We are living in an age of video, and it’s only continuing to grow. With mobile devices making it easy and convenient to consume video content, they’re aso making it easy to create and distribute it. Smart business owners are looking to experts like Monique Johnson to help them leverage this power to grow their businesses by connecting with their customers, establishing authority, and selling their products, all while using the power of live video.
Rich: My guest today is a social media strategy leader and personal branding expert, with an emphasis on using video, with 8+ years experience working in-house for major tech and digital media. She has been featured on Small Business Trends, Animoto, Social Media Marketing World, and more. Currently she leads strategy at her social media and video marketing agency, Live Video Lab, for major brands, B2B, and B2C, and fortune 500 C-Level execs.
In addition she’s a co-founder of The Hot Seat Group, a human-centered, full service branding and marketing communications agency that specializes in helping businesses discover their true voice and share its story with audiences around the world. She also serves on the advisory board of BizSugar.co, sponsored by Zoho.
She also produces top performing Facebook Live videos. She’s produced video content for clients who enjoy 5-figure launches for months, leveraging Facebook Live. And she’s worked with multiple million dollar organizations from livestreaming production and campaigns such as Salesforce. She speaks all over the nation on innovative digital marketing, social video optimization, and personal branding, but she’s here now on The Agents of Change podcast. Welcome, Monique Johnson.
Monique: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, Rich.
Rich: I’m really glad you could make it. Especially because we kept on missing each other.
Rich: There was a fire alarm testing in my building, but here we are and we’re ready to get going.
Rich: Monique, share with me how did you get started with digital marketing? And then I guess video in particular?
Monique: Awesome. I’ll try and not make this long-winded. But in a previous life – as I like to say – I worked on Wall Street for 5 years, and during that time there I was miserable. The reason I stayed so long was because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But that’s when I discovered social media.
So just to kind of give you guys I guess my age, I’m kind of on the upper end of a millenial. But Facebook came to fruition my sophomore year in college and it was just something that you played around with. So when you fast forward to me working on Wall Street, I discovered it as a medium or tool where businesses were utilizing it to get customers. And I thought it was really interesting.
And then I was like, ok, because I’m on Wall Street and analytics looking at numbers is one of my strengths, I also felt like I highly neglected my creative side. I grew up playing basketball, I used to be a professional pianist, I did a lot of things in the arts. And so whenI discovered social media I realized I could utilize both the creative side of myself, and also the numbers side, I knew this was the direction for me to go.
So to really get started in that, I just started applying for random, part-time, community management jobs or whatnot. And there was this startup at the time – it no longer exists today, unfortunately – but they were looking for a community manager and I said what can I do to make myself stand out from a bunch of paper resumes. And just to let you guys know what that was like at the time, I think it was 2008 or 2009 at the time, the market crashed and a lot was going on, everybody and their mother were putting out their resumes. So I said, let me make a video. And I look back on this video and it’s the ugliest video I’ve ever created in my life. Like, I cringe when I look at it. But, it got me the position.
Just for the record, it was just a video and my thought process. The whole output wasn’t that great, but I got the position as a result of that. So ever since then, Rich, I’ve been obsessed with the power of video. I’ve been self-taught on editing and video production, all those great things, and that’s how I got started in the whole digital marketing space. Hopefully that wasn’t too long for you.
Rich: No, no, that was great. Monique, first of all I have to say I would think that playing basketball and being a concert pianist would be two skills that actually go against each other. How did you manage that?
Monique: You know, I will have to say my parents helped with the whole idea of instilling in me discipline. My parents are actually immigrants, I’m a first generation American, so the whole idea of sticking to it and making sure you are mastering your craft, I will have to definitely tip-off my hat to my parents to making sure that I stuck to it. And also I chose basketball because my dad came here when he was 12 but basketball was the sport that he picked up, so I picked up that sport as a result.
Rich: You must have very strong fingers is all I’m thinking right now.
Monique: Ah, yes.
Rich: So getting back to video and why I asked you here in the first place, what is it you like about live video? Live video, it scares me.
Monique: Ok, so the main reason why I love video – live video, that is – is this. When you are recording or even just creating content even just recording this podcast, is you put all of your time and energy into creating what you think is the best content that you can put out there. And then you have what you call a ‘waiting game’.
So let’s talk about for instance YouTube real quick. If you create a video for YouTube and you put it up on your channel, but it doesn’t just end there. You’ve got to know how to optimize, and rank it, and put in keywords and tags and all these different things. And then after you’re done with that there’s still that waiting period of whether it’s going to be picked up.
