Daniel DiPiazza, Founder, Rich20Something
The latest installment of the Foundr podcast is a landmark—our 300th episode! So to mark the occasion, we’ve got something a little different for you today.
Daniel DiPiazza, the founder of Rich20Something, was on the cover of Foundr Magazine last year, and today, he returns to Foundr to “reverse interview” our own CEO, Nathan Chan, ahead of the relaunch of Foundr’s beloved Instagram Domination course.
Together, Nathan and Daniel share the details of how they each found success on Instagram for their respective brands. They also explore Instagram’s algorithms, how it compares to other social media platforms, and the right way to use this powerful tool during the Covid-19 pandemic. Plus, they swap stories about their friendly competition, their time in the “Motivation Mafia,” and more!
- The reason for this special “reverse interview”
- How Nathan and Daniel got started on Instagram and are still finding success with the platform today
- Why Instagram is the most powerful tool for both personal branding and ecommerce
- A glimpse into Instagram’s algorithms and metrics
- Why Instagram needs to be about more than just follower numbers
- How Instagram can be a powerful tool through the current pandemic
- A throwback story about the “Motivation Mafia”
- Why Nathan would still pick Instagram as his platform of choice if he were to start a new company today
- A comparison of Instagram vs. YouTube
- How Daniel’s Instagram account helped him seal a six-figure book deal
- The question that stumped Nathan (and why he prefers to focus on the present)
- Why Daniel owes Nathan a trip to San Sebastián
Full Transcript of Podcast with Daniel DiPiazza
Daniel: Hello, founder audience. Last time you saw me, I was on the cover of the magazine. Now I’m in your ear once again with my smooth Barry White impersonation and my sensual marketing topics for you today. What are we talking about Nathan, Instagram?
Nathan: Yeah, Instagram.
Daniel: Instagram. I got to say, you hit me up about two weeks ago and you said, “Hey, I’m doing an anniversary episode on the podcast. We’re also launching a product and I’m launching IG dom again, do you want to come on and reverse podcast interview me about it?” And I’m like, “Man, what do you want me to talk about?” But then I remembered, Instagram really has been, it’s been kind of life changing for me if I’m just being honest.
Nathan: Yeah. It’s been crazy as men. Like even when we went to Vegas and stuff.
Daniel: Yeah. I made so many friends. I mean, Instagram has changed my life in so many ways. I didn’t think it would. Just a stupid picture sharing app. No, it’s not. So okay. Let’s go back to this, March 2014. I remember you started talking to me about Instagram and this was when I believe it was, you renamed it Foundr at that point. You were working on just building up your subscriber base of the digital magazine itself because you didn’t have your first product yet. And you started to build up the follower base and the readership with Instagram. Take us back there.
Nathan: Yeah. So I think it was late 2014, early 2015. Yeah, look, I had a friend, he’s named Jake. He runs a company now called Coconut Bowls. At the time he didn’t run that company, back then it didn’t exist, but he had some other e-commerce companies. So he was like, “Man, Instagram’s so powerful. You got to get on it.” And I was like, “Oh, but do you reckon it will work for me for Foundr? And he’s like, “Yeah, I don’t know. It probably wouldn’t. I don’t think it’ll work for you. I think it only works for visual products like if you’re in the health or fitness space or something like that.” And I was like, “Okay, but hypothetically, if I were to start using it, what would I do?” And he laid out this kind of like super simple game plan and I followed some of it.
And then I kind of re-engineered some more of it. And then in the space of yeah, I think it was early 2015, in the first two weeks, I built the Foundr account to over 10,000 followers in two weeks and I doubled our magazine subscriber base and which wasn’t super large. Right. And I was just like, yeah, I think I took an [inaudible] from like three grand to six grand a month or something and it was just like wow, I’m onto something here. And I saw the subscription spike and all these people signing up and yeah, that’s when it was kind of like, yeah, look, I’m onto something. And I just kind of went down this path of just battle testing, going through the motions, working through it, working through it and well, with five years down the track, here we are and it still works. Like it’s an incredible platform.
Daniel: Yeah. Over five years. And just so you guys know too, you can go on socialblade.com. You can look up the Foundr account and you can see Nathan is not fucking around. In an age of recession in a lot of places, the Foundr Instagram account is still growing. Yeah. You’re so consistent with it and yeah it’s been … what’s interesting too is that back in 2014, obviously that was like social media golden age where the technology was changing just fast enough and you could still get a lot of organic traction and it was just that right time and place and that’s luckily when I got on there with you after you bugged me to get on there.
Now five and a half years later, same platform, same essential technology although there are some new innovations now like video and live and all that stuff. But although it’s not as easy to grow organically anymore, there are still tonnes of ways you can use the platform itself to grow a business. And I know this both like looking anecdotally at myself and also seeing it in other people. That’s true, right? Even nowadays you can still use this platform to grow a business quite quickly.
Nathan: Yeah. 110%. Like one thing that I have done is I’ve taken a whole new, fresh business which is Emily’s business Healthish and that business has been around for a couple of years, and we’ve been able to grow that. It’s on the path to over 100,000 followers. That’s a million dollar plus a year business. It’s doing exceptionally well and it’s all coming from Instagram. I’m starting to run some Facebook ads now, but for the most part, it’s all coming from Instagram. If we pulled up the Shopify dashboard, you’ll see it even says like majority of our customers, 70, whatever, all your referrals are coming from Instagram and the content that we get from it. So I’ve tried to kind of prove to myself because there were a lot of sceptics. Oh, it was easy back then when Foundr did it or like … So I’ve taken a whole nother fresh business and I’d be happy to do it again. It’s so powerful. Right? Like you’re seeing it right now with your new business, right? Are you using it?
