Episode 156: Why your techs are NOT too busy for new clients

Episode 156: How to check if your techs are genuinely too busy

Paul Green

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 156: How to check if your techs are genuinely too busy

Episode 156 includes:

  • 00:00 How to create a ‘moonshot’ goal for your MSP
  • 08:05 Why your techs are NOT too busy for new clients
  • 17:58 A social media expert explains how your business can stand out online
  • 35:31 A great book recommendation about creating great processes within your MSP

Featured guest:

Brendan Kane is a featured guest on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Thank you to Brendan Kane from Hook Point for joining Paul to discuss how an MSP can stand out on social media.

Since 2005, Brendan  has helped the largest brands and celebrities in the world reverse engineer how to make content go viral. Brendan and his team at Hook Point have generated 60 billion views and 100+ million followers for the content they have worked on.

Connect with Brendan on LinkedIn:

Extra show notes:

Episode transcription

Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world, this is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.

Paul Green:
I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it. Here’s what’s coming up in this week’s show. I think you’ll like it.

Brendan Kane:
Hi, I’m Brendan Kane, the author of the books One Million Followers and Hook Point: How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World. I’ll be talking about what it takes to go viral on social media and how to maximise these platforms toward your B2B marketing efforts.

Paul Green:
That’s Brendan Kane. He’s possibly one of the greatest living social media experts, certainly when it comes to going viral. He’s worked with celebrities, some enormous companies, and he’s got some great advice for how you can better use social media in your MSP. We’re also going to be talking about your technicians and when they complain that they’re just too busy, that they can’t possibly take on any more users. We’re going to talk about how you can assess whether they are really busy or whether they just think that they’re busy and figure out how much extra technician time you could possibly sell.

Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.

Paul Green:
On the 12th of September, 1962 in a speech in Houston, Texas, then US President John F. Kennedy stood up and announced to the nation his desire to send man, because it was a bit sexist back then, man to the moon and back again safely by the end of the decade which was of course something that happened with the first moon landing or the faked moon landing, depending on which you believe, I’m sure it did actually happen, the first actual moon landing at the end of that decade.
Now, what JFK set out on that day with that speech is understandably these days known as a moonshot because when he stood up during that speech and he set out what he wanted the US to achieve in just a few years, it was just about seven, eight years or so, at that point, NASA had a pretty good idea how they were going to get humans to the moon. They didn’t quite know exactly how they were going to land them on the moon and they really didn’t know how they were going to bring them back safely. It was a very big mission and that’s why we call moonshot moonshots. It’s as big as that.
Something else you may have heard a moonshot called is a big, hairy, audacious goal that you may have about read about that in the book Traction by Gino Wickman. He talks about BHAGs, big, hairy, audacious goals. Now, you need a big, hairy, audacious goal, a moonshot for your MSP, and what I’m talking about here is not a goal of what you’re going to achieve next year. I’m sure around about now you’re starting to think, “What’s 2023 going to have in store for us?” and maybe starting to set yourself some kind of goal. Oh no, I want you to think bigger than that. Not one year, not three years, not five years, but in 10 years’ time, what could your MSP look like in 10 years’ time.
Now, the reason that’s a moonshot is because actually the world of technology is going to have changed completely over the next 10 years. You look back 10 years, look at 2012, how different is the technology environment today. You can see that we’ve gone down a route. Cybersecurity is way bigger than it was 10 years ago, and in 10 years’ time, I’m guessing it’s going to be even bigger still because although the defenses get better, the weapons attacking people are getting better as well. We can look at managed services and subscriptions and follow that route, and we just generally know from decades of watching technology that everything can change in seven to 10 years.
But I still think you should ask yourself for your MSP, what’s your moonshot? What’s your big, hairy audacious goal? What could your business look like by 2032 or 2033? In fact, now would be a great time to sit down with your team or your business partner or your life partner if they’re involved in your business or you just want someone to riff off and to say, “What could we achieve in 10 years?” Because here’s the thing I know about humans. We massively overestimate what we can achieve in a short period of time, but then conversely, massively underestimate what we can achieve in a long period of time. If I sit you down for a day and say, “What are you going to get done today?” you’re going to come up with a whole list of things. You won’t get all of those things done at all. But if I say to you, “10 years, what would you like to achieve in 10 years?” it’s almost like you won’t think big enough because in 10 years you could do anything.
You could take a business that’s today doing a hundred thousand a year and that could be a 10 or $20 million a year within 10 years. In fact, I think you could achieve that within five years if you’re focused enough and you’ve got the drive to do it. What could your MSP look like in 10 years’ time? What kind of reach could it have? What kind of clients could it be looking after? How many users or end clients could you possibly have? How many technicians could you have? Maybe you’ll have no technicians. Maybe you’ll have 500 or 1,000 clients but no technicians. What kind of experience could you create for the end clients that you’re looking after? Will you just be in your town or will you be in another town, or maybe in other parts of the world? In fact, you could argue in 10 years’ time that it doesn’t matter where your MSP is based. You could genuinely look after and very well service clients anywhere in the world.
Wouldn’t it be great just over the next couple of weeks and months to dream, to think what’s the moonshot, what’s the big, hairy, audacious goal. We’ve just been doing this with our business, our MSP Marketing Edge business. Me and my team, we’ve been looking ahead 10 years and saying, “Well, what does this look like in 10 years’ time? Are we still doing the same thing? Are we delivering white label marketing content to MSPs around the world and supporting them with insane amounts of support to help them implement that, or are we doing something different? What do we evolve into? How do we work with instead of 700-odd MSPs, how do we work with 10,000 MSPs in 10 years’ time?”
Now, I don’t have the answers to those questions at all. The answers will come in the years ahead, but that’s my moonshot. That’s my big, hairy, audacious goal. I don’t know how we’re going to get there, but I know we’re going to be completely different when we get that 10 years down the line, and that’s the way that you need to be thinking about your MSP. Now, you could argue this is a distraction from what you’re trying to do now. When you’re just trying to increase monthly recurring revenue and just win another client and get through another day without quite so many problems coming to affect you, it’s very hard to be thinking about the long-term future. Maybe you see that as a distraction, or maybe it affects the decisions you make today.
If I know, for example, that I’m going to have 10,000 MSPs that I look after in 10 years’ time, then that’s going to affect the people that I hire today because if I’m hiring someone in their twenties or their thirties today, I’m looking at that person thinking, “Could you be a leader in the business that I’m going to create in the future? Are you the right person? Even if you’re not in the right seat today, could you work your way into the right seat? Could you replace me?” Maybe I won’t be running that business in 10 years. I hope to be, but what if I’m not? What if I make the decision to step away?
Can you see how having an eye on where you’re going is so important for the decisions you start to make in the short term and the mid term? So, an action point for you, if you get chance, please find some time with your team, your business partner, your life partner, a friend, a business-owning friend, someone you play golf with, someone you go hang gliding with. Find someone that you can just riff off. No one knows exactly what will happen in 10 years’ time, but we can have a vague idea of what could happen, and we could certainly form a moonshot based on that.

Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green:
One of the greatest sources of distress for MSPs that I talk closely to is often technicians. I know you can’t do without them as much as you’d like to, and I know there are very good technicians, but there are also technicians that are testing you constantly in many different ways. Now, let me give a caveat. Not all MSPs have issues with their technicians. Some of the MSPs I talk to have great technicians. They’re very well trained, they operate the systems well, and those kind of businesses run very, very smoothly. But I do have a lot of conversations with MSPs, typically those that are going through change. They’re trying to grow the business and do something different with the business, and often they feel as though the technicians are holding them back. They’re struggling to recruit those technicians. They don’t have enough time to train them, and those technicians don’t seem to be able to follow the systems.
As I say, not universal, don’t write in with lots of complaints, but these are some of the common things that I see and I have conversations with MSPs all of the time. One of the biggest issues with technicians, and I don’t think this is the technicians trying to rip you off, I think it’s a perception problem for them as much as anything, one of the common perception or common problems is when the technicians perceive that they are full. So, they look at the number of clients that they’re looking after and the number of end users, and they perceive that with the current resources of the business they can’t take on any more work, or rather they say to you, “Oh god, if you’re going to win that business, that new 50-user business that you’re talking to, we’re going to need another technician here.”
That just drives MSP owners crazy, and of course it does because if you add in another technician, that fine balance between resource and net profit suddenly goes out again, doesn’t it? You add on a new client with 50 users without having to add on your resource, your gross profit goes up, your net profit goes up, your personal spending ability goes up, happy days. But if in order to bring on that new client you need a new technician, then the chances are that actually bringing on that new client has reduced your net profit and reduced your personal spending ability, not happy days, thumbs down for that one. So, I think you need to find a way within your business to figure out how busy are my technicians in reality, and this can only come from good ticket discipline because if you ask someone to ascertain how busy they are, they will always report that they are busier than they actually are.
Now, partly that’s them almost expanding the work to fill the time, partly that’s that no one wants to say to their boss that they’ve only really worked half the week because we all want to look busy. Well, I don’t have a boss. Neither do you, I expect. But we all want to look busy and feel as though we’re doing a good thing, but it’s human nature to want to look busy and to show that you’re doing something. I do have someone on my team who comes to me regularly and says, “I’m out of things to do,” and I love him. I literally could give, but for the fact we work remotely, I could give him a hug, give him a kiss and say, “Brilliant, let’s talk about some projects that are on my plate which I can move onto your plate,” and everyone’s happy with that, but it’s a rare person that can do that.
So, some technicians will deliberately fib to you. Some technicians just perceive they’re busy because they’ve expanded the work to fill the time. A problem comes in with the client and instead of just doing what needs to be done, the basic essentials of following the system to fix that problem and proactively stop it from happening again, they will go a little bit further. Perhaps they’ll take it upon themselves to do some extra servicing or sort out some extra configurations. They’re expanding the work. So, I think working out how much technician capacity you actually have which of course tells you how much technician time you can go on and sell to new clients, it all does come down to good ticket discipline.
Now, I personally have never run a help desk. I have seen very little of PSAs. There were plenty of people around who can talk PSAs, people like Chris Timm. You’ll find him around in various forums, and he’s been a guest on this podcast a very long time ago. But there are lots of people around that will get into the nuts and bolts, the specifics of how you do that in your PSA. The way I see it, it starts with good time tracking and it continues with great ticket discipline. So, if a ticket comes in at 10:00 AM, it’s logged at 10:00 AM, and the work that your technicians are doing, whichever level they’re at, that gets logged on that ticket and that time gets logged. Now, technicians don’t like logging time partly because it makes them accountable and I know that time logging in itself can be an issue.
I have a friend who is a lawyer and he has to log for his company. This is so funny. He has to log 10 units of six minutes every hour. So, he basically from, I guess he works like 9:00 AM till 5:00 AM, and apart from his hour for lunch, he has to log for every single hour 10 units. So, if he spends 12 minutes reading your file, then he will log two units and you get charged for two units. If he spends then three units, we’ll say 18 minutes reading my file, I get charged for that. You can see the basis of this.
The reality is he’s not a robot. So, there are times during the day when his mind just wanders off because the work is boring. Most lawyer-ly work is boring unless you’re in court doing a murder trial, I imagine, which he’s not, he’s doing convincing. So, there are times where his mind wanders off. There are times where he needs to go to the toilet and he kind of is forced by his system to allocate his toilet breaks to a client because he has to track every single unit of six minutes. Crazy, isn’t it, but it’s a common thing within his firm which will go unnamed for obvious reasons, especially if you’re a client of theirs.
So, time tracking does have its problems. No one wants to register that they’ve only worked half the time, but I think if you make it acceptable to your staff to say, “Actually I only worked five hours today and I did an hour’s training or I invested an hour into doing some proactive work, or looking at this server, or helping someone with this problem,” essentially this becomes a cultural thing, doesn’t it? It’s a cultural thing of we all of us accurately record the time that we spend on all of the client work so we can see how much capacity we’ve got. So, we can see if we are too busy or we’re overservicing or we’re underservicing, and then anytime we’ve got left, you can say to your technicians, “I will invest into training but I can only invest into training for you if I know that you have spare capacity for training,” training or proactive work or new projects or exciting things. There’s always exciting things you can get technicians to do.
So, it starts with time tracking. I think then other ticket discipline is making sure that tickets are closed, making sure that everything is logged in them. Again, I don’t have specifics for your PSA or even tickets per se. I’m sure there are plenty of people who will tell you some very specific ticket behavior. But I do know that the more you can use the tickets, and this isn’t as a control method, that the more you can use tickets to assess what is actually being done, the greater control and flexibility that’s going to give you over your resource, the resource that you are paying to be there, whether they’re actually doing any work or not.
It’s really important that your team understand why you’re pushing for this. In fact, I think you could play them this podcast segment. Maybe you should edit out the bit at the beginning where I was critical of technicians, but you get the idea. You could play them this podcast segment and say, “Hey, this is what we’re trying to do. I’m not interested in watching you. Obviously, I want to keep quality high, but I want to keep your skill set high. I want to keep your interest high. I want to do a great job for the clients. And also what if we can all finish at three o’clock on a Friday afternoon, have some pizzas, have a beer, and enjoy some time?” That’s awesome. Isn’t that the kind of thing that technicians would love? And actually, if that means that we’ve got to do our tickets properly and track our time across the week in order to do all of those things, that’s a good thing.
So, please don’t try and tackle this alone. Do this with your technicians. Have the conversation with them, and don’t expect them to all just switch and be perfect from day one. This will take some time to get good ticket behaviors up and running within the business, but it is worth persisting with because then you’ll know exactly how much time you’ve got to go out and sell to new clients.

Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:
Do you know, I’ve just realised that this podcast is three years old this week? We started on the 5th of November 2019 and here we are with this episode coming out on the 8th of November 2022. Happy third birthday to the podcast. Now, I’m going to keep going with this podcast every single week for the indefinite future. It has to end one day because all good things must come to an end, but we love doing this podcast. We love getting your feedback and we’re going to keep doing it.
Something else we’re going to keep doing is adding content to our YouTube channel. So, 3, 4, 5 times a year I go into a professional film studio, the kind that’s got a multi-camera setup and green screens and men that do things with cameras and microphones and I film videos. They’re sort of short videos, somewhere around about 1 to 3-minute videos. We have lots of different formats we film, and the idea is that you can just go onto our YouTube channel and there is a ton of content, and it’s all there to help you improve your marketing and to grow your MSP because I know that’s what you want. I know you want more revenue and you want new clients. So, if you want to delve into that YouTube rabbit hole, just go to youtube.com/MSPMarketing.

The big interview.

Brendan Kane:
Hi, my name is Brendan Kane. I’m the founder of Hook Point and the author of the books One Million Followers and Hook Point: How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World, and our company specialises in understanding the nuances of what it takes to go viral in today’s very noisy world.

Paul Green:
It is a very noisy world, and many MSPs find that when they put out social media content, Brendan, that actually it’s lost in all the noise out there. Now, you I realise specialise in this, in just helping people to cut through. Give us an idea of the kind of businesses and even some of the celebrities that you’ve worked with in the past.

Brendan Kane:
Yeah, at this point we’ve worked pretty much in every sector, every industry. Obviously, some of the more notable ones is MTV, Viacom, Paramount Pictures, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Katie Couric. So, we’ve worked obviously with some big names but also we’ve worked in every sector from insurance to real estate to technology. So, there really isn’t a sector that we haven’t worked on over the years we’ve been doing this.

Paul Green:
And I have to ask because it’s a show business, it gets on this podcast, when you work with someone like Taylor Swift or Rihanna, do you actually get to meet the star or are you dealing with an assistant of an assistant of an assistant?

Brendan Kane:
It depends, it depends on the individual. Some you work directly with. Some celebrities, all I do is work directly with them. Some, you have some meetings with them but then you’re working with their team. Other times you’re just working with their team. So, it really depends on the situation of how you get that introduction and how the conversations first start off. So, it’s all across the board.

Paul Green:
If you look back over the history of your career cutting through social media, what are some of the big things that have stood out for you where you’ve managed to cut through that noise and actually achieved something awesome?

Brendan Kane:
Well, our team collectively using our process, we’ve done over 60 billion views, a hundred million followers and a billion in revenue for the projects we’ve worked on. And again, it ranges across the board, but I mean, from the earliest stages, I did the first-ever influencer campaign on YouTube in 2007, built the first influencer technology platform on MySpace around the same time. So, we’ve been doing this for quite some time. It’s not like we just stumbled into this over the past few years. I’ve been in social media since about 2005 at this point.

Paul Green:
You’ve been here for 17-odd years then, and you’ve obviously seen it change and get bigger and bigger and bigger. There’s a lot of noise out there. I remember going on to YouTube around about 2007, 2008 for the first time because of course it only launched in 2005, and of course these days YouTube is a completely different beast. It has an enormous share of the video market. In fact, I think it has more viewing time than all of the subscription services put together, like Disney and Netflix, and then you’ve got things like LinkedIn, you’ve got Twitter, Facebook, there’s just so much out there. Is it really worth businesses actually spending time trying to cut through on social media still?

