Selling on Facebook With Dennis Yu and Alex Houg

Season 1 Ep 3

Interview With Dennis Yu and Alex Houg
Gary Leland Show Episode 3

Dennis Yu, and Alex Houg from BlitzMetrics join me to talk about Facebook, and how to market, and sell stuff using Facebook. These two guys know Facebook inside and out. – Produced By

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Gary: Dennis, Alex, I am so excited to have you on the show. First of all, let me say thank you for coming. I am going to do a little talking really quickly and then you will have a lot of the floor. For everyone out there, this is Dennis Yu and Alex Houg from BlitzMetrics. These are probably two of the smartest guys on the planet when it comes to Facebook in my opinion and I think there are a lot of people who think that.

Dennis & Alex: Thanks so much for having us, Gary.

Gary: Tell us before we get into anything else what BlitzMetrics is because many of my audience won’t know who you are, what your company is, and what you do. Let’s talk about that first.

Dennis & Alex: BlitzMetrics is solving two fundamental problems. Businesses don’t know how to attract leads in social ROI; they just don’t know how to drive leads online. We work with people all the way from the Golden State Warriors and Jack Daniels, all the way down to small business. The second problem we are solving is giving students real world experience and giving them the opportunity to learn and get paid at the same time while working in their passion area. We line up students in our program that we call “the untern movement” so they can join in, get free education, and work with clients in their passion area that we gain and obtain through inbound marketing. We create a marketplace where we can match these students with these business and these students are able to follow our frameworks and execute of the products and services we offer, such as our Quick Start Express package which is a $3000/ 6 week implementation Facebook ads program as well as our Quick Start Premium which is $10,000/ 10 week Facebook ad implementation.

Gary: What was the name of that again?

Dennis & Alex: That program is the Quick Start Express for the 6-week program and the Quick Start Premium for the 10-week program.

Gary: So you take people, for no charge, and you train them how to work using these programs and then you set them up with companies that need their services?

Dennis & Alex: That’s correct because we believe there are some fundamental flaws in the education system. We are turning that on it’s head. We are providing education to students for free, we are paying them, and they get to work with clients in their passion area.

Gary: Now, I didn’t even know about this! I find that fascinating! Let’s say someone is interested in that, what would they do?

Dennis & Alex: They can reach out to us, they can go to our website, they can email us at either or, and we would love to get them qualified into our program. The beauty of this is that we like to prepare students before they even get into our leveling system, which is a 15 level system that starts at $10 per hour and goes all the way up to $62 per hour. To get qualified, they have to go through a set of training or modules, take a quiz, create a blog, and then write about their passion area while talking about themselves as well to demonstrate that leadership and expertise. This program is not all about creating Facebook ads, but the training of students and young people to be entrepreneurs, teaching them business skills.

Gary: How long have you been doing this program?

Dennis & Alex: We have been doing this for 3 – 6 months. About 3 months ago we moved 10 or 12 people from Salt Lake City to Minneapolis to work in house to work on clients in their passion area. They are having a great time, doing well, and learning a lot.

Gary: That sounds like an amazing opportunity for people! Am I missing people here?

Dennis & Alex: Well I would think, Gary, if I were a prudent business owner, I wouldn’t want a bunch of kids working on my stuff, especially if some agency is going to mark this stuff up. We have spent years working on Facebook ad campaigns. Even since Facebook launched, a lot of what Facebook built in their ads platform was based on our direct recommendations. You have seen our writing on Inside Facebook and we are in tight with the Facebook engineering folks. In the process of doing ads for the biggest of companies, we have learned certain techniques that work. These are not “magic” things that we are going to hide behind a webinar or a book that we are trying to sell. We are putting it out there for free so that other people can see it. If you are a student, you need to know that there are mechanics. My role as the CTO is to create that software that helps students identify the audiences, that helps them adjust the ads when they are working or not working, that looks at how things need to balance in the analytics system, from Google Analytics if you are trying to sell stuff, or maybe you have infusion software or a shopping cart, Viva Merchant, whatever it is. We want to demonstrate that the traffic that comes through social media eventually converts. It might convert initially through an email list, and as you know Gary with Softball Junk, that eventually when you build up a brand and people know who you are, that eventually results in sales. It is not a one off purchase; it’s an on going relationship. To be able to quantify that, you have to measure the different parts of the funnel and that’s the software, training, and systems that we have been building. Alex runs the company to make sure that everything goes properly because I am a horrible manager; I’m a good technician and programmer. That’s the vision that we have. We have been very fortunate to have the NBA, Rosetta Stone, Jack Daniels, fast food franchises. We are here to share all of the stuff that we know for free, that’s why we put this stuff out there. If anyone has questions, go check that out. We charge for our time and implementation but the information is all out there, we aren’t hiding any of it.