Now with live video, to me, it’s the complete opposite. Anyone can go live and instantly get engagement. And I can’t tell you the last time you can create some sort of content and you get the instant engagement where someone is at least viewing it or they’re giving you some sort of emoji – like or dislike – or putting in comments. And I feel that live video is so powerful to the point where you do want to create content where it’s podcasts or YouTube.
Use live video to do your research. And what I mean by that is you go live about something you are thinking of creating, and if you see that you’re instantly staying on, constantly engaging – whether you’re live or on the replay – you know that’s the right direction to go, versus there’s crickets in the background, no one’s really staying around. It’s like, ok, I guess I shouldn’t tackle that particular topic. Does that make sense?
Rich: Definitely, I can see getting the instant feedback as one way of determining whether or not your potential clients are interested in this product or service. Now I’ve noticed recently that LinkedIn has jumped into the live video game, but Facebook is what I think of when I think of live video.
When Facebook first announced live video it seemed like they put a lot of energy behind it. And when I used to use it to promote my own event, Agents of Change, it worked great. But in the years that followed, Facebook seemed to have downgraded live video and I have not seen the same results. Are you finding the same, or have you cracked the code in getting more people to watch and engaging with your live videos on Facebook?
Monique: I want to say I have cracked the code but I’m not going to say that your reach or anyone’s reach has not decreased. So you’re right in that regard to notice that, especially when at first was launched on December 2016, I remember it was launched first to iPhone users and I remember I was so excited to jump on then. At that time you could just go live and all of a sudden you’re getting in the hundreds of views. Now, not so much.
However, just like with anything else, live streaming video – especially on Facebook – Facebook still ranks Facebook Live video content highest as far as the various types of content that you can create on their platform. Live video is still king, even over just regular video. Then of course you have pictures, written content, all that great stuff.
But the thing is, just like with anything else, it’s all about consistency. It’s consistency, making sure you’re catering to your audience, making sure you’re letting people know about you going live, letting people know that you have this presence, letting people have the expectation of you going live. And I think that is key, that is actually the cracking of the code is developing that expectation in people’s minds that you do go live and they know when and where you’re going live.
Rich: Same bat time, same bat channel.
Rich: That may have pre-dated you. I’m a little bit older than you so maybe that meant more to me than it did to you. So tell me a little about your process, it sounds like you’re always showing up at a similar time or a similar place, so walk me through when you’re ready to go live what you want to do.
Monique: Yes. So for one thing I try to use all of the digital assets and footprints that I have that are existing. So this means my email list, my Facebook Group, and even just the other social media platforms that I have a presence on. And the thing is, I try to get really creative with it, so again the reason why I got into social media in the first place is the creativity side. So I will create specific graphics, little videos, Instagram Stories, certain video content that’s really unique, and I send it out to my existing digital assets, which a lot of people call ‘distribution channels’.
But another one that I really, really love utilizing is my Messenger list. I know you’ve talked to other people about this, but you know the whole idea of bots, I like to refer to them as ‘Messenger automation’, I don’t like the name ‘bots’. I don’t know why, maybe I’m just being picky, but I call it ‘communication automation’ or “Messenger automation’.
So a lot of times what I do is when I go live I’ll have a specific keyword that I want people to utilize to put in their comments, and they I have a follow-up sequence that happens. So what that does is it keeps people engrossed as to what I’m doing, in addition for me to kill several birds with one stone as far as building a Messenger list and then I make sure I collect people’s emails.
And then I push them to my Facebook Group and I go live in my Facebook Group with exclusive content, and then I let people know if they want to share or word of mouth or anything like that, I have them appear on what I would call my weekly more public live stream which would be on my fan page.
So basically just to kind of recap that because I kind of went all over the place. First up is to let people know that you’re going live. It’s as simple as that. No matter if you have a small amount of audience, let people know you’re going live, even if it’s just a written text type of post. Let people know, and then also if you can, schedule your live stream ahead of time so that you have a specific link that you can push people to, rather than just leave it up to chance that people are just going to your fan page. Because then it requires them to do that extra action item of having to scroll down and find your live post, rather than pushing them to a direct URL that pushes them directly to your live stream.
Rich: Ok, so that’s actually, I just want to make sure I understand. You can pre-schedule a live video, and then that will generate a link – even before the video starts – that you can then share to make sure people are going to be able to with one click be tuned in, and not have to be scrambling all over the place?
Rich: Ok, good to know.
Monique: And then once you do that you go live, kick butt, make sure you’re engaging people. I definitely am a fan of longform live streaming video. A lot of people tend to ask, “How long should you go live?” Bare minimum, 15 minutes. At least 15 minutes, just so that the algorithm…let Facebook work for you, ok.
