210 Building Real Connections on Social Media – Jeff Korhan

What You Will Hear:

  • How he transitioned from a brick-mortar business to online biz;
  • Career path of a successful social media guru;
  • How to REALLY connect on social media and mistakes people make;
  • Don't hide behind a logo – how to use social media for business owners.

Listen to ReLaunch Show on iPhone or Android App

More about our featured guest

He had a brick-and-mortar biz before becoming a social media expert. Jeff Korhan, author of “Built-in Social” shares social media tips for businesses.

AJeff Korhan is a two-time,small business of the year owner and is the host of – The Old New Business Podcast.

His own New Media and Small Business Marketing site recently ranked among the Top 100 Small Business blogs in the world by Technorati Media and Junta42.


Built-in Social – Essential social media practices for every small business

See Jeff in Social Media World live event in San Diego!

social media marketing world 2015

Full Transcript

[00:02] Joel: Welcome to Relaunch. Your daily dose of inspiring stories, fresh ideas, practical steps and solutions. You can think of this show as being your prescription for relaunching into the life and it's the business that you love. And if you are a daily listener, welcome back to the show and thank you for tuning in and thank you for being involved in the before and the after show online conversations on Twitter and on Facebook. And if you're new here to the show, just know that you are among friends. Alright, so here we go.

[00:41] Joel: Joining us on the show today is the author of a great book. It's a must read for entrepreneurs and for small business owners. Ready for the title? Here it is. It is called, “Built-in Social… Essential Social Media Practices for every Small Business”. Our guest today is a two-time small business of the year owner and hosts the show that you need to subscribe to. It's called the old new-business podcast.


[01:13] Joel: This is gonna be a value-packed show because not only are we gonna talk a little bit about Relaunch, we are also gonna share some of the secret sauce that businesses need to know so that they can adapt to the digital and social world that we live in. Jeff Korhan is on Relaunch. Welcome Jeff! How are you?

[01:35] Jeff: I'm doin' great! Happy to join you guys today.

[01:38] Joel: Well, as you know, this show is all about the Relaunch. And while we've all experienced numerous launches and relaunches in our life, I generally ask for our guests, Jeff, to zero-in on the relaunch that has been the most significant or the most transformational for them and then just kind of unfold the story from there. We'll do that here with you, if you don't mind in just a few minutes. But before we get into that, let me ask you this. Now you do a lot of speaking, a lot of coaching and a lot of training in your business. Teaching people how to build their businesses around social media and how social is a lot more these days than just having a Linkedin account or a Facebook or a Twitter account.

[02:22] Joel: What I found out recently is, you're actually one of the keynoters for next year, 2015's Social Media Marketing World Expo, head by our good buddy, Michael Stells, our mutual friends who are excited about that. But let me ask you this, have a little bit of fun with this. What has been the most unexpected thing, Jeff, that's ever happened to you at an event? It might be on-stage, it might be at the back of the room, it might be in the elevator all the way down to the meeting room, what's been the most unexpected thing that's ever happened?

[02:57] Jeff: Unexpected. Well I'll just give you the first thing that comes to mind. Early of my career, I was in sales and, I won't name the company, but they didn't have a real strong training programs. I heard about this guy by the name of Zig Ziglar and just devoured all of his content; his cassette tapes, this is all we had back then, and books and so forth. And so I was at the National Speakers Association Convention and I came down off of the elevator and there he was, and I was just so stunned.

[03:27] Jeff: I watched and looked and I thought, “Come on, go up and say hello. Introduce yourself” and I didn't do that so I guess if there's a message there, it's “Boy! Don't pass up those opportunities” because he has since passed away but he was a huge hero. I can still quote many of his lessons and I think he really helped to get my career off in the right direction.

[03:49] Joel: Can I share with you quick Zig Ziglar story?

[03:51] Jeff: Sure! Yeah, he's from your part of the world, from Texas, right?

[03:54] Pei: Yes.

[03:55] Jeff: He lived there, I guess, yes.

[03:56] Joel: He did. He lived in Plano which is a suburb of Dallas, which is in Texas. I stepped away from corporate America in November 30, 2006, and in December of 2006, way before I started podcasting or I had started exercising my legs as a coach and as a professional speaker, I would intend the Monday morning devotionals at a company's office. It was actually Ziglar Headquarters. And in course, Zig would come in and he would lead his company in a Monday morning devotional and they were bringing speakers every once in a while to kinda lead the devotional and give a message.

[04:45] Joel: Well I was given that opportunity in December of 2006 and it was my very first speaking engagement ever. I, Jeff, where I could call myself a speaker and sitting in the front row on an isle seat with his spiral bound flip, you know how it goes, end over end? His flip notebook was the master of motivation. It was Zig Ziglar and he was there, taking notes and just listening to my presentation. So, so humbling. Unbelievably humbling.

[05:23] Joel: And you know what? We took a picture with him together, he and I, after the deal. And as his assistant handed me back the camera and I was putting it away. Then Zig looked at me and with his Mississippi accent, he said, “Is that one of them digital cameras?” And I said, “Yes, sir. Yes, Mr. Zigler, sure is.” In classic Zig style, he paused, took a big inhale and what the Mississippi drawl said, “I like those digital cameras. No negatives.”


[05:59] Jeff: It's good.

[06:00] Joel: And that was classic. That started the whole relationship that we still have with the Ziglar family, so…

[06:09] Jeff: You would probably have to be over the age of 25 or 30 to even understand that joke, wouldn't you?

[06:16] Joel: Yeah, maybe so.

[06:16] Jeff: To understand what a negative is.

[06:18] Joel: Yeah, yeah.

[06:18] Pei: A good point.

[06:19] Joel: That is a good point. Alright, Jeff, thank you for letting me take that stroll down memory lane. Let's get right into today's show. How do we start to talk about Jeff Korhan's relaunch? And then we'll unfold. Go.

[06:35] Jeff: I'll do my best. I was thinking about this before the show. I am like the king of relaunch as I've had some major changes in my career and things that have happened, but you know basically I did a decade in the corporate world. I ran a mainstream brick business, a landscaping and snow-plowing business for 20 years. Concurrently with that, I was teaching meditation. I did that for about 15 years and then in 2008, I sold all of those businesses and started doing what I do today. But a little bit prior to that, actually, quite a few… Well, a few years prior to that, I was speaking professionally and doing a little bit of consulting and so forth. So that lead up to the work that I do today.

[07:18] Joel: Alright, fantastic, and that is speaking and training and coaching the kind of things that I mentioned earlier. Correct?

[07:25] Jeff: Yes, and so I guess, what you were asking me then is what was the big relaunch in my life…

[07:28] Joel: Absolutely.

[07:29] Jeff: Or the most, important?

[07:30] Joel: The significant one. Absolutely, go ahead.

[07:32] Jeff: The big one for me, this I think is interesting, because it was very unexpected, and that was publishing that book “Built-in Social” because that's kind of what got me into speaking. This goes back 10 years before the book was published. I went to an event, it was a book marketing expo because I've always wanted to write a book. And this lady said “Well, what's your platform?” and back then, this was before digital, at least in the mainstream, and I said, “What do you mean, platform?” and she says, “Well, you're speaking aren't you? You can't just write a book, you have to have a way to get that message out to an audience, to help them understand more about the book,” and I said, “Oh, okay.”

[08:15] Jeff: So I joined the national speakers' association. I started speaking. And I got busy speaking, no book. Everybody said, “Where's your book?” and I kept procrastinating. And honestly I couldn't get a book deal and I thought about self-publishing. And when I got very close to actually getting the book deal… So my book is published by Wally, they are a traditional New York publisher… I just said, “You know, I am just going to publish this thing on my own.” And then they approached me for the 3rd time and we went ahead and worked out and agreement. But when all was said and done… And this is also kind of an aside… I wrote that book in a month, because I again procrastinated up until the deadline. And when it came down to it I was just putting in 12 hours days writing like crazy, but when I finally…

[09:03] Joel: You're doing your impression of the college student.

[09:07] Jeff: Oh, absolutely, yes. We are talking all-nighters. The first time I've done all nighters in… Since I could remember.

[09:13] Joel: Sure.

[09:13] Jeff: But when I finally… So they gave me the draft to do the final proof on Friday at 5 o'clock and they said we need this back by 6 AM Or 7 AM Eastern time. That's 6 AM Central time Monday morning. I worked all weekend long, I worked through that last night and at 5 AM, I finished it. And I'm telling you, the peace I experienced was beyond measure. It was like this spiritual moment. It was this thing that evidently had to be done. And so the big lesson there was, we've got these things we fear, that's why we procrastinate and why we never do them. But the thing is we have to do them. And so when I finished that book it was like I thought, “I don't care if anybody reads it, it's done.” I mean, it was just such a personal success that… And of course, afterwards, I do start promoting it and so forth. But still it was it was a very personal journey and I didn't even realize it until I finished the thing. You know how important that was for me to get that book completed.

[10:16] Joel: That's a great story and I appreciate you sharing that. We are going to talk a little bit about your book a little later on. Let me ask you, in one sentence or two, and of course we will expand on it later, what is the purpose of the book? What are you hoping people get from the book? And I'm not talking about the technical how to's. You know, step one, step two, step three to do that but the overall message that you're trying to communicate?

[10:47] Jeff: I would say that who you are as a person and a business is what people need to know to have the confidence to work with you. That's what gives them that trust factor. Promotion as I was taught it in my MBA program 30+ years ago, was all this… In my mind, to some extent there was manipulation. And I don't mean that in a bad way, but I mean, you try to move markets and you try to convince people. But in reality, people connect with stories, as you know, that's what your shows all about. People connect with people, not businesses. It's a person within a business that you want to work with, and you can't… You need to get to know them first. So that's why we came up with a title… Well, the publisher came up with the title of “Built-in Social,” but the idea is that who we are is meaningful, and that message people resonate with.

[11:52] Jeff: And that makes them want to do business with a company. So, social has to be built into the fabric of the business because it isn't really marketing as many of us think of marketing, it's just this thing that helps people, get to know that they can trust us and after that their willingness to work with us is almost automatic.

[12:11] Joel: Absolutely. Okay. I love the way this conversation is kind of unfolding. So, just let me be devil's advocate here and challenge you. Was that a surprise to you? Because I went through an MBA program too and you learn certain things that at some point in your professional and personal growth and development, you challenge those things that the instructor said was 100% true all the time, every time, or some of the things that you've read in books well it was, at the time delivered with good intentions, but has turned out to be not entirely accurate. Were you challenged by what you said earlier?

[12:59] Jeff: The belief. Yes. Well, what I haven't mentioned is although we talked about it in the pre-show because I did mention that I was teaching meditation, one of the things you learn when you study meditation, really how it works, is one of the premises is that we are all connected in ways that we may not fully understand. And so the challenge is get out there, get to know people, and learn why we're having a conversation today and so forth, and why we've noticed similar things and how do this perspective of seeing them in the same way. Well, when social media came along, I got very excited about it because I said, “My gosh! This is like kind of this manifestation of the fact that we're all connected in some ways and we need to figure that out.” That's what I was taught and I honestly believed in that and practice that. Well, now, we have the internet, the gnosis, to accomplish that, and so I just felt like this is a natural way of doing things that you don't really need an owner's manual. I mean you need to learn how to use the technology, but beyond that, you just have to have a willingness to want to get to know people. And so that's what I teach in my programs is, more important to have a desire to help your customers than to necessarily have a marketing degree or a technology background to make all this work.

[14:21] Joel: Now, that's very… That's a great point and I'm so glad that you've pointed that out. I think you also have to have, Jeff, the desire or I shouldn't say the desire but the willingness to just share parts of yourself, even the not so pretty parts, to forge that connection because that's what people wanna connect with. They wanna connect with other people, not necessarily, well, I connect without logo or I connect without slogan or that brand. They might at a certain level but really what they're connecting with as I'm sure is what you teach is the person and the message behind the brand. Yes, am I on track here?