Gary: I’ve worked with you and seen you speak and I’ve never been anything but than impressed with anything you have ever said or done. The first time I met you, you were all over that thing working in your system there – I couldn’t keep up with what you were doing! You guys impress me every time I see you. Our audience is looking for tips and hints and more of an understanding of how to use social media to actually sell their products, and I think you just hit on that a second ago. It’s not just about selling the one item; it’s about building the relationship.

Dennis & Alex: There is a process that we like to call the “Audience Engagement Conversion Funnel”. Some people call it Ida, some people have other names for it, but we like to break it into three areas that we think work very well with Facebook, but they work with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram since those guys have ads too. It works like this. Audience is making sure people know who you are. A lot of people go into doing dumb things like trying get a bunch of fans cheaply by giving away and iPad, that’s a mistake. It’s about making sure the right people see you, the people who are existing customers of course. Maybe they have connected on social, written reviews for you before, seen your stuff on Amazon and there are ratings there, maybe there is word of mouth, maybe they are on your email list but they are not on Twitter. What we want to do is collect up that audience. They don’t have to be a fan, but audience is general awareness. You can get awareness through Facebook ads and unfortunately, these days you have to pay for reach; you don’t have to pay a lot, but you do have to pay for that reach.

The Engagement is when “Gary Leland likes this”, “Gary Leland favorited this item”, “Gary Leland retweeted this or commented on this video”, or did some kind of action. We want to amplify that to all of Gary Leland’s friends, who are also interested in that product that you sell. That’s called old-fashioned word of mouth. There are 4 or 5 ad techniques that happen to work on Facebook: page post ad, domain, story, check in, and combinations of custom audiences where you match your email list and match your web pixel to your Facebook. For people who are confused by what I just said, if that sounds like some weird language: all it means is that you are tying the people you already know into Facebook and Facebook has developed some very simple mechanisms that you can do in a few clicks.

The last part is conversion. Once they become a fan, or have come to the shopping cart check out but didn’t buy, or they are on your email list, then you send them messages. It’s like a loyalty program, “Hey 10% Fourth of July special”. It doesn’t have to be a discount either. It can be a “hey check out this stuff before everyone else knows about it, because we love you guys the most, get the exclusive news before other people”, so you are nurturing those relationships. You post pictures at the World Series of these women playing fastpitch softball and you get hundreds of people liking your stuff because they already know who you are and that builds your brand and your awareness, you get media citations on that. One of our favorite techniques is media manipulation. We can target people who work at the Journal, who work at CNN, who have a particular job title and get press coverage and that creates audience. When people write about you that creates engagement because you get free distribution. When your email list gets bigger, that drives sales. People don’t just buy from seeing a Facebook post. Some small business owners say that the Facebook thing doesn’t drive my ROI, because they keep posting buy my stuff and I wonder why no one is buying my stuff. You know, Gary, it takes a while, it’s not get rich quick, its get rich slow, you have to invest and create content, you have to develop it. There is no magic in what we are doing, it jus means there is a mechanical framework you have to follow, the plumbing that you have to tie together: tie your website together with your social and your email. If you’re not tying those three things together, you are leaking, no magic there! There is some level of programming, like if you have an app and you’re collecting email addresses, something like that, fine. You can hire someone from India or wherever else to do that for you. If you are busy selling stuff then you don’t have to worry about that, unless if you are a geek, then you can ask me those kinds of questions. It’s not about stuff like that; for the audience here that maybe is not as in deep with this sort of thing, but just wants to pull out a few interesting nuggets to help them sell a little more online, it’s about this. The engagement with your audience is about story telling. The reason people buy is two fold. They buy psychologically; they buy because it satisfies an emotion. They buy that wine because they loved the story about where the vineyard is and how it has rocks, and it came from the 1800’s, whatever it is, it’s a story. There is always a story. If there is no story, you are a commodity. If you’re a commodity, you have no business doing social. The reason why our unterns have to be able to write content is because they have to be able to tell the story themselves and eventually tell the story to the client. We have some auto manufacturers as clients, and guess what? We are not going to let anybody who is just all over cars, unless if you are under the hood and all about cars, we are not going to let you touch those auto lines. The same is true for those guys on social. It’s not about buying someone’s software. If you are already selling stuff online I encourage those of you on the podcast to consider, who are your best fans? Can you get them to produce content, to share pictures of them using your stuff, to talk about what they think of the next race coming up, just to participate? The engagement leads to email collection, which leads to sales because of the word of mouth part because then we promote all of this stuff to Gary’s friends! It happens to be the most powerful of Facebook. It’s about story telling and the amplification of that story telling. If you don’t have the good content in there, like we talked about last time in Dallas, then it’s not going to work. No amount of great techniques without the great content and the great community behind it is going to work.

