Get a Return on Authenticity with Melinda Wittstock, Ep. 24

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In today’s episode of Just the Tips, Dean and I talk with a serial entrepreneur who has such a fascinating and surprising background, you’re going to want to hear everything she has to say. Melinda Wittstock, CEO and founder of social marketing firm Verifeed. If you’re unsure what your ROI is on your social accounts, and even unsure of whether you’re reaching your ideal audience to begin with, you need to listen to this episode. Melinda is so far ahead of the curve when it comes to analyzing and understanding social media, this episode could have a huge impact on your business.

A born entrepreneur with an eye on what’s next

Melinda told Dean and me how her grandmother was actually the first to see in her the entrepreneurial spirit. At the age of 5 she went around to her neighbors and sold them tickets to a ballet performance she was putting on by herself, and she charged her dad with finding 100 seats for it. And her grandmother looked her in the eye and said, “Melinda, you’re disruptive.” Of course, it would be years later before “disruptive” was a business buzzword, but Melinda was living it from Day One. She continued in that vein as she went through college, creating an advertising department and distribution system for her student newspaper, and going on to be a business reporter for the Times of London by the age of 22. Melinda, quite simply, gets things done, and you’ll want to hear her story in this episode of Just the Tips.

Stop talking to the wrong people on social media

Social media is everywhere, but it’s so hard to tell who’s who, who’s legit, and who might actually be interested in what you’re putting out into the world. Melinda’s firm Verifeed is a “social intelligence” firm, which provides a real-time barometer of what’s being discussed on social media, and by whom. So for instance, say you own a natural supplement company. You may want to find people who are discussing or liking natural remedies, or yoga, or some other related interest. Now go on Twitter and try to do that yourself. Verifeed actually sorts that information for you, so you can talk directly to your ideal customers. How does it do that? You’ll want to listen to this episode of Just the Tips to find out.

“Turning social media from a cost center to a profit center”

Melinda says something in this episode that I think we all know, but rarely put into words. If you want to get return on your social—whether that’s revenue or simply followers and audience growth—you have to speak with a human voice. Brands that speak with an authentic human voice vastly outperform those that have a corporate voice on social, says Melinda. In fact, Melinda believes in that principle so much, that Verifeed’s entire business model is based around its ROA, or Return on Authenticity, Score. As she tells it, her company combines the human element—understanding clients’ businesses and ideal customers—with a sophisticated machine learning, artificial intelligence program that scans social media for influencers, and helps businesses see where their efforts are paying off. It’s a mind-blowing process that you have to hear her explain to believe.

Give give give give ask

Because this show is called Just the Tips, we had to ask Melinda how a company can know if it’s being authentic. What are the qualities of an authentic message? As Melinda tells it, you have to really know and live your “why,” why you’re doing what you’re doing. And then from there, you have to have a genuine interest in your customers. What are they interested in? What do they enjoy and why do they like the things that relate to your business? A big part of that, she says, it’s understanding it’s about your customers, about them, and not about you. So the old method of just broadcasting about yourself doesn’t work. What does work? Well, you’ll want to listen to find out.

Outline of This Episode
  • [3:00] How Melinda got started on this path at the age of 5
  • [10:20] The challenges of social media
  • [13:00] How to get return on your social
  • [15:15] What’s behind the Return on Authenticity?
  • [16:40] Living in a C2B world
  • [21:13] What makes a message authentic?
  • [24:13] Examples of companies being authentic
Resources & People Mentioned

Music for “Just The Tips” is titled, “Happy Happy Game Show” by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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