We can tackle that later on in the conversation, but 15-20 minutes is a good benchmark to shoot for. And, if you can, have Messenger automation set up. A great tool is manychat.com, that’s the one I use. I know there are other ones out there, but that’s the one I use. And I use that to help build my Messenger list to get people involved, to get people to do what I call “choose your own adventure”. I mean, I make sure to create an experience, is pretty much what I’m saying, Rich.
And that’s howI get people back on board. It’s really creating an experience for people, and there’s so many different tools and different ways on how you can go about doing that.
Rich: That’s very cool and we’ve started to use ManyChat as well for the Agents of Change Conference. So we’ve talked a little bit about how you’re getting people to show up, tell me how you spend those 15 minutes? And obviously, every business is going to be different, but tell me a little bit about what you do when you’re on air, Monique.
Monique: Sure. So for instance I’ll talk about the weekly podcast episodes that I do with my business partner, The Hot Seat Group. So we call it The Fire Blazer Show, and basically what we do is we make sure to come up with a topic ahead of time and we have some questions just in case to kind of help us go about the direction of our show.
But also, we make sure that we kind of set it up like a show format. So we have an introduction real quick where we briefly introduce ourselves, we’re both on the screen at the same time, and then we talk about a cool tip that we learned for the week or a book that we recommend based on Jay, my business partner, and I. We like to read a lot of books. Then we tackle what it is, the meat and potatoes, of whatever topic we’re talking about.
I make sure to share mine, he shares his, then we do an outro. We have some sort of call to action, and that’s where the Messenger automation, or we have people say certain things or we get new guests on the show by kind of recruiting the live audience that are watching us, and then we sign off.
So that’s just one way to do it. But it really depends on the type of live shows out there. One of the easiest ones, for those out there listening, is do behind-the-scenes live streams. You’ll be surprised at how fast 15 minutes goes by. And when I say “behind-the-scenes”, I mean showing people behind the scenes of how you go about your day, how you go about doing a specific process.
For instance, Rich, how you do your podcast and set that up and all of those different things, doing kind of a walk around. Especially if you have a physical space or office. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a building or your home, but behind-the-scenes type of live streams goby really quickly and they’re very, very easy to do.
Rich: Oh, that’s some interesting ideas, especially around the podcast. So you mentioned you’ve got a call to action at the end of the show, and this probably leads into my next question. How are you turning views into business?
Monique: Awesome, awesome question. So the whole idea of funnels is how I turn viewers into customers. You know, even just the various type of Messaging automation that you can utilize in ManyChat, you can literally create your own funnel to get people to walk them through a journey to figure out who it is you’re talking to, to segment them without getting too much into marketing jargon. And have them go through a process, have them get to know me and then showcase my expertise and then present an offer.
And the thing is, a lot of times what I like to tell my clients or my students, especially if they’re utilizing live video, is to do a simple what you call a ‘tripwire’ type of offer to get the instant dollars back into your pocket. So for instance, you go live, you have someone put a comment or you collect their email address, you give them a freebie of some sort, but as soon as they submit their email address, present a low ticket offer or something that’s even as small as $5-$7 just to gauge if they’re in the buying mindset or not. But that will help you to start getting that encouragement and that confidence to go live to see that people are actually wanting to learn more from me and pay for it. Then you can take them to the next level. But that’s the easiest way and how I go about generating viewers into customers.
Rich: So I know you think a lot about funnels and that’s great. Let’s break it down for me, talk to me a little bit about campaigns, strategy, and monetization.
Monique: Woo, that’s a big one. Man, we could be here another 5 hours, Rich. So what, specifically? Or just one of my best strategies?
Rich: Yeah, why don’t you. And also you mentioned a little about a small ‘yes’ to get people to buy. Do you have any other more specific strategies or something that’s really worked for you? Can you give me an example of clients you worked with of how you converted a live video experience into a paying customer?
Monique: Sure, most definitely. So I’ll talk to you about what I call the Live Masterclass Launch Method. And basically this is something that I saw a few other people doing and I decided to really tackle it, take ownership, and I’ve been able to do it with a lot of my customers.
So I’ll talk to you about the previous CEO of this company called Speaking Empire. And at the time the CEO just co-wrote a book with Dan Kennedy. So we worked together to do his book launch using Facebook Live and doing what I call a Live Masterclass.
So what we did was we took out specific chapters out of his book and he taught a Live Masterclass for 3 days. We did it for 3 hours each day. And I’m not saying for you to do this, but it’s 3 hours each day, but it was a whole experience that we created with it. We did giveaways, we encouraged people to buy their books live, we had previous customers or clients from a particular company to come in and we did live interviews of them. And then we did what we called a white board author stream where literally we taught as if you would do a school way of teaching.
