Many of our interviews are focused on social media influencers, who have massive followings and guiding their clients using specific technologies and tools for managing Social Media for business. Today, however, we wanted to highlight the challenges involved in launching a startup and the future of entrepreneurship.
This week we interviewed Ted Coine, who is the Entrepreneurship and Customer Experience Teacher at Lorenzo Walker Technical College. He is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership Expert. His stance at the crossroads of social and leadership gave Ted a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive, which he co-authored with Mark Babbitt. Coine has more than a decade worth of experience in teaching, business management & development.
Social Champ – Hi Ted, How are you? It’s a privilege to have you on board with Social Champ. Could you briefly tell us how you started your career and became a social media celebrity? What motivated you to become such an exceptional social media blogger, influencer, and a motivational speaker?
TC – I came out with my first book 5-star customer service and I wanted to get us speaking gigs and consulting gigs so, I went on social media a little bit. I think at that time, I’ve maybe started an account on Facebook and on LinkedIn and Friendster too. I also got on Twitter and I found the 80D aspect of it. This really fed my personality quite well and also the nice thing about Twitter is that it isn’t “Do I know you? prove it” like it is on some platforms, LinkedIn especially, it’s “Hey we’re all here together, let’s follow each other and let’s share ideas”. And, you can talk to anyone, you can reach out to famous people, and they often will reach out and have a conversation with you. So I loved it, I found it just very rewarding to spend a lot of time there, so every day, literally every day for the next 7 years, I made sure it’s what I call tending my social meter. I just made sure that I followed people who follow me back, that I was having conversations with people who are reaching out to me or that I was reaching out to them. And it just kinda happened that along the way i hit close to half million people follow me on Twitter. It’s not because I’m not special but because it was fun.
I personally I think fame is the worst thing ever, it’s like a curse and I’m not very famous, I’m just like Twitter famous you might say. But, I don’t want to be famous. it’s just the thing is I want to help companies thrive, I want to help Bosses make better workplaces for the employees, I want to help employees go to work and love what they do and I really want to help young entrepreneurs and older entrepreneurs start something from scratch and build a company. For that reason, I will put up with the horror of fame.
Social Champ – I was watching your speech on TEDx Talks The Power of Impatience in which you stressed upon the consolidated impact of impatience, relentlessness and a good cause to make a change that is worth making. Well, apart from worldly causes, what do you think have been your cause that has always pushed you subconsciously, like sort of an inner voice?
TC – I just live to make the world a better place. And the thing is I’m not a musician, I’m not an artist and not politically adept, but I seem to have a little knack for business. So, I decided years ago that, that’s what I would do, I would start my own business, and it was successful then I decided I would share some of the things that made it work better and it’s not just business for business’s sake. it’s not I don’t believe in primitive capitalism, the whole idea of taking as much as you can and you sharp elbows and forget everybody else. I don’t think that’s even a sound business strategy, to begin with. What I think is that if I can help a few people make the world a better place for business, so for instance by forming a B Corporation, a benefit corporation and having a social cause built into their company, something like that of or by being an excellent employer and making people love coming to work love fulfilling their mission and then allowing them to go home and spend some time with their family.
if I could help with things like that then my life will have been rich. And that’s what motivates me.
Social Champ – Just to lighten up the conversation a bit, what is the best place to eat at in Florida? We might want to visit there someday 🙂
TC – I can’t tell you about the whole state of Florida, but let me tell you my favorite restaurant in the whole wide world is right here in Naples, Florida, and I hate giving up this secret but it’s not a very well kept secret there’s a huge line especially during tourist season. It’s called the Turtle Club, right at Vanderbilt Beach. The food is just crazy delicious and you can sit at a table on the sand and watched the sun go down I love the turtle club to death right idea, wish I had a season pass there.
Social Champ – Ted, you seem to be quite a fan of Richard Branson. You once mentioned how you feel inspired by his ‘Screw it, just do it’ philosophy of business. Well, that is quite a driving force behind most of the successful people who aim at reaching summits. However, a lot of people end up losing everything they have with that attitude. What do you suggest to such people who are afraid of putting everything on the stake?
TC – I think the biggest risk is working for someone else when the economy is bad, you lose your job, they don’t lose their job. That’s that something to consider right there. That has something to do with my upbringing and seeing what are the ebb and flow of the economy has done. I am in my fifties so I’ve seen several recessions so far. Having said that I love Screw it, just do it attitude. My favorite line from In Search Of Excellence is Ready, Fire, Aim, just do it but here’s the thing, it’s dangerous, if you’re sloppy, if you bet everything then you can destroy your business and you have to go back and work for somebody else.
There are two things about that, the first is Make It Happen (Any Questions); if you want to get business results? Go get business results. I tell my students that if they encounter an obstacle, you go over, around under or through that obstacle but figure out what you’re gonna do because this happens daily when you’re running your own business. The other thing though is, Don’t Bet Everything On Anything You Try. Branson, in any given year, has more than 400 virgin companies and some of them are very small I think the average number of employees is like 30, that includes airline with 2000. In any given year, my understanding is that at least 100 of them might go out of business or get sold or absorbed. Think about that all of his businesses are failing all the time but more are growing, He is fine with his empire because he is trying his little-tiny bets, I highly recommend that you read the book All In Start-Up, it’s a Kauffman Foundation-funded study, the author talks about taking small bets and entrepreneurs are actually very risk-averse, which nobody understands. We hate risk but we find that not going for it is a bigger risk. You need to balance these things, take tiny little risks, see if they work and if they do sure put more resources into that and if they don’t cool you have a destroyer company run out of money.
