Jonathan Christian on a 21st Century Networking Strategy

In this 15-Minute Strategy Podcast episode, we talk with Jonathan Christian from wemakestuffhappen.com about his amazing 21st-century digital networking strategy for personal and business growth.

He shares how he picks who to listen and engage with as well as some tools and success stories born out of being human.

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About the Expert

Jonathan Christian

Jonathan Christian is the founder of We Make Stuff Happen, an innovative Digital Marketing and Training Agency that helps businesses and non-profits around the world tell their story online and on the ground so that they can maximize the social marketplace.

Known by his team as the “Chief Imagination Officer,” Jonathan started his marketing agency in the fall of 2004. He works with small businesses, helping them leverage their story strategically across multiple channels. He shows his clients how to successfully maneuver the ever-changing landscape of Social Media to grow their business.

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Full Transcript

Dan Moyle 0:08
Ready to spend 15 minutes with the experts you admire need strategy sessions from thought leaders brought directly to your ears. Welcome to the sprocket talk 15 minute strategy podcast where every week George B Thomas uncovers the challenges that sales, marketing and service professionals face and of course, the strategies to help them overcome their biggest hurdles. So sit back and set your sights on growth with these bite sized conversations filled with your strategy goals. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 15 minute strategy podcast

George Thomas 0:37
so sprockets ears, I got to be honest with you on this episode of the podcast, we're digging into something that is going to be very interesting. I think it's something that people sort of think about, maybe think about, don't think about, when it comes to this thing that we do. That is sales, that is marketing, that is business. But before we get diving into this episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast, let's go ahead and introduce our Our guest he has the best smile ever. If you're listening this you can't hear his smile but if you watch the video version you'll be able to see it. Jonathan Christian, why don't you explain to people who you are and what you do in everyday life, George B. Thomas,

Jonathan Christian 1:13
thank you. So I'm a I'm a nice man which is an island of the UK called the Isle of Man. That's where my heritage is. I live in Canada but I live in British Columbia so I think it's the best of both. I founded a company called in 2008 called we make stuff happen. My philosophy in life is if you if your stuff has value and integrity you get the people can't write and the people bought is twofold. The people who work for you and the people who buy from you then that's my that's my wrong that's how I how I make people make stuff happen.

George Thomas 1:47
I love the name of the company. And you know, it's funny as I'm listening I should one day maybe start a company called get stuff done because that's been like my hashtag on podcast and everything stuff. So hashtag GST, but it's money. Because even in your description of what you do, Jonathan, I find it funny. Now that I, my ears are tuned into this because of us talking pre this podcast that you mentioned the word people two or three times people, two people, two people. And so let's talk about this strategy. And we can call it a social strategy. We can call it a business strategy. I actually think the more I sit here and think about it, it's a human strategy. So, Jonathan, one thing I found over the years of knowing you, you're really good at knowing people, and those people feeling like we really know you. So talk to me about this relationship building in the 21st century that you have, like this complete strategy built around. It kind of

Jonathan Christian 2:47
kind of started by default, George because I was in a car accident, badly damaged, my neck hurt my neck, rebuilt out of titanium and had a long convalescence. And during my convalescence, couldn't drive couldn't leave my house. This is true. thousand nine. And I had my white mac book, and I had my Blackberry. And that that's the only tools I had in my arsenal. It's like holy moly, you know, I can't network anymore, right? Yes, you can. This this thing called Facebook and Twitter. And I kind of given it lip service at that point. I didn't know if it was really going to be the thing. But I went all in partially because I had no other option. And second of all, I love people and I love stories. And that's what Facebook was really about with learning about what people were up to. So I went all in. And over that 10 year period, what I mastered is getting to know people way more than normal, without having to physically go visit America, or a global community. I mean, I'm not going to be in Bali tomorrow in San Diego The next day, and I'll ask you the following day, but I can on social media. So I'm very strategic around the people I want to be associated with and they're typically people like yourself, Marcus Sheridan, Mark Schaefer, Mari Smith Michael stelzner all of these great people who all in around that, oh 809 window, had to reinvent themselves, for one reason or another. And what I've tried to do is not just Band Aid these people, but peer to peer, I deliberately bookmark if you like these individual people. So I might deliberately sort of set my Instagram so that I follow certain people, every time they post, I get a notification, and I'm one of the first people to like it and comment on it. When they write a blog, I've got my RSS feed set up. When they do a video I have my little bell on YouTube that tells me so these mmm just uploaded a new video. So I'm listening to it currently. And then I'm not just gushing to run back. But if I listen to it, and I have a comment, I will write it. Then it takes me over to the Facebook friend page if you like rather than a business to business piece. We're all people. People don't hire us. You know just because of what they know they hire us because of our personality, the highest because of our life experience, it goes with what we know that can take them to a better place. So I deliberately spend quite a bit of time according to Apple seven hours, 11 minutes a day, apparently, on my cell phone, in a good posture. But a lot of that time is networking. And it has worked out so well. I have friends all over the world, I could couch for a year. But at the same time, it's positioned me on a peer to peer basis that I would not have been able to do without social media.

