No fluff, showcase what makes your product great — When you are selling yourself, your product, or your brand online — be authentic. Don’t fluff, don’t bold words or use a bunch of exclamation points, be honest and explain what you’ve got and what you’re building. It’s that simple.
As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Greenbaum, the CEO of WhiskerCloud, a technology platform that supports veterinary hospitals around the world. Adam comes to us from Huntington Beach, CA, and boasts over 20,000 LinkedIn connections that have helped him dramatically grow his business. When Adam isn’t focused on his business, he spends his time with his wife Elizabeth, their dogs Sophie and Baxter, and their cat, Nala.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve been working towards owning my own company since I was 15, and I spent my days and nights running the warehouse of my parents’ clothing stores in Las Vegas. I was in charge of all inventory coming in and going out (there was quite a bit), and I did that as a full-time student in high school and eventually college. Once out of college, I found myself obsessed with marketing and technology and found jobs that would let me build a career with emerging technology. This included advertising agencies, government technology, and healthcare technology jobs that each offered a new challenge. Finally, I found myself at a startup that showed me what it took to build, run, and scale a company. I quickly realized it was mostly about having an insane drive and surrounding yourself with smart people.
So, I started a company. A digital consulting firm in Denver, Colorado — and it went…well! I had terrific clients, grew my business, hired people, and continued to pursue infinite knowledge of marketing and advertising, but I still wasn’t happy. I’m passionate about animals and people that love animals, and I wanted to create something to help these people. We built it for about eight months before launch, and there was just one problem, we didn’t have a name. One day, out of the blue, my wife yelled out “WhiskerCloud,” and it was born.
During all of this, the social media revolution took off, and I was all for it. I’m typing this today with over 100,000 social media followers, but it took quite a bit of work to get there. Once I realized that I had something to say that people wanted to hear, I quickly realized that being as authentic as possible online typically leads to more people actually caring about what you’re saying. If you’re telling the story of your company and people want to hear me, you not only have the right product, but the right people to be connected to.
Social media, and specifically LinkedIn had led to thousands of connections with amazing people in the veterinary industry that have found more, or vice versa, and helped me grow my business through information, partnerships, and genuine connections.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I think the craziest thing that has happened is people walking up to me at conferences that recognized me from my LinkedIn photo, and specifically call out particular posts or things I’ve said. I love that! Something I write in passing or share online cannot only stick with someone but enough for them to come up to me and ask me about it. This typically leads to a stronger connection outside of the digital world, which is the reason we work so hard on social media anyway. Even better, I love when people walk up and tell me that they loved a specific photo of my dogs. How did they even remember it with millions of dog photos on the internet? Either way, it’s awesome.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I tend to be too open and too honest. Part of being real and transparent usually means speaking from the heart and not exactly thing before talking. I recall early on, being asked about our competitors in an open setting and I said something along the lines of, ‘well, I really don’t see them as competitors because they don’t offer the quality of the product we offer.” Was it true? Yes. Should I have said it? Probably not. I had a few people from those companies confront me about the remarks, it all ended up okay. Moving forward, I’ll keep those thoughts to myself.
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
All social media platforms have a different use, and it’s essential to use them properly. LinkedIn allows me, the CEO, to get to know partners, clients, and people in the industry. It’s not about me directly selling them, but allows me to get to know them, get a view on what’s going on in their life. I can talk about what we’ve got going on at WhiskerCloud and not be “selling” directly to consumers. It’s a great way to get honest feedback that isn’t filtered through my entire company.
Twitter and Pinterest are great platforms to share boatloads of content and drive traffic to our website. These are nice for updates, news, and growing our blog subscribers.
Facebook is our primary source for getting news out to current and potential clients via the business. Mainly because Facebook ads are reasonably inexpensive and allow us to promote updates or posts to 20,000 for like $15.
Each social network has advantages and disadvantages from the others, and it’s vital that they’re all used appropriately.
Let’s talk about LinkedIn specifically, now. Can you share 5 ways to leverage LinkedIn to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Put a name to the company — I’m not sure I could tell you the CEO’s name of 95% of the products I use. I want our clients and potential clients to know the person behind the brand, know my story, and understand just how much I put into this company succeeding. From there, they can have a direct connection if they have questions or feedback.
2. Promote the brand, without promoting it — The thing I love most about LinkedIn is being able to post off-the-cuff remarks about new products we’re working on, or things we’re seeing in the industry, just to collect feedback. I’m not trying to sell anyone when I do this, but I am trying to gauge responses and see if there is something our target market sees that we do not.
3. Connect with important people in the industry — Have you ever wondered, “I really wish I knew someone at that company that I could connect with?” That’s the beauty of social media, you can get to know them instantly. You don’t have to be in the same city, state, country, or travel in the same social circles. One invite and one quick “hello” can lead to so much. Of course, you just have to be willing to put yourself out there. Not everyone that you want to connect with is going to want to connect with you.
4. Tell your story outside of work — I think everyone goes on LinkedIn thinking it’s time to network and sell like crazy. I personally like to see what people have going on outside of work. It helps me get to know them. I love to share stories about my travel experiences, my family, and let people know that I am an actual human and not a robot that creates technology to sell to them 24/7.
5. No fluff, showcase what makes your product great — When you are selling yourself, your product, or your brand online — be authentic. Don’t fluff, don’t bold words or use a bunch of exclamation points, be honest and explain what you’ve got and what you’re building. It’s that simple.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I love when people share stories of the good things they’re doing for people or animals in need. I would hope that more people would post information about what they’re passionate about, and less fluff full of click-bait headlines. The internet is not a place to grab a “digital microphone” and scream to the heavens and sell sell sell; it’s about making real connections. Wouldn’t it be nice if people acted on social media the same way they do in person? Real, honest, and human — not a robot behind a computer screen.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
My ideal breakfast would consist of Lebron James, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg. Three people that have built amazing products and brands, and for some reason, still find themselves catching a lot of heat instead of people thanking them for their contributions to our world. I would be curious to ask how they deal with constant negativity while they stay positive and continue to build their product.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!
About the Author:
Phil Laboon wants to live in a world where actions speak louder than words, people shout their stories from roof tops, and where following one’s passion is the norm. As a serial entrepreneur and investor, his personal and professional life has spotlighted in hundreds of publications such as People Magazine, Rueters, Forbes, Inc, HuffingtonPost, and CBS This Morning. Phil also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column on the subject of how great leaders build great companies. When he’s not building memorable brands or launching exciting startups, you can find him backpacking exotic countries looking for new inspiration and challenges. If you would like to book Phil for an entertaining speaking engagement about inbound marketing or growing a business, he can be contacted HERE.