+61401395441 leigh@optomly.com.au

Optometry Social Media Marketing

Dan Wilkinson is the Social Media Lead at Sapient Nitro Australia, the agency behind the recent #ChocPlusWhat campaign including the launch of Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate with Vegemite, which went viral twice.

Dan says that he’s been paid for almost all business ideas that he’s ever wanted to do, including a music industry career, social media, photography, events and a host of others. Dan is the founder of Hot & Delicious Group and hosts a weekly podcast called ‘Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet’ with inspiring individuals & entrepreneurs about what makes them tick. Dan is also my cousin.

Dan and I spoke about: what inspires him, how he moved from cabin crew of Emirates Airlines to an Ice Rink on Bondi Beach, to Professional Social Media… and what small businesses need to do to succeed with social media.

Pour a cup of coffee and dive into Dan’s insights. (Approx. 20 min read)


LP: G’day Dan, thanks for joining me today

DW: No worries, mate

LP: Who most inspired you to create Hot & Delicious Group?

DW: Hot & Delicious is a vehicle for me to do the things that I love. It’s great to be able to setup something that you love and be able to promote what you do and enjoy what you do.

LP: I’m aware that your goals in business are Passion, Creativity & Community. Were these things that you’ve naturally done in the past anyway?

DW: I guess that Passion, Creativity & Community were values that I have as a person, but I also wanted to see reflected in my business.


LP: Would you say that your brand is different from your person?

DW: It’s an interesting question. I wouldn’t say that it’s different to be honest. The thing about having your own brand and business is staying true to yourself. At the end of the day, people will judge you by how you operate your business and the perception of your brand through various media, whether through the press or your own digital channels.


LP: That sounds like a transparent way to promote who you are…

DW: That’s it. That’s exactly what it should be. You know. One of the things that I get working on with a lot of brands, is that I try to advise them, whether we’ve just started or whether I’ve been working with them for a period of time, is utilizing that transparency. People these days, and I use this quote all the time, the CEO of Vice has this quote, and he says that ‘people that are 25 years and younger have been marketed to through the internet since they were born’, so they have a really good gauge as to what’s real and what’s not. If you’re not being transparent, then they’ll see right through it. It’s something that really struck a chord with me.

As a brand, you’re not going to be everything to everyone. So you just have to be what you can be, and try and portray it in the right way. If you’re smart about how you market your business, the people that will want to buy your product or live your lifestyle will naturally be attracted to that.


LP: Yeah, and if they like you and follow you as a person, they’re more likely to keep up with what you’re doing and be engaged with that?

DW: Sure. An example of that is, I’ve got a few thousand followers on Twitter. I actually unfollowed a lot of people, who were retweeting other people’s articles and calling themselves social media gurus. I want to open up my twitter account and see stuff that interests me. I try and put out (i.e. create) stuff that interests me. I haven’t always succeeded. But if I’m happy with the content, then the people that I want to talk to will be happy with it too. If as a business or brand that you create 2000 superfans that relate, as Wil Anderson gives the example, and they spend $100 in one year, then that’s a heck of a lot of change.

LP: And the other website traffic that doesn’t buy from you…

DW: There are always more opportunities. If you stay true to your brand, they will come around too. And they’ll tell their friends as well. That’s the premise of social media:  being social and connecting with people.


LP: For your Podcast: Hot & Delicious- Rocks the Planet, what are some of the most exciting interviews that you’ve come away from?

DW: I think the most exciting thing happens every week. Ever since I’ve been young, I’ve always enjoyed getting to understand real people. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, we’re all just human. We’re all just flesh and blood. Obviously there’s well known people on the podcast. I need to make sure that I can attract people that haven’t heard of me and my business before. And also tap into the audience of the people that I interview.

One of the things that I get out of every single week is that the fact that I’m sitting in front of someone that I either know, or haven’t met before but am interested in, we talk about ourselves, and the podcast works on a few different levels. I learn about them, which then teaches me something about myself. If you listen to the podcast, you’ll see that the questions that I ask aren’t generic interview questions… they’re more like a conversation. And I get these people who are so used to being asked generic questions to actually think about stuff that they probably haven’t thought about for a long time. One of those questions was “Describe your first ever memory”. What was your first memory, Leigh?

LP: Mmm. I was actually listening to your interview with Louna Maroon (Youtube Celebrity) and this question. I think I remember playing with some kids toys in our house, when we were living in Vermont, and I remember how cold it was. From a photo, and Louna alluded to how photos spark memories, and I remember having a tea on this kids sized table with my Grandma.

DW: Our Grandma or a different one?

LP: My mum’s Mum.

DW: Yeah, right.