Gary: That is what you have been having me do and that is working. I think last week, I averaged over 400 new likes a day. I’m getting ready to hit 60,000. I have a few questions though. Could I get you to go to This top post here I put on this morning, has 16,000 people reached and 74 shares. For my page having almost 60,000, is that ranking “good, ok, or poor”? Where would you say that kind of reach is in 12 hours for a post?

Dennis & Alex: Let’s quantify this because we get this question all of the time. You had 16,000 reached on this post, doesn’t look like you ran any ads, which is about a quarter, about 26%. That is really good because the average of Facebook is 3 or 4% and it’s only going down because people complain because Facebook wants you to make ads now. Because you have a lot of passion around these women that are winning, around pictures, around the stats, and people know who you are. They trust you and are willing to endorse you and that is why you have those 74 shares. It seems like common sense, but people don’t seem to realize that. They are trying to trick the system by making means, or by “please click like if you want to win” – don’t do stuff like that.

Gary: Before you go on, I heard that you get penalized for doing stuff like that, is that true?

Dennis & Alex: Well Facebook says something but then they don’t actually enforce it and the same is true with Google. It’s not our advice to go do something you know is bad, but do stuff that you know will engage the user and the algorithm will not penalize you.

Gary: Am I being hurt by having too much text in their description, having a bunch of links and text, does that hurt anything?

Dennis & Alex: It will prevent you from running ads, but it will not hurt you in organic distribution. Because you are liking, sharing, and engaging, the algorithm will not penalize you no matter what Facebook says. I wouldn’t worry about that.

Gary: I also heard a statement that Facebook ranks your post as whether it’s worthy of more distribution or not. A like would be 1 point, a comment would be 2 points, but a share would be 7 points.

Dennis & Alex: That’s close. We did a study that we released to the LA Time and Ad Week I think and we found that each kind of engagement received a certain amount of exposure and that’s where we came up with this points based system. Every time a person commented, it on average reached 8 times as many people as when you liked. When someone shared it was worth 13 times as much as a like, not because we made up some number, but because we looked across thousands of pages, I think it’s 10,000 we have in our system, to see how much activity it gets. Some people misinterpreted that as their needing to get more shares because they were worth more. On average you will get more likes than you will shares, you have to look at the overall weighting, and it also depends on what kind of content it is. Alex did a webinar recently covering research on the hotel industry and found that pictures of food people were more likely to like and scenery pictures people were more likely to share. It also depends on what you are trying to do so don’t allow the stats cause you to make dumb decisions but know that a share is worth more, just like on Twitter, a retweet is worth more than a mention or a tweet because someone has to put their personality behind it to say that they vouch for that content.

Gary: So that 74 shares is like 1000 likes?

Dennis & Alex: Yeah, that’s the way to think of it.

Gary: I’ve never really understood that. That’s really interesting to me, Alex, that a different image even if you are posting the same kind of stuff can make that big of a difference on what people do on the image itself, not just the content.

Dennis & Alex: We did an example with the Golden State Warriors and we wanted to make sure that Stephen Curry, the starting point guard, would make it as the starting guard in the All-Star game. So we had a post that encouraged people to help him win because whoever gets the most votes and shares will be on the starting team because the NBA said that social media would determine who plays instead of random old people voting. Those got, I want to say over 200,000 shares each which was incredible. They got a lot of likes too, but way more shares and it wasn’t because we necessarily said share if you agree or anything like that.

Gary: How about on boost at the bottom of the page. I probably can’t do that because I have a bunch of links in there, but if I didn’t would it be worth boosting it? Is it a good value for the dollar?

