And that is a great place to start of like, alright, this is my niche, this is where I’m at. And then you have a chance to explore all the different topics that are within that niche. But then as you as you start to realize, the people that become the thought leaders, the people that become in the public eye, typically have a variety of different niches that they’re a part of, they have their core niche that they’re part of. And then they also have complementary areas that they’re part of. So an example is, when I was working with Kimberly Snyder, she is a plant based nutritionist, right, I also realized that she had other areas of interests, like spirituality, or yoga. And as I discover that, then we started to integrate these other complementary areas of interest into her content, which essentially allowed people that weren’t necessarily into plant based nutrition, but we’re into yoga to discover her and then also become interested in plant based nutrition. So when you’re thinking about what market do you want to position yourself in? What is the core focus that you want to have within that market? And then what are complementary areas that you also are interested in? Because the challenge is, so many people are talking about different content, right? There’s billions of pieces of content out there. So you are trying to stand out from everybody else, you want to be different from everybody else, and you want to really position yourself as a multi dimensional person, otherwise, people are watching you on a flat surface, right? So one dimensional experience. But if you could add the reality of how humans are like one person isn’t just focused on this one thing, they have other areas of interest, that’s what helps you stand out. That’s what helps people want to connect with you, even if they aren’t aware of your core focus to begin with.

Anne Candido 13:20
So I mean, when I’m hearing as you’re talking about all that strategy, right. And so I think one of the things that you said is about the niche, I mean, how do you, I guess, evaluate and decide, you know, is this where I start? Or I have all these different interests? What do I do with that? Like, how do you work with these people to help them identify what is going to stand out from the noise and then how to bring it to life? Because I totally appreciate the one dimensionality of things. We’ve all seen bad content, right? Where it just misses the mark. And you’re like, oh, and even those of us that are in it are like, Oh, I see what they’re trying to do. But man that really did fail. Most people don’t even think that far, they just move along. And then you’ve lost your opportunity. So talk a little bit about like, how the sausage is made? Or how do you figure out what that looks like, as far as the plan goes?

AJ Kumar 14:05
Well, now we’re in a place where it’s, it’s great, because so many people have already created so much content, that you could go into your niche and look up other people that have created similar content on topics that you could talk about, and see what’s already working. And based off of what’s already working, you could create content that expands on that topic, right? This is similarly to how it was happening in search engine world, where you would see what kind of blogs rank at the very top and see how you could create something that’s similar but adds more value to it. There’s a guy nests in the SEO world named Brian Dean who came up with this topic called The Skyscraper Technique, where he would see what kind of content is ranking. And then he would add more value on top of what was being communicated with that piece of content. And that would help and that piece of content ranking higher. Similarly in social media land, it works like that as well. Find out to see What kind of content is already getting millions of views are already going viral and talk about that and expand on it. And it all comes down to you know what you like talking about. Because if you’re not genuinely enthusiastic about this stuff, then it’s going to show because unlike blog content, unlike the written word, when you’re on video, when you’re communicating visually, there’s a lot of stuff going on. There’s a lot of bits and pieces that are being communicated, right. There are studies that were done in the past that talked about how communication is broken down. 7% is words 38% of its tonality, 55% of it’s your body language. So people that are and this is what actors do, right? This is why actors are some of the most highly paid people in the world, it seems like an easy job, but it’s actually very technically hard to be able to play your body like an instrument. And that’s what you’re doing is you’re learning to play your body like an instrument in a way where anybody could say the same things. But if you could say in a more interesting way, in a more animated way, in a way that has fluctuations in how your your tone comes across, you become a lot more effective. Because social media at the end of the day, these are channels for communication at scale. And worse, whether you’re in person and you’re trying to communicate with somebody or you’re on social media, when you’re tracking against up with somebody, all of these things play into it.