Daniel: Yeah. Well, it’s funny too because, and before the show, before we were rolling and maybe this is in a deleted scene now, I was saying, “Nathan, I’m mad at you because every time I have some sort of inflexion point, it’s usually because you gave me an idea that I initially rejected and I revisit it. E-commerce was one of those ideas.” And as I was kind of like over the past couple of years, I’ve written a book and I was feeling like I need to make a change. I want to do something different, but I still want to combine the skills that I have and figure out how those fit in. And you were like, “Oh, you should try e-commerce.” You were basically like, “If I could go back, I’d probably start e-commerce because it’s better for a lot of reasons.”
And I’m like, “Man, whatever. I know what I’m doing over here.” But then I started to get curious about it and so I’m not going to go into my whole thing, but I started to work on a business idea that I put down a few years ago and I picked it back up. And I started to have a lot of success with this particular idea and Instagram itself in its own way is just a powerful part of growing this e-commerce business as it was growing my personal brand. And those are two completely different types of business. When you think personal brand, you think, oh, gaining followers and selling info products. But then you have something to where you’re selling a physical product, in my case a DVD, and now we’re getting influencers to market and we’re building legit sales channels to it. And I like, “Damn, this app, even without spending a lot of money still works for driving traffic. It’s crazy.”
Nathan: Yeah. And one thing that people don’t think about as well or that often don’t think about is it’s not like a direct response straightaway. Like if somebody sees your brand, they might follow you and then over time you can build that relationship with them. And then you can put out an offer on your stories or your feed and then they might buy. So that’s one thing and then the second thing is quite often, it’s not even about the sales, it’s about the content. The amount of what we call money posts or UGC, user generated content like Emily has for Healthish of people loving the product and using the product and doing video reviews of the product on their stories and whatnot, and taking that and then putting it into Facebook ads and retargeting, and then reposting that every single day, you don’t have to create content and that takes a lot of time. Right? So the content is so powerful. Yeah.
Daniel: Yeah. I mean, one thing that we’re doing, which is kind of combining almost two Foundr courses is like combining IG dom and the e-commerce courses. We’re developing influencer approach and strategies for this new brand. And what we’re doing is we’re using, so Instagram is a very sophisticated algorithm. Man, I could nerd out on it for a few hours really thinking about how much behavioural psychology has gone into building this app. I mean, if you really start to understand how for instance they have their other suggested accounts to follow. When you go into an account, you can click on the arrow on the right hand side next to the follow button and it will drop down and suggest accounts.
Those accounts have certain things common things with each other, common with the account you’re viewing at the moment and you can start to see through different degrees of separation who’s following who, who likes who, who’s similar. Then you can start to map out like strategies for networking to people, for gaining followers, for building influence in a space. And you start to see, oh, if I get these 10 people to post about a product, these 500,000 people are going to see that because all the people are following these 10 influencers and they’re all following each other. So you start to understand the patterns of how your customers buy and it becomes a very sophisticated tool for dominating marketing.
Nathan: Yeah. 110%.
Daniel: People don’t know that though, do they? They think about just getting followers.
Nathan: Yeah. Followers is yeah, it’s a vanity metric, man. It’s not like, it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s the relationship with the followers and if it’s real people or not. Real people that would potentially buy your product or become part of your community or actually are in your target market if you’re looking to grow your business or your personal brand or whatnot. It’s a real vanity metric. It’s yeah.
Daniel: Yeah. I mean, and also, you see a lot of accounts that across all different spaces that have crazy engagement, even if their followers aren’t really, really big. They don’t have a huge account. And I think, especially when it comes to like let’s say you’re starting a new business and you want to start doing guerrilla marketing, you’re looking for accounts that have, I don’t know, maybe two to 15 or 20,000 followers, and those accounts are going to have really high engagement if they’re popular. And those accounts are probably more popular or more powerful for finding your target customer and getting sales than a lot of bigger accounts with lower engagement.
Nathan: Yeah. 110%. I think there’s something special around like that kind of bracket, which we call like a micro influencer between your five to 15, your five to 20,000 for multitude of reasons. One, they don’t really do heaps of paid posts and promotion. So they haven’t just kind of butchered their audience and all that kind of stuff, which is so much … [inaudible]. And then I think as well like you can find some really strong micro influencers there where they might not be as big as other accounts like these macro ones, but the relationship they have with their audience and their community is much more stronger. And that’s when you want to work with any influencers at any point in time, it’s got to be the relationship. It’s not the size of the following. So engagement is one way to really see that what does that look like?
Another way is to see, okay, do they have a YouTube account? If someone has a YouTube account, their relationship with their audience is going to be inherently stronger because love them or hate them, the Kardashians look at like, I mean, just that relationship, that’s the YouTube channel. Like Keeping Up With The Kardashians is their YouTube channel and they just have so much trust. It feels like you know them, you know all the sisters, you know what’s happening in their life and that level of relationship, and a lot of vloggers have this with their audience. If someone can peek in and it feels like you know them and they do this is what I’m packing for my trip and this is what’s happening with my family. That level of relationship, if you say, “Oh, hi, look, I’ve got this awesome water bottle. It helps you keep on top of what you’re drinking every single day and I need to keep up my hydration levels and it’s really helped me.” It doesn’t even feel like a promotion.
Daniel: Marketers, man. We’re so good for humanity and we’re so bad for humanity. Just slide it right in there, it’s like, this is going to help you, but I need you to buy this. I need you to buy this and I promise it will help you. The marketer.
Nathan: You don’t want to be manipulative. It’s got to be a great product.
Daniel: No, of course, of course. But as many of my great products as you financially can responsibly.
Nathan: Well, look, if you believe in your product or your service enough, you shouldn’t be afraid to sell it.
