The Virtual CMO Podcast:
Season 2, Episode 6
Eric Dickmann - Founder/CMO of the Five Echelon Group, Twitter or his personal website.
Matt Stait - Author and Tik Tok expert can found online at modernsamurai.online, on Facebook @matt.stait.5, LinkedIn @matt-stait, and on Tik Tok: @modernsamuraima
In this episode, host Eric Dickmann interviews Matt Stait. Matt went from a scrawny kid with asthma to a world champion martial artist, best-selling author, business owner, speaker, coach, and Tik Tok specialist.
He has a following of 225,000 on TikTok with weekly views of around 1.5 million and sustained average growth of 1,000 per day. All with zero spent on advertising and no twerking! He now teaches others how to use the platform and build their own audiences.
Matt is also the author of 4 books including his latest, "Online Martial Arts. Evolution or Extinction?"
We discuss why TikTok is no longer just full of kids twerking, it is now the top downloaded app. It’s bigger than Linkedin, Snapchat, and Twitter and a powerful tool to reach your audience. With better analytics and trending topics than Twitter, it's a tool that can help you find an audience quickly.
Transcript: Season 2, Episode 6
**Please note, this transcript was generated by an artificial intelligence engine. It is intended only as a rough transcript and there may be some grammatical, spelling or transcription errors.
Welcome to season two of The Virtual CMO podcast. I'm your host, Eric Dickmann, founder of The Five Echelon Group. Our goal is to share strategies, tools, and tactics with fellow marketing professionals that you can use to impact the trajectory of your company's marketing programs. We have candid conversations about what works, and what doesn't, with marketing tactics, customer experience, design and automation tools. Our goal is to provide value each week with a roster of thoughtful and informative guests engaged in a lively conversation. So with that, let's introduce this week's guest and dive into another conversation with The Virtual CMO. Today, I'm delighted to welcome Matt Stait to the podcast from a scrawny kid with asthma to a world champion martial artists, bestselling author, business owners, speaker, coach, and TikTok specialist. Matt has developed a following of over 225,000 TikTok users with weekly views of over one and a half million and a sustained average growth of over a thousand per day. All with zero spend and no twerking. He now teaches others how to use the platform. TikTok is no longer just full of kids twerking, it is the number one downloaded app with a growth rate of 46% and an increase of 276% in in-app spending. It's bigger than LinkedIn, Snapchat and Twitter. And right now is the most powerful tool to reach your audience. And Matt will tell us why. Matt is the author of four books, including his latest., Online Martial Arts Evolution or Extinction. Please welcome Matt to the podcast. Matt welcome to The Virtual CMO podcast. So glad you could join us today.
Matt Stait: 1:57
My pleasure. Thanks for the invite.
Eric Dickmann: 1:58
So Matt, you've got a very interesting backstory. It sounds like early life was a little bit rough. Tell me how you got into martial arts.
Matt Stait: 2:08
Well, it was mainly because of that, because life was a little bit challenging. As a, as a, as a kid, there was some difficulties within the home life, and that was, amplified by a lot of bullying in school and things. So. My view at that point was if I learn martial arts, I could beat up all the bad guys. it was a, it was a very linear thought process and obviously not true in the longer term, but at that point that was my goal. That was my aim. And that was something that led me to martial arts door.
Eric Dickmann: 2:40
And at what point did you decide to make a business out of it to really try to capitalize on your interest in martial arts and turn it into a way to make money?
Matt Stait: 2:51
Well, it starts as I'm sure a lot of people who are into martial arts, the same way we'll tell you. Essentially, I became an assistant instructor in the classes that I was partaking in. I then moved into. Teaching my own classes. So I became an instructor in a bag. It was either 1994 or 1996. I'm not sure which one or the other. and then I taught sort of part time from then in other people's places. And I set up my own full time and place. About 10 years ago. I'd been, I'd been running classes and other people's clubs and decided that, I wanted to take a run at it and have one of my own space, my own place, my own rules, if you like. And, and so, yeah, so that's became my, if you like my glorified man-cave ever since.
Eric Dickmann: 3:34
And you wrote a couple books as well. I think you're up to four books now, is that correct?