Anne Candido 16:22
Yeah, and I think you know, what you’re really highlighting is a need for some level of point of view, right? Because I think a lot of people, like you just said, are under the impression that I can just create something. And like we said, at the very beginning, we snap our fingers and it could go viral cannot go viral. It’s just kind of a happenstance of the universe, right? Where there is like certain things that you never can guarantee your contents gonna go viral. But there’s certain things that are important in order to make sure that not only the one piece of content, quote, unquote, go viral, but then multiple pieces of content from you go viral. And I think that the things that I heard you say that I think are really important, I want people to hear is that having a point of view being able to add value on top of what’s already going on not just attributing it, it’s a very big difference between thought leadership and curation. And we see it all the time in books, we see it all the time in speakers and people who lead seminars, people, some people are curators, and some people are thought leaders, either one can make you money, it just depends on how you want to show up and the presence that you want to have. And I think the other second thing you said was belief. And if you’re not believing what you’re saying, if it’s not part of what your personal brand is, if it’s not part of your overall presence, you want it to signify, or you want it how you want to show up. You can see that on video. And I think that’s why a lot of people shy away from video initially, too, because it just is so mixed you to so transparently vulnerable. I mean, you can’t hide behind anything, right? It all has to work together. So maybe you could speak a little bit more to the art form of video about short form content, what tends to be more to that art speak more to how that that format speaks to people and what people need to consider when they are thinking about going into this communication channel.

AJ Kumar 18:13
Yeah, and it’s funny because a lot of people that we work with are the people that have been in the, in their, in their respective industries for a really long time. And they’re really successful at it. And they’re familiar with speaking long form, write long form is really easy. Yep. But when it comes to creating short form content, people kind of get stuck. And really, it’s like, the way I always talk to people about is that you get the stuff that you’re trying to talk about. And then you’re essentially just like splintering, you’re getting these little splinters from the core subject that you’re talking about. And then you’re essentially repackaging it for short form land, right? Because short form vertical videos is essentially the new way people are watching television, right? Instead of it being horizontal on Intellivision, where it’s 30 minutes long or 60 minutes long. It’s now vertical. And you guys probably remember, I think it was Kwibi was the platform, right? Like when that first came out, it was it flopped, they spent so much money on it. And then everybody was like, oh, people don’t want to watch vertical content. But that was a net, it was just that people didn’t want to pay for this vertical content that they really were unfamiliar with. But then as people started consuming Tik Tok, that was one of the first social networks that really hardcore push short form content. It became a new habit. And people loved it. And people enjoyed it. And they really got addicted to it because of the way the mechanisms work on that platform. Whether you’re you’re posting content, and you’re getting all of these engagement metrics that are just very high, especially in the beginning, or you’re consuming content, and you’re realizing you’re getting content that you’re really interested in really fast. So by that mechanism in place and people really loving it, it essentially took over as the new way people like to consume content and now Now we’re at this place where like I was mentioning, people are watching for 2.5 hours a day, and they’re consuming hundreds of videos. So now as a as a person that wants to create content that wants to become a thought leader or wants to position themselves in a market in some way. Now you have to implement strategy, you have to implement techniques, especially thinking about how people are using these platforms, right, they’re scrolling and if you imagine if somebody’s on social media, they’re usually in it in spurts of like, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, sometimes even an hour. Like I don’t know if you guys have ever gotten that warning on Tik Tok, or on social where it’s like, you’ve been on for a bit too long there, buddy.

Anne Candido 20:40
16 year old daughter has.

AJ Kumar 20:43
Yeah, so it’s like that’s there, the demand is there. So then as the person that’s creating the content, now you’re thinking about it more strategically, because ultimately, the goal of the algorithms, these platforms are to keep users on the platform as long as possible. They want watch time. So if you’re producing content, that gets somebody to watch the entire video that consumes it, it’s going to start showing it to more people. So the way we work with clients is we have we helped them develop what’s called the hook, and then the sub hook, because we based on the data that we’ve had with their clients to have these really viral videos, talking about like 2 million 10 million type videos, usually people that watch about 10 to 15 seconds of the content, tend to watch the whole thing all the way through. So if we could get somebody to stay between that 10 to 15. second mark, they’ll stay. So we put a lot of focus and emphasis on that portion of the video, right, because that’s just the nature of how it works. And it’s all entertainment. First, I don’t know if you heard of this quote, and I don’t know how you feel about Elon Musk. He has this he has this quote where he says the most entertaining outcome is the most likely outcome, because people tend to gravitate towards what they’re more excited about. And these platforms tick tock, and as these other networks like Instagram and YouTube, adopt that method. They’re making it very entertainment first. So then as the thought leader, as the person that wants to build a personal brand, you got to start thinking about how could you be more entertaining. And the root word of entertainment really comes down to being able to hold someone’s attention, right, it’s not necessarily being a clown, and like throwing a pie in your face or something like that. It’s really being able to get somebody hooked so that they’re now listening to what you have to say. And then keep them entertained or hold on to their attention so that they’re staying all the way through. That becomes a really key part of what needs to happen now. I mean,