Daniel: Absolutely. And this is also worth noting and people keep saying this in these uncertain times. People keep saying, in uncertain times, uncertain times, oh, you should be [inaudible] now. And everyone’s feeling weird right now. Context, we’re in a quarantine right now, whenever you’re listening to this because of the Coronavirus pandemic. And I think a lot of people might feel weird to sell right now, especially businesses that are service based businesses and Instagram is a good way to stay connected with your audience and continue to build a relationship with them while you might be repositioning or while you might be working through the challenge yourself.
Nathan: Yeah. I agree. And look, the usage has gone up big time.
Daniel: Totally. Oh yeah.
Nathan: It’s like people that are on social is more than ever right now.
Daniel: Where are you looking at your numbers? Where are you seeing your numbers?
Nathan: Don’t quote me on it, but so our Facebook ads account manager, he sent us this PDF with like all these next level statistics and yeah. The usage is at an all time high.
Daniel: Yeah. I mean, well, that makes sense. Right? I mean, I’m sure Netflix, I’m sure I’ve heard that like Netflix is up, PornHub is way up, Amazon orders are up. I mean, we’re just home more. We’re just home. And yeah, so it would make sense. And I think even live streams I’ve seen are getting a lot more attention.
Nathan: Yeah. A lot of people doing live streams now as well I’ve noticed. Yeah.
Daniel: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve seen celebrities live streaming with each other as well. Celebrities doing shared live streams. I did a couple as well. I think people just crave connection and Instagram is, it’s really just a, it’s a relationship app when it comes down to it. I’ve made so many friends through this app just through meeting people through groups, introductions, in the comments. It’s brought me a lot of great relationships that have benefited me like monetarily as well too. There are a lot of partnerships that can be built through people that you meet in your space on Instagram. Right? I mean, you remember this back in the day when we were like doing motivation mafia and all that stuff.
Nathan: Let’s talk about that.
Daniel: Oh God. Are we allowed to open up the sealed files of motivation mafia? I wasn’t even in it, I was just adjacent. I was motivation mafia adjacent. You were part of the motivation mafia. Has the statute of limitations been lifted?
Nathan: Yeah, we can talk about that. That was just like a group man.
Daniel: Yeah, no, it was just, it was a group, right? And it was a … but it’s a great social strategy period though. Like getting each other. What was it a group of like what, 10 accounts? Who was in it?
Nathan: Yeah, so it was me, Faroq from good life, Joe before 5:00 AM, Jason mill mentor, Brad build your empire, Rubin think, grow, prosper. I can’t remember the other ones.
Daniel: Steve Mayor.
Nathan: Steve Mayor, Agent Steven. Jamie. I can’t remember what Jamie was, but yeah, there was like 10 of us where we all used to just like promote each other’s accounts and boost it and shout each other out and it definitely worked.
Daniel: Well, that was back when like, that was like Instagram still version 1.0, where you could have like a picture of a car and then a guy with like possibly now is the only option. And he would have like sunglasses on and it’d be like, but that was like a dope image. Yeah, that was a dope image to have. And now you see it and you’re like, “What are you doing?” It’s like the aesthetic changes, right? What’s the aesthetic now on Instagram for business accounts?
Nathan: I don’t know. For business accounts for me I think it’s all about kind of clean. It’s all about, you can have photos of people but they’ve got to be like legit founders that you actually know. And then a big part of it as well is carousels, I think carousels like that are kind of like a blog post, but it’s like a listicle where it gives a top 10 or a top five or just how to. They’re really popular and I that’s where it’s at. And then also what we call mean videos where it’s a snippet of a video or a interview or a clip and there’s a catchy headline and the headline is absolutely everything.
For us, we see that a good headline is the difference between a few hundred thousand views and not having a few hundred thousand views if we post a good main video. So yeah, and then just the subtitles and it’s really just teaching one thing. So that’s the kind of content. And then on stories, same, that’s where you should do most of your selling on stories. It’s kind of you swipe up your products, your whatnots. And then, yeah, you still want to have photos of like in the business space-
Daniel: Do swipe ups work?
Nathan: What’s that?
Daniel: What type of conversions do you see on swipe ups? Do they work?
Nathan: Yeah. 100%. Yeah. Yeah.
Daniel: What type of conversions do you typically see on those?
Nathan: Well, look, to be honest, it’s not as high as people clicking on the link in the bio.
Daniel: Right. That’s what I was thinking. Yeah.
Nathan: But definitely, if you’ve got every single day, you post 10 stories over 30 days, you can drive tens of thousands of clicks or hundreds of thousands. It just depends on the size or thousands where it’s just easy. Right. And it’s very light, you know what I mean? So if you combine that plus the link in bio, you can really start to generate a lot of traffic. But definitely in terms of conversion standpoint, feed posts still do the most kind of I guess damage probably isn’t a good word, but the feed posts do result in the best kind of actions that people can take if you want to drive sales.
So as an example, if we worked with an influencer or we wanted to get someone to take an action for Foundr, to go down a funnel or to get an ebook, or even to buy something like one of our coffee table books or whatever, we’ve always seen feed categorically worked better. So if you want to work with an influencer and they say, “Hey, I can do a story post for $50, or I can do a feed post for $50.” You would choose the feed post all day every day, because it produces a way better result.
Daniel: Absolutely. Yeah. I have found the same. I found the same. I feel that stories get engagement because people are quickly clicking through them, but just because it registers an engagement doesn’t mean that it’s the same thing as it being there permanently for them to read and refer to. So I think feed posts. And I noticed generally speaking that the type of interaction I get off feed posts is usually much higher than what I get off stories.
Nathan: Yeah. 100%. I think, look, depending on the kind of business you have, if you have a personal brand, you should be using Instagram stories to build your relationship. To be honest with Foundr, we could do a much better job at that showing behind the scenes. Like I’ve never even showed behind the scenes of our new office or anything. We need to work on that, same with Healthish. Just showing like cool things behind the scenes, especially if you have a business or personal brand, but you should be using stories to sell product and that’s what we try and do for Foundr.