Matt Stait: 3:40
I actually on my fifth by fifth book is out now. Yeah. So again, I spent a lot of years walked in insecurity as a bouncer is a dormant in nightclubs and there's a bodyguard and things. And I kept getting asked lots of questions about that. So I thought that I would, I put that down in a book and that was the first one that I, that I put eye, which was fortunately for me very well received. It's I'm in number one in its category on Amazon a couple of times. So, yeah, that then prompted others. So yeah, so the fifth one has just come out and I, that also. Hit number one in its category that was written with a partner. Cory Morgan. Who's very clever lady. Who's who's got a really good handle on, on some parts of martial arts that I don't necessarily have experience in. So between us, it's a really good piece of work.
Eric Dickmann: 4:22
So it sounds like when you started to write the books, it was a way of communicating the knowledge that you had developed about martial arts, answering people's questions. But as you've continued to write books over the years, is does it continue to be a passion project or have now you looked at books as being a way to generate leads as well for your business as a way to further your personal exposure out in the marketplace.
Matt Stait: 4:48
Well, the first book was really more a question or could I do it? That was really the driving force behind the first one I wrote. I wrote half of it and then told myself I couldn't, I was rubbish. I was useless and nobody read it anyway and stuck in a drawer for a couple of years. And then I came back to it. So. The first one really was a case of kind of write a book. A lot of us say, we've got a book in us and it's just getting that out. So once, once that was done and I actually really, really enjoyed the process and we find it really, not just cathartic as in getting those stories out into the world, but a really good exercise for my own personal learning. So that was really good. Inspired me to do more. So I've since done. Now, I've been fortunate to be asked and approach to write for several of the leading magazines in the, in the field of what I do. So, so I find the whole thing really challenging, really engaged in it's a great learning tool and it helps me to connect with a lot of really interesting people like yourself. So it's you. It's a win win on every level.
Eric Dickmann: 5:51
I think it's so interesting that you say that because I've heard that for many authors, that their first book was really almost a personal challenge to see if they had it in them to be able to sit down and crank one out. Because it's a lot of work, to go back and fill the contents of a book to get it edited, to rewrite it, to fix it, and then to see if it's actually going to sell. So I can really understand your perspective on that. You become this social media expert. What led you to social media and were there some areas that you tried and ended up not being successful or that you found an avenue. We're going to get to the whole tik tok story here, but, but what was really the genesis of you getting on social media to begin with?
Matt Stait: 6:33
Well at the start, it was a simple case of the same as everybody else. It was new. It was exciting. It was a. A brave new world. I, we were all a bit jaded now. Aren't we. when we, actually look at it, what we have is our own personal television channel that we can say whatever we want. So the world, and the idea of that. 15 years ago was absolutely incredible. now it's just become the norm and move it bald, but the truth is. It was just an exciting, incredible thing. And when you're looking at, in a business opportunities, when you're looking at, looking to grow the things that you're doing and expose what you're. what you're trying to achieve, then it's a great medium for that. So essentially it was. My understanding of social media was driven through my own businesses, whether that be the right thing, whether that be the martial art. So, again, if we, if we just track back, I mean, I left school with no real education whatsoever. I used to work on building sites as a painter and decorator for many years. And that was something that I did. I then went into bounce in working as a as a bouncer and all the rest of it. And so. Those kind of things. They don't really give you, the ability to go into business as such. And so. It was a case of right. Well, there's loads of really good skills that are usable, but I've got to find other skills. So I need to find the right people to get in front and salted, to draw knowledge from. I need to get around the right people to bind, SOF, and grow with. I need to find the people who actually are interested in what I'm doing. And social media was a way to achieve all of those goals where we couldn't, you know, before social media, that would have been such a harder task.
Eric Dickmann: 8:07
I think so many people started out on social media because, like you said, it was fun, right? You wanted to have an account there. You want it to be able to connect with friends and colleagues and see what other people are doing. And with so many freelancers out there, all of a sudden they realized that not only was this an ability to connect with people, but it was a way to connect with other people for business reasons that you could really use these platforms to communicate your message, to get people interested in the kinds of products and services that you are offering. And then all of a sudden social media takes on a whole new meeting. It becomes very calculated in how you use the tools and what you put out there. And when you put things out there, so. Where was the first channel that you really started to get traction? Was it Tik Tok, or did you start on other channels? and start to find some traction there. Before you sort of made the move to Tik Tok.