George Thomas 5:31
Yeah, Jonathan, I want to dig into this because what I want the audience to realize there's a couple of things that happened in there. First of all, you use the word fan. And what I want everybody to realize is there's a dramatic difference between what you do and what fans do for influencers. Well, kind of talk about like, why you have this different mentality. So like a fan, right? They have a goal and end goal. It's to me Greet, gosh, whatever it is, and we'd love it. We love it, trust me. But what is your goal? Like, why are you treating this relationship differently? Like, what's the outcome that you're looking for with this?

Jonathan Christian 6:15
Well, for me, it's to build up other people. This sort of self edification that so many people are into these days. And there's the the SEO girls on Instagram, that's not my thing at all. I mean, it's for some people, but I'm about real on my butt authentic. So, for instance, you and I met Social Media Marketing World this year in the lobby. And then you told me your MC. I had no idea. I don't think the world knew that. Typically, Michael didn't everybody else knew but I was so beyond happy for you. And then I took pictures. I took short videos. I shared it and said, there's demand George B. Thomas MC social media Walker, and I promoted you I tagged you and shared it. I did that for no other The reason that I was so happy and proud for you we'd met five years before in DC and we've gotten to know each other as friends. I've seen your family, I know where you live, I know what the weather looks like, you know, outside your front door, because I care about you, and I want you to be successful. Am I doing it for any other motive than that? No. But do you lift me higher because I'm in closer relationship? And I see the way you think. And I see the way you're going with all of the work that you've done with HubSpot and how you've grown. That makes me grow too. And that's why I do it.

George Thomas 7:31
Yeah. See, I want everybody that's listening, because you might be listening this and you're like, well, what's the strategy? And the strategy is that there isn't an ulterior motive, that there is just this love of people, this love of learning this love of relationships. And here's the thing. I keep asking Jonathan to dig a little deeper because I want to find an ulterior motive. But as you heard on that last question, there isn't one Here's the thing, because he's done this, there's a special bond. And I can only speak for me because while we're on this podcast, but I can tell you that there are other influencers that feel the same way. And so when Jonathan does finally need something, or when we find somebody that needs something that we know Jonathan can help with, well, what are we going to do? We're going to send that person to somebody who has been learning from us who has been promoting, who has been building a relationship versus fanboying or fangirling. Jonathan, let's get into the tacticals. Because first of all, you've chosen a big, a big chunk to bite off because most influencers are on multiple channels. So when it comes to being able to pay attention to all of the people, I'm curious, first of all, do you limit yourself to a certain number of people that you're willing to pay? Attention to at one given time. Are there additional tools that help you build this? You know, 21st Digital relationship, maybe start there, like, how do you? How do you quantify and scale and all that good stuff, these authentic human relationships as a business and personal growth strategy.

Jonathan Christian 9:21
First off, I want to resonate with people who have similar values to me. I mean, some people can be wicked smart marketers, but they're not nice people. And that doesn't work for me. I mean, I'm a very much a faith based family values kind of guy. If there's a resonance, that's where I first start off, and then they're taking people to places that I don't quite understand, I want to understand so I'm all in so one of the tools I use on Facebook is instead of just the Follow button, I use a C first button, and I can only have 30 people. So either a business page or person and I deliberately choose my 30 people so that whenever I go to Facebook, the first few posts up From the people that I want to see first, so I stay top of mind by commenting and sharing and liking this stuff. Same with Instagram, I deliberately click the three dots. So I notifications are turned on. So again, each one of those companies or people that post I get a notification. I mean, I choose to receive these notifications but I want to stay in touch I don't want to drop the ball. And then same with YouTube with the little bell now every time a video is uploaded, I get the bell. I get emails from latest podcasts that are coming up i i subscribe specifically to certain people's emails, and rather than going into my Gmail updates, they go into my primary. So I put a lot of thought into following these people. I follow certain hashtags on Instagram deliberately. Same on Twitter on my Hootsuite I have I have columns just for certain people or certain hashtags. And that way that they're totally on my radar without me having to go through Oh, gosh, what about George's up to in three months? You know, I don't do that I deliberately it's Invest in my time and the right kind of people that are lifting me up that helping me and my agency learn more. And at the same time, I love living Miami. I live in Vancouver, it's pouring down. It's a rain forest. It's gonna rain now till February. But I love all my friends in San Diego because it's still sunny. So I get my vitamin D and see if you like from some of somebody else's posts.

George Thomas 11:23
So there's so much in that last little part, you know, because here's the thing, we're talking to sales marketing service professionals, we're talking to business professionals. And so having you on here to talk about social strategies, you know, you might be listening to this podcast and go, Oh, I I can have up to 30 people that would show up first, or Oh, I can hit those dots on Instagram or what is this thing called Hootsuite, like you'll want to investigate these tools. But the real takeaway on this 21st Digital relationship strategy of being a true human to human Human marketer or salesperson or social media person or business person, human to human, I think comes down to this is that success comes in what feels like it's unscalable. And Jonathan Christian today has shown us how to scale digital relationships in the 21st century. And that's amazing. Jonathan, here's the thing. Do you have like, a success story of, you know, I wasn't spammy. I wasn't creepy. I wasn't a guy that I don't want to be. And because I've done done this strategy like this, one thing happened and it blew my mind.

Jonathan Christian 12:38
Totally many. I'll give me mark Schaefer, the guy I heard on your, like one of your very first episodes, I followed him for a long time when he wrote known two years ago, I consume that book. And it's like, that's who I want to be like, and so I deliberately had mark on my radio, following his stuff, reading it, especially his podcast marketing command. Love it. And then he was a Social Media Marketing World. He was doing the keynote. I did a ton of posts like I did with you, captured short video chat and tagged them promoted him the next day. My Facebook feed literally four inches and inches and inches down was Mark Schaefer, like Mark Schaefer, like my kicker counted, like 15. Back to back post that Matt Schaefer, so my stuff. Oh my goodness, I subscribed to his newsletter when he talked about having this new gathering called the uprising. Like I was in like a dirty shirt the next day I bought it and then unfortunate I wasn't able to show up because of a visa restriction on travel for me right now. Mark and I already had this depth of conversation because I knew him I was going to get to know him in Tennessee really well, didn't happen. This Monday, he and I had like an hour and 15 one on one Skype call, where he spoken to me and my business and how I can be how I can be doing things differently because I can't Currently traveled to the United States because of this crazy border visa thing. I don't believe I would have gotten that. It's such a great guy and he wants to help everybody. But he spoke like laser focused into my life and my business strategy, because I think I paid up for the night enough goodwill in that deposit account, that I can make a withdrawal, and I got it.

George Thomas 14:20
I love that. I can make a withdrawal because of good because I've deposited good into the world. That is amazing, Jonathan, and here's the thing. If you're listening to this, well, you are listening to this. So I don't know why I said if but because you're listening to this. You should know that if you went over to Mark shaffers website, the consulting prices aren't cheap and to get a micro one on one conversation. It's a big deal because most of these influencers, they're busy and they have things going. And so Jonathan, you are correct, my man you love on other people. You go into areas that feel unsafe. If you focus on being ultra human as a strategy versus what the the world or the you know, everybody says that you should do or be when it comes to digital and social media and business, and it pays off. So Jonathan, here's the thing we want to pay it forward to you too. If people want to get ahold of you if they want to talk to you about some of these tools, if they want to talk to you about how a dramatic accident that like puts you in front of two screens for a long period of time and what maybe even mind shift personally was changing during that that got you into this very human a human very always focused on the good strategy, where can they reach out to you?

Jonathan Christian 15:46
Well, thanks for that. We make stuff happen comm hashtag make stuff happen. At JD g m. Jonathan. Debbie, Gemma Elena. Maddie is my Twitter account from Oh, he still is on my Instagram as well, any of those three ways of getting in touch with me, and I do respond real quick.

George Thomas 16:06
Well, you know, he's gonna respond. We just talked about being human for the last 15 minutes. Ladies and gentlemen, remember do good, be human, and we'll see you on the next episode.

Dan Moyle 16:16
Did you enjoy this episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast, we'd love to know. leave a rating and written review wherever you listen to your favorite shows and keep that learning going by visiting sprocket talk comm sign up for your free membership and in that membership area, you can find bundled episodes where we combine like strategies to help you grow better make the world better and share this episode with your friends and co workers who may be battling this same obstacle. You can always reach out to George Thomas on Twitter with questions or guest suggestions or just to talk about your favorite Marvel superhero and go out into the world and leverage this strategy for your success. And we'll see you on the next episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast.