This digital marketer says you need to get comfortable being loud if you want to successfully stand out in the digital landscape.
Set fire to the all billboards and burn them to the ground. That was the sentiment offered by Josh Klein. As a leader in digital marketing, it’s his belief that any strategy that cannot actively measure a return is one that should be thrown on the rubbish heap. “I am very anti traditional media,” he tells CUB. “The internet is the most popular media channel that has ever existed, it’s interactive and it’s everything a billboard isn’t.”
Bold, opinionated and passionate. That’s perhaps the most concise way to describe Klein and his approach to selling his services and those of his clients. As a member of a family of entrepreneurs he was destined to forge his own path and openly admits that he didn’t operate well as an employee.
Thus, it was inevitable that he would start his own business and the enthusiastic global adoption of social media platforms offered ample opportunity to get a foothold in a new market and “ruffle some feathers”. Klein established Social Status in 2014 at the age of 25 through the simple act of chucking on a pair of trainers and heading for a walk around Melbourne.
“I walked down High Street in Brighton and went into a few shops and asked if I could manage their Facebook page,” he explains. “To which every single one of them said no,” he laughs. “I was distraught. I thought I’d failed and then two weeks later I got a phone call asking for me to go in to one of those same stores and have a chat. I remember jumping around my kitchen thinking ‘I’ve made it’.”
Fast forward five years and Social Status now services over 100 clients across auto, sport, hospitality, fitness, finance, real estate and e-commerce offering comprehensive digital marketing services in strategy, content, community management, advertising and reporting. They’ve grown from a team of one to a team of 14, yet Klein’s approach today is the same as it was five years ago. He still believes that digital marketing, specifically on social, is one of the few industries that is persistently changing. Described as “dynamic” and “multi-faceted”, he says these tools offer companies opportunities to engage with customers on “deeper” levels.
“Initially our business was almost exclusively about content, on page activity and followers. We laugh at that now. Social media is so integrated and advanced we can administer customer journeys through tracking, remarketing and sequencing which in turn allows us to understand who is interested in what and treat them accordingly.”
The growth and effectiveness of Internet advertising means Klein is forever on the front foot, continually looking for new opportunities or new ways to offer better services to his clients. But, he noticed that his long successful “bespoke approach” began to prove problematic. “We knew we had to look to diversify into our core offerings. So that was advertising, marketing for small business and personal branding for the owners of those businesses,” he says. Like the digital landscape itself, Social Status needed to iterate.
18 months ago, Klein began the process of building several sub brands to sit beneath the Social Status umbrella as part of a larger company called The Status Group. To date, there are now three separate entities which each specialise in key areas offering customers targeted marketing solutions that are tailored to their individual needs.
The first, Promotr, helps small business owners get their digital foundation right from the start. “We’ve just finished working with a furniture store whose website was built in 2002,” he says. “So, we rebuilt their website, we optimised them on Google, we built their social media accounts, we developed their marketing strategy and we delivered them a library of content with a view for them to largely manage themselves ongoing.”
The second, Search Status, is perhaps the simplest of the three. Built for small and medium businesses, it provides Google advertising services and aims to complement the social strategies provides by the larger Social Status company.
The third, ibrand, is a personal branding agency for entrepreneurs, those looking for help managing their personal websites and social channels. “Its content, strategy and resources. I am an expert in social media and even I find I don’t have the time to manage my own account very well.”
At the heart of Social Status and The Social Group is evolution. In a fast-paced marketplace where social media channels blow up and implode, jump ahead and fall flat, Klein says it’s important to stay proactive and diversify in order to “fit the needs of the market”, but moreover it’s important to lead and not follow and to not be afraid to stand out.
“I believe in disruption. We’re always trying to push the envelope. We’re cheeky, funny and human. There is a lot of noise out there and having the balls to be different will always pay off.”
Quick Fire Questions
Favourite song? “Loud Luxury feat. brando – Body”
Best piece of advice you’ve ever had? “If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.”
Favourite business book? “E-myth Revisited”
Favourite person to follow on social? “Dan Bilzerian”
Biggest social media faux pa most people make? “Generally being terrible at it.”
Favourite way to break the ice in a meeting? “Swearing so they know I’m cool.”
Best ad you’ve ever seen? “Carlsberg ‘Probably the best beer in the world’.”
By Jack Phillips