Anne Candido 22:45
I’m sitting here thinking about personal brand, and then the layer of video and how hard that is for people plus the stopping power. How do you help people identify in this format? How do they figure out what works? How did they get people to do the 10 to 15 minutes? And then longer than that, you know, how do you help them connect that authenticity we talked about in the very beginning, through their personal brand in this new space that many of us aren’t that comfortable with? And then have stuff that people will engage with? Like, what’s the process for getting that? Because I have to imagine it’s uncomfortable for people in a lot of ways and also hard to be authentic, then because it’s not something you’re used to doing, whether it’s a short form, in front of the camera, all of the above, etc.

AJ Kumar 23:27
That’s a really good question. I think a lot of people kind of come to that spot. And this isn’t, this is not going to sound like a magical answer. Really building your personal brand on social media is an iterative process. And it really comes down to creating videos getting over that cringe factor and continuing to do it. Yeah, because the cringe Enos is going to happen, no matter what happened for me I have for clients, even successful clients that I have, like I this one client that was in commercial real estate, this guy’s super successful. He buys like 20 $30 million properties and then flips them for like 40 $50 million. Very confident guy. But then when all of a sudden he’s front of a camera. It’s a little bit squeamish, right? Yeah. Yep. So it’s always fun and interesting for me to see that because I see these gurus that are really powerful. And then as soon as the cameras on them, they’re like, now like, you know, 50 6070 videos later, all of a sudden, it feels a lot more natural. And if you think about it, that’s really how it works and any type of skill that you’re trying to develop. In the beginning. It’s uncomfortable. There’s like that learning curve process, right? And there’s that period of time where it’s embarrassing. It’s cringy you want to quit, like, what’s the point? That happens, but can’t being a content creator is really an audience centered sport, and I call it a sport because when you think about it, in that respect, you start to like eventually just get over this stuff that’s blocking you, or that’s preventing you that’s getting you to think about, oh, this is what people think of me, they’re gonna laugh, whatever, right? That’s really the only way to get beyond that. And once you do get beyond that, then it becomes a lot easier, then you become more like freer to be yourself, and to test more versions of yourself that you want to put out there.

Anne Candido 25:22
Yeah, I love that. And I love the idea of practicing, because I think that puts it in the right mindset connects back to an earlier thought you’re saying when you were talking about Kwibi, I was just recently been hearing a little bit more about them. I’m reading the book, The Geek way, I think, is what it’s called. And he talks about that, specifically. And it’s the mentality and the mindset of the founder, who was highly successful before as a producer, or movie producer, couldn’t shift the mindset into this new space, and then just totally insisted that the content he was creating, it’s the content people wanted to watch. Right. And so then it totally fell apart. Because nobody wanted to pay for this content he was putting on I can’t remember what it was, but was like reruns of like Three’s Company or something like that. I mean, it wasn’t that it was something

AJ Kumar 26:07
like songs, like it was like the recreation of punk or whatever, right? Something like

Anne Candido 26:12
that. Yeah. So it was just like, I’m not paying money for that. And then then also, ironically, which just to take us down a little bit of a rabbit hole, which I found extremely interesting was that he wanted it only to be in the vertical format. He didn’t want it to have to, you can stream it to other devices, which is kind of interesting now, because he was right. But he’s right about 20 years later, where people are now just like, okay with it just being on a singular device. But just because the devices have gotten more sophisticated, and you’re able to engage with them a little bit differently. But what I the whole reason for me saying this was because I think the mindset is so critically important when you’re going to take on this idea of creating this kind of visual content. And if you could put it in the mindset of it being a practice, it helps you to be okay, refining it, because it is cringy. I mean, 1,000%, we had the same experience when people get behind our microphone. Yeah, like, we’ll talk to them, and they’ll be having fun. And all of a sudden, you say, Okay, we’re rolling, and they’re like, they freeze up, and they don’t know how to speak. And there’s not even any video there. So I think this interesting about like, being able to listen to yourself back or being able to watch yourself back and saying, Ooh, I could do that a little bit better. Or I can refine that a little bit more, or I need to practice that, or I need to be a little bit more expressive, or whatever that training becomes, because that’s what’s going to make you better. And it’s those who kind of look at it and be like, Oh, no, I’m fine. Or, you know, or I’m not willing to, to go through that iterative process that tend to kind of fail at this, frankly, because they’re not willing to put it into the mindset of it’s a practice, I need to get feedback, I need to be aware of how people are engaging, I need to look at my metrics, I need to look at my responses, I need to look at all of those things around me to see if this is even landing or resonating. Yeah, yeah,

