Speaker 1: (00:00)
How would you like to triple your engagement on social media sounds like a benefit to customer relationships, customer experience, and business outcomes, right? If an average of a 200% lift in your social engagement is of interest you're in the right place because we'll break down, who's experiencing it. And how and why it's happening for them. Today's guest is the co-founder and CEO at lately, AI lately learns which words get you the most engagement and turns video, audio, and text into dozens of social posts containing those words. And it's delivering 180 to 240% Lifton engagement for customers. On average, before co-founding lately, she founded a full service marketing and branding agency did marketing consulting for organizations like Walmart United way and Indiegogo and DJ for tens of millions of listeners at Sirius XM, Kate Bradley. Churnis welcome to the customer experience podcast.
Speaker 2: (00:53)
Hey there, Ethan, how you doing?
Speaker 1: (00:55)
Great. I'm really excited for the conversation. I love what you're doing it lately. I definitely want to get into kind of the AI piece. You know, it comes up a lot, like what should humans do? What should machines do? How do we find balance in that? And that's certainly gonna be at the heart of what we're covering here, but I'm gonna start Kate where we always start, which is customer experience. When I say that, what does it mean to you?
Speaker 2: (01:18)
It means, um, it's so funny. It's synonymous with, to me, uh, with employee experience, right? So I mean, we are big fans of the golden rule due unto others, and we treat people the way we wanna be treated and it starts with me, right? So I'm the leader and I've worked in corporate America and it didn't serve me very well so I treat people the way I wanna be treated first and foremost. And, and it's a little bit, um, it's not for everyone, Ethan. Right? So I'm a wild horse. I don't like to be micromanaged at all. So I have to just remind myself with people who are the same way, but who can also run on their own. And that's hard to find because not everyone really fits that bill. And at the same time, you know, figure out how to corral and lead them. so it's a bit of a double edge sword in that way. But the biggest thing that, that I learned from my mentors is when you give other people the permission to be themselves wart and all they're able to rise to those occasions, and then they start to treat other people the same way. So it's, um, contagious, right?
Speaker 1: (02:38)
Yeah. I love it. I'm, there's a great deal of kinship in, uh, two key things you offered here. We dedicated episode 200 exclusively to employee experience, cuz it's been a background theme on the show since, you know, the earliest days, but we pulled clips from 12 different people from episodes 1 0 1 to 1 99, just to really raise up this, this awareness and understanding of not just what employee experience is, but why it matters and how to improvement, how to improve it. And then the golden rule is just a background theme. In fact, we wrote extensively about it in, for people who are watching video clips. It's the yellow book over my shoulder here, uh, human centered communication. And so, uh, great deal of kinship here. When did you, I mean, do you consciously think about customer experience in the context of either of the businesses that you founded, um, or is it, or is it really your focus on employee experience and, and the rest is all, uh, you just trust that it's all going to happen as it should,
Speaker 2: (03:32)
For sure. We think about customer experience specifically. And one way is again, golden rule. So if this is so easy and you can all do this, sign up and have your customer, your employees sign up for all of the emails that your customers get, all of your employees should be following all of your stuff on social. So you want them to be on the receiving end of what your customers are also seeing. It's a great way to catch mistakes. right. Um, and it puts them in that their shoes, you want everyone to have the sympathy or, or the empathy, um, whatever the case may be as much as possible. You know, one of the things that I'm great at Ethan is turning customers into evangelists or listeners into fans, right? That's what I did in radio for so many years. And part of that process, this is exactly what we're talking about here, because when you lean on sympathy and empathy, when you lean on that golden rule, when you are able to mesh the employee and customers and think of them all as fans, right.
Speaker 2: (04:38)
Which they all, I mean, if your, if your own employees are not your fans, you've got a big problem. but when you're able to do that, what you create is an organic beast that can't be stopped because the, um, I'm using too many mixed metaphors here, but the roller coaster takes on a life of its own. right. So, and I'll give you all an example for the past three and a half years now, not one single day has passed where someone, whether it's a customer or a past customer, or just a random person, I don't even know has not spontaneously written about us on social media somewhere. Right? So it's the idea of, of building that fandom. I often say I'm not in the business of making a sale, I'm in the business of making evangelists
Speaker 1: (05:30)
Love. What is, um, is, is it really just attitudinal and mindset and treating others well, like are, what are the, what are a couple other components to turn someone who says, you know, I like it. It's good. It's helpful versus I can't not write about this. I can't not tell other people about it. Like, like what are a couple things that drive that flip of the switch
Speaker 2: (05:52)
You're asking the smart questions. Um, so a co there are a few things. Number one is, um, sort of brutal, brutal honesty. And, you know, I call it lack of edit so my edit button's kind of broken. And I just say it how it is. And what's valuable. There is, again, you know, when you're able to do that, you give other people the permission to do the same, whether it's a customer telling you the good, the bad and the ugly, which is of course what you want, right. Or your own employees being telling you like, dude, this does not work. What's wrong with you. Right. um, and so that's part of the culture that you're building for sure. But you know, even more specifically, we do all kinds of little teeny things that up. So here's one when we are targeting a customer and certainly when they become a customer, they're now in our network, in our social network.