[15:10] Jeff: Totally, totally. In the book, I mentioned I think that I said brands are likeable but small businesses are friendly, and by that I meant that you can like Nike and Apple because they're cool, but you don't really say that about a small business. What you say is, “They're nice, they're kind, they're gracious, they're courteous, they're considerate.” To me, that's more of like a friend, we wanna work with our friends, and I've submitted to you that when all things are equal we will always choose to do business with our friends, but sometimes and I would say even oftentimes, even when they're not equal, we'll still give our friend a break because they're a friend. And so, that's really one of the challenges of social media is, “How can we just basically be friendly people?”

[15:51] Joel: Oh, indeed. How can we be friendly people? One of the things that you say in the book and I'm paraphrasing here but you said, “The challenge”, and when I hear the word challenge I always think of opportunity. So, the challenge or opportunity for small businesses today is to get outside their front door and to make friends. Yeah? Did I read that right?

[16:15] Jeff: Totally, totally. The ideas that communities are the new markets is how I put it. And market was this abstract construct, and believe me when I was in that MBA program, after class, we would say, “So, what is a market? To you, is it like a place? A geography?” We were all confused. I thought it was just me, but it wasn't. It was everybody. But if you look at marketing from the standpoint of it's a community, and that you just get out there and make friends that help people or anybody can handle that concept, it's really easy to work with.

[16:51] Joel: Very good. Go ahead, Pei. You got something?

[16:52] Pei: Yeah. Well, is it okay if we get into a lovely question here of social media?

[16:58] Joel: Absolutely. I've got a list of questions right in front of me. Did you have one you wanted to ask yourself?

[17:02] Jeff: Well, a lot of our listeners, if we're in the midst of a relaunch that it could be starting a brand new business or when Joel and I are talking about one of the key things during relaunch is to have Relaunch relationships and it could be offline, face-to-face, or online, and if I do build a social media network and connect with people, what do you think are the top two mistakes people make on social media these days? Or when they're just kind of starting out, have some kind of following, but not very big yet.

[17:44] Jeff: Well, I think Joel named it is that they are afraid and believe me we're all afraid, especially people like myself who aren't as outgoing as others, that we are not going to be correct. We're afraid of sharing the part of us that people…


[18:01] Jeff: In reality, really wanna get to know. They wanna hear about the mistakes and… In other words, we hold back too much. So I think that's really the biggest mistake is we try to polish it up, we try to keep it neat and tidy and make ourself look important when in reality, and we all know this, when you get on Facebook, the stuff that gets the most traction is always the stuff that is just…

[18:27] Joel: The real stuff.

[18:27] Jeff: Sort of… It's the real stuff, yeah, but there's no other way to put it. And so you just share real life and don't try to be cute or smart, or… Well, you can be but it's like the more you try, the less it works, in my opinion.

[18:40] Joel: Indeed. Our mutual friend, Joel Calloway, one of the pieces of advice that I remember, just like he gave it to me yesterday and it's been a long time… He says that, he told me, “Joel, don't try to be slick. Because they've seen slick and they don't want it.”

[19:00] Jeff: I would agree.

[19:00] Joel: And boy… And how many times do you walk into a presentation or you see something that, the guy tries to…

[19:09] Jeff: Impress.

[19:10] Joel: Be slick in his presentation. He'd take exactly 10 steps from point A to point B on the stage or to hit the lights at just the right time or to play just the right song. Or, to raise his eyebrow just the right height… People trying to be slick are doing anything but these days. At least, that's been some of my experience. Well, let's get right into the book. Now you talk about building your business around social. Did I read that right? Building your business around social?

[19:43] Jeff: You did. So that was basically the genesis, the whole idea behind the book. I heard Mark Zuckerberg said that, probably six or seven years ago. Or…

[19:52] Joel: What does it mean?

[19:53] Jeff: Well, he said, “Within the next five years, every industry, and so by default that would mean every business, every leading business needs to build itself around social.” And I really thought, it was such a profound statement that I said, “Wow.” But the publisher didn't like that as a title, we couldn't make it work, any variation of it. But just really understanding that it starts with social. You have to start there. It's like everything is backwards. It's almost like we used to make products and take them to the market. No, we go out to the market, we socialize, we get to know people and say, “Hey, what do you want?” And we've got these capabilities. And then you get a collaboration going and what happens? Their ideas merge with your ideas and expertise and you end up creating something that's better than they and sometimes even the business has even imagined is possible.

[20:53] Jeff: I think that's a pretty cool thing and that's becoming a great way for businesses to relaunch. It's just a…


[21:00] Jeff: I mean we've been saying it for years, “Listen to your customer!” But we haven't really been listening. We've been listening about what they have to say about a current product we have when in reality, let's go listen to them first and create this thing that they most want. We did that, on my landscape business because every landscape had to be created. You didn't just give them… Nothing existed. You had materials, and so anything was possible. And after a decade of running that business, things really transformed for us when we realized that we needed to build a process that made that customer a co-creator, a collaborator. Because the result is, if you can get them involved in that process, how can they not like it? They helped make it.

[21:45] Joel: Okay, so talk a little bit about…

[21:47] Pei: I'd love that, too.

[21:48] Joel: Okay, and give us an example of collaborating with your buyers, your customers. Collaborating.

[21:57] Jeff: Well, they don't always know what's possible because they don't know what you know, the business knows.

[22:04] Joel: Okay.

[22:05] Jeff: They would come in and be like, “Oh, you can do that?” So what we always tried to do was to always never ever judge. We just listened. So the first phase of our process was called the communication phase. It was basically, we were just listening. The second phase was the collaboration phase, and that's where we tried to get them involved, literally in drawing and writing things down and doing what we would normally do. So we wouldn't start the design process, we'd have them start it with us. And then the third phase was the creative phase. That's when we really started to say, “Hey, here's what we came up with based upon some of your ideas.” We would encourage them to draw some more, so we're basically designing now but we're doing this together. We'd have these sparks of inspiration. I can think of one client in particular that came in, thinking she was going to buy this and ended up buying something else. Ten years later, she came in and did the same thing.

[23:06] Jeff: This happens in every aspect of commerce where you walk into the store thinking you are gonna go buy a suit and you walk out with some other kinda outfit. It's when you see what's available and what's possible and get the right guidance, then you're gonna probably, I think in many cases, you're gonna go for what you really want regardless of the price. And that is a big, big point here that we discovered. Price completely went out the window when people see something that they really, really say, “Wow, that's so much better than I'd even imagined.”

[23:42] Pei: So yeah, it's the value that matters. It's never the price itself.

[23:48] Jeff: Well, it's what you want. And so I'm working with another consultant, we're in a joint project. We were talking about something that I highly valued that doesn't have a high value economically, but it does to me, and I'm willing to pay more for it because that's what I want, and so what we're trying to do for this joint client is find out what things out there would really be valued by their customers and maybe we'll get lucky and find a few that are essentially inexpensive, but the people highly value it. So it's really about customizing things and giving what they want and the beauty is this in this digital age, we can relaunch a number of times and we can change things in a moment's notice if we find a better way of doing things.

[24:37] Joel: Okay, very good. Well said, thank you for sharing that. Talking with Jeff Corin, I'm sorry Jeff Korhan today. Jeffkorhan.com, the place to go. You can definately pick up a copy of his book, “Built in Social.” Kinda coming in for a landing here Jeff, just a few more things that I wanna touch on. What do you think, and we've touched on this a little bit but, what do you think some businesses struggle with this social media concept? Can you go a little bit deeper than you had earlier?

[25:12] Jeff: Why do businesses struggle with social media? They probably do in a number of ways, and I really think the big reason is they don't understand how it works and so that was the framework of the book, was showing people that it doesn't start with social what, it can and it does but you have to understand that people online, on the web searching for solutions to problems and so basically it starts with creating content, valuable content, helping people and that works in sales, that works in marketing, that works in customer service, so I see all these various disciplines merging together.

[25:52] Jeff: So, what I help people understand is how are you helping your customers today? Your salesforce is probably doing that. Well that content if we put that online, now it's helping them in a different venue and guess what? It's attracting leads and guess what else? It's building relationships with people before the company even knows they have a relationship with this people which means it's marketing, and it's selling 24/7 and it's doing that work and so now… And it's building up trust. And so now when people do approach your business they know so much about you that having a profitable outcome, a transaction it's so much easier. All the tap dancing and the getting to know part, that's already been happening, is already in process.

[26:40] Joel: That's kinda what you meant when you talked about how every business, every company is now pretty much a media company because they have the ability to create their own media which is something that we do here at the relaunch show, and that's something that you do with your show but, any business can create their own media and even if they don't, there is still media out there being created for them, correct?

[27:05] Jeff: Correct. And they have to understand but it's not media again, we'll go back to my early days, media was advertising, I mean there were other things too but not in a small business context, these days media is what we say, what we put on YouTube, is an extension of who we are and if we do that well it's going to attract leads. So, that content is attracting leads, now we engage with people that step to 'em my three step process and then ultimately as I like to say, “if you've got a valid sales process then you don't have to sell, they're going to buy because you've basically accomplished everything that needs to happen, you just need to have the steps in place for that transaction to occur.”

[27:46] Joel: Go ahead Pei.

[27:46] Pei: You know what I love for what Jeff just said, media is pretty much where you are, who you are.

[27:53] Joel: Absolutely, absolutely. I think I say this wrong but you have the ability companies, people have the ability to create their own media but even if they don't then there's still media out there that people are going to see and identify and connect you with, so you might as well create the kind of media that shares value, the value that you wanna share with others. Okay, so you took us through the process quickly Jeff, what are some other things, what are one or two tips that people need to know today about an emerging trends, emerging trends rather in social media?

[28:42] Jeff: Well, I'll pick up from what you just said there. So, what you basically said in so many words, was that every person is their own personal media brand. We know who people are from their Facebook profile, their account, from what they share. And so, if a business is saying, “I don't wanna do this. I don't have enough time to do this. I'm not good with technology. I'm not good at sharing.” You're at a very serious disadvantage because people expect the business to be more personal, more human, more authentic. They expect it to have media because they've got their media so where is yours?

[29:21] Jeff: Why are you hiding behind a logo, what used to be a business card. The polished website and used to be brochures back in the print days. That is no longer the expectation, the expectation is, “Oh, hey thanks for the recommendation, I'm gonna go check them out.” They get online but what do they want to see? They want to see something that really says, “Hey, here's some really good information. Here's some information about us, our people, our products, our services, our industry.” Maybe why you would wanna consider us versus another company so, the most important thing is to really understand that this is no longer optional.

[30:01] Jeff: I mean more than half of all buying decisions are made from information online, and unfortunately for many businesses, people probably know more about the products and services than you do. Meaning let's say you're in sales, and this was shared with me by a guest on my podcast, she sells automobiles and trucks and she says, “I have to know every vehicle in that lineup and every model and there are hundreds of them. Whereas that buyer that comes in and knows exactly what they want; they're gonna know it down to the nth, the teeniest little details because they've studied it online, and I better be on my toes and so… ”

[30:41] Pei: So true.

[30:41] Jeff: It creates new responsibilities.

[30:44] Joel: Very well said and the wonderful opportunity here is you have the power. The entrepreneur, the small business owner has the power to create the content to educate the future customers.

[30:58] Pei: And build relationships.

[30:59] Joel: And build the relationship. Stack on the value so when that person reaches out to you or you reach out to them their buying decision is already made. Great stuff, Jeff, really appreciate your time on Relaunch today. Jeff Korhan is our guest, the name of the book if you need it, it's called Built in Social Eventual, excuse me, “Built in Social… Essential Social Media Practices for Every Small Business”. Jeff Korhan we will put all of the social media hotspots in our broadcast show notes and Jeff, this has been a wonderful education. Appreciate you being on the show here today and you are welcome back on Relaunch anytime and we look forward to seeing you in San Diego, hopefully we can be there too. Social Media Marketing World. Thanks so much for your time, Jeff.

[31:52] Jeff: That'd be great, thanks so much for having me on the show.

[31:54] Joel: All the best. Bye bye.

Follow Jeff on Twitter, Facebook, and visit his site.

Joel Boggess

Keynote Speaker | Corporate Trainer | Award-winning podcaster I help teams ignite their courage, take bolder steps, and get greater results. Together, we create possibilities that bring empowerment, meaning, and financial impact.

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  1. […] is a skill that Joel has developed over decades in the business of broadcasting. Having been a guest on ReLaunch, I know with certainty that Joel’s podcasting style not only puts his guests at ease, it […]

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