Brendan Kane Got a Million Followers in One Month and Works with Katie Couric, Taylor Swift, and Fortune 500 Companies | PoP 372

Brendan Kane Got a Million Followers in One Month and Works with Katie Couric, Taylor Swift, and Fortune 500 Companies | PoP 372

How much do you know about marketing for your digital platform? Are you at all focused on growing your social media presence? Do you want to know how beneficial investing time and money in social media can be for your business?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Brendan Kane who shares his framework for leveraging digital platforms to grow your brand quickly and effectively.

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Meet Brendan Kane

Brendan Kane

Brendan is a digital strategist for Fortune 500 companies, global brands, and celebrities. He started his career in the entertainment industry managing digital divisions for two prominent movie studios. He then went on to build applications and campaigns for celebrity clients such as Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Katie Couric. Today Brendan is best known for building 1 million followers in 100 countries in less than 30 days.

Find out more about Brendan on his website, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Brendan Kane’s Story

Brendan spent 3.5 years building a set of testing methodologies and predicted calculations on top of the Facebook advertising platform, he used this advertising platform not as a media buying or advertising tool but rather as a market research tool. He did this so that he could identify the content format, themes, and stories that resonate with specific audiences to get them to share content at the highest velocity. With a background in entertainment, he was really devising this system for some of his celebrity clients and with all the success he was having he started thinking about how he could help people who were starting from scratch.

In This Podcast


In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Brendan Kane about how he grew to 1 million followers in a month and strategies you can adapt to grow your own social media.

Key Elements in Variations

Each of these 5 elements are interchangeable. Where you can take one clip and start changing each of these different elements you can scale the number of variations that you are testing around a specific clip.

  1. The actual clip itself
  2. Headline – how do you describe the clip
  3. Demographics – who are you targetting
  4. Interest level – what is the demographic interested in
  5. Geolocation – what part of the world are you targeting people

Doing this gives you more chances to win, to find an audience that is going to share your content at a higher velocity and it gives you a lot of learning potential.

How to Apply The Principles

Building and maintaining a relationship with followers is difficult work, it’s not something that’s super passive if you want to be good at it.

  1. You must figure out why you want followers, What is the ROI you are going to get if you reach x amount of followers?
  2. Do a competitive analysis – who is currently reaching your audience, look at the content formats they have as well as their engagement.
  3. Once you have identified this, create the content and test it – what is the hypothesis, then create a low-cost proof of concept (creating a stock photo, video).
  4. Analyze the data and determine whether it generated the type of response you were looking for.


I’m of the mindset that not every strategy is right for each individual and you really need to find the right strategy that fits your specific goals and objectives.

Books by Brendan Kane

Other books mentioned in this episode

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE]: What’s the point of having a beautiful website that doesn’t attract the clients you want to see? As the worldwide leaders of website design for therapists, Brighter Vision sees this issue happen way too often. A nice-looking website doesn’t equate to a successful website. The truth is your current website might even be turning off potential clients. That’s where Brighter Vision comes in. Brighter Visions’ team of website designers will create you a website that is centered around attracting and retaining your ideal client so that you can have a nice-looking website as well as a successful one. For a month free, head on over to Again, that’s
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 372.
Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I’m Joe Sanok, your host and this is one of my most favorite things to do; is to do this podcast. I was supposed to do a two-hour consulting session with a local business today and yesterday they had some things change and they canceled it and I’m like, “Yes, I get to batch recording my podcast.” I love doing this so much. It’s just so much fun.
If you’re new to the podcast, which I know a bunch of you are looking at the numbers, every month we help between 40 and 100,000 different private practitioners to kind of grow through this podcast. And, whether it’s here or on Pinterest, we, I just looked at those numbers and I hadn’t looked at them in like a year because new Sam has been kind of monitoring that. We have half a million monthly visitors to our Pinterest page, which is pretty amazing because I kind of create things and then the Sam’s put them out there.
And so, I talk a lot about knowing your numbers, but they’ve been knowing my numbers and saying that it’s working. So, that’s pretty sweet. It’s pretty sweet that we’re creating something that people are resonating with. But you know, we’re going to be talking with Brendan Kane today who got a million followers in one month. And, in the end, I kind of give some of my takeaways. But you know, oftentimes when I’m meeting with people, whether they’re in next level practice in one of our Q&A’s, or whether it’s a mastermind group or one on one consulting, a lot of people will say, “Hey, should I be on Twitter? Should I be on Pinterest? Should be on Instagram?”
And I think one of the big things to think through is why shouldn’t you be on some of those platforms? So, even though we’re talking with Brendan who, he’s worked with, people like Katie Couric and Taylor Swift and all these fortune 500 companies, he even goes back to like, what’s the why of why you want to get more followers? What does that actually mean for your company? And most people, they just don’t know. Most people will say, “I don’t know like I think that we’ll get more clients if we have more Instagram followers.” Well maybe, but maybe you won’t.
And so, today I want you to really think through what Brendan is talking about and say to yourself like, “Is that for me? Should I put my efforts into that or would doing more on social media actually distract me from other things?” Brendan gives us tons of amazing advice and stuff that I’ve already started doing in chopping up the videos a little bit differently when we put them on Instagram and asking people to do stories about us and doing co-stories and all sorts of things. But you have to know why you’re doing it, with anything. Why are you doing it? So, without any further ado, I give you Brendan Kane.
Well, today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Brendan Kane. Brendan is a digital strategist for fortune 500 companies, global brands, and celebrities. He started his career in the entertainment industry, managing digital divisions for two prominent movie studios. He then went on to build applications in campaigns for celebrity clients such as Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Katie Couric. Today, Brendan is best known for recently building a million followers in 100 countries in less than 30 days. He’s here to share his framework for leveraging digital platforms to grow your brand quickly and effectively. Welcome to the show, Brendan.
[BRENDAN]: Thanks for having me, Joe. I appreciate it.
[JOE]: Yeah. You know, when I first heard about your book, I don’t remember if I was in a bookstore or saw online. I was like, “How did this guy do this?” So, why don’t we just start with that challenge to grow a million followers in 30 days? How did you come up with that? What inspired that?
[BRENDAN]: Yeah, so first off, it wasn’t like I just woke up one morning and I was just with no experience and said, “I’m just going to do it and hopefully achieve it.” I had spent about three and a half years prior to that building a setup, testing methodologies and predictive calculations on top of the Facebook advertising platform, which also powers Instagram as well. And I use the advertising platform, not as a media buying tool or an advertising tool. I use it actually as a market research tool in terms of being able to identify content formats, themes, and stories that resonate with specific audiences to get them to share content at the highest velocity.
And my background, as you mentioned is in entertainment. So, I was really devising this system for some of my celebrity clients. And one of the clients that I worked extensively within the system was Katie Couric and having to reverse-engineer the art of the interview for her when she moved from television to a digital distribution strategy. So, you know, because with television, you know, you have that habitual nature set up so that your audience just tunes in the same time every day and there’s Katie giving them names and they tune in versus digital; you’re fighting for that audience with each piece of content you push out into the world.
So, I got really intertwined with this system and building it out and got really good at testing content at scale. You know, with Katie specifically, we tested probably over 75,000 variations of content across 220 interviews. And we did interviews with anybody ranging from like a Joe Biden to a Justine to a Jenifer Lopez to DJ Khaled. It was all across the board and was having a lot of success with Katie and other professional athletes and celebrities.
And you know, my background has been working with major media companies and stars and I just really had an idea in my head and was like, “Okay, it’s great that you can have all this success for people at the highest levels but what about the rest of us? What about people starting from scratch, starting from zero. And I wanted to really understand whether everything I had learned over the years could be applied to somebody that is starting from scratch. I’m of the mindset that I really want to try things and test things. I don’t like just talking about it.
So, I figured, you know, the best way to really see what was possible was to run a test or an experiment. And when thinking about who would be the perfect person to run that experiment on, I thought, “Why not myself?” Because I’m definitely not in television or movies, not a Rockstar, not a professional athlete. And that’s where I set out on this journey of being able to handle this feat of generating $1 million in a hundred countries in 30 days.
[JOE]: Wow. I want to get into kind of that next step of what happened. But like when you’re working with Katie, you said over, was it 7,500 or 75,000 variations?
[BRENDAN]: 75,000.
[JOE]: Yeah. So, I mean, to the average person that’s on Instagram or Facebook or watching Apple news or whatever, you know, we see a headline and we just assume things kind of get put out there and that’s just, they’re just thrown out. So, what did you do to figure out what worked for Katie to get kind of the biggest bang for her buck?
[BRENDAN]: Yeah. So, first off, when I talk about that level of number of variations, it sounds extremely daunting and almost impossible, but that’s the beauty of the system and the platform that I built in order to be able to scale variations very quickly. So, let’s just, I’ll just give you an example, like the first time I met Katie, she was telling me about the problem that she was running into with people not being able to see her content being thrust into this digital-first strategy. And I said, “Okay, well then let’s just rethink of how you distribute your content and come up with a new strategy.” And I proceeded to ask her, “Who is the next person that you’re in to interview?” And she said that it was the actress Elizabeth Banks. And I said, “Okay, this is the way that we’re going to approach this interview.”
And it’s a strategy we proceeded to use for all of the interviews. It’s that, so, Elizabeth Banks is in the movie franchise Hunger Games, also in the movie franchise Pitch Perfect. And she’s a strong feminist advocate. So, those are going to be the three core segments of the interview. And what we’re going to do specifically is we’re not going to go in with questions because I find that questions can fall flat because people can respond in multiple ways and you can’t really control that response. But what we’re going to go in is with the output in mind.
So, what are the hook points that we think are really going to grab the attention of fans of the Hunger Games fans, of Pitch Perfect, and feminist supporters? So, we started the process that way. So, we craft anywhere between five to 10 different hook points for each one of those audiences. And once we have that established, then Katie would go off, she would shoot the interview and she would come back with a completed 30-minute interview. And what we proceeded to do was, with that 30-minute interview, we would cut out these hook points, which ended up being clips ranging from 30 to 90 seconds and we would cut out each one.
So, we would have anywhere between five to 10 clips for Hunger Games fans, five 10 clips from Pitch Perfect fans, and for feminist advocates. And once we had those clips individually, that’s where the variations come in. And that’s where we scale variations. So, when I talk about a variation, there are five key elements. So, let’s just take one of the Hunger Games clips for example. Let’s just say it’s, it was just things, talking about what it’s like to work with Jennifer Lawrence. So, the first element of the variation is the actual clip itself.
The second element of the variation is the headline. Like, how do you describe the clip or the text that goes over the clip on Facebook or below the clip on Instagram? And then the third element of variation is the demographics. What are the, are we targeting males, females, both? Are there specific age breakdowns? And then the fourth element of a variation is the interest level. Like what are these people interested in? So, for example, with this clip, we would be targeting people that are interested in the Hunger Games and people that are interested in Elizabeth Banks and people that are interested in Jennifer Lawrence because it’s about Jennifer Lawrence. And then the fifth is the geolocation of what part of the world are we targeting people. And that can go to as big as global or it can go all the way down to a specific zip code.
So, each of those five elements are interchangeable. So, for example, one variation could be, “Okay, we’re going to target males versus in that variation, we’re targeting females. Another variation is we’re targeting Hunger Games fans versus Jennifer Lawrence fans. So, where you can take one clip and start interchanging each of these different elements. You can scale the number of variations that you’re testing around a specific clip.
And what that does is it gives you more chances to win, more chances to find an audience that is going to share your content at the highest velocity. In addition, it gives you a lot of learning potential because when you’re segmenting all of these variations into separate tasks, you can start understanding how your audience is responding to different variables in the tests that you’re running. So, from that granular level, you can use these learnings to feel both your short and long-term content strategy.
So, we would do this for every interview and every clip that came out. So, that’s where like one interview, we could cut 10 or 15 clips and turn those 10 or 15 clips into hundreds or potentially thousands of variations and extensively test them against each other in real time to measure the response of which ones were being shared at the highest velocity. And then once we figured out which ones were being shared at the highest velocity, we would turn all of the others off and we say, “Okay, this is great. If you like this clip of Elizabeth Banks talking about the Hunger Games, why don’t you come back to Yahoo and consume the rest of the interview with Katie Kirk?”
[JOE]: Wow. So, you turned off the other ones. I like that. You know, it’s interesting. I think I’m kind of the most basic level, just that idea of AB testing while for you, it’s A through Z testing, to just know what’s working. Like just earlier today I sent out an email to people that had joined my email list and I think it was like the last six months, to encourage them to come to a webinar/master class coming up. And I just wanted to know whether or not the word ‘webinar’ or the word ‘masterclass’ resonated with people most.
And you know, that went out a couple of hours ago and it looks like more people opened the email for the webinar, but in the masterclass, the opt-in percentage is higher. And so, of course, I’m going to watch that. But that’s just a very simple version of kind of what you’re talking about. And if I know that say masterclass, people opt into way more than a webinar, I need to then change that and I can increase my percentage and conversions, and you know, help more people that, then that gets them into my funnel and so on. But I think a lot of therapists don’t even think through that they should test things in that kind of way.
I want to get into that million followers thing and that strategy and then maybe we can talk about applying it to private practice after that. So, you have this going and you say, “Okay, I’m going to do this for myself instead of kind of helping just other people do it.” What were some of your first steps when you said, “I’m going to try to launch this million-followers’ campaign?”
[BRENDAN]: Yeah, it’s a great question. I mean first off, I knew I was going to be able to hit a million followers in 30 days. It wasn’t really an ‘if’. And the reason that I did it was because I knew it was going to be a strong hook point. And I live in a world of hook point, you know, working with Katie Couric, you know, I got really good at copywriting and understand what a strong hook point is to bring somebody in. And I was looking for a strong hook point to build a solid brand foundation for myself.
And it’s one of the areas that I work with people a lot. It’s identifying the hook points because I feel people in any industry really lack how to grab somebody’s attention because the reality of the situation is we live in a three-second world. We have less than three seconds to capture people’s attention.
So, really the intention of the experiment was to establish this hook point of generating $1 million followers in 30 days. And in terms of how to start that process again, I had spent three and a half years doing similar types of tasks with Katie Couric and other clients using this testing methodology of seeding content out to people, measuring the response and then based upon that response, scheduling other tasks. So, for this experiment, I really wanted to test as much content as possible because as you can imagine with certain clients, you don’t really get that flexibility and freedom to test content or the type of content you want.
So, with my experiment, I tested everything, I tested podcast interviews, I did political-based content, comedic-based content, inspirational quotes, travel photos, photos of myself; just to really understand what it would take for different people from different backgrounds, from different parts of the world to essentially opt-in and follow a brand that they had never been exposed to.
And, so, over the course of 30 days, the way it looked is that every night I would schedule between 50 to 150 variations of content to launch at midnight. And then when I would wake up in the morning, I would look at the results and based upon those results, I would fuel the next set of tasks at midnight the next night. And I would do that over and over again over the course of 30 days. And that allowed me to, that process allowed me to test 5,000 variations of content using the same kind of principles that broke down for Katie Couric in that 30-day time period, which then allowed me to generate that million-follower mark in that period of time.
[JOE]: Wow. So, you had a lot of different, I guess, directions that you were going in regards to, you know, travel photos or inspirational quotes and you know, often what I hear in the business world is kind of ‘Know your specialty, own that kind of minimum viable audience, you know.’ Seth Godin’s new book, This Is Marketing really says you just find that teeny tiny tribe of people and maybe you do that as well. But in testing that many different types of specialties or niches, how did you segment how people saw you? Because I would assume that someone who follows you for a travel photo isn’t going to be the same person that follows you for some comedy thing. That seems to find the face of a lot of what marketing gurus often suggest.
[BRENDAN]: Well, again, I was looking at this in terms of an experiment and a test. I wasn’t looking at this as “Hey, I’m going to make myself an influencer. I’m going to make myself a celebrity or an athlete.” It was more so like, “Hey, I want to just test and see what works for people, what people respond to get them to engage and opt into a brand that they’ve never been exposed to.” Now, during the experiment and also since then I’ve narrowed in more specifically on the type of content that I want to push out in the world and that represents my brand.
So, I definitely agree with everything that you said and the people you mentioned. It’s like, you’ve got to figure out what your core value proposition is and how to position your brand. This was purely an experiment to see what was possible and what content people respond to. But again, I would narrow it in as the experiment went on.
[JOE]: Gotcha. That makes sense. So really, initially it was just what will people resonate with in general, just to see how to get those followers and then moving forward? After that, it was, “I’m going to zoom in on the brand that I want to be known for.”
[BRENDAN]: Yes, exactly. Because again, it gave me a blank slate to do whatever I want. Versus with clients I work with, I don’t have that blank slate. Like working with a nanotechnology company, I obviously can’t seed out comedic-based content. So, when I had that blank slate to do whatever I wanted, I took full advantage of that to really just learn and see what happened when you seeded this type of content to certain audiences.
[JOE]: So, say people are listening right now and they’re like, “Man if I just had a thousand followers or 100,000 followers around my counseling brand or around my private practice, that would be a game changer for me.” Where would you start with them taking the principles that you’ve discovered and then applying that to private practice?
[BRENDAN]: So, the first place I always start is, why do you want followers? What does that represent to you? What is the return on investment that you’re going to get if reached a thousand followers, 100,000 followers, 500,000, a million? Whatever that number is, I think you really have to have a firm understanding of why you’re doing it first. Because building it and maintaining a relationship with followers is difficult work. It’s not something that’s just super passive if you want to be good at it and take advantage of it.
And some people I recommend if they come to me and they’re like, “I want 100,000 followers because I want to sell a course or I want to get more clients.” Typically, what I’ll recommend is don’t focus on the followers. Focused on direct response campaigns, focus on lead generation. Focus on that first so that you serve your primary purpose and your goal. And once you do that, you can reinvest that success or that financial side of what you’re generating into followers. But if you’re like, “Hey, followers are what I need to do.” The basic place that I start is competitive analysis.
Who is already currently reaching your audience? And that may be a direct competitor or maybe somebody that just speaks to your audience in a different way with a different product or service. And look for people that are successful at social. And I’m not talking about the outliers like a Kim Kardashian because they’re just, they’re over a hundred million followers and I don’t think there’s as much that can be learned from them to apply to a brand. But people that are between late 20 to 150,000 followers that have solid engagement and do an analysis of their account, like what content formats do they do?
What is the engagement across those different content formats? Because that will allow you to better conceptualize like what content should I be creating? What should that content look like? What should that content say? I’m not saying copy other people’s messages, but be a student of the formats that are really working well. And then once you’ve identified that, then it comes into creating that content and testing it. So, the process that I use is broken down into a three-step process.
So, and everybody’s heard this and especially counselors because it’s scientific background, I just apply it to my field as well. It’s, you know, first start out with a hypothesis. What is the content format, theme, or story that I think best represents my brand, that’s going to engage the audience and generate the intended response that I’m looking for? And then once you set the hypothesis, you create a low-cost proof of concept of that content.
And I mean low costs. I don’t want people spending a ton of money or a ton of time producing content because I see that as one of the biggest mistakes people make. They make this assumption that “It’s going to work. So, I’m going to invest all my money in this specific direction,” without validating it first, which goes to the second part of —
[JOE]: Well, drill into that a little bit more. So, low-cost content. So, is that paying someone to make beautiful images, is that you know, someone making infographics or an email opt-in? Like, when you say the low-cost proof of concept, drill into that a little bit more
[BRENDAN]: So, it depends on what your primary objectives are and your goals. Like low costs could mean creating a stock photo and putting a quote over it. Actually, taking a stock video or just putting up your iPhone camera and shooting a video of you on camera. Again, it’s being a student of the competitive landscape and seeing what’s working and figuring out, “How can I do what they’re doing successfully at the lowest possible cost until I have proven it for myself?”
Because that’s the biggest thing. It’s, you want to go low cost just to prove to see if it works and then once it works then you can invest more in a specific direction. So, that could mean going on Upwork and hiring people then create an infographic, quote, images or videos or just simply recording videos on your computer or on your iPhone. Because what, I think there’s this huge misconception of production value versus content quality. It, you know, you’ll see content that doesn’t have high production value that still works and works at a high scale because it’s really about the content and the underlying message that people resonate with on social. It’s not like on Netflix or on television where there has to be this super high gloss production value in order for people to pay attention to it.
[JOE]: Wow. So, for the average kind of private practitioner, it sounds like finding people that are doing it well already and then kind of giving it a whirl and watching what happens and then adjusting with what’s working.
[BRENDAN]: Yeah. So, that second step in the process is going in testing. Once you have that low-cost proof of concept, go off and test it and see how people respond. And that testing could be as complex as the system that I developed or it can be as simple as just measuring the response of the engagement level of one type of post versus another type of post and just chopping it into an Excel sheet and then comparing it that way. And then the third —
[JOE]: Real quick. So, you had said you would drop a bunch of these at midnight. I mean, are you suggesting that you know, say I have this counseling practice and that we have 50 different images we make and I drop those all at once into Instagram and then just see what happens or test it a little differently than that.
[BRENDAN]: So, the beauty of the advertising platform that Facebook built, that again extends to Instagram is they have what’s called a dark post. So, whenever you create an ad on the platform, it lives through your profile, but it isn’t seated on your timeline or on your feet. So, that’s where if you want to test 50 images against each other, you literally can do that at the same time in the background without spamming your audience. Because Facebook designed the platform for what’s called a dark post.
[JOE]: Gotcha. Okay. That makes sense. Because I’m just picturing like your Instagram feed every night, all these gigantic posts coming in and I’m just like, “I would want to unfollow you because of that.” But that makes sense.
[BRENDAN]: Exactly. And that’s the reason that they built the platform that way. And it’s one of the reasons that the platform is so powerful. It’s one of the best direct response platforms out there. But also, I think people underestimate and don’t even look at it as a market research tool to really be able to test and learn from the content that you’re producing of what happens when it’s seated to the audience that you want to reach.
[JOE]: Okay. So, then where do people go next?
[BRENDAN]: So, then the third step is really analyzing the data and determining whether it generated the intended response that you’re looking for. If it didn’t, then you start that process all over again with a new hypothesis, low-cost proof of concept and tasks. And you keep doing that over and over again until you find something that works. And then when you find something that works, then you just go off and scale it and see if that, see if that holds true. And it holds up. Because sometimes what happens is you’ll have a piece of content or a format that works the first time. But it won’t work 5,10,15,20 times. So, it’s really just making sure that you’re extensive with testing and making sure that your hypothesis holds true at scale.
[JOE]: Are there rules of thumb in regards to, you know, for every hundred followers that are quality followers, it’s probably going to cost x number of dollars in kind of data collection or x number of dollars in testing?
[BRENDAN]: It’s across the board. Like especially when you’re talking about followers, the class per follower, first off, is heavily dictated by the quality of the content that you have. You know, because the higher the quality of the content, the lower the cost to acquire that follower or that customer. And then secondarily, it’s like, who are you targeting? Like what is the targeting parameters? How competitive are those targeting parameters in the auction, which dictates the cost as well?
So, there are so many different variables. And again, it’s so critically important in the beginning phase to really understand what your return on investment looks like and what the core metrics of your business are. Because that will dictate what you’re willing to spend. Because like for one business, they could spend $150 for a lead and still be profitable versus another business that can only capture a lead for two or three dollars to be profitable. So, that’s where, I don’t think that there’s necessarily a rule of thumb across the board, but it’s more catered and tailored to what the core business objectives and the core metrics of a profitable business are for you,
[JOE]: I’m really glad that you bring up that kind of cost per lead idea. And it’s something that I think a lot of private practice owners don’t even just know that number. And so, you know what Brendan’s talking about., imagine you’re charging $100 per session and maybe you see couples, you’re Gottman level two therapist, and so, you know that they’re going to come in for their intake and then you’re going to do the 90-minute session and then you’re going to do individual sessions and you know, they come for a couple months.
So, if you know charging 100 bucks per session that the average couple sees you 12 times before they say, “Wow, you really helped us. Thanks, we’re out.” That means that that couple, if it’s 100 bucks a session and they come 12 times, that’s $1,200. So, if you drop, say you know $400 in marketing and you get three leads and one of them converts, a lot of people would say, “Well, three leads for that much money, I don’t know about that.” But you know that you’re going to make $1,200 off of each couple that comes in.
And so, when we’re talking these numbers, it’s really important for you to just kind of know a couple of quick variables. What’s your hourly rate? What’s the average amount of sessions somebody comes for? And then how many people do they tend to refer? For every 10 couples you see, do they refer one couple? So, then you can run those numbers to say, “Wow, I actually can have a larger marketing budget than I actually thought that I could because we charge so much per hour and people come for so many sessions. So, —
[BRENDAN]: 100% spot on. And what I would say too is, and I try and instill this in every client I work with, even at the highest levels, is people get so caught up into their marketing budget. I’m not saying, “Oh, I’m only going to spend, well, let’s just say it’s $1,000 a month and I’m not going to go over that.” Versus the mindset that works really well and the reason social and digital is so successful and why billion-dollar companies are formed in years instead of decades, is they know the metrics of the business and once they narrow in on something that works. It’s no longer about how much money are we spending. It becomes how much money can we spend and how much money can we spend until that formula breaks? Because if I tell you, “Give me a dollar and every time you give me a dollar, I’m going to give you $2 in return,” you’re going to tell me, “Well how many dollars can I give you?”
[JOE]: Right.
[BRENDAN]: And that’s the mindset that you really need to be in for social and for digital or for any type of marketing. And you know, once you, like you said, it’s just, like literally, it could take, you know, one of your listeners 10, 15 minutes to then identify the core metrics and their business. And once they have that, then it’s just, “Okay, how can I find leads for the cost that makes sense that can really fuel that overall growth?” And then once you do, it’s like, “Well, how much money can I spend into that?”
[JOE]: Yeah. And I feel like I see that even with podcast sponsors, you know, some of them are like, “Hey, how many episodes can we buy this year because the ROI is so good for us? I almost have to say, “Well, I don’t want it to be just the podcasts for you,” versus other ones that say, “We can only afford to do three episodes.” And it’s like, “Well, if it’s working and you want to grow your business and you haven’t got to what your max is, why wouldn’t you just keep spending it if it’s working?”
But I think that there are certain points when it stops working or stops working as effectively. And so, I’m glad you bring that up. So, if I think about people that are, so lots of our audience are starting a practice or growing and kind of scaling and we’ve hit on a bunch of strategies there. I’d like to shift gears a little bit to people maybe similar to myself that are doing consulting or they have big ideas like a podcast or an e-course. You kind of mentioned that there are some people that maybe shouldn’t focus as much on followers. And so, for someone like myself, you know, I have a podcast and I’m doing consulting with people that are starting and growing and scaling a practice, have a membership community. How worth it is it for me to focus on getting more followers versus other techniques?
[BRENDAN]: Yeah. Again, it goes back to what are the overall objectives of the business? So, for example, like for myself, me generating a million followers in 30 days, I wasn’t trying to drive sales or customers. I leveraged that case study and that number to get a literary agent, to get a publishing deal, to speak around the world. So, me the ROI was not a direct, “Hey I’m going to get x number of people to sign up for a course or x number of people to sign up as a consultant.” It was more around the number being a validation and credibility factor to build my brand around.
So, again, for your situation, it’s just really what is the primary objective and goal? Like we were just talking about, if it’s like lead generation, like generating followers is kind of like a step removed versus just going and creating campaigns that are specifically for lead generation. But like for other people, the follower numbers can play off in the long run for building a stronger and long-lasting brand. It’s not to say that building followers won’t translate into sales. It can, but if you’re just focused on, “I need to generate sales now,” I would suggest generating followers as kind of phase two of your process. And phase one, it’s just all about lead generation and knowing those metrics and feeling that growth.
[JOE]: So, focusing on things that maybe have a higher value than just your social media content, things like webinars, email opt-ins, blog posts, videos, things like that?
[BRENDAN]: Yeah. AdWords, Yelp. All of those different things. Because the thing you got to take into consideration in building a following, it’s hard work and it takes financial investment to do that and time investment. So, you need to create a sustainable model for yourself. And that’s where it’s like if you can focus on the revenue first and you have that revenue going, and you have that sustainable profit coming in, then it makes it a lot easier to invest both time and financial into growing following.
And so, that you’re not getting into growing a following two or three months down the road and you’re like, “I’m spending this money and time doing it, but it’s not translating into sales and I’m losing all this money,” versus, “I have all this money coming in so I can reinvest in the overall building of the brand.”
[JOE]: So, much good information. I can’t wait to read your book and learn more about kind of your process. Tell us a little bit more about the book and what you cover in it.
[BRENDAN]: Yeah. So, the book, I would say about 30 or 40% of the book is the system, the exact system that I used to generate a million followers and worked with Katie Couric on and breaking down exactly. How did you, each of those testing elements and variations? But then also I went off and interviewed the top partners and friends of mine that have had tremendous growth on social and digital as they’re breaking down their strategies across different platforms because I’m of the mindset that not every strategy is right for each individual and you really need to find the right strategy that fits your specific goals and objectives. And that’s really where I wanted to provide a well-rounded approach and different strategies and ideas on how you can achieve the level of success that you’re looking for on social and digital platforms.
[JOE]: Wow, I’m really excited to read it. We’ll have links to that in the show notes. Brendan, if every practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[BRENDAN]: I think that really the most important thing that we’ve covered is understanding the core metrics of your business and really understanding why you want to leverage social and digital. What is that return on investment that you’re hoping to get out of it? Because I really want to get people into the mindset of not how much are we spending, but how much can we spend? Because that’s really where success happens and real growth happens; is if you can really distill down those core metrics, understand what each cost, what that profitability looks like from advertising, and really narrow in on that. And once you have that and have that engine running, then really, you’re going to be years ahead of any of your competitors. And that’s where real growth and success is going to come from.
[JOE]: Oh, so, awesome. Brendan, if people want to connect with your work and your book, what’s the best way for them to connect with you and your book?
[BRENDAN]: Yeah, so, the book is in all the stores and retail stores and Amazon. It’s called 1 Million Followers. How I built up a massive social audience in 30 days. So, they can pick up the book, they can email me directly, And they can direct message me on Instagram as well @brendankane. So, those are the primary ways to connect.
[JOE]: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[BRENDAN]: Well thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
[JOE]: I think my biggest takeaway from this interview is just that idea of segmenting and interview and planning an interview specifically on the audiences that you want to attract online and knowing what they want and then being able to break things up in that way. It takes a lot more effort and a lot more thought, but it sounds like just what Brendan was able to do, whether it was with Katie Couric or other people, is really be able to focus in on what audiences are looking for a lot quicker. So, go take some action today. If you are going to jump into social media, take some of those tips and really focus on what Brendan taught us.
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Thanks for letting us into your ears and into your brain. Have an awesome week. We’ll talk to you soon.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy. We love your intro music and this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It’s given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

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