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Using Story to Win on Social Media

Using Story to Win on Social Media written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Claire Diaz-Ortiz
Podcast Transcript

Today on the podcast, I sit down with Claire Diaz-Ortiz. She was an early employee at Twitter and is an author, speaker, angel investor, and innovation advisor.

Diaz-Ortiz is a leading voice in digital media. She speaks regularly on innovation and digital media, and has shared her expertise with various organizations including The United Nations, South by Southwest, TEDx, Toyota, and Verizon.

She is the award-winning author of eight books, including Social Media Success for Every Brand. On today’s episode, we dive into the five StoryBrand pillars that can help any brand connect with followers online and build an audience for their business.

Questions I ask Claire Diaz-Ortiz:

  • You’ve been called “the woman who got the Pope on Twitter.” Can you tell us the story behind that?
  • What are the five StoryBrand pillars?
  • Does your model work beyond just the bounds of social media, and in all marketing channels?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why you should think of social media as a cocktail party.
  • Why you shouldn’t forget about your existing customers when it comes to social media.
  • How to increase your reach on social media.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Claire Diaz-Ortiz:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Transcript of Using Story to Win on Social Media

Transcript of Using Story to Win on Social Media written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger every day, ManyChat is how you reach them.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape marketing podcast. This is John Jansen. My guest today is Claire Diaz-Ortiz.

John Jantsch: She is an author, speaker and former early employee of Twitter. She’s also got a new book called Social Media Success for Every Brand: the five StoryBrand Pillars That Turn Posts Into Profits. So Claire, thanks for joining me.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Yeah, thanks so much for having me. It’s great to be here.

John Jantsch: So this is part of your brand. I’m sure you’re tired of telling this story, but I have to throw it out there for our listeners. You have been called the woman who got the Pope on Twitter, so you want to tell that story just one more time?

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Sure, sure. Yeah. So I mean I basically ended up as an early employee at Twitter after becoming an early user of the platform back in 2006. At the time, I had a blog that became popular about traveling around the world and living in this orphanage out in Africa. And the folks who started were actually the people who had started And if you had a blog back in 2005 2006 you probably were blogging on on Blogspot.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: And so when they started promoting the blog, when they found it and thought it was great and I started promoting it, then they said, “Hey, we’re actually incubating this little company and we think it’s a cool new tool. Why don’t you start tweeting, you know about the same kind of stuff you’ve been blogging about.” So for me, early on, Twitter was just a fun way to kind of tell the world what I was doing.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: And ultimately it was becoming, it was the starting as a user that ended me as an employee of the company. I spent about five and a half years there and in the last few years I was really spending a lot of time basically tracking down high profile people and getting them to tweet. And for a while I was working on the vertical of religion. So looking at what kind of religious content and religious influencers we could get on the platform and get using the platform well to kind of encourage their own niches to come on board as well.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: And so I ended up spending about a year with the Vatican getting Pope Benedict at the time, but then the account transferred over to Pope Francis on the platform and it was a really incredible experience. The thing I always say is that the Vatican and during that entire process of, of working with them and flying out there a few times and really being in this bunker mentality with them of getting this big thing launched, they were so much more fast moving and innovative than people give them credit for.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: So I really had a fantastic experience working with the communications team there all the way up until the moment where I got to just stand next to Pope Benedict as he sent his first tweet. That’s the long short of it.

John Jantsch: Oh, that’s a good career story.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: I know, I know.

John Jantsch: I actually started my blog in 2003 if we can reminisce, and I was actually using a software, I don’t think it’s around anymore, it was called Publishing Machine. And it turned into Expression Engine. And then I also had a few I started about 10 blogs for…I was kind of like you. I was trying to get all my friends who are in marketing to say, “This blogging thing is, you know, you need take this seriously.”

John Jantsch: So I set up about 25 Typepad blogs for friends as well. So I have a very long history of this and I think I got on Twitter at South by Southwest in, what was that? March of 2006 or seven. Was it seven? Yeah. Okay. So that was about six months into Twitter’s existence I suppose. Right?

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Wow. Yeah. That’s really awesome. That’s very, very cool. Yeah. Twitter launched in the fall of 2006 but it was, I would say most of the first year it was kind of a small little experiment still.

John Jantsch: Yeah. My business is called Duct Tape marketing and all my other social media handles are Duct Tape Marketing. But at the time Twitter launched you couldn’t have a handle that long. And so my-

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Oh really?

