An Interview with the Business World’s Most Popular Social Media Manager
With dozens of clients all across the United States, Braden McBraden is probably the most sought-after freelance social media manager in the country right now. His job is to keep the names of his clients in your Facebook news feed every single day, and while it might seem daunting to come up with that many fresh ideas each day, McBraden insists it’s second nature to him. He stopped by Hillsboro Publishing headquarters and agreed to sit down for an interview and a free critique of the “Books by John M Donovan” social media effort.
Donovan: Braden, thanks for stopping by. I think readers of this blog might be surprised to learn how many social media posts you’re responsible for.
McBraden: Dozens every day.
Donovan: Do you ever feel like you’re tapping a dry well?
McBraden: Gosh no. I’m just getting started. The trick is to find something that works and vary it slightly.
Donovan: Can you give me an example?
McBraden: Sure—I came up with the post “There aren’t any girls’ names that start with A and end with A. Prove me wrong!”
Donovan: I’ve seen that, and I came up with 20 names in like 30 seconds.
McBraden: Did you post an answer?
Donovan: No, because 47,245 people already had.
McBraden: So it worked! Thousands and thousands of people interacted with my client’s Facebook post.
Donovan: But it was just 47,000 posts that said “Andrea” or whatever.
Donovan: So why would someone post something so obvious? Does the typical Facebook user really think “I’ll bet this guy has never heard of the names Andrea, Angela, Andra, Alexandra, Angelica, Aglaia, Anna, Annalisa, Audra, Aundra, Amelia, Aurora, Ada, Alicia, Alanna, Amara, Anastasia, Annika, Amanda, and Alma—I’m going to prove him wrong!”?
McBraden: Beats me. Doesn’t matter, as long as I can get them to post an answer. You should have seen how many people responded to “I’ll bet you can’t name a fish with the letter F in it!”
Donovan: Let me guess. A hundred thousand people typed in the name of a fish with “fish” in its name?
McBraden: Try half a million.
Donovan: So what’s the point of a question like that?
McBraden: The point is a client who says “Nice job getting 500,000 people to respond on our page. And because they responded, now ‘The Wad 99.5 FM’ will start appearing in their news feed all the time!”
Donovan: (sighs) Are you the guy who came up with “Who can honestly say they’ve never had a DWI?”?
McBraden: That’s all me, baby.
Donovan: The vast majority of people have never had a DWI! It’s insulting to imply otherwise!
McBraden: Again, I don’t care if they answer yes or no. What they respond is less important than the response itself. You should see the one I’m dropping for one of my clients next week. OK, you’ve twisted my arm. It’s “I’ll bet you can’t name a state with a vowel in its name!”
Donovan: Every. Bunnyhumping. State. Has a vowel. In its name.
McBraden: I’m predicting two million responses.
Donovan: Oh boy. I hate to ask, but what are some of the other kinds of posts you’ve come up with? Because clearly, the list of idiotic “Name a fish” type posts is infinite.
McBraden: One I’m kind of proud of is “One of these has to go.” We post an array of things—like McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Chick-Fil-A—and have people vote on which one they can do without.
Donovan: Yes, I’ve seen that too. They’re labeled A, B, C, and D. So unlike the riveting list of girls’ names, you end up with 50,000 posts with just a letter in them. “Oh, look at all the B’s. What’s this? A person I’ve never heard of doesn’t like Wendy’s? How utterly fascinating.”
McBraden: (rubs fingers together in the universal “money” gesture)
Donovan: See, to me, the purpose of a social media post is to be engaging. I want a discussion. Thoughtful, subjective answers. Not a list of things any chucklehead could think of. Certainly not a list of letters. Not even political arguments with anti-science trolls. I’m talking about, let’s say, uh, “What’s your favorite performance in a baseball movie?” Or, uh, “What novel have you read the most times?”
McBraden: (yawns) Yeah, I tried that once. Couple hundred responses, 147 of which were a fight between the Cate Blanchett camp and the Tilda Swinton camp. Client said “Hey, no more fights.” It’s been smooth sailing ever since.
Donovan: I guess I’m ready for that critique now.
McBraden: Got it right here. “Books by John M Donovan” could definitely use some professional social media management. For instance, I would advise posting three or four times a week instead of three or four times a year.
Donovan: Yeah, I can see that.
McBraden: Also, maybe fewer quotes by John Fowles and John Gardner.
Donovan: Those are two of the most brilliant novelists of the 20th century!
McBraden: (shaking his head) Death.
Donovan: But I want to keep my page somewhat literary.
McBraden: Got it. “Name a novel without the word ‘the’ in it.”
Donovan: Don’t you have someplace to be?