Brendan Kane:
Well, I think it’s a great question, and it’s really dependent on the business because I’m not going to sit here and say you have to be on social media to be successful in today’s world. Does it help? Absolutely. Does it give you an extra edge if you crack it? Yes. But there’s so many different ways that you can market your product or service. Social media is one of those, and I’m not going to sit here and say it’s a requirement, and on top of that, it takes a lot of work. To get good at anything, it takes a tremendous amount of dedication, effort, resources, and expertise. So, there’s a massive potential on these platforms.
But typically when we’re working with a client, we’re working hard to define, well, what is the best way to leverage these platforms if they are going to. In some cases, if I’m just doing overall business strategy, I determine based upon all of the variables that play with the business, what type of growth trajectory are they on, what do they want to achieve, where are their clients, what are the resources they have, what is their marketing budget to determine is this really the best path, or is there a different path or different strategy to take to be successful.

Paul Green:
Yeah, I completely agree with you there. I recommend the same to the MSPs that I work with, that social media is just one of the channels. Of the multiple audiences that you’re building, social media, obviously an important one, but obviously not the only channel. Let’s look at LinkedIn because LinkedIn for MSPs is predominantly their main channel because it is seen as the B2B social media channel. LinkedIn has had quite a, I don’t know if it’s a renaissance or a transformation over the last few years under Microsoft’s care, and it has certainly become much more of a content platform than previously where it was just the online version of your offline network. How has that changed how you and your team use LinkedIn?

Brendan Kane:
Yeah, I would say that it’s still going through a transformation, especially on the content side, and I think it’s very early, and there’s some kind of challenges and obstacles that I see with the content that’s being produced for the platform, what’s gaining weight in the algorithms, what’s not. I really look at LinkedIn as that direct data source of your core target audience. So, oftentime when we’re working with LinkedIn, it’s really an aggregation tool to find your core target market, extract that contact information, and then pipe that contact information into more email cadences because the challenge with LinkedIn like the other platforms is there’s so much noise out there, and with LinkedIn specifically, the noise is a lot of people trying to sell you stuff, and that can really numb people to be open to outreach on those platforms and really pay attention to it.
I’m not saying it can’t be successful, it can, but you’re fighting against, and I’m sure everybody could open up their LinkedIn inbox or the connections they get, when the first message is a sales pitch, and because of that, most people are turned off to connecting with new people on LinkedIn from a value standpoint of helping or getting their problems solved by other partners and providers. So, typically, when we look at LinkedIn, we look at it as more of a source to extract the contact details of these people and then follow up via email with a well-thought-out email cadence to express the value and the problems that we can solve for the individual.

Paul Green:
Got it. So, you use LinkedIn to meet people, then you use a mixture of LinkedIn and email to actually build a relationship with them. How do you extract those details? Would you use an automated tool or would you do that manually?

Brendan Kane:
It depends on the volume that we’re doing. In some instances when we’re only going after like 10 to 50 people, we’ll do it manually. There’s other platforms out there that can automate that. If I’m connecting with somebody, I never send a connection, a message with the connection request because it’s too hard to nail that initial message where it doesn’t come off salesy. So, I typically just don’t do that. Have them connect and then you can get their emails through that. Some people have those emails available without the connection, but that’s typically what I do with that.
But in that message, the biggest advice I can give you is you’ve got to get in the head of the other person. You’ve got to understand what is the greatest problem that they’re experiencing, what are the exact words and phrases that they’re using to themselves, and go to the message with that in mind and basically say, “Hey, I know you’re experiencing this very difficult problem, I would love to help you solve this.” Now, with that said, there is a very fine line that you run with that type of message coming off of salesy versus coming off value. So, sometimes we’ll take weeks to craft that messaging for our clients or for ourselves to get that right, and if you get it right, it’s massively valuable. I mean, I’ve closed companies like Disney, Fox, Xbox off of cold outreach emails just because we kind of nailed that cadence to it. Again, I’m not going to sit here and say it’s easy, but it’s definitely achievable.

Paul Green:
Yeah, yeah. So, it’s achievable when you’re thinking about the person that you’re trying to reach and what their issues are, rather than what you want to sell. That makes perfect sense. Okay, I’ve got two, three final questions for you. They’re big questions and you’ve given me some brilliant answers so far. The first of them is I want to talk about other social media platforms. So, let me give you an idea of the sort of average listener to this podcast. So, they run an MSP. They might be anything from a one-man band up to a sort of a multimillion-dollar turnover business, but essentially they are providing B2B solutions and they want to reach other business owners, other people like them who are not in IT because that’s their sort of bread and butter.
What other social media platforms, taking into account everything you’ve talked about so far with the positioning of your message, would you use Facebook, would you use Twitter, would you use some of the newer platforms like TikTok which we traditionally don’t think are the right places to reach the 35, 40-year-old CEOs that you want to reach? What kind of platforms are you recommending for B2B businesses right now?

Brendan Kane:
Yeah, it’s a great question, and your audience is predominantly going to be on most of these platforms at this point because each of these platforms have about 2 billion users on them. Now, obviously, TikTok does skew younger, but it is attracting that older audience, predominantly because their young kids are using that platform, so they want to check it out and understand it. But each platform has its pros and cons. One of the biggest differences I would say is YouTube, for example, as you mentioned, the amount of time spent on that platform is much higher. It’s a long-form consumption, so people will spend 8, 10, 20 minutes watching a video versus TikTok or Instagram or Facebook is notoriously short-form content. So, the upside is that you can build more brand connection, more brand loyalty than those other platforms.
So, we typically say a view on YouTube or subscriber on YouTube is 10 to 20 times more valuable than the other platforms. By saying that, I’m not saying the other platforms aren’t valuable because the con is with YouTube, you got to really be producing longer form content. Yes, YouTube has YouTube Shorts, but still to maximise the value of a platform like that, you need to be producing videos that are eight to 12 minutes minimum in length to really extract that value out of it. But I would really only enter into those platforms and creating a strategy for them if you’re willing to put in the time and dedication and resources, and one of the big things that people, even in the B2B space get wrong with social media specifically from an organic perspective is, hey, we’re just going to create content for our specific demographic niche audience. Well, that is counterintuitive to what the algorithms actually want. Algorithms care about user retention because the more time people spend on these platforms, the more ads they can serve, the more revenue they generate.
So, when we’re looking at content, the algorithms care about content that they can send to the widest possible audience and still grab and hold attention. So, if you’re just designing your content for a B2B audience, and the minute it goes outside of that audience, the algorithms see that it’s not holding attention, they’re going to suppress the reach. You won’t even reach your followers at that point. So, you’ve got to figure out how to turn your message into more of a generalist piece of content that anybody could be interested in, while at the same time, the subtext of that content still playing to your core audience.
It’s definitely achievable. It sounds kind of crazy in the beginning, but there’s a lot of examples of that. For example, for taxes, there’s a YouTube account called Clear Tax Value that it made taxes viral. There’s a luxury real estate agent named Ryan Serhant who sells 10 to 50 million properties out of New York. He makes that content interesting for the general audience by the way that he contextualises his message. So, if you are to go into any of those platforms from an organic perspective, then you’ve got to have this generalist approach of how do I make anybody care about the content that I’m about to produce.

Paul Green:
I can see how selling $50 million houses is a lot easier to go viral than talking about tax, but clearly it is achievable even in a boring B2B sense like that. Let’s talk briefly about going viral. So, you said to me before we started the interview that going viral is not really down to luck. There’s very much a science behind it.

Brendan Kane:
Yeah. So, again, setting the stage is we live in a world where there’s 4 billion content creators on the planet that are pushing 200 billion messages into the world every day. So, these algorithms have so much content to choose from, and they’re looking for content that can grab and hold attention at scale. So, a big part of our process is gleaming insights from who’s doing it well. So, what we do is we go and mine publicly available data on social media of what’s going viral, content creators covering all different subject matters, and then we dissect the nuances of what is causing it to go viral. How are they telling their stories? What are the formats that they’re using? How do they construct their message to be successful? Because you cannot systematically engineer virality if you don’t understand why things go viral.
Now, some people can get lucky and get one, two, or three things to go viral, but they don’t know why. Thus, it’s not predictable. You can’t do over the long run. So, a huge part of our success is constantly analysing other content creators that may have nothing to do with the subject matter we’re going to cover, but we can gleam insights about how they’re telling their story to apply it to our content.

Paul Green:
That’s fascinating. So, essentially, you’re looking to see what the algorithms have picked up and then you’re obviously trying to replicate that in some way. I guess the issue we’re all battling against is we don’t know what the algorithms want. In fact, I suspect that for a lot of these social media platforms, even the programmers, even the developers don’t really understand their own algorithms because there’s years of rules that have been built up there. Final question for you, Brendan, and as someone who’s been in social media pretty much since it started existing, what’s the future? If you were to look forward 10 years from here where, what are the trends? Where do you think we’re going? Is it all going to be short-form content like TikTok? Is it all going to be video as Mark Zuckerberg believes it will all be in the future? What do you see is the future of social media?

Brendan Kane:
Yeah, I don’t know that I’m smart enough to answer 10 years out because I think that there’s a lot of… The biggest thing you have to look at is technology because the hardware dictates the software. This is one of the reasons that Mark Zuckerberg bought Oculus because he’s investing heavy into the metaverse and he wants to own the hardware versus with today he’s super reliant on Android and iOS to serve his platforms. I would say for the next five years, I think that the predominant players are still going to be succeeding because of the level of intelligence and innovation that they do. I definitely wouldn’t say that the future is all short-form content because I think that there’s a little bit of a misconception about kind of micro-attention. There is micro-attention, but it’s for grabbing attention. It’s not for holding it because if that were the case, then people wouldn’t binge watch the latest Netflix show or Game of Thrones, or people wouldn’t listen to a Joe Rogan two and a half hour podcast.
So, I think that there is always going to be a place for long-form content if it really entices you with the story and keeps you involved in the characters or the conversation that is happening. But as far as beyond that, it’s tough to say because we have to see how technology evolves. Meta is making a huge investment, 10 billion a year in the metaverse, but it’s still so early that we don’t know how that technology is going to unfold. Even Mark Zuckerberg talks about they have a vision for it, but there’s so many things that have to fall into place in order to get it there. So, I would really just say for businesses is you can’t go wrong focusing on the big players because this isn’t in the beginning where like a Friendster or a MySpace comes along and then it falls flat. People have been saying Facebook is going to die since the very beginning, but these companies have really evolved in terms of how they approach social media, how they engage people on their platforms, that it’s not going to happen overnight that it’s just going to disappear.

Paul Green:
Friendster, I’d completely forgotten about that one. Tell us a little bit about your agency, Brendan, and tell us how we can get in touch.

Brendan Kane:
Yeah. So, basically we help companies with their social strategy, and there’s two different ways that we do it. We have a community called Viral Trends. They can go to goviral.hookpoint.com where every week we’re delivering the latest insights of what’s going viral and why it’s going viral so that we can take over that role for somebody’s team, or we can develop a full custom social media strategy for a company based upon their specific goals, their needs, their challenges, their competition, and if they want to learn more about that, they’d go to hookpoint.com.

Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast. This week’s recommended book.

Owen McGab Enaohwo:
Hi, my name is Owen McGab Enaohwo and I’m the CEO of Sweet Process. The title of the book is The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, and why I like the book, every business needs to have documentation in place so they can scale and grow and so their employees can get work done predictably, so that you can actually deliver results predictably to your customers. But in this case, this is a doctor’s standpoint. In this case, a surgeon is talking about how having procedures in place and checklists actually improved what they were doing. Life and death is necessary in healthcare, obviously it makes sense to have your business, but get the books so you can see how it applied in its own industry. It’s a good read.

Coming up next week.

Brian Braumeier:
Hey everybody, I’m Brian Braumeier, look forward to chatting with you guys next week. I’m an MSP veteran, been in the industry for about 20 years, and we’ll be chatting about one of my new startups called Zero Touch MSP, helping MSPs get time back so they can spend it with their customers.

Paul Green:
Wherever you listen to this podcast, please do subscribe and you’ll never miss an episode. On top of that interview, next week we’ll be talking about your website and adding a pricing calculator to it. Now, you might think that I’ve gone mad by suggesting you even put your prices on a website, let alone a pricing calculator, but there is method in the madness and I will explain it to you next week. I’m also going to answer some of the most common marketing questions that I get asked. There are certain questions that just repeat again and again and again in a loop, and I’m going to answer three of them for you next week. Don’t forget, there is a ton of extra content like I was mentioning earlier on in the show. Just go to youtube.com/MSPMarketing. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP.

Made in the UK for MSPs around the world, Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.



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