John Jantsch: Yeah, so my Twitter name is duct tape. So that’s another little known trivia fact. But let’s talk about social media in general. And I want to ask you this question directly because it is the heading of your introduction. What do most people get wrong about social media?

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Sure. So I think that the big, big thing that people really get wrong about social media, and this is the real impetus behind why I created this book is that people mistake… They think that social media is a tool for what we call direct marketing and not really for brand marketing. So if you think about the difference between direct marketing and brand marketing, direct marketing is I show you an advertisement and you immediately buy it. So I think of direct sales.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Whereas brand marketing is the type of marketing that helps you create awareness around a brand or create engagement around a brand. So one of the biggest problems I see out there with businesses or with individual personal brands who use social media is they get on, they think, “Hey this is like having a tiny little billboard” and they just kind of push market out sales messaging all day and then they wonder why people don’t buy.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: And the reality is that most of social media marketing, most of the time is about brand marketing. And so in this book I give you a plan for taking that awareness that you are going to garner about your and then moving people up, what I call an engagement ladder to get them increasingly engaged with your brand to the point where they will then take action to buy.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: So for me, that’s kind of the big idea behind this book and the big plan I give you is about really getting people to understand that social media is a place to make potential customers interested in you and then to get them increasingly engaged over time.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I think one of the mistakes some people make some times, excuse me, is that when they hear people say you can’t sell on social media. And I’m not saying you’re saying that, but that’s the message that a lot of people here and I think my view is you can sell anywhere you earn the right to sell. And that’s kind of what you’re saying in the engagement ladder. I mean the people that you see it all the time. People that do sell directly on Facebook or in social media, in organic situations, not, not in paid situations even. And I think it’s because they have built that know, like, and trust.

John Jantsch: They moved people kind of along the journey to where they now want to get that direct message. That’s the mistake. I think a lot of people make because they just look, “Oh it’s free, there’s millions of people here, blast my message out and I’ll maybe catch some of them.”

John Jantsch: But I do think that that this idea of the customer journey has become even more and more important. Because we have all these new platforms but the buyers kind of in charge of them now and I think that’s the thing that’s changed the most is that, that, you know, people can tune us out, they can turn us off, they can decide to ignore us very, very easily if we’re just blasting out buy messages.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Well, I was just going to add that. Yeah. I mean, I think one of the big ways you can kind of think about this more easily as if you start to think of social media as a cocktail party. I like to think of sort of what’s your goal in an average cocktail party? It probably or it should be two to get into that cocktail party to make a potential connection with someone, to get along with someone. And then to create enough interest on both ends that you might want to exchange business cards and then follow-up at a later date. Right?

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: So the goal of you in a cocktail party should not be rushing up to your bosses ex-wife’s husband’s former roommate, and immediately trying to sell him your favorite healing essential oil. Right? And in the same way you need to think about social media. So the goal on social media is not to immediately get in there and start blasting a sales message with the idea that that’s going to get you any results.

John Jantsch: So let’s unpack the model. I’m a huge system person. I think people really like structure and process and find it very effective. So I guess we kind of have to go back to the title. So your model is built on the five pillars. So not everybody is familiar with those. So maybe maybe kind of unpack the model globally and then we can kind of jump into a few things.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Sure. So the way it works is my model is called the share model, which is five pillars, but it is based on the StoryBrand framework. So the way we did this is that my model is called the share model, S-H-A-R-E and the first step in that model is all about story. And this is really about digging into the StoryBrand framework. And essentially if you’re not familiar with StoryBrand, this book will give you a 25-page intro that will help you kind of get grounded.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: But if you really want to dig in Don Miller’s book, Building a StoryBrand is pretty much a marketing Bible. I highly, highly recommended. I love it. And basically what it will tell you is it will give you a way to tell a really clear story about your brand that shows your brand in a positive light, but really makes sure that your brand tells a story that connects with your customer and your customer is the hero. This is kind of one of the big ideas in StoryBrand.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: So in the first step of this share model that I share in the book, Social Media Success for Every Brand, you’re really just getting a handle on your story. I want brands to understand what they’re really clear story is. And then once you have that story, then you know in this step of the model it’s about understanding the thing I said earlier that brand marketing and direct marketing are different things and that social media most of the time is brand marketing.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: And then learning about that engagement ladder, which I mentioned. So the idea that social media is about getting people on the first rung of your engagement ladder. So peaking their interest to getting someone to turn into a potential follower and then slowly moving them up that engagement ladder. So the first rung is getting them to follow you. The second rung, these may vary somewhat, but the second rung may be getting them to like a comment you make on social media. The next rung might be engaging with you on social media, talking at you.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: The next rung might be clicking on a link to your website. The next rung up on that engagement ladder might be signing up for your email newsletter. As you get higher and higher up that engagement ladder, you’re getting towards the point where you’re actually getting that direct sale, right? So you’re getting someone to actually purchase and then to actually hopefully share their excitement for your brand with a friend. So this is really the concept in the first step of the share model.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: The second step is all about how and in how probably the most important thing that I walk you through in the book is that make sure that you take the social media evaluation I have. So one of the big things I hear often from the startups I advise, they’ll come to me, they’ll say, “Hey, we just launched a new campaign on Twitter I and it’s not seeing any sales and we are totally bombed.” And I say, “Okay, well tell me a little bit about your business.”

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: They share with me, “Well, actually we’re recruiters and we place top HR executives in great corporations.” And if I hear something like that, I immediately think, “Hey, I bet you’re on the wrong platform, because you’re a recruiter. LinkedIn is really going to be your home. So this social media evaluation is going to take you through some simple questions that are going to direct you to understand what your priority social media platform is. Most of us don’t have endless time in this world. And so I want you to know which of the top four social media platforms. So LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook should be your priority.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: And then you want to really focus in on that priority platform. And then as time allows, get get going on some of the other platforms. And I also in the book teach you some ways to kind of tweak that so that you can streamline things a bit and automate things a bit when it comes to that. So in this audience step, it’s really about figuring out your party platform and then coming up with a social media editorial calendar and then schedule that work.

John Jantsch: Let’s face it, it’s getting harder and harder to reach our prospects and customers, so we have to be a lot of places. We have to communicate using the tools that they want to use. Did you know that 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger every day? Would you like to know how you could reach them? Get a free one month pro trial by going to and click get started. Enter the code duct tape. That’s D-U-C-T-T-A-P-E for your free one month pro trial.

John Jantsch: It’s such a great way to engage prospects, build relationships with customers through interactive tailored content in the place that they want to get it. enter the code duct tape for a free one month pro trial.

John Jantsch: One thing that I find a lot of people really miss is that there’s such a focus on the thought of using social media to connect with new people. I find it actually one of the best ways to build deeper relationships and deeper engagement with your existing customers. And I think a lot of people really underestimate the power of that. Because those are probably going to end up becoming your best source of lead generation is your existing customers.

John Jantsch: And we really have a lot of success getting that point across so that, that people are sharing their stories, their culture, their behind the scenes and social media in a way that’s actually keeping their existing customers engaged and thinking about them.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Well, so this is absolutely one of the steps. So I’ve just been through the first two steps in this model. And step number four is all about that. So first let me talk about step number three, which is audience. And this is all about understanding that your social marketing should be about your audience, not about your brand, which is again that StoryBrand tenant. And so here it’s all about increasing engagement so that you increase that feeling of empathy between you and your followers. But when we get to the fourth step, which is reach, it’s exactly what you’re saying. Reach and expanding and reach on social media is not about getting new followers.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: It’s actually about doubling down on the ones you already have. And what I like to say is I don’t know what Mark Zuckerberg is going to do tomorrow with some new terrible tweak on the Facebook algorithm. But I can tell you for sure that the social media platforms are always, no matter how many times the algorithms change, they’re always going to favor more engaged accounts. If you have more engagement, you will get more reach, right? More people will see your content. And so that’s why thinking about reach and how to expand your reach is actually about engagement and about getting your current followers to really care. And so that’s exactly what you’re saying.

John Jantsch: So, so then let’s follow-up with the final part of the puzzle, which I think is excellence. Yeah.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Yeah. So the final step in this share model is excellence, which is about fine tuning your social media marketing efforts. And one of the things that I think is probably critical to remember here is that social media started as a real-time platform. And sometimes we forget that, especially as brands because we do so much scheduling and editorial calendaring and marketing planning and relation to our social media. But at its heart, it’s a real-time platform, which whichever platform you use is a real-time platform.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: And so you need to be able to be agile and to be able to respond both to unhappy customers or global crises or to things going wrong. And you need to make sure that your accounts are appropriately responsive to those things. And so I share some of my favorite social media disasters in my book, but most of them always come down to a brand ignoring what’s going on in real life and then not responding well when kind of something blows up in their face. Right?

John Jantsch: So, so it’s interesting of course we’re talking about the context of social media, but when I look at your model, I mean it’s really the model for marketing in general. I mean, it is what you need to do on your website with your content and your advertising campaigns. I think it applies not just to social media. Would you agree with that idea?

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Yeah. I mean I think that’s… I actually have not thought of it like that. I think I’ve been so focused on social media. I think I also am so focused on loving the StoryBrand model that the reason that this model developed at all was that StoryBrand is this great kind of marketing framework. But what they really focus on is your website and your email newsletter and I believe that there’s basically three pillars to digital marketing, right? Your website, your email newsletter and social media.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: And so this model came out of seeing that need and saying to Don, “Hey Don, I think you need to create a plug and play solution for social media.” So I really like what you’re saying and I honestly have not thought about it in that light before.

John Jantsch: So we have a framework we call the marketing hourglass that I’ve been for about two decades preaching this idea of the customer journey and there’s seven stages, know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat and refer. We apply that to the website, we apply that to content, we apply that to social media, we apply that to paid campaigns. Because it essentially suggests that we’re trying to organize behavior and guide people and that their objectives and their goals change at each one of these stages. So I really think it is a framework that that definitely could be applied across all of this.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: I love that.

John Jantsch: So let’s talk about how paid social fits into this. How do you blend… I mean a lot of what you’re writing about is, is more on the organic front, but we all know that a lot of the reach acquired in social media platforms has increasingly become paid reach. So how do you blend that aspect into this?

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Sure. So I think you blend it really fluidly. I think if you want to increase your reach on social media, as we mentioned about before, they’re two real ways to do that. One is to create great content and two is to use influencer marketing. But then there’s this third way, which I don’t talk about, which is basically pay for advertising to boost either of those two strategies.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: So I see paid advertising as potentially super effective. As long as you’ve got your engagement ladder in place and your regular, your standard of marketing and message down in a way such that it is having an effect. I think the biggest mistake you see people use with paid advertising is they don’t have anything organic that’s working. And so then they go in and think that paid will work and that’s not actually how it works.

John Jantsch: Right. if you write a great ad to send somebody to a crappy website, you’re probably not going to get any more conversions are you? These platforms and social media come and go. You talked about the big four that are pretty established now, but are there some that you see or that you’re starting to pay more attention to particularly for certain types of businesses?

John Jantsch: I mean, it’s challenging I think because a lot of these you think, “Oh, this is the next new thing” and then it’s gone tomorrow. But people talked about Twitter that way. At a certain point, it was really stupid. It was going away. It was not going to exist. So are there some that you think are kind of coming that people should be paying attention to?

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Well, I think it’s interesting because I think probably my, you know, I think those are the big four. But I would say the other two most important platforms are definitely not new platforms, but I would say they’re more niche platforms and one of them being Pinterest, which is really effective for companies that have stunning visuals somehow connected to their business mission. Right? But then the other other one is YouTube, which is by no means a new platform. YouTube’s been around for 20 years now and yet it is really just doing well and it rocks what it does. And so I think those are the next two ones that are most interesting.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Obviously there’s new stuff like TikTok, but we don’t have a lot of data yet on what that will look like for businesses. And also if it will stick around. Right? I think a few years ago, obviously we could have had the same discussion about Snapchat say or Vine or Periscope Periscope. Remember how big Periscope was? These things that it’s great to take advantage of them while they are there, but don’t build your house on someone else’s land kind of thing.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Yeah. And I think it’s probably gotten harder for some, social network to come out of left field and, be this huge thing. Speaking of Snapchat, I mean, Instagram, which is a big giant, how can go, “Oh, I like that feature they’re doing, we’ll just do it.” And it kind of squashes them. Whereas 2005, 2006 it was kind of like all of this was new.

John Jantsch: But now these, these kind of giant established players probably make it much harder for somebody to come in and innovate, I would think.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Absolutely.

John Jantsch: So you talked about the social media brand evaluation. Is that only in the book or is that something that somebody could actually take and get some insight from your website?

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: The brand evaluation is only in the book, but we do have a free video series at and that gives you five videos and one of the videos talks a little bit about it and gives you some examples of some of the questions. But the actual social media brand evaluation is indeed just in the book.

John Jantsch: Well, tell people where they can find the book and find out more about you. We’ll actually have Social Media Made Simple in the show notes as well.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Awesome. So the book is Social Media Success for Every Brand. You can find it on Amazon. You can’t get a free video series about the book at and you can find me at

John Jantsch: Well Claire, thanks for dropping by the show. And next time I’m in Argentina, hopefully we can grab a cup of coffee.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz: Thank you so much for having me. Have a great day.