AJ Kumar 27:56
exactly. And that’s why I say the the sports analogy, because, you know, to some respect, you’re doing reps, you’re getting these reps, and you’re practicing. And it is a very, it’s athletic, in some sense, right? It’s like, think about the like, the video game industry, which is really exploding these kids that are in the industry are by no means, you know, like these athletes that you see, you know, football, basketball, whatever, but in their own respect to their athletes, because they’re playing in this really competitive sport. And if you could think of content creation in that way as well, it changes the way you you go out it. Also, right now you’re building you’re developing, you’re getting these skill sets, you’re figuring out and you also have these metrics, right? Like that becomes your scoreboard essentially, which starts to help you understand, hey, is it improving? Oh, no, I’m not getting any views. I’m not getting any traction. It’s been like six months. Alright, time to iterate time to change.

Anne Candido 28:50
Yeah, and I think it’s especially hard for people that have been so successful in other places. And you mentioned this before, it’s like, you think it’s just going to translate. And I think that’s a lot of what you’re saying here, you know, when you were talking about the iterative process and figuring it out. And you know, all of that I was thinking about just the maturation of anytime you go to something new, you have to put in the practice in order to refine it enough to be good at it. But I think a lot of folks who take for granted that they’re really good at what they do, and then try to lean into something like this. And it feels awkward, they do throw up the barriers, I’m not going to do this or I’m just going to put it out there and not look at it or, or not do it you know, completely at all, because I just don’t feel like this is something I can get better at which I think the conversation we just had is so important to countering that because I think it is one of those things that when you can get over yourself and it becomes an objective evaluation of things, through the metrics, watching yourself back, seeing how you’re showing up. What do you want your personal brand to be? All of that builds the tools around being able to be successful at it. I think people just quit too soon.

AJ Kumar 29:57
Yeah, you gotta watch your game tape, right? Yep. Yep,

Anne Candido 30:00
this analogy is going to carry all the way through.

I just find it funny because usually when April is like reflecting upon her own personal self experiences, she refers to herself and the third person. So I’m finding it very interesting listening to her, Becca, she hated being on video like, Hey, did you really like every time I mentioned video, she’d be like, I mean, this face, I mean, just she has this, like the space like, she could murder me, right?

Basically, when she used to be like when I says anyway, even mentioned the word video, but I think I mean, you have become more comfortable in it, and the more you’ve done it. And it’s kind of interesting, too, because you have to figure out what format you like the most. When we do a lot of our training videos, we do it to a computer, and all we see is ourselves, which I find a whole lot more difficult than if somebody is on the other side of the camera, or if I’m doing it to a bunch of people, and they’re just recording to me because I can feel the people the energy and I feed off of that and I feed off of the reactions. So even different ways of which the video can be created that can help to bring out in a more authentic natural you I think, and that leads to the results that you want to see. And so I would love for you because I think he you nail, how to determine if you’re successful, because you’ve done a really fantastic job of really laying out all the different ways you can evaluate that. So maybe you can speak to rock a little bit, and how you help people figure out okay, how am I going to address whether or not just is even working?