And then we always try and lead with value for everything we do on the feed. That’s something that we do now. We do not post a promotional photo, image, none of that. We might, if it’s a book or a magazine, that tends to do okay. But if for an example, it’s a free training, for us it’s best to kind of have a main video of that free training where we teach somebody something. And then if you’d like to see more, then click on the link in our bio and that can do very, very well,
Daniel: Rather than just having a still image that says click to sign up?
Daniel: Got you. Yeah, no, I like that. That’s a good philosophical position to take, especially as an education first, user first company. Yeah. It makes sense.
Nathan: Yeah. But for Healthish, we just post photos of people using the products and-
Daniel: Healthish is just so good though because it’s such a millennial shiny, beautiful. And we all know that women are much better on creating more social movement on the platform. It’s a female run platform. Period. Women create the culture around it. Men are posing trying to get the attention of women on it and women run it. And when it comes down to shopping, it’s primarily women. I know this, we both live with one, we know how this is. So if you have a beautiful glass that’s marketed … And if you look at, I’ve used Healthish as an example in several presentations I’ve made so far. So tell Emily and I always-
Nathan: Oh, really?
Daniel: Yeah, because it’s a great site when I’m talking-
Nathan: Thanks man.
Daniel: Yeah. No, you guys have done great work. And when I look at just the way, I mean the commercial, how the commercial is, how the exact avatar that you’re targeting is every single model that’s in the video, the music, the branding. So all that stuff matches up with Instagram culture very well. And I think that’s something that if you’re going to start a new product or a new service and use Instagram as a platform, it doesn’t mean everything has to look the same, but you should take into account what the platform naturally promotes well. And does that make sense?
Nathan: Yeah. 110%. Look, there are very trending products or there’s kind of visual products. Yeah. And if you can and if you do have a visual type product, you need to be using Instagram. Period. E-commerce, physical. If you want to build your personal brand, if you have a local based business, I know now it’s not easy, but food, anything, hairdressing, teeth whitening, all these kinds of services or personal brands or e-commerce businesses, it is so powerful. It is the best way to generate profits without relying on Facebook ads because me and you both know how difficult Facebook ads is.
It’s crazy. You have to compete with people like us where like for us at Foundr, we have a fully dedicated media boy, Andre, who’s incredible. And then we have Lucas who’s fully dedicated. All he thinks about is just crazy ads to create at Foundr. And then we have Mario, who’s a fully dedicated video editor where all he’s doing is creating just crazy ads that Lucas is kind of strategizing. And then we have a fully dedicated copywriter that all they do is write ads. That’s what you’re competing with. Right? It’s very, very difficult right now.
Daniel: Yeah. At least in your space, at least in the entrepreneurship education space.
Nathan: Yeah. 110%.
Daniel: Go to another space.
Nathan: Yeah. I agree. But look, Facebook ads, look, I would say this any day of the week. If I don’t want to start a new company, I’ve got more than enough going with Foundr and then helping Emily on the side with Healthish. But if I was to start a new company right now and I needed to get my first batch of customers, the place I’d be using would be Instagram. 110%. You can’t use Facebook ads.
Daniel: Oh yeah, no you can’t. I mean, you have to at least be able to, if you’re starting fresh, especially if … okay. Think about yourself as a new business owner, especially in now what we’re going into a recession and you’re like, “I got to start something fresh.” Now, Instagram has, as we were talking about before I think we started rolling, we’re like so many people are on Instagram now. The usage is going crazy. Would it now be a good time to test your idea on Instagram first to see if it’s pleasing to the crowd and use that to build up a natural, organic customer test bed and validate some ideas first? And then if you can move through Instagram and make sales organically, then put an ad into Facebook ads. I don’t know, a strategy perhaps.
Nathan: Yeah. 110%. So-
Daniel: Is that possible to do that?
Nathan: Yeah, 100%. So this is something that I kind of guided Emily through with Healthish. So when she was working on the physical product, she got the samples, right? So you get the samples and then with those samples, took some photos and then started to build the accounts. Right? So before the product even was ready to be sold, we had a presale. And for that presale we made a few thousand dollars all come from Instagram because we had sub 1,000 followers that were interested in the product and then were interested around living a healthy lifestyle, that we’re interested in fitness and all that side of thing.
Daniel: So hold on, hold on. You made a few thousand dollars off of an account that had less than a thousand followers before you even had the product?
Daniel: And what was the sequence for that?
Nathan: Okay. So first thing that we did was Emily found photos on like Pinterest that related on and just gave credit and posted once a day and created an account that was called HealthishCo that posted photos everyday once a day around living a healthy lifestyle. So just kind of photos around that, whether it’s food, whether it’s fitness and stuff like that. Then one thing that she did was she went to competitors that for example, there’s a lot of companies out there that sell drink bottles then they make a lot of money. And there’s a lot of those competitors where they have their own branded hashtag or customers of that competitor product would post a photo of them using it or of in the wild. Right? And then she would every single day, 20 to 50 people follow and engage with their content. And over time, over a few months, you start to build up like a following of engaged buyers of a similar product.
Nathan: And then what we did was we, every now and then posted different variations of the Healthish bottle because we had the sample while it was being produced. And then we would say the call to action every time was sign up to the wait list, launching soon, sign up to the wait list, launching soon. And we had a simple landing page via Shopify coming soon, where people could sign up to the email list. Then we use MailChimp. MailChimp is for free. And then once it was getting a couple of weeks away from it being ready, we had a few hundred subscribers on the email list. And then from there we just did a launch, right?
Five emails and maybe it was seven emails, a couple of weeks we showed behind the scenes, it’s coming, are you excited, send us an email and then off you go. Right. And then we launched with an early bird discount and then bang. So because of all of that, we were able to, yeah, on the first day of launch, we made at least, at least $500 on the first day of launch. In the first month, it was a few thousand dollars and then you just kind of built upon there.
Daniel: That’s great. Yeah. I mean, that’s such a great grassroots strategy. That’s such a great use of just the organic engagement. And to be honest, I think most people either wouldn’t expect or wouldn’t want to hear the fact that she’s … You said she went to 20 to 50 accounts per day found whose competitor’s accounts they were, engaged with them and did this consistently for a few months beforehand.
Nathan: That’s what it takes.
Daniel: That’s a good amount of work. Right?
Nathan: Look, honestly, it would take you 10 to half an hour a day, not even 10 minutes to half an hour a day.
Daniel: Still, consistency.
Nathan: It’s the consistency. It’s the grunt work. In the early days, that’s just what’s required. But if you’re starting a business, you’ve got to work on one channel. From my perspective, you’ve got to work with one channel and you’ve got to build an audience on one channel. And for me, any day of the week, I choose Instagram, right?
Daniel: Yes, yes. I would definitely have to agree. I think that there’s one of the good things about IG that I still appreciate is I love YouTube as well, but the ease of sharing on IG is always much better because there’s a lower barrier to entry. And YouTube has tried to remedy some of that. They have stories now and you can do posts and you can upload from your phone even, but it’s not set up like Instagram is set up and so there’s always going to be that … I think YouTube goes a bit deeper, but Instagram is more touch points. And through that variety of touch points, you can really build some customer relationships.
Nathan: Yeah. 110%. We’re trying to grow our YouTube channel now. We haven’t mastered yet. We’re on the road to 100,000 subscribers. I think we’re almost at 80,000 right now. We’re doing it for geez, 16 months, 14 months I’d say, 14 months we’ve been trying to grow it. And look, it’s definitely hard. I look at our tracking and everything and Instagram still is generating way more sales than YouTube.
Daniel: Of course. Yeah.
Nathan: But one thing that is interesting is we can see that the more time we put into YouTube and the more it grows, the relationship we have with our audience would be stronger than Instagram. And will probably one day, one day, maybe, maybe generate more revenue. However, the amount of work required, like we’ve got a studio. We’ve got Charlie who’s a full-time videographer. It’s crazy. You know what I mean?
Daniel: I mean, look, and I know the context of this conversation is like the benefits of Instagram and I think that those are obviously clear. I think that, yeah, there’s just a difference in the type of content that you’re creating. And I think that IG is always going to have a place as the home of really easy to consume content and really easy to make content. It’s popcorn content sometimes, but also there’s very deep stuff you can put up on there as well. You can build some very deep relationships. What do you think is going to happen in the future with the platform? I mean, we’ve seen a good amount of change, but it’s hard to sometimes understand what’s going to happen next. I have no idea.
Nathan: Yeah. So I think this is a great question. I think, and what I’m looking forward to is that I think in the near future, you will be able to buy products within Instagram and not even have to leave the application. So this is what happens in China right now. In their particular social media platforms, you can buy products or services without leaving the platform.
Daniel: Facebook is trying that already.
Nathan: Yeah. And so, yeah, that’s where I think it’s going. And yeah, I’m not good at predicting things, but that that’s something I am certain of that that’s what it will move towards. So that’s why I believe you just need to build an audience, right? Like any business, any business right now, even during this time like people … It’s so crazy, Daniel, so many people are reaching out to me than I’ve ever seen before asking if I do mentoring and I don’t do that. Right. I don’t do that. But all the questions that people are asking is how do you build an audience, right? Because people that may have been affected by this or may have not, they may or may not have an audience, but any business, you need an audience. Any online business, you need an audience, right?
Daniel: What business isn’t online?
Nathan: Well, that’s the thing, a lot aren’t.
Daniel: That’s the point I’m trying to make is if you’re not online, you need to be.
Nathan: Correct. You need to be building your audience. And I think that’s the takeaway is now more than ever, even during this time, you need to be thinking, how can you build your audience? Because that’s part of your resilience plan, right? It’s not your full per strategy, but if you have an audience, you can survive. You can get work through it. Now, I don’t want to be insensitive in way, shape or form, I know that people may be going through a tremendously tough time right now, and I hope everyone, your family, anyone listening or watching your family is safe and healthy. But anyone that is watching, that is looking to build a business or start a business, I think the takeaway here is you need to be building your audience, right? No matter what platform you choose from my personal experience, one of the easiest ways to build an audience is using Instagram. And that’s not because we have a course that teaches you how to do that, it’s honestly because I live it and breathe it myself, right? I’ve done it with two companies now.
Daniel: Oh, yeah. Oh, we know you live it and breathe it. You are a savage source of energy. Yeah. You definitely are drinking your own Koolaid is what they would say. But no, but I think that’s why you’re so good at it. And the thing about content and the thing about content and platforms audiences is let’s go one level up. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. The audience itself is it’s an asset. People don’t always think about audiences and data itself as an asset. And although with Instagram you don’t own that audience, having the audience and having the connection with them through that platform is an asset. And I think that just like any asset, if you continue to invest in it, it will return to you based on your consistency in your investment in it.
And a lot of people expect assets of any class like financial assets to return immediately and immediate investment, but that’s not how it works. And the return that you get on this type of investment could be cash. It could be relationships, it could be business partnership opportunities. It could be lots of different things, but the consistent theme is investing in that platform and learning how to invest in it in like a strategic way, which I know, and this is a blatant plug, but it’s also what actually happened. I know that happened for me going through IG dom, and just like having a strategy for, some of it’s not rocket science. There are a lot of really great insights in it, but a lot of it’s just like having a basic strategy for approaching growing an account organically and it just works. And then you start to put that investment into the asset, which is Instagram and the platform that you have and then that asset starts to return value in the form of relationships, money, opportunities.