LP: How about your first memory?

DW: Mine was growing up in Perth. I remember playing in the front yard of my parent’s house. This was before I was at school. And I could hear playing at the school in the playground. They all sounded really, really happy. Mum was there and she was pruning a tree, and I was playing with some Tonka Trucks. In my head I remember thinking, ‘gee, I wish I could be at school’. I guess the moral of that story is, be careful what you wish for, because I hated school.

I guess I like connecting with people and being in the moment. Being very ambitious. I’m always looking forward. One of the things that I’ve taught myself through meditation is actually being in the moment. The fun part is being in the moment, and learning about people who are really interesting. Chatting to people is fun, with people who are quite ambitious like yourself, and working hard to do what they love. The third thing is impact. The podcast is for me and also for people who listen. I have this theory that if you make a positive impact on someone else’s life, then that almost validates your own. There’s not enough positivity being put out there in the world. That’s something that I strive for. When I hear back from one of my friends on Facebook, or even better, someone that I don’t know via Twitter, saying ‘Thanks so much’…I got a message from a Comedian in WA saying that ‘one of the guests on your podcast inspired me to keep doing what I’m doing’. I get those pretty much every week, which is cool.

LP: I guess it’s the genuine human-to-human interaction that brings those genuine moments out…

DW: That’s it. We talk about transparency, openness and honesty. And I’m transparent on the podcast. I’ve really only had the occasion once or twice to edit the podcast. That’s just because of someone else, or having to be careful because of business. At the end of the day, Hot & Delicious is very separate from what I do on a day-to-day basis with social media and the Agency I work for. I have another job outside of what I do.


LP: That sounds like a cool mix. So, starting with your passion for music and bands, how did that grow to working on Social Media?

DW: Haha, That’s not a short question, Leigh. I came back to Australia from the Middle East in 2006 where I was living in United Arab Emirates, working for Emirates as a flight attendant. And I came back planning to be a rock star and living in the USA. Funnily enough, that didn’t pan out quite as well as I imagined.

When I first came back, I was doing what they call promo work, so I was looking after teams or being a staff member of teams that hand out samples at music festivals, sporting events, or even train stations. It was quite soul destroying at times, but at the same time, I worked with a number of different brands over the space of three years or so. Everything from telephone companies to airlines to fast moving consumer goods to banks. All sorts of different brands. You get a really good understanding of where brands go to influence the purchase habits of their consumers, and where their consumers are making their purchase decisions.

So, it wasn’t really necessarily a music to social media thing. It was my experience working with all these different brands over 3-4 years, and then if you look back to my life as an Emirates Airline flight attendant, you know, I’ve worked with and managed people from over a hundred countries and a range of different nationalities. I’ve always, as you know, travelled a lot and have lived in different places. One of the things that I’m good at, and I don’t mean this in an arrogant way, it’s just part of who I am, is being able to have a conversation with someone, and being able to speak with them on their level, so that we can both get something out of a conversation.

So, on a brand side of things and the people side of things combined to help my evolution into the social space. Now the journey into the social space, and we can go into greater detail another time, basically I got sick of working in promo world, and I didn’t feel that it was helping me get closer to what I wanted to do.

So I started working in the music industry, running music festivals and events around Australia. I ended up running an event on Bondi Beach and basically we put a 900m2 ice rink on the sands of Bondi Beach. It was, at one time, one of the most exciting things that I’ve done in my life. It was just insane. It was a heck of a lot of work. I left the event feeling exhausted. I really wanted to ice-skate, because I hadn’t ice-skated before. I didn’t want to do it while I was running the event, because I was worried about falling over and hurting myself.

Anyway, the event came down to Melbourne (and I flew back to Melbourne, as I was living in Bondi while the event was going on for six or seven weeks). I knew that I could get free skating and cheap drinks and teach myself how to ice-skate.

So over the course of three or four days I learned how to ice-skate. On the third day I was there, and one of my friends came down, with a gentleman, who she had been doing some social media, and he was a Middle Eastern/German dude, so he and I bonded over chatting about the Middle East and travelling around the world. It just so happened that his business had the contracts for Nike and Jim Beam in Germany for social media. We hit it off. I was about to go away for a few months to do some events in Queensland. He said when you get back, hit me up, and lets do something together. And ended up working in social media. And that’s actually the short version.

I cut out the part where I was working with a series of media events. I actually looked up Russell Crowe’s Twitter account because we were looking for ambassadors for Australian Music, to be ambassadors for the events that I was involved with overseas. And how I got the job at the Bondi Winter Festival & the ice rink was through Russell Crowe’s Twitter account, but that’s a whole other story.


LP: Thinking about social media, when you’re working with some of these big brands like Peroni, Cadbury Dairy Milk and others. How do you help them identify their goals on social media?

DW: It actually doesn’t matter what brand you’re working with, whether it be your own brand, whether it be a small business, or whether it be a medium to large business, at the end of the day, social media strategy is always tied to business and brand objectives. You need to be thinking about, “What am I trying to achieve out of my business?”

Forget about social media. It’s not stand-alone. It has to help you meet business and brand objectives. Create content that helps you achieve those. Double check whether you think you’ve got the money to be on Facebook. Because Facebook is essentially a paid media channel these days. If you want to create media for Facebook, then you need to ensure that you’ve got budget to put behind it, so that content can be seen. Organic reach is dying and Facebook are very upfront about that. Be mindful about what channels you’re going on.

Think about what channels that you’re consumers are on, and that you’re creating content that suits those channels. So many brands are used to talking at people through flyers, through TV, through billboards. Particularly with the use of social media, you need to be creating content that a consumer can build upon. Or how do you bring the consumer into the story? It’s not all about talking at them. If you can create content that makes you feel like you’re a part of their lifestyle, and give them a voice, then it helps bring you into their lifestyle.


LP: With organic reach going down, how do brands work out which content most resonates with their consumers, within their budget?

DW: Research. Look up what other brands are doing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same thing as you. It could be smaller brands. It could be people that are not even competing in your space. Start with your competitors, but then check out other brands that you like. Be thinking about what are things that your consumers are going to want to see. Then use the 70-20-10 Rule, which is say that you have five pieces of content that you’re putting out per month, make that 70% of content that you know is going to work with your consumers, 20% that you think will work with your consumers, and then 10 % is try new stuff that you think is pretty cool and that may resonate with your consumers. So research, and then a bit of test and learn.


LP: And then based on your goals, you can compare reach and impressions from that…

DW: Yeah, and reach has kind of been the key one up until now. People talk about Engagement. If we’re talking fast-moving consumer goods, I guess the Holy Grail for that is being able to demonstrate a measurable uplift in offline sales through social media. At the end of the day, reach is just reach. Ideally we’d love to be able to drive sales. Reach is definitely something that you can judge it by. For measuring Engagement, you need to have consistent spend across your content to compare it properly. If you have ten dollars on one post and a hundred dollars on another post, the engagement levels are actually attached to that reach. By having different dollar values, you are going to be reaching a different audience. Now Facebook is actually trialling a relatively new tool where you can buy products directly off Facebook. Not driving you through to an ecommerce site, but directly through Facebook. And then Instagram, with the launch of Instagram Advertising, they’ve attached the back end of Instagram advertising to the back of Facebook Advertising. So that their targeting is a whole lot better as well. Previously, you couldn’t drive Instagram traffic easily to a website, but they’ve got “Shop Now” buttons that are being introduced that facilitate that kind of thing.

I’d start with measuring reach and engagement and see what’s resonating. Then get smart about that thinking. And think well how can I create content in a way that doesn’t feel like I’m advertising, that doesn’t feel like I’m pushing my products on people, but so that people who do want to learn more about my product and buy my product, how can I use the channels to do that? Is creating content that drives traffic to your website something that you think you can do? Then that can be a measure of success and provide a return on investment for what you’re doing.

Social media is just one channel. At the moment, I’m working with a client, and they’re like “come up with a social media campaign”. And I’m like, ‘that’s cool, but what else is going on’. Are there other promotions that you’ve got going on in the real world? Because we can help drive traffic to those. If my best way is to make a sale via telephone, then what am I doing to increase the likelihood that people will call?
I’ll be honest, I don’t necessarily think that social media is for everyone. You need to look at where your brand is going to be most likely to convert sales. Think long and hard before setting up social media channels. Each social media channel that you set up is you burning time when you could be spending it elsewhere. So it’s really thinking long and hard about what the right channels are for you and how you reach people.

LP: It’s important to know who you want to target and where they spend most of their time. So that you’re not burning time unnecessarily.

DW: Yeah. You can’t just get a Facebook Page and you’re done. You’ve got to monitor those channels. Because if people see that you’re on social media, then they want to come and ask you questions on those channels. If you don’t have the time for community management and creating fresh content, then is this the right space for you?


LP: Some of the free tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are useful. There are other tools like Simply Measured and Hubspot for tracking or measuring ROI. What sort of software do you recommend to your small business friends?

DW: I’ve used Social Bakers, I’ve used Simply Measured, I’ve used Hootsuite, and a few others as well. There’s also Salesforce tools which do a lot of social listening as well. All these tools are super expensive. Even big brands have to weigh up the value of how much they cost. Facebook Insights has pretty good tools, as long as you can get an understanding for how to use it.

If you were starting out in social media, I would actually advise someone (to help you) who knows what they’re doing to set up a structure for you. You can identify things like… this is the amount of content you are going to create per month… this is how much you are going to put towards Facebook Advertising (if Facebook is going to be the channel that you go on, for example), and then train one of your staff members, who is a junior in your business, but train them how to generate reports on a monthly basis. And the things to look for. Because monthly reporting is about data. You can see how the content performs through the data, whether it be through video views or clicks through to your website or how many people it reached. You are going to judge it differently depending on what you are trying to achieve from that piece of content.

And if you have someone, like myself, who knows what they’re doing, then they can actually create a framework for you, a monthly reporting framework and help to train your staff or the social media staff that you employ, how to read at consumer behaviour online to generate valuable insights. Cos the second part of monthly reporting is understanding the changes in social media platform algorithms. Facebook for example, are really pushing for video, because they’re trying to take advertising dollars away from the likes of YouTube, and they see the value in that.

So understanding what type of content is most likely to be prioritized by the platform for your consumer’s smartphone is important. If you’re thinking about Facebook, there’s something like 1,500 pieces of content that they’re trying to put into your Newsfeed every time you open your phone and open up Facebook. So they prioritize certain types of content, particularly paid stuff as well.

The third part of that is, I know what the data is telling me, I have an understanding of what’s working on platforms, what’s the consumer behaviour telling me. An example of that is, one thing that has become prevalent over the last couple of years is people @-tagging their friends in comments. I’ll @-tag you in a comment. (For example, my comment may be simply @JohnSmith). That drives reach as well. Because all of a sudden your friends are seeing that particular piece of content.

For a small business initially, I think if you’re advertising through Instagram or Facebook, there’s background analytics that can help you achieve that. And same with Twitter Analytics as well. Most small businesses aren’t going to be able to afford the larger tools.


LP: That makes sense. Because early days, it’s good that small businesses can understand the native tools as well.

DW: As much as I hate data, it’s a big part of my job and it helps guide the key decisions. And it’s important to be able to understand it. If you don’t understand how to do things manually, when these tools that you pay for aren’t working, then you’re not going to be able to recognise where to look for errors… Because Facebook and Instagram are fantastic, but even they have bugs in their system as well, so you need to be able to spot when there’s a bug in the system.


LP: If you were just thinking of starting on social media, who would be three people that you would follow to help you get a start?

DW: Uhh, me. Haha.

LP: Haha, yeah

DW: If I’m restricted to just three, I’d find a couple of businesses or individuals that are doing well in your industry. Maybe an individual who’s turned themselves into a public speaker, or the face of your industry; a business who is doing good things in the industry, and is driving business through social media. And also cool brands who are doing interesting stuff. I’d find someone, if you are just starting out in social media, someone who is a social media professional, not just who calls themself a social media expert.


LP: So where can people find out about you and what you do, and contact you?

DW: Through Facebook, through Twitter, through Instagram. It’s all @hotndelicious

Twitter @hotndelicious

Instagram @hotndelicious


Hot & Delicious YouTube


For one-on-one stuff, I like Twitter because we can chat. I like Twitter and Instagram for myself and my business. Twitter provides that one on one connection. Instagram is obviously the photographer in me that seeks to be inspired on a daily basis through great content.

Twitter’s probably a good way to reach out for a start. I try and not be bombarded with emails as a first point of call, because if people are wanting to work with me, it’s all about making sure it’s the right fit for my business, but also is it the right fit for the person that I’m working with. It comes down to budget and experience, am I the right person for their business and vice-versa.


LP: Making sure that you’re the right fit.

DW: Yeah, definitely. You need to be able to connect. And there are tough conversations at times.

LP: That’s where the rubber hits the road, and you get the meaningful interactions too. Thanks so much for your time, Dan.

 DW: No worries, mate. All good.


About Hot & Delicious Podcast

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet is a weekly podcast interviewing inspiring individuals and successful entrepreneurs from around the planet across a range of industries (incl. music, film/tv, fashion, travel, social media, comedy and more) about what makes them tick as people and drives their hunger for success.

Their most recent interviews include Australian stand-up comedian & TV presenter, Wil Anderson, Dave Anthony (writer on ‘Maron’ and comedian), Nazeem Hussain (comedian), Daniel Flynn (Thank You Group founder), The GriswoldsMatt Okine (Triple J), Elliot Costello (YGAP founder)Tom Ballard (comedian, ex Triple J)the team from Smiling Mind app,  Johann Ponniah (I OH YOU!) and many many more.

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