Brian Fanzo’s Mom says he was talking from the moment he was born and knew he’d figure out a space where he could be empowered and be allowed do lots of talking and socializing… So thank goodness that social media came along.
He spent nine years working in Cyber Security for the Department of Defence, working with all the different branches of the US Military, trying to get them to collaborate and share information, which was no easy task.
With his degree in computer science, he has become well versed in talking to those with expert levels of understanding and translating that so anyone can understand.
He had to ensure that the people making the important decisions fully understood everything so they could make the right calls.
Despite loving his job, he gave up his military clearance to work for a data-centred cloud-based company.
For two years, he and his team were responsible for on boarding up to 12 new employees a week and connecting the dots between the product team, customers, and community.
It was the CEO of that company who eventually gave him the gentle push towards being an entrepreneur, advising him to get out there and make a bigger impact.
Four years on, and that’s exactly what he’s doing, helping brands to relate to their millennial customers, and helping them to embrace live video and podcasting where he is better known as iSocialFanz.
And he’s going to share his advice with us, so we can all do just that.
A Technological Evangelist
Brian wanted to be like Robert Scoble at Microsoft and Guy Kawasaki at Apple, and that’s what he eventually managed to do whilst working at the cloud-based business.
He applied and started off as a head of training, but it was soon spotted that the job wasn’t a high enough position for him. But Brian didn’t want to start as an expert, and instead wanted to establish and prove himself.
So he was given more employees and allowed the chance to draw out a plan for what his ideal position would be within the company. He was then given the chance to be their evangelist.
Using social media, Brian then reached out to those two people he admired. That gave him the chance to sit down on multiple occasions with Guy Kawasaki and enabled him to actually become a good friend of Robert Scoble.
They supported him, and now he makes sure to give that support back to other people, who were just like him as they’re starting out.
Having such a position requires you to have a learning mindset, and to see the ability to learn a lesson from any situation. It could be picking up some interview tips during his chat with Jon, or watching his daughter use her iPad.
Approach every person, experience, and opportunity as a chance to learn something new, and that is how you are able to stay up to date with the changing times.
In 2013, Brian decided he wanted to tell his story on social media as he grew his brand. Twitter was his favorite platform to do that, and he enjoys getting out his thoughts in a concise manner.
He then went from 2,000 followers to now having over 100,000 followers, and his secret to that growth was participating in and hosting Twitter chats.
When you’re trying to find people to follow and learn from, you want to find those who are active and having conversations about what you agree and disagree with. Twitter is powerful when it comes to that, and the chats are a great way of enabling them.
You’ll find people who share similar interests to you and are also active at the same time you are. And with a regular Twitter chat, you know that for one hour a week, everyone will be at a particular hashtag having a conversation you’ll want to be a part of.
Even though Brian no longer hosts his own Twitter chats, he still takes part in many of them every week. That’s because it is the best way to find out and understand what his customers and the wider community are talking about.
It is also another learning opportunity for him, as well as a way for getting real followers. That’s how he now has active followers who will share his stuff without even being asked to.
When you find people who are really engaged, it gives you a massive advantage in spaces such as Twitter which are noisy and crowded places.
Video has always been the ‘most real’ version of online. When you’re on video, the human aspect is visible far more than it is with a blog or podcast, and it enables the audience to connect more deeply with you.
Your personality shines through, facial expressions are there for all to see, and a lot more besides. Your audience and customers can see that you’re genuine.
The problem has become that the more websites and blogs which we create, and the more produced the videos are which we film, the further we are getting away from customer and clients. And we’re also going away from natural humanity.
Live video, such as Facebook Live and Periscope, is taking off because it is real and raw. People don’t follow a brand because of the logo, or because the trust them. But we do trust people and the people behind the brand.
Live video shrinks the distance between the brand and the consumer.
For Brian, that became obvious when watching Richard Branson on Periscope as he was walking off his jet, and realized that he had forgotten his wallet. It was when you see that despite everything, Richard Branson is still human, just like us.
Perfection is a fairy tale, and we don’t believe people are perfect anyway. Control is an illusion, and although you can’t control what people say about us, you can control the image which you put out and the way your brand is represented.
Even saying ‘I don’t know’ when you’re asked a question during a live video broadcast is good. That’s because it then validates the things you say as the things you know. When they see you’re honest about what you do and don’t know, they trust the things you do know a lot more.
When Brian took a more transparent approach, he actually lost two clients within a week. But what it did was reveal that they weren’t actually a perfect fit for each other, and it gave him the ability to work with people who did suit him better.
By 2020, 81% of internet traffic will be video, so you need to find a way now of standing out as the area increasingly becomes crowded.
Think Like A Fan
When it comes to using live video, the best approach is to think like a fan. You want to give people access to the things they can’t get anywhere else.
This is the way which real, smaller businesses can do well over the likes of Amazon, and you let the customer know that their opinion matters. You actually want them to be a part of the business and allowing them to understand your thought processes.
Live video breaks down that barrier.
When you can see the people behind a brand, and you can see they’re stressed out because they care, you can relate to them on a new level. And that may just be what influences you to pick you over another company.
But also remember that you don’t always have to be in the videos. There are lots of ways you could choose to do video.
It could be that you stand behind the camera interviewing customers and clients to allow them to tell their story. Because, ultimately, as you’re empowering them, it becomes your story as well. And rather than having a brand telling you how amazing they are, it means a great deal more having those words come from a customer in the form of a testimonial.
You may also find that there are other people within the organization who would be willing to give it a go and who aren’t afraid to be on video. Celebrate them and allow them to do it, because not only are you building their confidence, but it may also empower you to give a go yourself one day.
He is also the host of two podcasts. SMACtalk is full of talk on technology, and while at FOMOFanz is where to go when you’re looking for some helpful insights, which is also available as live video.