Nathan: Yeah. I think that’s a great breakdown. And when you talk about an asset, one thing that I always found interesting, and I didn’t know this a few years ago when you wrote Rich 20something, right? One thing you told me that was really, really fascinating was if you want to get a book deal, one thing that they look at is your assets. It’s not how good the book is, it’s what assets do you have? And one that was a big sale point for you, was your Instagram account.
Daniel: Oh yeah. Oh, I like to think that it’s everything about me that’s going to combine for me to have had that opportunity. But I also know that having that Instagram growth was, I’ll tell you what it was. That was the difference between the agent, my agent Kiersten saying come back later and let’s do work. And her saying yes allowed her to go out and get me that six figure book deal with the biggest publisher in the world and you better believe because they told me at the meeting, “This is very impressive growth. It shows that a book sounds like a good idea for you.” So yeah, and I think that’s a general consensus of all social media that the platform is especially when there’s a visible number associated with it, is an asset.
People, especially in LA straight up, let me tell you. Having followers is a form of currency. How much it’s worth, I don’t know. But there is a form of value that people perceive from having a big account or even just a well curated, highly engaged account. And you can build that asset starting from having nothing, just what they call sweat equity where you’re just like putting in the hours of building it up and getting better at creating content. And you can build something that, I mean, I’ve had friends that I’ve sold Instagram accounts for like six figures plus, and it’s just they started from nothing. Like it’s nothing. It’s just tapping on a fucking phone. Can I curse on this? It’s like tapping on a phone and hashtagging stuff and putting up images and it becomes an asset. It’s almost dumb if you think about it. It’s pretty cool though.
Nathan: Yeah, no, I agree. Interesting though, if you asked yourself the question, right, we’re talking Instagram specific. If you ask yourself the question, you had a couple of hundred thousand followers on Instagram, you had a couple of hundred thousand followers on Twitter. You had a couple of hundred thousand followers on Facebook. You had a couple of hundred thousand followers on Pinterest. You had a couple of hundred thousand subscribers on YouTube. We know which we’d choose. It would probably be a combination either YouTube or Instagram, probably even YouTube, because it’s so much harder to get subscribers. Right, right. It would YouTube because it’s so much harder, but second off would be Instagram, 110%. Right?
Daniel: I think you can … Here’s thing. It’s just, again like the whole investment thing. It’s just like comparing different types of investment vehicles. You have stocks, bonds, mutual funds. They’re just different types of vehicles. So it’s Instagram has its value and so does YouTube. And I think Instagram’s barrier to entry is lower because it requires less of you. And so there’s a value in that. The dollar per subscriber is going to be more high on YouTube and the engagement on YouTube’s going to be higher.
Nathan: 110%. We’re not going to sit here in lie. Yeah.
Daniel: Yeah. But like for instance, putting together influencer campaign is easier on Instagram than YouTube for a lot of reasons. Because you can just post content where on YouTube it’s like, you got to make the thing and edit videos. It’s a whole thing. And then when it gets really highly competitive, now you’re dealing with people who have studios and it’s a whole thing. Instagram is, there’s a lot of bang for your buck in it, a lot of bang for your buck and that’s important when you’re starting a business and you don’t have a lot of bucks. You just got a lot of bang. Does that make sense?
Nathan: Yeah. 100%. Like I think, yeah, look, quite honestly, yes subscribers on YouTube is more valuable than Instagram followers, but if we chose any other platform beside YouTube, you would choose 200,000 followers on Instagram all day, every day.
Daniel: Easily, easily. And the time for growth is going to be much quicker on Instagram if you’re doing it right. YouTube is, yeah, it’s just a different … I mean, also you’re looking at different types of value too as well in terms of like suggested followers on Instagram versus on YouTube. They don’t really have that function on YouTube. So it’s harder to do category based research, because they only have like just the listing of videos with maybe the suggests on the side. Whereas Instagram is a tiered structure where it’s like influencer at the top and then sub influencers and then account and you can see all the different types of account.
And I’m telling you guys, if you’re listening to this new thinking about promoting your business and it’s new and you have little to limited funds, doing a nano, like a nano influencer campaign where you’re spending like man, 200 to $500 on just getting people involved in shouting your account out, growing it, getting brand awareness around it, getting opt ins to your email address. There’s different campaigns you can run, but just using that small investment to start growing your initial ball, and then just using the formula that Nathan was saying. Having a product or a service, sending people to an email list, doing a launch, taking that money, investing in it, cycling that around. You can do all of that on Instagram quickly, easily, effectively. You can test product ideas. I think it’s a great time to be learning this skillset, especially with what’s going on.
Nathan: Yeah. 110%. So what other questions do you have for me, Daniel?
Daniel: I noticed that a lot of the different social platforms, and this relates to IG and what we can bring into the head, but this is something that I wanted to ask you about. I noticed that like a lot of the social platforms are now starting to mimic each other in terms of the format and the layout and the user experience. And I want to know, and I’ve also noticed that over the years with hardware where like the phones start to all look alike, things start to mould into one type of UX. It starts to lock in almost. It’s like the way you view videos is like this and the way you move, it’s like flipping your finger like this. It starts to get locked in. And I want to know what your thought was from a higher level perspective on the state of social media. Do you see there being any category changing effects, for instance, I know this is kind of out there, but like the integration of VR, the integration of AR, that combine with social media to make something completely different than we’ve ever seen before.
Nathan: Yeah. Look, that’s a tricky question, man. To be honest, have never thought about that.
Daniel: Well, that’s why I fucking asked.
Nathan: Yeah. I’ve got no idea.