Speaker 2: (06:43)
So Katie from my team finds out who they are on social. She follows all of them on behalf of our brand, but it's more than that. Now she's actively sharing their content as well, because we have a vested interest in your success and oh, double bonus. We get to watch how you use the product and can see. I mean, we know usually in advance, if someone's going to churn, cause we can see them not having success. And we can hopefully jump in and be like, Hey there, try to do this please. Or how can we help you? Um, so that's one way, you know, other ways are, um, you know, I, I make a lot of mistakes, Ethan, I'm human. And I feel when, when I make the mistakes with my team, I feel terrible. Of course, because I rely on them the most, they're my most trusted people.
Speaker 2: (07:32)
And sometimes it it's like family members, you know, where you're not on your best behavior because there's the, there's the wonder and joy in being able to have your guard down. Right. And so I don't often put on my best self to them. And what I love about them is they mostly tolerate it or they mostly don't react. right. Those are my people. But then once in a while, I know when I push them too far and I may not be great at catching it be or preventing it, but I'm great at knowing, knowing that I've done it, you know, and apologizing. Um, or if I don't apologize, I try to find some other way to like boost them up. you know, cuz even for me, it's hard to apologize, but you know, those are the some ways I think, and the other really important ways to share with both customers and your employees, all the things.
Speaker 2: (08:27)
Right? So, um, all of our salaries are open. You can ask me anytime, I don't really care. We have an open vacation policy and nobody ever takes a vacation. I literally have to tell them, hello, you need a sanity break. Let's roll here. Um, which is amazing to me. We, um, have like kind of an, a, how do I say this with our customers? We often ask them for not only for feedback, but like we send them brownies. when they've done something extra special, like once in a while someone will just, and it's random where there's no like guide of what it is obviously like, oh, Hey Kristen, like send gem Farland brownies. She deserves them today. They're just so awesome. Um, so we just kind of think of little ways to enforce that golden rule in a way that's surprising. Um, and like the other thing too, with customer service and sorry for ramping is it's a lot about, we have this conversation a lot, right?
Speaker 2: (09:27)
So if I treat every customer like an enterprise customer, which is how we do it, it's hard to explain that to investors. You can't scale that we know this, right? We do know this, but we do it anyways because the long tail benefit is PR already proven to make us win. Right? So I'm a little tiny company and I have a 98% sales conversion. And we'll talk about more about why, but all the things we're saying are part of it, because I knew a long time ago that the way to win is through marketing and starting, cuz it takes a long time to build a fandom, right? It does. You have to really dig in deep, early on. And this is a mistake. A lot of entrepreneurs make because if you build it, they don't come. That's not how it works. You have to put the time in and then you wanna be able to touch and ask, ask people when you need them and have them come to your rescue, you know, in any way. And so if you're going about that mindset, like there are times when we'll be talking about something in the product and my team will say like, well, I wouldn't like that. I wouldn't want that to be the case for me. If my experience was like this and I'm like, Ugh, okay, I'm trying to save a dime or something. You know,
Speaker 1: (10:41)
Yeah. So much good stuff in there. Especially the focus on customer success. Um, identifying people that are, um, not achieving what you need and want to achieve together and um, celebrating people who are a number of, uh, really great ideas in there to catch folks up. Um, share a little bit about lately. Uh, who's your ideal customer? What are some of the problems that you solve for them?
Speaker 2: (11:05)
Sure. So lately, as you mentioned, uses artificial intelligence to really discover what words, phrases and ideas are resonating with your target audience. And then it builds a personal writing model just for you or your brand. And once you have the model, you feed it long form content. So like this video, for example, or the audio or even a blog and it'll digest the long form content and break it up and pull out the quotes that contain the ideas and messages that knows will get you the highest click comments and shares. So, um, oh my God. What was the question
Speaker 1: (11:40)
Um, tell us about who's your ideal customer and what
Speaker 2: (11:43)
Problem? Okay. Leave that in too. So they can know what a, what a okay. Crazy person I am. Um, so the, the customer has usually two kinds of pain. One is the unlock of the long form content. So here I am, I've spent all this time creating a podcast and promoting it and all the effort. I mean, you I'm gonna guess you probably put four hours into each episode at least. Right. Sounds
Speaker 1: (12:07)
Absolutely fair. Yes.
Speaker 2: (12:09)
Okay. And same with like a blog or a newsletter like creating one form content is, is a labor of sorts. And so then once you have it, most people will only publicize it once or twice say on social. Okay. Now I think of it like garlic, you work hard to get that beautiful nugget of golden goodness out. And once I chop every little piece off, they all better make it into the pan. Right? So once we take your long form content and chop it up, say, I'll give you 40 social posts from this particular video. Why not lean on the long tail as I've already demonstrated the great value there and run one promo every week for 40 weeks. Right? So this is a mindset shift is what we're talking about a little bit as well, because most people, this is shocking are like, well, why would I promote it more than once?
Speaker 2: (13:06)
And you're like, okay, so in radio. We used to play you a song upwards of 300 times a week. Hoping you'll hear it just once. And social is the same way. Like the chances of me scrolling through your feed at the moment, you know, is, is random more or less. The other thing too, to always consider is, and, and I'll get back to the customer question is, um, the old marketing adage, remember it used to be seven times that you had to read, watch or hear a brand to have it sink in. Now it's about 12 to 14 times. Okay. So if you are just publicizing anything once or twice, you might as well be winking in the dark, get it everyone. Okay. So our customer base does span from small medium to large, um, on the large side, it's because there's a syndication capability inside lately that lets one person push out the AI generated content to any employee channel across the ecosphere. So for social selling teams or executive thought leadership or, um, employee advocates
Speaker 1: (14:19)
Super. So this idea of taking a large piece and turning it into multiple pieces, obviously that's something that would be very time consuming. I think a human would be doing a lot of guessing. Talk about that blend between the people and the machines, because this isn't exclusively, I'm going to, you know, post everything that the machine, uh, creates for me. Um, talk about that relationship.
Speaker 2: (14:44)
This is our biggest challenge, Ethan, which is so amazing to me. I mean, so what lately does is freaking amazing, right? It really is, but it's not enough because for some reason there's this bizarre, like black fog around marketing and people just want to push a button and have the magic happen. Now AI is not magic. And I, I hate to say this, cuz I do reread Harry Potter every summer magic also doesn't exist. You know, , I would never tell my nine year old niece that, but so it, what I'm trying to say is that a human is required to light up the AI. It has to learn from something. So when it first meets you and we're starting at square one, now that's not exactly true because we built in a bunch of fail safes to that are my best practices personally. I mean, if I have a 98% sales conversion, why wouldn't you want the same thing?
Speaker 2: (15:34)
So it'll start learning from me in combination with you. Um, but the idea is that the human has to interact with every piece. The AI spits out. First reason is for legality purposes in order to publish on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or Instagram, um, they prevent a robot doing it for you. A human has to intervene. Number one, um, number two, it's for this learning component. Now, you know what RA I does is it, it registers everything you do, every word you remove, every word you add every hashtag at mention everything you publish or don't publish. Like this is how it's learning. And we were just talking yesterday about this uphill battle because people still don't wanna do this work. Right. And we were thinking about, and I wonder what you think about sort of trying to rebrand a little bit and not be artificial intelligence, but to think of a way to communicate human official intelligence, which is like not a good word. What is that? You know, is it amplified? Intelligence feels a little heady to me. Um, but how can we, how can we get people to understand from the get go that work is required? So they're not disappointed.
Speaker 1: (16:52)
Yeah. It's so funny. I, I sell against the idea of magic all of the time, you know, bomb you
Speaker 2: (16:57)
Speaker 1: (16:58)
All the time because you know, people think that video is the, so we at bomb bomb, we make it to record and send video messages in place of what would otherwise typically be faceless, typed out text for a variety of benefits. Mm-hmm and, and so often people think that video is the solution. So in fact, it's the reason Steve, our CMO and I wrote human center communication is that like video isn't about video video is about the other person and what they need and want. And if you can meet them more than halfway, you're gonna make it easier for them to say yes, and you're gonna get what you want by giving them what they want. And video is just a more personal and human way to connect and communicate, you know, whatever the opportunity is. And so, but people think, well, you know, I recorded this video and I sent it, why didn't it get open?
Speaker 1: (17:41)
Well, this person wasn't expecting to hear from you, it isn't for them or about them. Your subject line sucks. Like all these things they just think like is magic or something. So it's funny. I, I actually think it's, I don't know that you need a new word to get at this idea that that humans and machines should work together. Um, although you and I both, you know, from time we spend on social, see the death of this, the death of that, and these kinds of things. And the answer is always both and it's not dead, it's modified. And so, you know, with, with this idea of both and being the solution to most problems, um, I see that here too. And it's just a matter of communicating it up front so that people don't have the expectation of magic. And then they're disappointed when they have to actually engage with the material that the machine produces.
Speaker 2: (18:28)
you are my new favorite person, by the way. Like, I can't believe it's so validating to hear you talk about all these things and I, and the, just the phrase, like I've been selling against magic, right? Like I can't wait to share that with my team. It's because it's so frustrating. You know, it's just this, this idea of even with what you guys do. I mean, we, we just got you 75% of the way there by clicking a button. What more do you want from me? Are you kidding me?