Dennis & Alex: The answer is of course “it depends”. I have written probably 6 or 7 articles hammering why boosted posts are not very smart and I still stand behind a lot of that, but I have been proven wrong in the last 6 months and I will tell you why in a minute. If you go to you will see examples of when boosted posts work and when they don’t work and why. A boosted post is basically saying to Facebook that they are too lazy to go to Power Editor or the ads tool, would you please try to drive more engagement and target the people that you think will engage with me. Now you can select interest and you can select a few other things, but for the most part you can’t do that in a boosted post. It’s sort of a quick and dirty way to say that you want more engagement and will put 10 or 20 bucks on it. Let’s say you’re posting 20 times a day. You’re not going to sit around and make 20 ad groups with a bunch of ads inside of the ad group, called ad sets every day. Boosting will work if you’re driving engagement, but if you’re driving conversion, if you’re reach is not very big, then boosting your post won’t work because Facebook doesn’t have enough data to tell or if you’re in an area that is not social. Clearly, fastpitch softball is great, no one is against that. What if you’re selling suppositories for people with hemorrhoids? I don’t think boosting posts will work unless if you create memes about pain or something. It really depends on what you’re selling. If it’s very social and you have large engagement on a larger page, and you’re driving for more engagement and not conversion, then boosting posts will work. If you want conversion, you will have to specify a conversion target, you will have to use custom audiences, you will have to use partner targets which include things like income, what kind of car they drive, where they shop, that kind of thing and that is not available in a boosted post.

Gary: So it really depends on audience or what you have. So for someone like me it may be an okay trade out?

Dennis & Alex: Sure and you will see that your fan growth will go up, you will expand your reach, you will see that more people will like comments and sharing. You mentioned that your fan growth was going up 400-500 new fans per day and I would say great; but, are you looking further than that to see if that is translating to more people visiting the website, more people buying stuff, more media citations, more of whatever is further down the funnel in the conversion part of the funnel and I think you’re doing that because we can see your stats. I think the most impressive thing is not that you have so many fans, but that the cost per registration to your newsletter is super cheap. I think that is the most impressive part to me. We only did 3% of the work. You did 97% of the work because you already had great content, people already know who you are. We contacted WCWS all day long; we targeted the media, Sports Illustrated, the Sporting News, and Scouting Reports, all of the media organizations because you are already well known, because you already have an audience, because your content is good, it was very easy for us to amplify. If your content sucked, if you didn’t have an email list we could match against, if you didn’t have any of these things or didn’t do the stuff that we recommended it would have failed no matter how good you are a technical manipulation. You did the work; we just amplified it.

Gary: I am just amazed at my email list now, at the number of people who are signed up now.

Dennis & Alex: It wasn’t that you said, “Hey anyone who enters this thing will be entered into a drawing for an iPad”. Guess what kind of people you are going to get to sign up? Not people who want to buy your product, but people who want a free iPad.

Gary: Right, people who don’t want to buy my product. I have gone a little overboard on my time here, but only because I find this so interesting. That’s one of the best things about this show is I’m talking to people who have subjects I’m interested in and I think that if I’m interested then other people who sell stuff will be interested in it as well. You guys know more about this than me and I am just so impressed with how my newsletter has gone up and how my page has grown off of the wall because of you guys. Is there any other really great tip for someone who is trying to sell something? We know it’s building a relationship, that’s the whole key. Is there anything else we need to let them know or somewhere they should go to read specifically information from you guys?

Dennis & Alex: So you can go to and you will see that there are tons of examples. If you have any questions on how to implement any of these things, just comment below. You can also go to, which is the #1 site according to Facebook, that’s where they send people. We answer every question, even though it may take a few days.

Gary: You guys actually go over to Facebook, talk to those people, and understand what’s going on.

Dennis & Alex: They tell us what the next stuff is that is coming out. We building software so we are a part of a group called PMD, which is the Preferred marketing developer group. So we know what the road map is for the next 6 months or so.

Gary: That is amazing. So you can’t go wrong listening to you guys, you know it before all of the other people who are so called experts.

Dennis & Alex: Custom audiences baby! If you get anything out of here it’s custom audiences, collect emails.

Gary: Guys, I really appreciate you taking the time to come on today. Every time I talk to you or text with you I learn something and I enjoy learning something because when you have a mind like mine it’s hard to learn anything, but you guys are on the cutting edge of this stuff.

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