Daniel: Okay. Well, Elon Musk is working on neuralink. Do you know about neuralink?
Nathan: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve heard of it.
Daniel: Where it’s the computer uploading to the brain and having access to the … okay. So it’s like computer internet on the brain. We know that we’re getting closer to figuring out virtual reality and augmented reality. All of these things are tangential to the fact that we’re always on the phone anyway, on social media. Hey, I made another sale. Nice. That we are always on social media. There’s got to be a point where some of those things start to intersect.
Nathan: Yeah. Well, look, there is no doubt about it that platforms come and platforms go. Right. I do know that Facebook and all their properties are not going anywhere. And I do know that, yeah, look, one day, I don’t know how close we are. I’ve got no idea that yeah, we will have some sort of augmented VR where we can put on our goggles and we can go and explore the world and there’s ways that we can speak to our friends and hang out with their friends and there’s going to be crazy stuff. I hope I see that in my lifetime, but I think we’re pretty far away from that, right?
Daniel: Oh, hell no. Are you kidding me? My great grandparents are still alive. God bless in the Coronavirus. They were born in the 1920s. They had fucking gas lamps in their town. They’re texting me on iPads now and FaceTiming. Think about that change and then think about where we are now. You will definitely see augmented reality. You’ll have a memory stick in your brain. Look, I’m wearing AirPods right now. This is basically cyborg. This is so close to being inside of my body. I mean, it’s right there. 10 years, this will be right here on the inside. Guaranteed. It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen.
Nathan: I don’t think that far ahead, man. I don’t look at technology like, yeah, I don’t know. I do, but I don’t. Right. Like-
Daniel: You talk to so many founders. You got to be thinking ahead.
Nathan: I do and I don’t. It’s a tricky one, man because like I never thought about what the question you asked me off the cuff. Yeah, look, maybe I will see all that stuff, but I just think we’re so far away from it like more than people realise.
Daniel: I mean, define far. 50 years is far, but it’s also a very close.
Nathan: Yeah. Look, I look at like the newest, innovative social media tool that everyone’s raving about is TikTok.
Daniel: Oh, that’s a good point. We didn’t even talk about TikTok.
Nathan: Everyone’s talking about TikTok. Yeah. And I look at it and it is just a combination of all the different apps. There’s no virtual reality. There’s nothing crazy about it. And really the crazy thing, like the thing that they can’t take away right now is challenges. You’ve got all these different challenges that people are doing and it’s fun, it’s addictive and the creators create some cool stuff, but you know what I mean? That’s nothing near closely what you’re talking about, man. And like TikTok’s on the rise.
Daniel: No. I didn’t say … I wasn’t comparing neuralink to TikTok. TikTok is Instagram’s bastard child, which will probably at some point outperform Instagram maybe in the future. I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know. They have a long way to go. But yeah, I mean, I’m just talking about in decades, because time moves so quickly. The fact that just to have some perspective if you’re listening to this right now, we’re in the year 2020 in the dystopian future. And just the fact that that social media itself is such a conversation point in our daily lives is crazy because when you and I were growing up, there wasn’t, social media has created a whole new thread of conversation and reality than we had growing up. It’s a whole new world that we can have conversations about, have thoughts about, things can happen on social media. That just didn’t exist when we were growing up. So it’s just so crazy to think that we have made a lot of progress in even just a few decades.
Nathan: Yeah, I agree. I was just thinking about then like why, I was thinking to myself, why couldn’t I really answer your question? I think I know why. It’s because I don’t try and look too far ahead on that kind of stuff. I just want to know what’s working now and just do that.
Daniel: I mean, honestly, that’s that is like what did Buddha say? Buddha said before enlightenment, chop wood carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water, stay in the present, man. Stay in the present. That’s how you do it. You just keep it going. You’re just going through the katas you’re doing the formula. You’re not thinking too far in the future. Not too much anxiety, not looking too far to the past, don’t want to have too much regret, stay in the zone.
Nathan: Yeah, man. Just trying to stay woke like you bro.
Daniel: Oh, I don’t know if you’re ready for this level of wokeness. This level of wokeness is painful. You’ve got to grow a big beard for this level of wokeness. They’re not going to let me into the airport looking like this, man. I got to shave this before I go back to the airport.
Nathan: No. That’s not too bad, bro.
Daniel: That’s not too bad. I want to get it down to here. I want to start looking like a Saudi Arabian prince. That’s my goal. I want to have oil money, so I’m just going to live into it. Manifest it. Yeah. So yeah man, I’m grateful to you, Foundr. I mean, I have so many fun stories about you. I could go on forever. I got so many fun stories about you. My wife, Sarah, who is very particular about who she will even interacts with, loves Nathan and Emily, which is like, that’s a very high compliment. You have to understand this woman is a high priestess. She’s very selective. She has great taste. So if she likes you guys, you are very good people and hope that-
Nathan: You’re far too kind man.
Daniel: No hey, that’s what she’s saying. Not me. I said the opposite. And hopefully when this is all well and good, we can come to your wedding. Are you can still doing it in Vietnam?
Nathan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So look obviously we kind of stopped plans and stuff, but yeah, planned to do it overseas 110% man. Yeah, so hopefully you guys can come and hopefully you can make it to Melbourne eventually, man. You stood me up how many times? Two times or something?
Daniel: No. Look, I just don’t even feel like revisiting the past. I want to stay in the present.
Nathan: Well, maybe I should call upon now that Saint Sebastian trip you owe me bro.