Speaker 1: (18:59)
I mean, this really gets to, from an experiential standpoint, it's just about setting and managing expectations. Mm-hmm um, and, and you're not, and you're gonna wind up with people. I know we have, you're gonna wind up with people that 75% isn't enough. I was expecting a hundred. I'm like, okay, this is not for you. And
Speaker 2: (19:15)
Speaker 1: (19:16)
Luck, you know, um, talk about the engagement layers. You know, the, the, a number I've heard you say before is like 180 to 240% improvement in engagement. On average, I think, uh, you have a case study with Gary Vaynerchuk's social, that's something like 12000%. Is this my intuition is that, um, it's a blend of more and better, right? So this idea of promoting something 40 times instead of one, you know, in 40 different ways, but then also better in that these 40 are selected for a particular reason. It's based on your past history of performance. Is that kind of the, the combo?
Speaker 2: (19:52)
Absolutely. So what's interesting too, about the 40, it's not only just the quantity, but because we're giving you 40 different ways to promote the single thing and they look different and you can actually even populate different images. If you want to across each 40, like you could upload a bank of photos and it could sprinkle them out throughout and rotate them. The, the, the customers will either reshare multiple posts or comment on multiple because visually it's different to them, right? So you're giving them multiple access points to your, to your content, to your overall, you know, um, your overall call to action has, it's like, here's a great metaphor. I gotta use this. I just thought of it. So I, I met a friend. I was at my brother's wedding in mow. We were talking about last week and his best man arrived a day early to take a fly fishing lesson.
Speaker 2: (20:45)
And, uh, the, the, um, instructor attached three different, is it bait three different baits at the same time to each line one for each stage of the, of larva that they, it would be in. So he'd have three times the chance of cooking on the first time. And actually as the guy was going back to like start reeling and, and dipped his line in the water before it actually cast it this way, he caught this first fish right there. Right. So you're, you're, you're three Xing in that case, the chances of, you know, fish on. So it's a really similar idea. Um, and then, you know, the more you put in, in Gary's case, or Gary has content coming out of his ears and knows, and eyebrows, right? So that's a big part of it because the AI gets to learn, uh, even more, one of the experiments we had done with him, Ethan too, was we, I mean, he, he has an army, like, this is somebody who has people.
Speaker 2: (21:46)
So we wanted to see, like, what was that parallel of what the AI would pull versus the human. And it was 80% parallel. So, you know, it's, it's very good at cottoning on to, um, just enough of a teaser to get someone to click or share and lean forward, right? This is, this is what you and I are trying to do all day long is to, and, and this goes back to your point. And I think that, that people kind of miss with like video being the end, all magic is, is the video. The objective is not a sale. It's never the sale. You gotta start at the beginning. right. So the first objective is react. Right. React then. So, so in the case of a email, right, just open the thing right. And then the next thing is either click or reply.
Speaker 2: (22:39)
So you have to take them one at a time. And I think people, you know, in my world, I'm in, I'm in the, um, startup industry and it's very, there's this, the there's a romantic metaphor, which is like getter number, right? That's, that's what they say. Now, this is lost on me because like, I'm kind of a straight to the point girl, you know? And so like, I'm always going straight for the sale. That's my nature. And I had to learn this behavior that we're talking about here, because you know, you, people need to trust you first. The trust is, is the thing, and they're not gonna react or click or open or call you or invest in you if they don't trust you first. And the way to do that is everything you had said. And that we we've previously talked about, which is about the it's like likability is part of it.
Speaker 2: (23:35)
It's the golden rule. It's the empathy. It's the curiosity. You know, when people talk about social media and they think it's, it's because they're not understanding. And the point isn't tell me what, how much cereal you've had or what brand. Right? The point is to first think about why you would tell me what your cereal is, right? What, what's the objective that you're gonna back into here and I'll break this down, excuse me, for talking so much radio DJ. Right? I can't help it, but I'll break this down on social. It's so easy. Ready guys. There's only two things, two objectives on social click or share. That's it. So if you thought now, if you have that in your mind, every social post you write, as you're writing it, you're gonna think, what do I want people to do? Okay. I want people to share this.
Speaker 2: (24:25)
So what, and this is real easy people share what makes them look smart? It is about ego. It's like the reason people keep a greeting card around, right? It's like in college, when someone tells you about a great album, and then you share it with someone else, you now get the credit of being the tastemaker. So people look good when you make them look good. And that's what they're looking for with a share. So it's really easy. That's why those one liners are the best, right? The greeting cards, um, and statements are really are a part of that. So if you breaking down, what makes those, you know, it's not like, um, do unto others, it's not, Hey, maybe you should try do unto others. It's do unto others a statement, right? So you think about how to break that down now on the click side for smaller businesses, it's very hard to get clicks because so much trust has to be there and you don't have the brand recognition except with how to content. So if you have a, how to video or a how-to blog, like those are big ones where everybody almost always clicks. And the reason is, is because there's a, there's a built in question with a how-to well, howto and the why can only be resolved if you click to find out. So that plays upon your psychology. It's a little it's trick. See that, right?
Speaker 1: (25:45)
Yeah. And the value and the benefit is baked into it to your point. It's, uh, for me, when, when I, you know, we do a lot of business with small bus, like you, I mean, from small business to, you know, some of the largest companies on earth and everywhere in between. And in our earliest days, we were doing a ton of business with small businesses and entrepreneurs. And when I would coach them on email marketing in particular, cuz email was kind of at the core of what we did out of the gates. Uh, but with video integrated in, I always taught around frequently asked questions for the same idea. It's like, you already know that people want to know, you're tired of answering the same question over and over again, make a video, put it in a, or answer several questions in a YouTube playlist, make separate blog posts for them in this case, spin it out a variety of ways in content.
Speaker 1: (26:31)
Let's talk a little bit about that's great small business in particular. Um, and where I am in my head is like, obviously the more data, the better, right. You referred to Gary Vaynerchuck and like the, just this insane volume of content, the insane volume of people, um, the insane volume of interaction. So there's just like a better, more solid base. How, like how much is enough in terms of reaction and data for someone to, to get value out of, um, the way, the way the machine is learning and recommending, um, based on feedback, like, like how much is enough?
Speaker 2: (27:04)
Yeah. So actually you can start with nothing and this is the fail safes we we've brought in. So, so, so how the AI works is first it's studying your analytics to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever you give us access to. And it looks back for a year of data and it's studying the post that got the highest engagement and it breaks down those messages by sentence structure and keywords and ideas. And that's your custom write a model that it now uses to assess your long form content. Right. But if you don't have back data, so if you're a newbie, you're just starting out, it goes to phase two and then three and then four. So it starts with me. Uh, I write all my social myself lately. Doesn't write it it's me because lately is studying me as a best practice because I was a fiction writing major.
Speaker 2: (27:55)
I wrote thousands of radio commercials and I have a 98% sales conversion. So this is a good benchmark, right? I then took apart basically how I write in the same way we were just talking about, you know, breaking down statements, for example, and looking at what are the patterns that create conversion copy. And I created two dozen rules and I taught my whole team those rules. So whatever the AI spits out for the marketing team, they then apply those rules. And now lately study everything that studies, everything that comes out of our brand messaging as well, the second layer. And then the third layer is all of our customers. So we have a data set. That's five years in going now from thousands of people, you know, learning those best practices.
Speaker 1: (28:40)
Super. I love it. Let, um, by the way, bonus points, I, I spent, um, 12 years in local broadcast television. And like you in radio have written thousands of pieces of short form copy to like get it essence and to drive behavior. And I, I was totally under, so I totally undersold the, the, the skills and the muscles built around that to myself until I started going and doing other work. Um, it's just super helpful to have that.
Speaker 2: (29:06)
That's amazing. And I wanted to interject right there, like English majors. We are having the last laugh right now because remember everybody poo-pooed that as a study, because then what would you be an author they thought, or a teacher, these were things that people did not think very highly of when I was growing up. And now everybody wants the skillset that you just described. Right. Cuz even, even video has to be promoted in writing.
Speaker 1: (29:32)
Yeah. And, and even the way it's structured, like what are you saying? I mean, this is another reason why it's not magic. People just, you know, go off the cuff stream of consciousness, videos, and assume that it's gonna be useful for people or that people wanna follow your stream of consciousness rather than putting a little bit of effort in to structure it in a way that's gonna be meaningful to other people. And of course the same goes for social posts. Um, let's go high level cause you've done. Uh, you know, actually, you know what, let's, let's step back to the early days of lately. Um, first, anything you wanna share about the name is interesting to me personally, I'm just kind of curious. And then, and then two, like what was going on at the time where you and uh, your other co-founder or co-founder said, let's do this.
