In February of 2017, we had the pleasure of sitting down with YouTube expert Roberto Blake to talk about the then hot topic of PewDiePie’s separation from Disney and Google. As we talked, Blake shared amazing insight into how he connects with the clients he supports. We thought it was the perfect content for our strategists – whether they are internal or external consultants.
Without further ado, here’s what he had to say about the opportunities we have when working with clients.
Q: Can everything be awesome?
A: My friend Cassie says ‘business doesn’t have a mandate to be boring,’ and I really believe in that. I think a lot of people don’t realize that they have an opportunity. I believe the reason more people aren’t educated is because they’re convinced it’s going to be boring. I think that if you can get around that, and you can balance fun and informing yourself, if you can balance passion and practicality, then more people can be successful, because it won’t feel like success is a burden or a chore. I just don’t think that a lot of people put in the effort sometimes to take that approach of take that narrative. One, partly because of maybe being jaded by past experiences, and two, they don’t necessarily always feel that they can pull it off or they don’t think there is anything ‘fun’ about them. They may love what they’re doing but they think it’s boring to everyone else.
You know, if you really want to try, or let yourself be vulnerable enough to show your personality, you can still be taken seriously while doing that. I’m taken very seriously by people, because being an out and out Star Wars nerd, having bobbleheads on my desk because I’m a Star War collector, and making my jokes …I can sit there and have a serious business conversation with Darth Vader as my screensaver and it’s fine. People will accept that because I make them comfortable enough to accept that, and make them comfortable enough to take me seriously in the way that I present information to them, break things down and the fact that I’m approachable. I think sometimes the fact that I’m willing to be vulnerable or be a little silly makes it less intimidating, because when I’m talking about very complicated and nuanced things, or things that are very technical and very nerdy, and I don’t talk over people’s heads and make it clear that I want to help them, while also saying, ‘Hey, I’m not a guy who’s going to sit here and take himself so seriously that I’m not accessible to you, or that I’m going to, like, beat you over the head with something.’ It makes a difference.
Q: How do you help people understand what you do – especially those that don’t fully embrace social media – and feel comfortable venturing into new platforms?
A: I think that the fear of rejection keeps people from interjecting their emotion and their passion into it, because again, you can align that practicality, and it needs to be in the perspective of serving the higher purpose of creating a bridge, and creating trust. Creating that ability for someone to feel safe with you, and for them to feel respected, but also to feel like they can have this conversation not be made to feel stupid. They can ask a question and not be made to feel stupid for asking the question. Or they can interject a contradictory point of view and you can still fix mistakes afterwards. It’s a hard line to ride sometimes.
Right now there are more mobile devices on the planet than human beings, and Instagram is not just about a culture of young people, it’s about a culture of visual interest. It’s the same as scrapbooking. There are people who use Instagram in the same way we would have used scrapbooking. There are people who use Instagram in the same way that we would have used postcards that said, ‘Hey, wish you were here!’ Instead of that just being for vacation, now it can be for, ‘I’m enjoying a nice pinot grigio and I want you to be jealous of that fact,’ so, you know, now there’s a little postcard in your phone, and so all of a sudden it’s about sharing experiences.
For brands it’s about sharing experiences in the way that a wonderful billboard of a couple wonderfully in love, or a guy who’s proposing, it sells that fantasy, or that story or that ideal in exactly the same way. So you can use Instagram now as the new billboard, or you can use it as a way to send a postcard, or think of it in the same way as you think of direct mail. Or you can think of it in the same way you think of scrapbooking and that crafting community. There’s a lot, and it doesn’t matter what industry, there’s a way to leverage all of those things, because you’re selling an experience when you posting something on Instagram.
It was clear from our conversation that Roberto Blake understands how to connect with clients – and even as well-known and trusted as he is, he has to carefully consider some of the same things other social media strategists contemplate. What do you do to help clients trust you? How can you help them best understand the work you’re doing? If you’ve got ideas of your own, please share them in the comments!
Roberto Blake is a Creative Entrepreneur helping businesses, brands and individuals market themselves effectively with engaging visuals and effective messages. Roberto has over 10 years of experience commercially in design and marketing and has helped brands, both large and small achieve their goals and reach their audiences. His work has been recognized by Forbes, HuffingtonPost, Adobe and Photoshop Creative Magazines. He is a HOW Design Live Speaker and contributor to several publications.
Dr. Amy Jauman, SMS, is the Chief Learning Officer at the National Institute for Social Media and author of the Comprehensive Field Guide for Social Media Strategists. Amy is also one of 58 members representing 12 countries in the inaugural class of the Prezi Educator Society. Previously she was the Social Media Director for Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota (WeMN) and she currently serves as the marketing director for the Minnesota Chapter of the National Speakers Association. She is also an adjunct professor in the St. Catherine University Business Department and the St. Mary’s University of Minnesota MBA program.