And the reason why we came up with this whole method that I like to call the Live Masterclass Launch Method, is because I saw that there were other marketing gurus – if you want to call it – who were going live. And instead of doing it where it’s like a webinar format where you see a computer screen, they just went old school. They started using a whiteboard and started using a chalkboard. And when I saw that was working I wanted to try that myself and I tackled that whole idea of why reinvent the wheel.
So what I like to encourage clients is to look at what I call your “pre-existing wheels”, your “pre-existing streams”. Don’t make it so hard on yourself to start from scratch. So what this Live Masterclass Launch Method, we developed this whole campaign. Here’s a few things; 1) We would create what we call “Countdown Videos”. So we would start from 5 days, 4, 3, 2, 1, and they would be short little clips where we would get people excited about the upcoming Live Masterclass. MiniChat would be tied to that, where we would encourage people to sign up via that way. And it’s all free, in addition to during those countdown videos we go behind the scenes of us setting up and getting ready for this big event.
Now when the event actually occurs, everything is being run via email and MiniChat, letting people know when it’s starting at the top of the hour and all that great stuff. Even while we’re live, to let people know there’s still a chance for you to join in.
And then also after it’s actually done being live, we are encouraging the replay viewers to come in and tackle. And while we’re actually live, we have comments that are created to create engagement, get people to ask questions, to do offers, all of those great things.
Now the offer, as far as what we did is, we included the book as well as actual coaching program. That isn’t presented until the second day, and there’s a reason for that. Because the very first thing you want to kick it out of the park and show value.
And then on the second day we present the actual offer that we’re doing, while he’s selling his book getting deep into specific chapters.
And then on the third day we wrap it all together and really do a big push. In addition to that, as each day goes by, we are also creating ad campaigns where we’re retargeting viewers and also getting new people to join in even though they might join in late. But they have access to the previous recordings as well.
But we create a whole idea of scarcity by saying that these recording or these live streams are only up for 24 hours. Especially on Facebook Live, if you don’t know you can go live up to 4 hours before they cut you off. However, you can go past that. But if you go past 4 hours you cannot archive your stream, it will automatically be deleted when you’re done going live.
I know that was kind of long winded, but hopefully that helps.
Rich: No. But that was very robust and obviously you had an incredible game plant to make that succeed. So if somebody is just getting started and they don’t have that big gameplan, I guess one question I have is, should they worry about how many people are actually showing up? I know that’s always my fear, I’ll throw a party and nobody comes, so it must be similar with live video. How worried should you be about the number of people that are on the live feed?
Monique: Ok, two things. Is it ok if I give you some tough love, RIch?
Rich: I am ready for some tough love.
Monique: Alright, so tough love. When you are concerned about the amount of people on your live stream, you’re making it about yourself, and in itself you’re being selfish. Because say it’s just one or two people that showed up, those one or two people didn’t have to take the time out of their day to show up. So why not serve those one to two people.
Now the thing with live video, I understand how it can be discouraging if you’re only seeing a small amount of people on. But guess what? Especially if you’re not a Gary V or someone who has a very large audience like a Tony Robbins, you can’t rely on live views.
The secret or the key to the game is the replays of the views, and hence why you want to go as long as 15-20 minutes bare minimum. Because with the Facebook algorithm Facebook sees that Rich has been live for 5 minutes, “Oh, he’s still here, we need to get his friends of friends. Oh he’s still here, let’s work even harder and get the reach out there.” So really when it comes to live streaming it’s all about the replay views, especially if you’re just starting out or if you don’t have a large audience versus the live views.
So in itself, when you’re going live you’re talking to two audiences, and I definitely strongly encourage those who are listening to make sure you talk to the replay viewers as well.
Rich: Alright Monique, I absolutely love that, because it reminds me that years ago when I was reading one of Barack Obama’s autobiographies. And he was talking about how when he was first going to be a Senator of Illinois, he would go around and sometimes he would talk at halls with 200-300 people, and other times he’d show up and there’d be 1-2 people. And he said he would always deliver the same amount of energy regardless of how many people were in the audience, because he knew that every vote counted and everybody should be heard. And I just absolutely loved that story and that’s the same message that you’re putting out there right now.
Monique: Yes, most definitely.
Rich: Awesome. This has been really great and I know a lot of people are going to want to check you out, check out the live feeds. Where can we send them?
Rich: Awesome. And of course we’ll have all of those links in the show notes. Monique, it’s been a pleasure, thanks so much for coming by today.
Monique: Thank you so much for having me, Rich. I greatly appreciate it.
Monique Johnson believes there’s no better way to share who you are and where you’re going, than with live video. Check out her website to learn more about how to create live videos for your businesses that translate into growth, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 20+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing.