It was really almost like having a cup of coffee with a friend. In fact, I was having a cup of coffee with a friend – and tens of thousands of people listening on 44 stations around the US. Our coffee klatch was in fact very, very public – and nothing off the record!

Live from somewhere a little north of Atlanta!

Live from somewhere a little north of Atlanta!

It was my second time on the Commercial Real Estate Show and I was in a brand new studio with HD cameras trained on me. Apparently they put video clips online too. Hope I don’t look funny in the pancake makeup….

Michael Bull, who has been a friend for over 25 years, is really good at this whole radio host gig. He’s also clearly passionate about it and has a good time doing every show. He has a full time show producer (thanks James!), a big time studio and a nationally syndicated show playing every week.

Despite knowing me like he does, Michael invited me in recently to talk about all things social and media on a show called “Social Media for Your Business.” It was an honor to be on his show with content marketing rock stars Barbi Reuter who is Principal/Chief Operating Officer at Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR and Sarah Malcolm who is Director of Digital Strategy at ICSC. All of us had a robust conversation and I certainly see that there are different ways to approach the whole social media thing.

What I Learned from Michael

Michael, who has a shop in Atlanta called Bull Realty has taken content marketing to a jaw dropping new level. He spent years building up the show, which is now at a level where tens of thousands of people hear from him every week. Make no mistake about it; he is a trusted source of information.

Michael and I discussed his marketing philosophy briefly on the set before recording began. He does no promotion for himself or his own shop on the show (though they are an advertiser just like many others). He simply gives away very valuable ideas and corrals now very willing participants to join his show. It’s a virtuous circle of information, guest and listeners orchestrated by the maestro himself, Michael.

All this requires a big commitment from Mr. Bull. Dollars: check. Time: check. Passion, of course. You have to be very committed to a project like this. One also has to be smart about leveraging his time. Michael still runs a prospering brokerage firm in Atlanta, does deals and raises a family. It clearly makes for a busy week every week.

ROI?

People ask me all the time about ROI on the “social media thing.” “Do you get anything out of it?” they will ask with curiosity boarding on a slow drive past a traffic accident.

I do indeed. As Michael himself pointed out, my Tweeting habits got me an invitation to be on his national radio show. Not bad for a free marketing medium.

However, Michael is the far bigger winner and deservedly so. He bet big and now walks every week into his bully pulpit as a nationally recognized and respected radio host. Here’s the funny thing – and what I think is Michael’s huge ROI: by not promoting himself directly, he has become recognized as a true CRE expert. If I were in the market for someone in his area of service, his competitors wouldn’t stand a chance. Bull Realty has a leader who is disciplined, smart, and industry leading. I know this because of his show.

Laszlo Bock who sit’s atop Googles human resources machine says in his NYTimes bestseller Work Rules that we should “default to open” and be transparent and giving in our work life.

Michael, by defaulting to open, you are clearly winning not only in social media, but also in life. I Googled it and Laszlo agreed.

Well done, my friend.