Regardless of whether or not you are a long-time marketing veteran, or just an aspiring digital marketing guru, you have more-than-likely seen or heard Sam Hurley’s name come up in conversation.
Aside from being the Marketing Director of Optim-Eyez, Sam Hurley is rated the #2 most powerful influencer within the digital marketing world, and there is no doubt why! Sam is a marketing genius. Sam is a social media power-influencer, a well-known growth hacker, and a credible SEO & CRO guru.
Just look at those numbers! 137,000 Twitter followers. That is impressive.
We at Think Tank Marketing were lucky enough to virtually sit down with Sam Hurley for an interview. In this interview we talk about the future of digital marketing, Sam’s mom, social media, and more.
If you are interested in the digital marketing world, you won’t want to miss this!
TTT: How did you get into digital marketing. Does your passion focus on SEO? Social media? Advertising? Content? Or do you wear lots of different hats in this aspect?
Sam: I’ve always been interested in computers so after discovering that a living could be made from them, I dived head first into digital marketing and never looked back! To be a solid digital marketer you need to acquire plenty years’ experience under your belt (in both company and agency environments if possible)…I made sure I gained this track record and it’s all been a key part of who I am today. Patience is critical…also the ability to acknowledge when it’s time to switch in order to progress your career.
My passion is people. I thrive on understanding how the mind works, the psychology behind relationships and the power this brings to business. If you manage to get relationships spot-on, everything else comes naturally! It underpins everything we do as marketers – the content we write, the ads we display, the images we produce and the growth of our social networks…knowing how to speak to people and engage their attention means you will always sell without actually doing any selling at all.
But for a more direct response to your question… 😉 I enjoy all aspects of marketing although social media has to be my favorite as it suits my personality so well. I see it as a fun hobby rather than work.
Running your own business means you have to wear many hats – a good thing as it expedites the learning process, if done efficiently.
TTT: Social media is a great way to connect with others. It’s helped us connect with you. It is probably our greatest traffic driver today. What are some of the best (and worst!) practices you think are being widely used in today’s social media trends?
Sam: The best social marketing is carried out effortlessly. So, correctly targeted social ads should look like any other organic update in the eyes of the target audience and never seem out of place. That’s a successful ad.
Status means so much in today’s world and this can be leveraged to great effect on social media. Those who work hard to reach that level deserve the reward so I’d suggest influencer marketing is another great way we are seeing the application of social media.
Think Tank Marketing’s suggested read: The Best and Brightest Influencers on Twitter in 2016
The not-so-awesome stuff still remains…there’s lots of crap out there: content scrapers, impersonal direct messages, attempts to sell on the first point of contact. I mean come on, man! The eternal dilemma; as time goes by we have more tools and tech at our fingertips which provides opportunity for good and bad use of social.
Another pet hate of mine is trolling. People seem to think they are invincible behind a screen and social media gives them the power to spread their hatred very effectively. This growing epidemic needs more attention, something the big networks are finally beginning to realize.
TTT: Since you have done this so well, how does one build digital credibility in such a crowded market? How did you find what works?
Sam: Nothing but real-world experience, lots of experimentation, guest blogging, relationship building and countless hours behind a computer screen! Sustained time and energy has to be invested if you want to achieve credibility. You have to be prepared to help others unquestionably and sacrifice your social life for a while too, no buts or maybes.
As your web of knowledge and connections grows, so does your influence and opportunity potential.
Most importantly, step out of your comfort zone at each and every turn. This is not a place that stimulates growth!
TTT: While it changes quite often, SEO has been around for quite some time. It seems that in the past couple years, there hasn’t been any aggressive algorithm updates or changes in the industry in comparison to the past. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think this trend will continue or is this just the calm before the storm?
Sam: I believe the lack of recent algorithm updates is due to Google being preoccupied with maximizing their revenue by making continuous changes to AdWords. Facebook are moving up the scale and getting bigger with a very popular ad platform. I think Google’s SEO-focused days are long gone – it just doesn’t earn them money, only public attention. In addition, it’s now common knowledge that obvious black hat techniques aren’t successful, so perhaps these shock horror quality updates aren’t required to the level they were when first introduced to clear colossal spam.
You can see from this historic list of updates that Google’s focus now lies elsewhere. (Just move the slider back to October 2015 to present day and compare!)
TTT: What are some tips or tricks you’ve used to position yourself as such a well-respected thought leader?
Sam: Just be yourself. That’s the best piece of advice I can give. If you are trying to be like somebody else, how are you ever going to forge your own path and be remembered? You won’t. Don’t be afraid to be you. And if being a ‘thought-leader’ isn’t you, that’s absolutely fine! There’s so many ways to be successful – it isn’t all about fame and recognition.
For example, I’m not into live video streaming so I won’t be doing that in the foreseeable future, no matter how many sources encourage this method of marketing. It isn’t my style right now, so I’ll stick to what I enjoy and what suits my business at this point in time. Everyone should do what they enjoy 🙂 You have nothing to prove, to anyone! Trust in your own judgement.
Personal branding is key – spend some time thinking about who you want to be and how you wish to be portrayed, just like a company brand. Work on this vision and make it a reality through your content, visuals and communication. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
TTT: Any special shout outs you’d like to give?
Sam: Hey Mom! LOL
TTT: We at The Think Tank love music. Do you have a favorite band?
Sam: I generally don’t listen to bands! I’ve always been into fast paced club music called Happy Hardcore 😉 It frees the mind and always puts a smile on my face! Music has been a lifesaver for me.
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