Speaker 2: (30:16)
Yeah. So the original name of lately came because we couldn't figure out how to build what we had intended to build in the very beginning. And so we started looking at, so for Walmart, I had built them a spreadsheet system inside each spreadsheet was the series of worksheets. And so lately first was all those spreadsheets together. Each worksheet was a feature inside the product. Okay. One of the things that I had done for Walmart was kind of like what you guys remember clout, remember
Speaker 1: (30:47)
That? Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
Speaker 2: (30:49)
Okay. So like clout, but for people. So clout was for brands to assess the, you know, engagement, potential of a brand. And then we had the idea of, well, what's the engagement potential of individuals. And so for Walmart, I would identify influencers on Twitter and we were tagging them in hopes that they would reshare our content. Now you wouldn't quite do that. Now it's a little bald face . Um, but we also do that in combination with our own influencers. I mean, we had like the, this top execs at Walmart on the project, so why wouldn't they share our content and see what happened? Right. Um, so the idea around the name was what have you done for me lately, specifically? Right? like, have you, re-shared my message lately. Then it became, you know, your marketing is only as good as what you've done lately. cuz every day is really a new day. Um, but now more I tell people until, until he just got very weird around COVID, but um, you know, I'm a van Morrison fan, so there's that song, have I told you, I loved you lately. Um, but you can have Janet Jackson, if you like, my team, by the way, Ethan, they call me Caley in case you were wondering. Oh
Speaker 1: (32:05)
Sure. That makes sense.
Speaker 2: (32:06)
um, so you'd asked about the origin story. Um, you know, I don't know if this is the case for you and, and your listeners, but I love a good catalyst because I'm often not even aware of what I'm doing. Um, or like you had said, not even aware of the value of what you're doing, maybe you're underselling your own, your own skillset. And so I've found that in my life throughout other people have had to come along and be like, dude, this is awesome. and that's what happened. I had my spreadsheet system and my friend, Steve, be someone I had met became a friend. And he came from the world of tech and had, um, multiple exits and, um, was a serial entrepreneur and an angel investor and was like, you know, we can just take your spreadsheets and automate them and create wire frames.
Speaker 2: (32:58)
And I, I didn't know what he was saying, Ethan, all the language was foreign to me, of course, you know? And so he pulled together $25,000 of his own money because I was in shock. I was like, I'm a rock and roll DJ. I eat ramen and two buck Chuck, I don't have $25,000, you know? Yeah. And he built the wire frames and introduced me to Jason. Who's another co-founder and you know, you would think we were off and running. But what we first did was we, we raised $250,000 that year, me and Jason on, on a, on a deck, um, which were now in the 4,000 version of course. Right. And on, on ideas, we had nothing to show really and not to make this too long of a story. But we, we had like so many failures with CTOs who either got lost to cocaine or suicidal depression, or just like, you know, terrible.
Speaker 2: (33:57)
And we still had nothing to show for some years. And then suddenly I was able to raise a good chunk of money. And then it's like, you know, if you watch Silicon valley, this is my life. It's like every episode, there's some amazing success. And you're like, oh my God, we did it. And then it's in the toilet and you're crying cuz you can't even believe it. So it's, the ratio was more like one to four on that one, maybe one to seven, you know, as, um, Chris, my head of sales says, he says, someone asked him on our podcast what's startup life. Like, and he said, it's awful, awful, awful. Oh, some good news
Speaker 1: (34:37)
Speaker 2: (34:38)
Speaker 1: (34:39)
Yeah, it's definitely messy. And it never goes the way you want. We've been at it for a decade and it's, you know, it all makes sense in hindsight, but that's about all you can say about it. You know, it's just about the, the next right step each day.
Speaker 2: (34:54)
Yeah. And, and to have the, and, and great on you, by the way, to have the stamina to get up every day, because you get punched in the face every day. Right. And you have to like it or love it in some way. There's some addiction here. You know, what, what I love is that I know all the puzzle pieces are in front of me. I have no doubt about that. It's a imagine it's a matter of seeing how to put them together, you know? And if sometimes I can see it, sometimes I need the catalyst and my team. Sometimes I need to eat a bunch of glass first before I'm gonna have the perspective. Right.
Speaker 1: (35:30)
Yeah. Yeah. And it's, um, you know, sometimes the picture itself is staying with the puzzle metaphor, the picture itself changes or can change mm-hmm
Speaker 2: (35:38)
Speaker 1: (35:38)
Should come together in a completely different way. Um,
Speaker 2: (35:41)
That's your skillset as the leader, right. To know that. Totally.
Speaker 1: (35:45)
Um, so you mentioned earlier this idea of, well, it's a little bit bold to tag people that really don't have a lot to do with the post. Give us a high level. I mean, you've obviously been attuned to social for years. Um, give us a little bit of a high level. Like, um, what are some things that people still aren't getting right. Besides perhaps, uh, not using AI to support them in creating greater variety and more on-ramps into engagement and conversation. Um, and, and maybe, uh, what are a couple like dramatic changes from, you know, your earliest days? I mean, obviously it evolves all the time. You know, we were recently, uh, I don't wanna date the episode, but recently saw some headlines about, you know, TikTok traffic or time spent or something eclipsing YouTube. Like these things are kind of shifting in general all the time. Like what are, what are a couple things that you wish more people were getting, right. And what are maybe a couple high level shifts that you've seen or perhaps even that you're anticipating?
Speaker 2: (36:40)
Sure. So the, the biggest one, the easiest one is hashtags. So the traditional way of using a hashtag is to think of it as an indexer for searching, right. And to toss the string of them along the end of your message. And that's a bit lazy to be honest. Um, and what's morphed and our AI actually shows this cuz we surface word clouds of hashtags that work for your audience for you is that the hashtags that instead end up augmenting or enhancing an idea and do it in a way that are made up, especially, um, send the engagement skyrocketing. And the reason is because guess what, there's a human voice there. So an example is my personal highest performing hashtag is hashtag peeing my pants. because that's what I said when Gary Vayner check tweeted about us. right. Yeah, no, not everyone can get away with that, but um, it's something really worth thinking about because you just imagine again, doing to others, when's the last time you went to Twitter and, and typed in a hashtag, probably was Warren Ukraine.
Speaker 2: (37:51)
Maybe, maybe it was Johnny Depp, but it's usually for like a live news story. It's not for the kind of marketing that you and I, and most of our customers are doing, cuz we're not in the business of live news. Right. And the content that you're creating and that I'm creating is actually just as relevant today, as it will be in two or three years, we know this right. People will still search that's that long tail that we're banking on. So that's the second, um, point to your message to, to your question is there's a, a mind shift in, and I I'm, I'm wondering how much longer it's gonna take for people to really cotton onto this because the dinosaur enterprise companies are so slow in this one, but marketing is no longer a buts and seats activity, right? If you're in the, if you're promoting a live event, good luck, Charlie, right?
Speaker 2: (38:38)
It's really so much easier to get the eyeballs or the ears afterwards. So that's why this understanding of taking apart the content and using it as a drip feed. After the fact after that's act marketing gives you exponential value than that live in the moment, by the way, it's in parallel to how you digest content in your life, whether it's radio, who listens to live radio, except for me anymore, nobody, you know, TV you're you're binging shows when you want to, as much as you want. So marketing just has to kind of catch up with the way we're we're living our lives.
Speaker 1: (39:17)
Love it. Uh, last thing I wanted, uh, to double, triple, quadruple back on is this 98% sales conversion. So the way I hear it and the way I read it is, you know, you you've set some priorities for yourself and your team. You've built into your team and equipped and empowered and supported your team to treat people in amazing ways. Um, and so my guess is that the vast majority of your, um, sales conversions are coming from people who have already been sold before they're ever directly interacting with lately, because they're just saying nice things about it. Um, what did I miss there? And, uh, can you turn that into maybe a tip for someone that wants to grow their referral based business and be sold before they're ever in conversation with your sales people?
Speaker 2: (40:01)
You bet, and I'll break it down in a way that anybody can do this. So you don't need AI to do it. It'll be a lot harder and slightly less effective, cuz this is what I did for Walmart. So what here's what we do. We take every message. Let's just start from the beginning. I'm gonna ask you for the file of this. I'm gonna take the video and if I was doing it by hand, I would watch the whole thing. I would transcribe it. And I would look for the interesting one liners that you or I say the statements like we talked about before my objective is share. So I'm looking for the things that are gonna make other people look smart on LinkedIn or Twitter, cuz that's where my audience resonates the most, right? What are the, what are the smart shareables here, those snackable bites.
Speaker 2: (40:41)
And then I'm gonna break those down into a social post. I'm gonna put a link to the full length of this video, driving traffic back to you and tag you. The reason I do that is guess what? You're gonna reshare my content. So there's a benefit for me built in immediately. Now if I drip feed it out of her time. So say I just publish one of these every two weeks. The chances of you resharing, all of them are much higher than me vomiting them out all last week or this week, because you're gonna be like, okay, enough, Kate you're overdoing it with me. Right? Um, I could also St. Strategically tag, any other people we've talked about here, whether it's Gary Vaynerchuk, um, I could hashtag your book. Um, you know, there's lots of different other plays I can make looking for that share in the content we're doing here.
Speaker 2: (41:28)
Um, once I have, let's say 40 social posts, then I'm going to do two things. I'm going to publish them on my brand channels, but also my employee channels, cuz we're stronger together. And that's now, I'm now I'm amplifying my old, my own voice with the scale. That's right in front of me. It's right here. I don't need to pay anybody to do this. Right. The next thing we do is we watch to see who likes comments and shares our content. Cuz guess what? They're warm. I, I just met them. We know each other. Now we've got a conversation already there and my social media manager, Katie, she watches for those people and she dives right in, Hey Ethan, great to have you here. Thanks for the share. You know, love, love that Patagonia jacket you're wearing in your headshot. I've got one in green. So she's our conversation starter. And we, in the case of enterprise, we then push you into a demo. And to your point, by the time we get to you, you're hot, right? In the case of our self-service for small businesses, we have a 47% conversion rate there. Industry average is like 22, I think believe maybe less, still pretty high. Yeah. Um, but it's the same idea, right? Like we're looking for content that will resonate with you and get you to react. And when you are reacting, you're, you're a warm lead.