Daniel: Oh God. I’m like three trips in debt. It’s like, here’s what you got to understand about me. Here’s what you got to understand about me. The fact that I’ve gotten to this point is amazing because I put out so much content, but I’m also cyclical where all put out a tonne of shit and I’ll be like, “I’m exhausted. I got to take like a month off.” And then I’ll recharge myself energetically and then I’ll go back at it. Whereas you will bulldoze through for five years and the accumulated bulldozing of the five years has crushed my email subscriber rating comparison. So yeah, you’re going to win then. It’s okay. Everyone has their strengths. I admit it. So and that’s-
Nathan: Should we give everyone context about that one?
Daniel: Go ahead. Yeah, sure.
Nathan: No, I think you should, bro.
Daniel: Well, okay. So here’s the … When we first started, when I first started blogging, this was back in like 2012 and Nathan was first developing this concept, which became Foundr Magazine, which first started off as Keys To Success Magazine. He emailed me, he’s very inquisitive. He’s always asking questions, poking around, taking notes, trying to understand what’s working and then going back in his little lab and testing things. He stays low key, but he emailed me and he’s like, “Hey, I’m just over here. I see you have a blog. I saw you under 30 CEO. That’s cool. What’s this blogging about? How you doing?” I’m like, “Okay.” So we got to become friends. Later over a period of maybe, I don’t know, maybe within that year-
Nathan: I think it was a couple of years.
Daniel: When you got sued?
Nathan: No, no. After, after. I thought we were talking about the competition that we did.
Daniel: Oh, no, no, no, yeah, no, I was going to say you got sued by Success Magazine for you taking their slogan. So you rebranded to Foundr a couple of years after that. You were starting to build up your email list and you’re like, “Oh, what do you know about building an email list?” And I thought, oh man, I know all about email list building. I’ve been doing this. I am very experienced. And I was, I am, but you’re like, “Oh, well let me see if I can try this.” So man, Nathan just, he went to work and he just started crushing man. And he just started putting out free opt-ins and just like optimising the site. I remember there was like three opt-ins just to interact with fucking Foundr.com was.
It was on the thank you page. It was popups and the headers and free magazines and all these great bribes and I was just blogging. Okay. You got to understand. I’m just writing. I’m doing pretty good for a one person blogger, but you took us to this to a whole other level and you just eclipsed because I’m getting like, I’m writing the article and I’m getting a couple of hundred subscribers and I’m going like, that’s pretty good. Right? Like that’s pretty good. You’re like, oh …
A couple months into this, you’re starting to really get strong. It’s like the kid that starts to go to the gym and starts to get those gains and one day you see them and you look at the mirror and you’re like, “Man, his arms are bigger than mine now.” So yeah, you were close me and you were using Instagram the whole time and your funnelled all that into a webinar and you crushed it and you’re crushing me and owe you a trip to Saint Sebastian. I’m sorry. I don’t even know where that is. I agreed to it. I don’t even know where Saint Sebastian is. You said, “Let’s do a competition.” I said, “Saint Sebastian. Sure. Whatever.” Don’t even know where it is.
Nathan: It’s in Spain, man.
Daniel: Well, I can’t go to Spain now. Sorry Coronavirus.
Nathan: We definitely got to do that, dude. We definitely have to do that.
Daniel: We do have to do it.
Nathan: And I don’t know if you know this but for a long time, you were winning that competition of who can get to 100,000 subs. And I was just like, you know what I’m going to do. I’m not going to say anything about it. I’m just going to push really hard and build and keep building and then I would not say anything and then when it would come close to getting there, I would say, “Hey man, I’ve done it. And yeah, this is where I’m at.” Because every time we gave updates, it was like, we’d all push really hard. But that was like, that was really fun dude.
Daniel: It was fun.
Nathan: Like to say, yeah, I can do it 100,000 subscribers. I can’t even remember how long it took us. Like each of us like-
Daniel: Yeah, I don’t know. That was a fast growth period.
Nathan: Yeah. Yeah. At least like six months or something like that. But we did like, we just crushed it and these are real people too. It’s not like we bought or I didn’t cheat. I know I didn’t cheat. I know you wouldn’t have.
Daniel: I didn’t cheat.
Nathan: These are real people that we added to our email list for our respective companies and we built relationships and helped these people and all these kinds of things. And I think that it’s not just about the number, right? It’s about the audience.
Daniel: Yeah. I mean, yeah, exactly. And I think you’ll see that once you get into it and once you start taking the platform more seriously. There’s a way to look at Instagram as a consumer where you’re only consuming content. And then once you flip the switch and say, “I’m going to be a creator,” you start to look at the platform differently and you start to say, “Oh, this is a way for me to help people. This is the way for me to sell my services. This is a way for me to build a brand,” whereas a lot of people are still, we’re still programmed to only consume. When you decide, I’m going to be a creator, I’m going to be an entrepreneur. I’m going to really go out and do this. Then the usefulness of the platform changes a lot.
Nathan: I agree 110%. So this is really like, this is a cool episode, man, because it’s like really Joe Rogan style, like very, very conversational. It wasn’t like the typical Nathan how’d you get your job? Like X, Y, Z. Tell me about these. Tell me about that. Tell me about this and like it was awesome, man. So thanks so much for doing these brother.
Daniel: I don’t want to know any of those things. I already know those things. I want to know what you think is going to happen in the future of neuro tech. Well, I appreciate you. It’s an honour to have the opportunity to be your friend. I tell you this all the time. I try to give you a lot of compliments. I don’t know if people are blowing you up or giving you too much compliments at home. I try to give you a lot of compliments. It’s good to hear from your friends. Hey, thanks. I appreciate you. So I try to make sure you know.
Nathan: Yeah. You’re far too kind man. I appreciate you too brother and I look forward to catching up LA trip or maybe you should come to Melbourne or at my wedding. And yeah, it’s always good times. It’s always good laughs.
Daniel: Yes sir. My pleasure. Talk to you soon.
Key Resources From Our Interview With Daniel DiPiazza
- Visit the Rich20Something website here