Social Champ – You have written an entire book about the social age we’re living in and the importance of the world online. At what point do you think social media marketing outplays the traditional marketing methods?
TC – It’s just marketing. It’s 2018 if your business was not social if you as a leader were not on social media in 2009, that’s understandable but you need to Hurry Up as 2009. What are you doing by 2018? if your business isn’t on social media then probably isn’t in business. Now some are still doing it better than others and I’m not saying do not invest in print advertising, online traditional advertising etc. But it’s a lot cheaper. For Example, I have a friend who owns a business and it’s a retail store here in the Naples area and she came in and spoke with my students. She said, they used to spend $250000 a year, on advertising in the local newspaper, local magazines and a little bit on TV now they spend 50000$ on social media advertising and they make more sales. So food for thought: if you’re running a business, social media is not a fad.
Social Champ – Failures teach you a lot. There is a saying ‘fail quickly to recover quickly’. What was your biggest failure and what have you learned from it?
TC – I’ve had so many, I can’t even tell you seriously but like if you’re not trying then that’s the only time you’re not going to fail If you run a business or you try to run a business. I can’t even tell you how many times that I’ve invented a business that never took off, In college, we started a T. shirt business and I think we might have broken even on that, we bought a whole bunch of T-Shirts expecting this album and then we didn’t sell many as we thought. Done business Done. Probably my biggest failure was right when Bear Stearns went bankrupt the year before Leeman brothers went bankrupt, their sterns went out of business and when that happened, a month before we are a friend of mine had started an investment firm so we were going to invest in companies and bringing other investors and we registered with the state, we’re all set to go and then the economy boom just you know the Great Recession. But depression actually happened right after that I just never talk about it anymore it is locked away. It was one of my failures I think many.
Social Champ – Digital and content marketing has become an essential field altogether in today’s world. But it requires a lot of attention and most importantly, constant online presence. How do you manage that, while you are also speaking at conferences, writing a book and looking after a business? Does that come with a cost?
TC – For one thing, I don’t too much like it, it isn’t my number or one focus. I know people who are very active in social media some of the people on the Forbes list with me who are like always online, like good for them, seriously, more power to them. I don’t have that kind of time, I prefer the interaction with human beings, I prefer the stuff that gets me paid, very often I have to turn my phone off if I’m teaching a class or giving a speaking gig. So just staying active, I have used interns that I’ve paid as social media manager for a couple times in my career, hired somebody to help me, just to keep things fresh, I use a platform called Social Jukebox to share things with that and the nice thing about Social Jukebox I share things on social media and then you can reshare especially on Twitter, most people don’t see something you share the first time so having some sort of slight automation but you have to be careful not to just bombard people. If you do more than like say for instance two tweets an hour or a couple of Facebook posts today, you’re going to overwhelm people.
Social Champ – Ted you are the one who played the role of a mentor to so many people. But who was, or is, your mentor or your inspiration that you look up to?
TC – I’m lucky that I’ve had a number of people who have taken the time to help me. It’s really incredibly invaluable but I want to share something else that I have on my wall, it’s Bernie Turner, he said, “stand for something important you’ll be amazed at the caliber of people you attract your cause”. Let me tell you about Bernie, he is not famous but some of his creations are so, for instance, years back in the seventies, he started Walden University which wasn’t online but distance learning. Helping educators get their PhD is if maybe they’ve stalled in their in their track at the university for various reasons. So he founded this business became very successful with it, he founded banks in fact during the financial crisis one of these banks started going under so another of his banks bought it. He founded the largest law school in the southeastern United States. This man is incredibly successful and incredibly humble, the thing about Bernie is people love him, adore and respect him. They’re dying to help him and the reason they’re trying to help him is that he is trying every day in everything he does, to make the world a better place for people. See that they see how generous he is and that they want to help him. That is invaluable.
Social Champ – Your advice means a lot to the startups and newly born digital marketers. What precious advice do you have for them for growth hacking and networking?
TC – In order to be a successful marketer, you need a large email list and you need to use what Goten said years ago, permission marketing. You need to get people’s permission to keep in touch with them. So building a list of relevant people, not just any old person but people who are potential customers, keeping in touch with them on a pace that works for them, which is typically monthly. And providing value that’s what you have to do it now, in order to get the word out. Yes, be very active on social media if you’re in the business from the active on LinkedIn, no matter what be active on Twitter, be active on Facebook especially if you’re a consumer brand but. You need to have a content strategy that draws people to your website that inspires them to give you their email and permission to stay in touch with them, so that when you have a sale to make, you can reach out to them and you’re not gonna get all of them to buy from you but if you get a small percentage of these people who have already said, yes please keep in touch with me. You’ll be in good shape.
Social Champ – What do you think about automation tools like Social Champ that allow you to schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms? What are your favorite tools for digital/content marketing?
TC – I think it’s very important for you to be consistently online providing value, now you don’t want to come across as too active in spammy, you don’t want to just set something up that automatically sends out tweets and Facebook posts and then you are never there in person, As there’s a lot of people who do that and it’s just tacky, nobody listens to them but to provide value to your audience. I think it’s a big reason why I built up a following that I have is that when I find a good business podcast, a good article that I want to share with everybody, I share it out there know the thing is most people don’t catch it the first time. So sharing it again, scheduling it to come out again a couple more times is just a good strategy. The other thing is when I’m doing real life stuff, I can’t be sitting there taking care of my social media presence so to have things already scheduled to go out on a regular basis to remain in peoples thoughts. It’s very valuable & I highly recommend it.
That brings the end of our interview. Thank You for your time Ted, Social Champ wishes you all the best in your future endeavors. Thanks for enlightening the audience with Entrepreneurship and Start-up Culture which include Social Media Management.