AJ Kumar 31:33
Yeah, that’s a good question. So, one thing to note is that when you’re thinking about social media land, it’s all rented space, right? Like you don’t own what’s going on the platforms, the channels, what you own is the brand, you own the perception people have of you the memories that people are having with you. So when you focus in on it like that, then doesn’t matter what the next social media platform is, because then it’ll be a lot easier to move audiences over or get discovered on different platforms. What happened is like, basically, what we’re talking about here is the study of attention economics, right? Which is, how do we evaluate or give value to attention? Because that’s what it all is. And a lot of the numbers on social media feel arbitrary at first, because it’s like, oh, I have, you know, 1000 followers. So what are like, I got some views, I got some like, what, like, what does all this mean? So over the years, as I’ve been working with clients, and helping them understand, you know, what’s going on, and the value that that is being extracted from it, my business advisor, and I came up with a model called Robach return on the tension created. And essentially, it’s a methodology that we use to determine how valuable content is what kind of impact it’s having. There’s both a qualitative component to it and a quantitative component to it. We’re not only looking at the metrics from, you know, whether it’s leads, whether its reach, whether it shares, its likes, etc. We’re also looking at the quality of it, like what kind of quality comments are we getting, what the audience sentiment is towards your brand. And we’re basically evaluating that and looking at that over time. And then once you start to understand that, you realize that social media is one touch point, and there’s multiple channels that you have. And sometimes social media becomes that one significant touch point that directs people to your offers, or sometimes it becomes one of the touch points throughout the customer journey that impacts your offers. But what social media is doing is, it is creating the perception of how people see you. So whether you already have an existing email list, whether you have people that already subscribed to you, as you create more content, more people start to see you. So rock is really about, hey, this is the value that we’re getting. Am I getting new website subscribers? Am I getting new leads? Am I getting speaking engagements? Am I getting verified followers that are following me? By understanding all of that, you start to realize, okay, there’s value and creating content. And it’s different from what most people understand. Most people don’t understand direct response advertising, they understand the advertising ecosystem. But a lot of people don’t really understand the organic ecosystem, which is more of what I call delayed response. Right? Like Google is delayed response where you create a website, you create content on it, you keep posting, posting, posting. And then six months later, 12 months later, you start to rank for content and you start to get traffic. Similarly, with social media, or works like that as well, where you’re creating content, you’re seeding people, you’re getting into the swing of things of what it is that you’re doing. And then by understanding the meaning behind Hey, this is you know, I’m getting views I’m getting engagement. I’m getting these types of people that are following me. Three to six months down the line. Now you can start to see all these people are actually interested in what I have to offer this person Cindy wants to have a conversation with me. So by thinking about it that way, it makes it so that you’re not hung up on, I created something today didn’t get any views, I didn’t really attraction. So I’m gonna quit, versus thinking of it as six months from now 12 months from now 24 months from now, you’re building a brand,

Anne Candido 35:20
it is so important, because when you start with just the metrics, right, I think that’s something that is now historic, and in the rearview mirror is just looking at those things, right, because they’re meaningless, and what we’re trying to actually achieve and the level of sophistication. But I also think that in the digital space, in total, and very much in social media, people get distracted. And think of it as like a totally separate thing. So I love what you said about you can’t just look at that. And I’m my words like in a vacuum. And only gauge gauge your success based on that you’re using it as one of many channels, and the whole ecosystem has to work together, which should be something that’s encouraging to those people out there who are like, I’m not great at this right now. But I have all these other things, right? If you think about this is just one thing of many, you don’t have to put so much pressure on it. But it’s also about what are the bigger business goals or results or brand results that you’re looking for? And what is this playing in it in its entirety, not just okay, I’m now on tic toc. And I’m expecting that to be the be all end all, like we said at the beginning, snapping my fingers. And all of a sudden, I’m making millions of dollars because I decided to put something out there. And the hard work. And I think really the patient’s that goes into it, to refine it to get it right to make all of the pieces work together, we talk a lot about how it used to be like the Super Bowl TV spot that we worked on all year, right to your point about traditional advertising, that was the thing. And you were putting all your money and all your eggs in that basket. And now it’s like, well, that was maybe simpler, although really risky, in a lot of ways. But now you have to have the discipline to explore all the options and put together the right package of marketing efforts. In order to achieve those results. It’s not just kind of a one size fits all anymore. Yeah,

AJ Kumar 37:05
especially with like, you know, I don’t know how much Superbowl ad costs like 7 million or whatever it is, you can just throw it on that. But yeah, I think the internet has shown us that you can be a lot more intelligent about how you’re using, you’re investing your your money. And it’s not just about advertising, but you’re really it’s about your investment and creativity, right, just because the advertising ecosystem is getting harder, it’s gonna get more challenging. So even more, we’re seeing more brands, more corporations, more people wanting to go into this route of building a brand on organic social media, because that’s where consumers are at. And that’s where they get information the fastest. And like we were talking about earlier, if they’re seeing these platforms as a source for their news, they’re taking it as an authority place, right. So if you’re there and you’re in front of them, then you have the ability to impact you. And at first it does start off with like, you’re building a brand, you’re increasing your engagement, but you’re ultimately impacting your, your customer loyalty, right as people start to see you. And then over time, what happens is, you’ll notice that any customers that you have, or people that you have that have social media as a touch point, will tend to have a higher average order value, they’ll have a longer lifetime value, because you’re in front of them. So frequently, there’s this quote that I was loved by one of the cofounders of Google talks about when he’s looking to acquire a company, he has something called a toothbrush test. So he looks to see if your product product is something that a person will use once or twice a day, and will make them feel better about it. Right. That’s how he determines whether he wants to buy a billion dollar company. So I kind of took that to heart with how I create media companies for clients. So the goal is to create content in a way where people are consuming it once or twice a day. And that leaves some kind of positive impact where it makes them laugh, makes them learn something makes them feel inspired. And if you could do that consistently enough, you’ll start to do that with more and more people. And then you’ll start to see that impact your key business metrics, right? Your ROI, your ROAS, whatever it is, but that’s why we start off with row walk first, because it helps you start to look at it differently. Yeah,

Anne Candido 39:20
I like that. I think it helps you to really nail down the value that you bring to the conversation because I think you’re the patients needed to really invest in this is almost excruciating. Yeah. Like it’s almost beyond human because you got to put in so much work to it. And you’re not going to see that immediate response on day two, not even probably on day seven. And I think that’s why everybody kind of in their head is this like, we talked about morality, that they’re like hoping for that moment in time. Well, I mean, we can point to 10 moments in time, and the probably the last couple of weeks, and that’s all those people are gonna have. Right? So you have to really think about what you want and what your long game is of this, if you want to have that moment in time and have your moment of fame like Chewbacca Mom, and be done in like 48 hours, you can be done in 48 hours. But if you want a sustaining brand, that’s gonna continue to bring value to people that you can leverage as a way to build a business. This is the investment that you need to do. And what you’re really investing into, I think, is the network effect array. Because this is the only place where you have attention of all these people that you don’t know that technically, we size, the cost of creating the content, you could put on a channel for free, right, you don’t have to pay some a million dollars for a 32nd TV spot no matter where it’s at. So in this was constant hits, like we talked about, like going up at at bat at bat at bat that increases your batting average, and makes you better at it. So I think all of that is like so super critically important. And I combine that with a lot of the other things we hear people say, which is like I don’t have anything to say, I don’t have anything to talk about. And we see that all the time in coaching with people who want to go and they want to be speakers or trainers or coaches themselves. And I think everybody remembers that their own personal experience is unique. And there’s always something of value to bring to your own personal experience, because nobody has been through it like you have been through it. I think that really helps people see that they might have a space to play. I use the analogy all the time. I’m like, Oh, how do you lose weight? Right? You exercise more and eat less calories? I mean, everybody knows that’s kind of how you little You there’s a much variations of what you can eat and what Okay, whatever. If I tell you that, are you more, you know, bound to believe me? It maybe would be because of my experience if I lost 14 pounds over the last week? Or are you going to make a personal trainer is that going to who you can be believed, like a lot of people can share the same message has the same insight. But it’s who is speaking to it, how they’re speaking to it, what their experience has been, that makes it relevant to specific people, and you’re going to respond, and they always talk about niching down to a crowd that other people are not going to respond to are not going to be receptive to.

AJ Kumar 42:07
That’s excellent. Yeah, I think you hit the nail right there. And that’s how Google essentially is ranking websites, they have something called their E-A-T Formula. And as of recently, they just added a new E. So traditionally, Google’s formula was expertise, authority and trust, it’s called the E-A-T Formula. And then as of last year, I believe it was last year, towards the end of the year, they added another E called experience, because now we’re living in this AI world where everyone has access to AI and all the information that’s possible. So it’s easy for anyone to talk about something and sound like an expert. But now if you want to stand out, you need to be able to integrate your experience into the conversation, because that’s what makes it real. And that’s what shows that people that you have these like nuances that you know what you’re talking about, that you’ve actually lived what you’re talking about and are just, you know, part of like the ocean of people that are just regard their AI, right? Especially like when it comes to doctors, like do you want to just, if somebody was going to do surgery on you do you want the guy that has had experience with, you know, hundreds of surgeries, or the guy that just knows about surgeries because of everything he’s read or watched on the internet, or

Anne Candido 43:21
stayed at a Holiday Inn. That’s one of my favorite commercials. So I’m not a surgeon, I stayed at a Holiday Inn though. That’s fantastic. I think that’s really good insight. And I really hope people hear that because it is a reflection of who we are as people that we want to put out there in which it can be very difficult. And you have to be very vulnerable, especially when people are going to critique the way in which you do it. And that’s not to scare anybody away from doing it. But it’s I think you need to prepare prepared for what it takes to be good at it. So before I jump in, definitely have some rapid fire questions for you here in a second, before I jump into that, is there any other advice that you would give to people for how to be good at something like this, about how to be good at creating content or things to avoid, so that you can be good at creating content?

AJ Kumar 44:12
Perfection is a huge trap that everybody falls into, right? Like just trying to perfect it, especially when you’re going into it in the beginning and you’re new to it. And you’re not like like, at some point, a content creator, like gets over it, where they’re like, alright, I don’t care what other people think I’m just gonna do it. And that’s kind of that’s essentially where you want to be. But most people start with the point of like, it has to be perfect. But that’s why we talked about it being like an iterative process, very similar to like the software world, any software that you’ve gotten, whether it’s from Bill Gates, or from somebody else, you know, you have version 1.0012 And then you have 1.0013 And they’re constantly releasing these new software updates. Similarly, if you think about like the world of art and you’re sculpting something, it’s messy at first and you got to chisel at it and you got to go out it. So similarly to the art In science of software or creating something, content creation is the same way. You do need to just go into it, build off of it, learn from it. And that’s essentially like in its fundamental sense how AI works like, you know, it gets something wrong, and then it fixes it. And then it gets better from a learns from it, right? So we’re human intelligence. And that’s kind of how we work. You make a mistake, you learn from it, and then you move on, or you make a mistake, and you keep making it until you learn from it. And then you move on.

Anne Candido 45:31
Yeah, I mean, I am called me out before and I will call myself out as a recovery

section, especially this is when April’s gonna start in the third person again. Yeah.

As a recovering perfectionist, I think you’re exactly right. I mean, I think that people that are perfectionist by nature and have things that they’ve built skills in, if they can get over that piece of it, I think what you said is exactly right. And I love the analogy of art and science, which we also use all the time. It’s like, yes, you need the database things. But then you have to marry it with these more emotional qualitative, as you said, before, insights, and you really have to keep working at it and keep at it to get it right. And I think honestly, in this space perfection really doesn’t have a place because I think it’s the more imperfect people not that it’s like, lazy or not well produced. I’m not saying those types of things. But when you let your command humanity show through, which naturally means you’re flawed. It brings forth that authenticity that I think you can’t manufacture. And actually that can be some of where the magic can happen for people. Yeah,

AJ Kumar 46:34
people like seeing that. Like it makes them feel like they can relate to this person that they’re actually human. You know,

Anne Candido 46:41
it’s how I used to feel about soap operas. I’m like, at least my life isn’t that I did.

I did. Now I’m dating ourselves.

I’m not possessed by the devil in my dad is married to my sister’s like, I don’t know, whatever.

AJ Kumar 46:54
Oh, man. Yeah. What was that? Super lifestyles up? No, I don’t remember.

Anne Candido 47:00
We all have that reference point.

Are you ready for some rapid fire? Let’s do it. All right. So we like to say these were not prepared ahead of time. Right. So this is all AJ off the cuff. Here we go. All right, AJ, if you had some if someone gave you, let’s say 500,000 and said you had to use it on yourself. You couldn’t give it away. You can’t be altruistic about it. What would you buy?

AJ Kumar 47:22
Real Estate safe investment? I put it I park it and something like that. You’re

Anne Candido 47:28
supposed to buy something for yourself.

AJ Kumar 47:31
Like buy a Porsche 911 or something? Yeah, that’s

Anne Candido 47:35
a really answered. It’s better.

AJ Kumar 47:37
I get at least one of those and I’d parked the rest of the money. I put on Bitcoin.

Anne Candido 47:45
Oh, boy. Yeah, we wanted more irresponsible answer, not the Morris. Oh,

AJ Kumar 47:49
you want irresponsible not responsible. Okay, that’s a different story. Then we’re gonna be flying somewhere we’re gonna get in cars.

Anne Candido 47:58
Did you fly then? Because that was maybe a similar second question is like, where would you go? If you could go anyplace?

AJ Kumar 48:02
I love Hawaii. I’ve been there a couple times. I could go as many times as possible. So I’d love to go there. Again. It’s been a minute,

Anne Candido 48:09
any place Pacific or anything you would do? Skydiving

AJ Kumar 48:14
in Hawaii. Sounds really amazing. I’ve Skyped a couple times. And yeah, it’s unbelievable. It’s literally the best thing you could do. If you ever have any kind of fear or doubt in yourself go skydiving, that it will knock that thing right out.

Anne Candido 48:28
I love that. I have a fear of falling. So I think that would pretty much take me over the edge.

AJ Kumar 48:33
That would do it. You could also do bungee jumping. I’ve done that once. That’s scarier.

Anne Candido 48:38
Oh yeah, I’ve done skyswinging. I haven’t done bungee jumping by dead sky swing. Where they pull you up and then you let you go and they use swing like a pendulum.

AJ Kumar 48:44
Oh, yeah. Oh, that yeah, that that’s cool. Yeah, that

Anne Candido 48:49
were there was a state of weightlessness. And that that I will never like forget, in all my life.

AJ Kumar 48:54
It reminds me of like feeling that you’d have when you you’re on a swing and you’re kind of swinging and you get that like feeling in your stomach, your stomach, probably like that.

Anne Candido 49:04
But you’re like, you can’t feel the harness. You’re suspended. Like for that brief second before you come back down the other way. And you’re just like, I’m just gonna fall to my death right here right now. That’s just gonna happen. It’s over. It’s over. Yeah, on this beach in Daytona. I would

AJ Kumar 49:20
also speaking of being in Hawaii, I’d also do like shark diving kind of thing. I’ve always wanted to do stuff like that. So ah, very adventurous. 500 grand. We could do a lot. A lot of games today. That’s true. Yeah, after you jump out myself on top of the volcano and a helicopter or something

Anne Candido 49:36
I’ll be possible to wow and I would be using the rest for a life insurance policy.

AJ Kumar 49:45
Probably a good idea.

Anne Candido 49:46
We volunteer to be the beneficiaries of that what age

AJ Kumar 49:50
I’ll add you wanting to

Anne Candido 49:54
Alright, so let’s see one more. Okay, well, this will be a good one because it’ll see if how adventurous you are In this sense, we talked about Elon, if you had the opportunity to ride in SpaceX, would you? Oh,

AJ Kumar 50:04
I’m gonna say yes, I’ll do it. It sounds kind of scary, to be honest, just that concept and the idea of being up there, you know, but I would do it. Heck yeah.

Anne Candido 50:12
And that’s only, I think it’s only 100 1000s. I think it can go five times, then. Oh, my

AJ Kumar 50:17
gosh, five times. If I do it once, and I come back, I don’t think I’m gonna take any more risks. Like I do sometimes imagine the future and I do see a future at some point where that becomes very, like normal, as normal as someone just sitting on a couch watching us fly, you know, through space and time, kind of interesting thing.

Anne Candido 50:40
It is kind of I think so true. All right. Well, those were fun to, to hear a little bit more about you behind The Digital Maestro thing. Anything else you’d like to say to kind of wrap us up anything else you’d like to add or you didn’t touch on and obviously, let people know where they can find you? Well,

AJ Kumar 50:57
you can find me on That’s my company’s website. We work with people and we help them build and grow their personal brands. You can also follow me on Instagram @AJTheDigitalMaestro, if you want to just see and hear my musings. And I think the last thing I would say is, we live in a very fascinating, interesting time. I know that I know the news is full of garbage and junk about all these scary things that are going on. But I think that’s really just a small percentage of reality. I think now is such a such an amazing time and social media platforms. And the ability for us to communicate at the level that we can is just amazing. So take advantage of it. Now while you still can, whether it’s with me or yourself, and you’re just figuring out take advantage of it.

Anne Candido 51:41
I love that. Awesome. Thank you so much for being here with AJ and for all of you else out there, we’ll say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts!

April Martini 51:49
Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now, go show off your Marketing Smarts!