Matt Stait: 9:04
Yeah, well, like obviously like a lot of other people, you, you go to where the platforms are at the time. So I started out with Facebook and YouTube. And, that was where I sort of grew my martial arts side of things. And I went from obviously having a small following of people where I was teaching part time and other people's venues to having my own place and being booked on seminars all around the country. You know, I appear on all of the main stages in the UK. I'm recognized within my field for what I do. I've got online courses out there, all that sort of thing. So that was the first, if you like, permutation of using social media was positioning myself in that space and be recognized as such, and then repeated the process again, with regards to the writing and the books and everything like that. And then repeated the process again for coaching. And, and I repeating the process again with regards to tik tok and things. So it's a. It's a really good way to, basically just step out into the world and say, this is me. This is what I do here I am. again, How you, how you position yourself and how you perceive yourself and how you carry yourself. Is vitally important as to how the world sees you and treat you. And social media is a great, a great tool for that, because I'm sure I'm sure, you know, and I'm sure you've seen there are. There are people on social media that are basically using it in the wrong fashion. And it's quite a negative tool, especially in the current situation we're in now, lots of people are being quite sort of divisive and things like that. And, and that's, that's not really necessarily a positive way to use social media, but done well. It can just, it can just be this huge, huge, positive exposure for your ideas and your, and your energy and, and just your vibe. it's, it's a fantastic place to be when it's done well.
Eric Dickmann: 10:53
So moving on to Tik Tok we mentioned in the intro that it's more than twerking, right? It's more than just people with funny videos of them dancing and singing and, you know, pictures of their cats and dogs. You've amassed a 225,000 followers, millions of views. I mean that's pretty incredible for that kind of a platform. So. What do people not get about Tik Tok, but you think is the hidden gem of this tool that businesses need to be aware of.
Matt Stait: 11:24
Well, there were three main sort of points to it. And number one is the misconception that a lot of people still hold is that it is just kids twerking, lip-syncing. When in actual fact, that's really not the case anymore. That that is still a part of it, but there's a whole wealth of other stuff going on now. And he's actually being promoted and pushed by the platform. So as an example of that, they recently announced a 15 million pounds towards pushing expertise and educational content in Europe. The platform is actively trying to mature in the same way that Instagram and Facebook has. So that's the first part of that is it's not just kids anymore. We're really is a much older demographic now as well. The second part is that people think they have to act before. Now again, that isn't actually the case. So there is a, an element of that going on, but we don't have to do that. We can go into that. We can go into the platform from a position of expertise as an educator. Somebody that's giving value so we can do all of those things. And there are lots of examples of people doing very, very well through that, through that media myself included. And then the third part of this is, is the, there's the inevitable question. What's the ROI, you know, where's my, where's my return on investment. How can I make money? And this is the, the fundamental question that a lot of people jumped to it. I mean, that's a bit like taking a nice young lady out for a first day and expecting the goodies, you know, it's, it's, it doesn't work like that. It's an investment of time and effort. the longer game really is where this is where the value is because. If you think about YouTube, if you think about Instagram and you think about those platforms, then realistically, it's like, well, we all wish we joined that years ago when it was much easier to grow. Now it's more challenging to talk. Is there right now? It's really, it's a really easy platform to grow on. If you follow a few simple rules, you can monetize it in several different ways. it's not very good for direct selling. So it's all about your social selling is all about building communities, building awareness, building trust, and that's how it should be. Anyway. Nobody likes a bomb. She sales pitch. So if that's, if that's the way that we're coming at this, then we're probably not thinking about it as we should. It's a longer game.
Eric Dickmann: 13:30
So if you had to take the major competitors to Tik Tok. So I would say Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, those as competitors. How would you say the Tik Tok is really different?
Matt Stait: 13:43
Well, one of the first ones is interaction. Huge interaction levels at the moment, far more than any of the platforms. So lots more comment, lots more watch, lots more shares. So there's a lot more views on the videos that you put out as a general rule. So that's one of the main ones. Another one is the fact that it's still very, very low cost. It's not a pay to play platform, like say Facebook. So as an example of that, if you want to get reach on Facebook, you have to put your hand in your pocket, but the moment you put your hand in your pockets, Facebook will strangle your organic reach because they know that you'll pay for that. So these are some of the examples. Again, the. the very real fact that at the moment. With regards to tictoc kids. It hasn't got as much content as it has consumers. And so it's a, it's a really, really rich place night to put things out because they actually will push that for you. So you can get a huge amount of all use on far, far more. So, as an example of that, my highest video at the moment stands at about four and a half million. I've just had one of my people that work with me has come back and said that they, they just had a thousand viewers on one of their lives and they've reached 600,000 views on one of their videos. And they've been working with me for probably about 11 weeks now. And so when you. Yeah. Well, when you track those numbers over and you think about email list, open rates, when you think about your engagements on YouTube, things like that, the numbers are impressive.
Eric Dickmann: 15:10
Do you think the Tik Tok is primarily focused or a best focus for consumer brands? Or do you think that there's a play to for business to business?
Matt Stait: 15:22
To be honest, it's mostly been to see at the moment. I think that's a happier home being honest. There will be more B2B moving forward, but what's really interesting about tik tok from a B to B point of view. Is that you can get directly in front of the people signing the check book quite often. and what I'm finding is tik tok is a bit like a dirty little secret quite lots of people are on it, but they don't tell anybody, especially us older folk. And so we, we, we tend to not sort of share that with other people. However, what's happening is a lot of very professional people have going on there and setting up a cage, but not in their professional capacity. So they're putting out videos of them in the garden with the kids, you know, hosing each other, dive in and I've been cake fights and all the rest of it. But they're still on the platform and there's still that person. And if you connect with them on that level, You know, you can still then. introduce yourself on a, on a more professional level for the point, but you still got that initial introduction. And so it's quite interesting because I've had, I've had people come to me and companies coming to me. You've never seen me before on any other platform, solely through tik tok because their kids have been watching what I've been doing and said. Dad coming up, look at this. So it's, it's surprising where, where these, where these avenues will lead.
Eric Dickmann: 16:34
Do you use Tik Tok to drive people to YouTube for longer form content? Or is the content that you post on Tik Tok self-contained?
Matt Stait: 16:44
It's a mixture of both. So the content will take time. Yes. Is self-contained because where's the shortfall platform. It wants to be exactly that short form. So you give a single message, short videos, you can then drive people across to YouTube. You can let them go organically, or you can actively encourage that. So, as an example of that more YouTube channel, the one that's attached to my tik tok has gone up 76% since I opened it. So that's just, again, not so that's a substantial amount of numbers. I also have live links on my bio at tik tok, so people can go straight through to my online products and services. They can click straight through to that. So there's, it's a great way to start building funnels and pipelines.
Eric Dickmann: 17:23
So they manage it very much like Instagram does where they allow you to have a link in your bio, but not necessarily links embedded within the videos or the content itself. Is that how it works?
Matt Stait: 17:34
Yeah, we're not quite there yet. So for the, they, they are trialing some of these things, but as it stands at the moment, you can have a live link in your bio. And that's, as far as you can go with it. But if you look at the Chinese version and if you look at what they've got and they're, they're a bit in front of us. And so you can buy directly from the video at that point. So if I was sat here talking to you now, and I like the shirt you were wearing, or the headphones that you have on now, I could click a button to ball. You though is what I believe in this conversation. It's absolutely staggering. The possibilities that sit in the future. And that's where I was saying it's. For some people it's more about the longer game than the initial ROI.
Eric Dickmann: 18:13
Marketing is the engine that drives demand, but too often it takes a back seat to other priorities. Awareness, fails to materialize demand drops in sales falter. Don't wait until it's too late to build your brand awareness and demand generation programs. If your company is struggling with their marketing strategy, we want to help let's schedule a call to talk about your unique situation and what options might be available to get your marketing program back on track. To learn more text C M O two (407) 374-3670 that's C M ho two four zero seven. Three seven four three six seven zero. And we'll reply with further details. We hope to hear from you soon. Is a strategy then very similar to what you have on other social platforms. So you set up an account, you start to post some content out there. And then the way to get noticed is by liking other people who have similar content, putting some sort of a hashtag or key word in there so that people can find your content. I mean, if you're really starting an account from scratch, what are the basic rules for building a presence on a platform like Tik Tok?
Matt Stait: 19:26
So like with a lot of the other platforms, hashtags are really important and there's two variants to that. So. Unlike all the other platforms, tik tok actually tells you what's popular. What's trending. What's good. It will give you those trending hashtags and trending signs. And there are, there are specific challenges and trends and things that you can jump on Six of them that have really big numbers with regards to views. And so they're really helpful on that. They'll actually tell you what's popular when you can ride those coatails. the other version is that you make your own content. You give really good value. you provide good insights into things or entertainment, whatever it is you're doing. And then you hashtag that in the correct manner. So in the same way that you would on say Instagram or LinkedIn, You want to be able to sign post what your content is and who's it for so that it gets to the right people.
Eric Dickmann: 20:18
That's really interesting because I do think that that's a huge problem with some of the other platforms is they allow you to add hashtags about the subject matter of your post or your content, but you have no idea whether those hashtags are in use, whether anybody's tracking those hashtags, whether they're popular, whether you're going to get any traction for it. So having the system present you with some that you can, as you say, ride the coattails of that seems to be a huge benefit to being able to catch a wave of whatever is popular.
Matt Stait: 20:49
Yeah, absolutely. There's also a really helpful little thing that it can do as well, which is it can tell you how many people are actually searching for those hashtags. So, if people have tik tok and all they need to do open up their accounts. At the bottom. There's a little discover bar. If they press the little discover button there, they'll have a search bar comes up at the top on a new page in that search bar, whatever it is you like. So say for example, your. you want to talk about business or art or cookery, whatever it is. So you write your term in there. And then you'll have underneath their top videos, top people. And at the end, we'll be hashtags have impressed the hashtags. It will tell you exactly how many people have searched for that particular term.
Eric Dickmann: 21:31
Sounds in some ways like what Facebook does, to some extent one, you get onto their ad platform and you're looking for the specific markets and targets that you want to go after the data gets a little bit more granular and you can see what's popular and how many people have these interests and whatnot, but having that available for free content to be able to guide your posts seems like a really important tool. I bet we'll see that copied.
Matt Stait: 21:55
Oh, yeah, absolutely. It's a, it's a very, very handy thing to have because it helps you too. Decide where you want to be, because, if you're a relatively new content provider and you've only got a few hundred followers, And you put a hashtag out there that's being searched in the billions. You're like a three year old football stadium. You can show it as low as you like. Nobody's gonna hear you. And so the idea for that is that you actually look for search terms that are in the, that are in the millions. So if you're a new starter, when you're starting a new profile, you're really looking for. That one's a 5 million kind of hashtag range as opposed to the a hundred plus million, because you want to be heard in that, in that, in that environment. Yeah. Once you get to there. If your video then gets exposed and get seen and grows, then it can go into the bigger pools. But yeah, you have to, you have to, you have to strategically know which hashtag search is to use and when to use them.
Eric Dickmann: 22:49
Are you taking this expertise that you've developed over the years with Tik Tok and actually created some coaching programs for other users to help them understand and how to get benefits from the platform. Talk to me a little bit about what you're doing now with your coaching in this area.
Matt Stait: 23:04
Right. Well, for the listeners, the, the main thing to know about this is that, I actually looked better with one close on the North. I mean, that's a really. When we're talking about tio tok, because there's a very real gap if you like at the moment. And so what you have is you have a lot of very attractive young people squeezed into close that little bit, too tight, shaking their bets and getting lots and lots of views. But I, as a middle aged man, can't replicate that and I wouldn't want to, it would, it wouldn't work for me. and then what you've got is a lot of what I call traditional markets. He is, which are people that have a great scale and a great knowledge base. But they went through their education before Tik Tok even existed. And so there's a, there's a deficiency if you like on the nuts and bolts of tik tok not in the knowledge, because nobody's disputing that, but the nuts and bolts of high tik tok on himself works. And so. What we're trying to do is give people a very clear pathway that can be followed so that they can grow themselves on tik tok. It's not reliance on and on being cool. Or 12 or anything like that, so it can be replicated and that's fundamentally, one of the first points is really important. It can be replicated and mapped. And then the second point on that is that once we understand how tik tok work. And how we can leverage that. Then we're also not going to be wasting vast amounts of time throwing mud at the wall in the hope that some of it sticks. So it's saving a lot of time and saving a lot of energy. You're going a lot more rapidly than you would. Of the Moise. And that's really important because if you're, if you think about it as a, as a land grab. Then. Basically, if you don't grab it, your competitor as well, and that will be a problem, maybe not today, but five years from now, almost certainly.
Eric Dickmann: 24:50
Well, you said it earlier. Many of us wish we had gotten into YouTube Instagram or Facebook, some of the trends where people really capitalized the early days of Facebook advertising and things, you could make a ton of money because it wasn't that expensive to do. And now the dynamics and the economics have changed considerably. But if you were one of those early adopters who got in there, I mean, people made millions of dollars off of, their exposure on these platforms. And it sounds like what you're saying is that may be the point where the Tik Tok is at right now. It may be new enough that if you get in there, build a presence. Now you're still ahead of the curve.
Matt Stait: 25:26
Yeah. Yeah, well, that's, that's essentially what a lot of the sort of expert people in those fields are kind of saying, they're saying that there is a wave. Eventually it will crash and eventually it will break. But at the moment you can ride that wave and you can grow a substantial following, but that's not going to last forever. Now, one of the things that's really important about this is that. Tik Tok may or may not be around in 10 years time. Who's to know let's be truthful who's to know it may be, it may not. But what we do know for certain is that communication and the way that we communicate with each other is changing. It's getting quicker, it's getting faster paced and more and more the traditional styles of sort of, advertising. So if we look at television advertising, you know, streaming platforms now really don't do advertising as much. If we look at an ad blockers, most people have the mag, so. I will communications had done more and more via social media. And when we look at the speed of that, it's getting faster and faster. Everybody wants it. Now everybody's going to have got the time. And so we have to learn to communicate in those smaller windows. So it's going to be a skill that if we don't have now, Again, we're going to get left behind longer term. So whatever skills we get on this platform, even if the platform moves into something else or dies and something new takes its place. We will have those skills to take forward with us. So it's just as much as anything else it's keeping up with technology.
Eric Dickmann: 26:50
I don't know if it's launched in the UK yet, but, there's this new online service Quiby, which is short form paid video content. It's one of these streaming networks, but I think there's a maximum. Time of about 15 minutes or something per episode. So, you know, we're very much in that experimentation form with this short content is people's attention spans, get shorter and It seems like there's a tremendous amount of opportunity with it. It's exciting. I definitely want to research it more myself. I'm glad I didn't put that tweet on Twitter to say that I was not a Tik Tok user. Matt, what's a way that people can find you. So tell us what your Tik Tok channel is and tell us the other ways that you want to be found online.
Matt Stait: 27:29
Yeah. So my team so profound is called ModernSamuraiMA. So that's ModernSamuraiMA. So modern samurai is my, shall we say martial alter ego. So that's the name of my gym on somebody martial arts and also my first book of the samurai. So, I decided that you can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, all the usual channels. And that's by just looking for Matt state that's Stait and, yeah, happy to connect with anybody who wants to chat.
Eric Dickmann: 27:56
And again, remind us, what's the title of your latest book?
Matt Stait: 28:00
The latest one is actually an exploration and it's called Online Martial Arts Evolution or Extinction. And so that's a conversation about the online space, online learning online teaching the pros and cons around.
Eric Dickmann: 28:13
Matt. This has been a really interesting conversation, both in your personal journey and understanding a little bit more about the power of this new platform Tik Tok. I know that many of the listeners here are going to be intrigued by what you've said here today. I hope it's a platform that we can all sort of dig into and check out more. And it sounds like you've got some valuable coaching as well for businesses that are looking to really make some headway on Tik Tok. So I really appreciate your time and you being here on the virtual CMO today.
Matt Stait: 28:39
No, it's been my absolute pleasure. Thank you for having me on.
Eric Dickmann: 28:44
that wraps up another episode of The Virtual CMO podcast. As a reminder, if you'd like to learn more about Virtual CMO, strategic marketing consulting services, or anything else discussed here today, please visit us at fiveechelon.com. There's a link in the show notes. If you'd like to send us comments, feedback, guest inquiries, and your five-star reviews on Apple Podcasts are always appreciated. If you'd like to reach me. I'm EDickmann. That's E D I C K M A N N on Twitter. If you'd like to connect on LinkedIn, please let me know. You heard about me through The Virtual CMO podcast. I look forward to talking with you again next week and sharing some new marketing insights on The Virtual CMO.