Everybody Rob Cairns CEO and Chief creator of amazing ideas at Stunning Digital Marketing.com. Today's SDM interview show is with my good friend Jeff Brown. Jeff is the president of alpha social media Inc, and a work place education trainer. He specializes in training WordPress, social media, and computer skills for participants. Currently, he's even working on a cloud based course and teaching it as we speak. Jeff has a wide, vast knowledge base, and is really intelligent, and actually really fun to talk to. Jeff and I've collaborated on many projects, many discussions, and we thought we'd share this one with you. Please stay tuned, sit back, relax, and enjoy. How to learn social media, and WordPress with Jeff Brown.
Alright, folks, here we are with my good friend Jeff Brown, President and CEO of Alpha Social Media, Inc. and Jeff is a workplace education trainer. So what we want to talk about today is kind of some resources on what you should do to keep yourself up to date did Jeff is a great resource, and we're going to kind of pick his brain for trying to help them adjust. So let's start with social media. Somebody who's new to social media, what should they be learning? And what Shouldn't they be learning? And where should they start?
Well, one of the places that I suggest is that they start to learn how to start with the basic networks. If you're just starting off, you're looking at Facebook, Twitter, maybe some Instagram, I'm a big fan of doing a few well, and then from there branching out, if you get involved in too many going to be all over the place. And it's going to be frustrating. And the thing that you have to learn is that social media is about being social. In other words, you have to build a community around your business. You stepping on a platform and your bullhorn and blasting stuff out, is not going to do it for your social media. I would rather I tell my participants, add a few people at a time, interact with them, build a strong community, people that like your business are going to refer your business and to help your business grow. There's a win for them, and it's a win for you in the in the relationship. That's the way to start it to get things rolling.
Yeah, I would agree, aren't you and I kind of plant and check in that one. We we met probably about 10 years ago on Twitter, right? just discovered out on Twitter. Yeah. And we we've met in person, and even though we're at opposite ends of the country, and more central European, you know, Sunny Nova Scotia, we we have a we have an amazing relationship, because we've taken that off social media, and on the things like zoom meetings and helped each other out in classes and courses and collaborate a little bit and work together and do things like that, right?
Yes. And that's what the whole point of social media is, if we're going to use it for business, it's about building relationships with other business people and customers, that's actually going to work for your business. And so it's not about how many numbers you have on social media. It's actually who you know,
it's, it's so true. I mean, I kind of look at my Twitter feed, and I'm last I looked him up around 19,000 followers, which, at the end of the day, I really don't care about the 19,000. But what I've got is, I've got probably out of that a regular group play engage with on a regular basis. And I know one of the things I like to do is I go to my Twitter feed a couple of times a week, and I'll choose 10 people I haven't talked to in a while, and I'll reach out and say hello, and I'll say, or I'll say oh, there's somebody say can I help you with a problem? Or? Or can we assist you with something or, you know, try and help people instead of just saying, here's the latest article, go read that kinda kind of thing?
Yes, absolutely. Because if you have to be a benefit to others, you know, the old saying is, if people don't know you care, then they will care about you,
essentially. Yeah. And so if you were doing social media, let's kind of go with Twitter, and Facebook, and LinkedIn a little bit. If you're doing business to business, where would you Where would you put your time? Right now,
I'm going to go business to business right now. I would like to build on LinkedIn at least, to start a connection. And at the end of the day, where possibly your social media always should end up with a copy somewhere, you should go meet someone, take it off social media and get out there and meet someone. I'm a real fan of that. using Twitter, for instance, to make that original lead that original connection, and then see where it goes from from their Twitter is really good at
just short. Hi, how you doing? Today? Here's a great thing to share with you or what are you up to? Can
you meet for coffee? Things like that?
We both we both have animals. So ignore the dogs and yeah, but it's so it's so true. And I would I would agree with you. I mean, I've got a really good long term relationships. I mean, we both know, a good friend of ours on Twitter accurate Phoebe and Mike Scott. And Scott Mills is kind of a master of relationships, too on Twitter, and he knows how to go off and stand there and say, by the way, why don't you just pick up the phone and call me? And and he gets said as much as as much as you? And I do.
Right? So absolutely. And he's the guy that really when you think about community policing, that type of work. He's the kind of guy that's actually spent the time to build relationships, that's allowed him to get face to face with people that others can't get face to face with.
He's actually super in that role. So true. Now, if you were to sort of say, you know, we're a little different. We're a little older, if you are millennials, what do you think of things like Snapchat, or and or Pinterest? I know, we talked about starting with basics, which is the way I preach it as well. But do you think the millennials still have a market in most places? Or do you think they were kind of a waste
of what social network they use? It's how they use it, that counts. Yeah, I was watching a show last night and on social media and, and young people, and it's simply going to be device to device. And there's no, nothing beyond that. One of the senior moments of the whole movie, so to speak, was this person had a lot of friends on Facebook, for instance, but he never had anybody could go and hang out with them. And so when it comes to all these social networks, whether it's Snapchat, Instagram, that a lot of them are hanging around. If they're not taking it deeper than just phone to phone, then especially if they're going to be young entrepreneurs, they're missing the boat on it
now, and then that's where we're kind of a little lucky in Toronto, like a lot of these big social media companies, Toronto's a haven for startups and social media companies. So in Toronto, we're lucky because there's all kinds of events where you can go to, and actually meet at meet people. And some of them are free, and some of them are low cost. And there's also meetup groups. And I think that's the value is taking a group and going out and meeting 10 or 20 people. And then if you're lucky to come out of them with one or two really good connections, and sometimes they're not just even work connections, they're just people to collaborate with, to bounce ideas off of and help each other out kind of thing. And that's absolutely, and that's the hardest part, being an entrepreneur working from home. It can be a lonely business, sometimes if you don't, if you don't have people to bounce ideas off of right? Yeah. And you have to force yourself to go
as an entrepreneur, you got to force yourself to make phone calls. business meetings, go for coffee.
Yeah, it's even
as a young entrepreneur, I would encourage young entrepreneurs to get face to face with people. And the reason why it's so important, is you get to create that good first impression. That's the thing that solidifies that's where you and I connected off from that first impression. So true. And that solidified everything for years.
Yeah, no, no, no question. I guess switch gears from it. The other thing you teach and you spend it time teaching is WordPress. And we both know, you know, for those people watching WordPress accounts for depending on who you're talking about 30 to 35%. Right now, of all content management systems out on the internet, it's probably number one. If you listen to a show like WordPress, plugins, A to Z, which is a big plugin show, they claim there's over 60,000 plugins in a repository right now. So you know it's growing. If you were to start doing WordPress, as a trainer, what would you suggest people start with and what skills do they need to create a website? Well, they
absolutely were. The first things I show them is how does a WordPress site get installed? Yeah, they need to know whether they're going to do it themselves, or someone's going to do it for them. They need to know how it gets installed, how long it takes, and what are some simple best practices. When you install a WordPress site. I installed one for a woman on another site. I want to say where it was But for instance, the odd the automatic username was admin. And that is absolutely the kiss of death. When it comes for WordPress, yes, that well we had her do is create another username, log out, log in with the other username and remove the admin, something like that. And when you're going through the setup, use a good
password. Because that's a lot of ways where a lot of WordPress sites get breached. Something as simple as the WordPress install, we start it with a good username and a good password. Those are so critical for moving forward. Because as an entrepreneur, if you get hacked, that's a non billable scenario, no one's gonna pay you to fix your website. That's money out of your own pocket. So if you don't do it, right, right from the start, that could be a real accident waiting to happen, so to speak,
no question. And it's funny because now all your web hosts have nice automated scripts, you push a button, it does it all for you. I still remember the days when I used to do websites manually. So I upload the WordPress site upload, I go in, I change, you know, the configuration files, and then I do it all manually. And I can still do a manual install. And it's a long way around, but I don't think I've done one actively, forever. Like it's just because you push a button, you run the script, and then you go in and change what you need to be changed. Absolutely. So So we talked about that. Now, other skills that we find that people need is a little bit of graphic knowledge, right, jessalyn? And what do you suggest for me?
Well, ideally, I like, I've got WordPress, a lot of my students have WordPress as well, I like that. But there are other solutions. Canva, for instance, but whatever solution, you go with what's absolutely critical is file size.
make sure that that file is as absolutely small as possible, before you upload it. And I'm a fan of putting metadata into pictures, for instance, your website address, and load it up to the website, having stuff like that in it. And when it gets up there, I can't tell you how many sites I've seen, where they're not using alt tags or alternative text as it's also known. So filename for the image, having the image a good file size, having metadata going. And when you upload it to the website, make sure you put all text in it, I can't tell you how many sites, how many big companies don't use alternative tags, or Alt texts,
just shameful. And there's not enough resources out there that will go through and sort of analyze your site for free and say, okay, you haven't put the alt text in so or you haven't put the proper tags in, so why not, why not go and fix it and, you know, I and they're not too hard, you know, you gotta do is go to Google and kind of do a Google search and say, you know, this is what I this is what I'm looking for kind of thing, and, and do it. And you're not just, you know, starting out, you're gonna spend some money to do some of this stuff, they're there. I mean, you know, down the road, you probably want to spend a little bit of money got the right tools. But to get a basis, you don't, you don't need to, absolutely, I kind of subscribe to and I think we've talked about this offline multiple times, I subscribed to the 100 k file size, or as close to it as I can get. The exception might be a header photo up at the top, it might be a few other things. And, and I would suggest to people, unless you're a designer, or you're trying to show off some photos looking for a photo person, that's a little different, because your business is a little different. But I would strongly suggest that you kind of stay to that kind of a model. And I would say if you don't think there's a reason for go look at some media sites like the star or CNN or USA Today or CNN, they have reasons for doing stuff. And they're pretty and they get a lot of hits. Right. So absolutely. And and you know, I mean, that's part of the parcel. What do you think about domain names? Do you think it's a good idea for somebody to use your name.com? Or do you think they're better off to use something that reflects what they're doing in their domain? Well, this all
comes back to we've had this conversation, Rob over and over and over again, you words, do you want to go to your company as your domain? Or do you want to use a product or service in your domain, and at the end of the day, all this stuff really gets determined by keyword research. And what I mean by that is, if you're going to your website is going to become a billboard. So the question is, where are you going to put it keywords represent traffic so Are you going to pick words that are, there's a lot of search, a lot of relevant search your company, if you're going to use your company, when you set up your company, it should have part of your keyword in it, for instance, alpha, social media, I've got social media built right into my company name. But if you don't have that, then what are the keywords that you want, and what domains, they're like land, once they're gone, they're gone. But what domains exist that you could use, that would help you show up in search, I was worried, we're going to put a website up, we absolutely want to maximize it as best as possible. And all the different areas that Google's concerned about. And one of the things is that domain names.
Now, the other thing I would add to that, too, is succession planning. If you have if you plan on using your name, and then down the road, you say I want to sell this business, or I want to retire and want to get out. It's really hard to sell Jeff brown.com to Michael Smith. And you know, I mean, that's, that's the reality of it. So I think I think the other thing to look at is, if you use a name in there, like our social media and stunning digital marketing comm or any of these big names ibm.com you can do something with that, right?
Yes, absolutely. That's a great point, Rob. Yeah,
so I think that's part of it. Um, what do you think the biggest mistake that people are doing the WordPress websites,
they don't have a plan for the website from the get go, you and I've had this discussion, we're not hanging webpages, we just don't put pages up just for the sake of having a page, every page that goes up on a website, there's got to be a plan, there's got to be a strategy, which arrives at that page, at the bottom or somewhere in the middle, there's got to be a call to action, there's got to be something more that they can do. If we're going to build trust, maybe a link to another article to keep them reading. Or if you're selling a product, there's got to be an easy button. So they can buy that.
Yeah, no, no question.
But hang it, don't create a web page or a post unless you absolutely have an idea of what you want that thing to do. That's just a waste of time, if you don't plan.
I think a lot of I think a lot of people kind of think a website people just kind of go to and then they buy. And I think where people get caught is they don't put calls to action on pages. And they and they started to say, and they forget the whole purposes of a website is to generate leads, and then you have business leads, and then you have to convert and close them. And there's a lot of people that don't seem to subscribe to that theory. And I think that is really important to remember, your website is here to generate your business not just to look at Absolutely,
absolutely. And then the one story I remember is this town a million miles away from me, now set up this big shopping site. And for about a year, nobody sold anything on the site. So I happen to go to that town, which is a million miles away from here. And we checked out to see if anybody can actually buy something on the site can the PayPal up to the sales funnel. So therefore customers were just getting frustrated. No one ever tested the buy process. And so no one could buy, they may put all these nice shiny objects in front of people, but they couldn't buy it online.
It's interesting because I've got a couple clients and they were they do really well Believe it or not just have stuff on on your website for sale. And because of the types of business once one's a majority, people tend to actually look at the stuff and then they come in and they buy in store. It's really interesting. He is his store, his online stores more a catalog. And yeah, even though you could buy it online, people in his business tend to come in. So he's a guy that's really got the message that when people walk into the store, it's good time it's value added because they could buy it the website but he's like the cheers abuse industry. You come in not just for the buyer, you come in for the experience. That's true. What he does, what he does is he he talks to people. So there's a lot of discussion out there that when people come into stores and stuff what you got to use the storytelling, you got to find out what their story is and a little bit about them. And he spends his time when he's talking to customers. They'll talk to him about his about how their kids are, how their family is what they're up to. And you say why is that relevant? Well it is relevant because it's telling them jewelry is an interesting business because it's disposable income usually people don't go in and buy jewelry, the way we buy a car or we buy a computer We buy a house, it's stuff that's needed. It's all disposable. And that's, and it's totally different. So it's how you get people to park with that disposable money nicely, right? So absolutely.
And it's going to take a really good relationship with these people. Because you're building value, you're building a story in the buy, but also the story that the purchaser can tell to the family from there. And that good experience, he can then refer people back to the business because what has happened there, so even though his website is a catalog, and they could buy off there, they're coming because of the experience
businesses still need to keep in mind. Your frontline staff is absolutely mission critical for the success of the business
central central did. So you know, we've watched some trends in this business. And one of the biggest trends, I guess, about eight or nine years ago, everyone used to be buying frameworks that were building websites. So they bought things like headway Genesis thesis. And then there's been this kind of shift. And I think the shift has been because of complexity and cost and a few other things. People are going more than page builders or so when I say page builders, we'll talk about Beaver Builder or Elementor. If you know our viewers are familiar with that, or they'll go to something like I know, I've made the move to a theme called the VEDA, which is, you know, the number one selling theme of all time, and a guy's a page builder in it called the fusion builder. Why do you think that shift happened?
For instance, when I trained a lot of people in WordPress, yeah. The hardest thing of the whole course is to find the theme. Not only that, but these are people that make their money not building WordPress sites, but they're learning to build a website for their business. So they absolutely need to have something that's simple. Something that can look really great out of the box, and something that's got a little bit more expandability than other sites, for instance, Wix weebly. Sites like that something that's more robust, and it looks great, they can create something awesome.
Yeah. And and it's interestingly enough, I'm gonna throw this one out there so we can have a laugh when we've talked about it. I have a friend who runs a content creators group, Kim Doyle on Facebook, and somebody posted in Kim's website in Kim's Group A couple weeks ago, shout out to Kim that Wix actually builds her blog, interestingly enough, a WordPress. Now, what people don't realize is because of open source code, and WordPress is open source, a lot of these page builders has actually forked meaning applied your code to their sites and kind of a nun that but I, I wouldn't suggest building. The other thing I would suggest from a developer standpoint is don't get hung up on open source and security issues. The reality is, the more to market, the more the security issues, it's probably more important to keep your software up to date, and keep regular backups. And by the way, if you're not going to do it, get somebody to do it for you. Because, you know, every day I looked at groups, and somebody says, I have a virus, I got hacked last night, I said, Okay, do you have a backup? What's up? And and, you know, I made I'd be facetious, but I mean, on the other hand, you know, for if you had a backup, you wouldn't even care if you got hacked, you could go back and do a restore and away you be in an hour, kind of so many good reasons to
have a backup besides a hack. I mean, you do a plug in it damages the site, and even taking the plug in, doesn't fix it, then the backup gets you back in business issues, potentially under 15 minutes. Yeah. And then without even having to bother your house. Now a lot of hosts are pretty good for getting back. But it could be 48 hours. And in that time period, you
got to watch that Google
if you only interest Google and what Google is looking at on your website, so I'm gonna get your backup up really quick. That is mission critical. You need to know that it's one of the things that I teach in my WordPress Part One courses, how do we do a backup and test the backups just to make sure they actually
work? Do you know how many people you know i i spent a long time in it and in the healthcare sector, and now we use test backups on a on a bi weekly basis. And how many people actually don't test the backup. So they'll have 1000s of backups and they don't even know too good. That's you know,
I got a good story for you, Robin. This is a major corporation a million miles away from here. The they got a server They got tape backups.
server dies. So they just go and buy a new server. They're taping the taking the tape backups there, and they try to load them in. The i t guy never tested any of the tape backups to see that they were actually working. And so they couldn't do it. And so what they ended up doing was hand bombing financial data for six months. And this wasn't a mom and pop shop. This is a major, major, major, big corporation. And it wasn't all a lot of fun. yet. The guy was gone. Another business No kidding.
No kidding. And I know of another story with an Australian web host a number of years ago, their their biggest web host. They actually had their backup server hacked and compromised, like 1000s of customers. And it was like so so what I would suggest is, don't just rely on your web host for backups actually. actually do them. You know?
Yeah, cuz stuff can happen. You have to have a 123 system
that we you and I've talked about. Yep, no question. Just to kind of wrap up a little bit. If somebody wanted to learn a little bit about WordPress, besides, you know, out there in Nova Scotia getting into your, on your WordPress courses. Do you have any quick resources that you can throw? For instance,
we know lynda.com if you've got a library card if you're in Nova Scotia, I know they do this in Toronto. Yeah, you have free access to online learning that way. Not only that I I actually have I bought the toolkit for my themes, but they have free WordPress webinars that you can go to and training dot i themes.com. That's another resource. Yeah, there's a lot of places that you could go YouTube. If you want to learn one how to do one simple thing, you can just type that in the search, and then find the YouTube video you want specifically on that there are a ton of resources out there. You just have to go and find them.
Yeah, there's also two others out there for you. One is a podcast I absolutely love for developers called WP plugins, etc. done by Marcus couch. Marcus is well known in the WordPress community and john overall, John's Canadian, he's out of Victoria. Marcus is at goona Beach, California, I wonder, you know, I listened to way too many of them. And these guys are a resource because what they do is they kind of highlight plugins, and I've used a few myself where as I've been looking for something. The other thing I'll throw out there is I'm not a big fan of dummies books. There's a series by idg. But there is a book called WordPress for Dummies. The author isn't lady by name, Elisa saben Wilson, and it's the only dummies book I actually recommend on on a regular basis because the book is a good foundation for learning. We're absolutely and I don't think there's a better book out there to be honest with you. I mean, Lisa knows her stuff. She's been at conferences, she's been out word camps. And by the way, the kids had to go to a word camp go once, if it's, you know, in an area where it's worth going to chance to meet some people and do some stuff. But really, Lisa gets it and she actually and she's approachable and Twitter and Facebook and things like that. So, yeah. Jeff, thanks for spending a little time with us talking about some resources. If somebody wants to get ahold of you how
they can reach me, they can go to my website, alpha social media inc.com or they can email me at info at alpha social media inc.com. Those are two ways that they can get
ahold of me. And Thanks, Jason, you have a wonderful day, and we'll talk to you soon. All right, talk to you soon. Thank you. That's a wrap. Thank you for joining us for this week's SDM interview show. We hope you enjoyed the show as much as we did doing it for you. The SDM interview show is a production of stunning digital marketing COMM The agency that can help you with your digital marketing needs. For more information please visit our website at stunning digital marketing comm or email us at Hello at stunning digital marketing comm You can also call or text us at 416-624-7647 also check out our Facebook email@example.com slash stunning digital marketing. What do we post daily Facebook Lives during the week to help you with your digital marketing and business needs. Also check out our CEOs twitter feed at Robert Cairns belts Da IR ns until next Thursday, please have a great week. And this show is dedicated my late father Bruce Cairns and miss your dad. And as Casey caisson says, keep reaching for the stars and you'll know where life is. Have a great day. Bye bye for now.