Speaker 1: (42:45)
Yeah. And it's all conversationally based. And to the point that you mentioned, you know, it's like they've already met you and there's this kind of co-creation, co-promotion like real conversational piece. Um, which leads me to a couple other episodes, by the way, if you've enjoyed this conversation with Kate, as much as I have check out 1 35 of this podcast with Allie bigs, she's the senior director of product marketing at Intercom. And we called that creating conversational relationships with thousands of customers, this idea that you can engage with a, a people at scale, um, you know, it's this challenging thing. How do we go out into the world where there are lots of different people, obviously, almost anyone could use lately from an individual to, you know, the largest companies on earth. How do we engage those folks? And so, uh, we talk a little bit about that with ally, uh, on episode 1 35 and then a little bit more recently on 1 71 with Michelle, Wasowski the global director of B2B marketing at Uber.
Speaker 1: (43:40)
Um, I thought of this episode in particular because you know, I couldn't not ask her about disruption and I don't think Kate that you see lately as like a disruptive technology, but you really have walked us through a completely different mindset about how we can and should be doing social going forward. Um, and so her key message, there was like, you know, Uber is not about disruption, even though it's a word associated with us all the time, we are 100% about improving the experience for customers. And so if we use that as our north star odds are, we're probably gonna disrupt the status quo in some way. Uh, and I feel like in a way, whether you think about it that way or not Kate, um, lately is, um, so before I let you go, I'm gonna give you two opportunities that I give everyone. And I always enjoy these moments. Um, I'd love for you to thank or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your life or your career, and then give a nod or a shout out to a company or brand that you personally appreciate for the experience that they deliver for you as a customer.
Speaker 2: (44:37)
Uh, thanks Lauren. She's my COO, she's my right hand woman of all the things she raised her hand a couple years ago and said, you know, there's a lot of guys in power on your team. And I feel like there should be some more women. And she came from, um, I think she was doing like customer service in sales at the mall. And, and she has actually a master's degree in psychology analytics, which is so fascinating to me. And I took her to SAP Sapphire and there were 75 people in the room we demoed to and Lauren sold 51 of them in two hours. So there's someone who raised her hand and I listened and I'm so proud of her. And I, I hate to say that cuz she's my peer. Cause I don't wanna, you know, sound like her mom, but I'm very, very proud of the fact that she wanted to do it. And she lit, she, she lit it up, you know,
Speaker 1: (45:28)
Speaker 2: (45:29)
Um, the second question was a brand experience I've had that I, that you think
Speaker 1: (45:33)
Is great, yeah. Company or brand that you, that you know, the same way. Uh, a lot of your customers talk about lately, you know, what are some, uh, what's a company or brand that you just really appreciate, um, and maybe offer to people in an unsolicited manner.
Speaker 2: (45:46)
let's see. Um, well it's not gonna be very exciting. Um, because now I'm, I'm just thinking so quickly, but um, I love, I love Southwest airlines. Um, they always respond very quickly and they always go over and above whatever it is. Right. So they're not like, well here's a $50 credit, here's $150 credit. I, I I've sent my team actually chats that I've had with them because I was like, please replicate this in what we're doing. This person they're so empathetic, Ethan, which is pretty, that is so, so hard to do. Like we have some tricks that we use like, gosh, I'm so sorry that you experienced this. You know, it it's like Kelly from the office. Like you she's teaching you to say the word, like, I'm sorry, over and over and over again. And to not defend your, your own product, which is really hard to do. Yeah. Um, so I respect that they continue to do that. Um, and, and I, I learned from them, I steal from them all the time.
Speaker 1: (46:46)
Awesome. I really appreciate that. You used the word love in that context. Um, and that is not the first time that someone has mentioned Southwest at this moment of the show. They're doing a lot of things, right. Um, Kate, if people have enjoyed this and if they're listening at this point, they obviously did. Um, uh, where would you direct them to connect with you and, or to learn more about lately?
Speaker 2: (47:07)
Thank you so much, Ethan. I met lately AI, Kate on Twitter. So please let me know that. You've you met me through Ethan and that'd be great and I'm very friendly and I'm pretty funny too. So I'm a good follow uh, lately is dub dub, dub, Duley, lee.ai. Uh we're we're we're nice people. We're, you know, we do have a 98% sales conversion. So beware. If you do interact with us you could be next. Yeah. But otherwise we're just friendly. We're we're in for the chat.
Speaker 1: (47:33)
It's awesome. Thank you so much. I'll link all that up. We write these up. We put in video highlights and a short write up, including the full conversation as well at bomb bomb.com/podcast. So check that out, Kate. Thank you so much. Have an awesome afternoon. And thanks for everything you shared here.
Speaker 2: (47:48)