Comments Build Relationships Faster and Better than Posting Content with Ira Bowman

Is your nonprofit in need of assistance with its digital media? How can you boost your SEO, drive more visitors to your website, and manage your social media? A good place to start is LinkedIn. Begin to form genuine relationships rather than just posting on social media.

Help Support Ira’s Daughter Lizzy and their mountain of medical bills.


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Notable Quotes

Your first, second, and third-level connections on LinkedIn allow you to see more of the board.

It's amazing what happens when you have a pretty good idea that's not self-centered

Understanding the mechanics of LinkedIn is the first part.

You've got to engage, and you've got to be different than everyone else.

Conversation Highlights

{02:24} Who is Ira Bowman

{08:14} The difference between a connection and a follower

{14:38} Project “Help You Grow”

{28:50} Going beyond posting to building relationships

Ira Bowman Bio

Professionally Ira is a marketing and sales expert, photographer, graphics designer, website builder, philanthropy owner, Search Engine Optimization content writer, and TEDx speaker.  Ira has built a large social media following with six-figure following counts on both LinkedIn and Instagram.

Ira Bowman holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Liberty University where he graduated with a 3.916 GPA in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a concentration in Business and Religion. This says a lot about who Ira is, as he has many interests, and he strives to do things with excellence.

Over his 25-year career to date, Ira has worked in the restaurant, e-commerce, print, and marketing industries. The majority of Ira’s career has been spent in a sales role in the print and graphics industry helping small and medium-size businesses gain market share and increase sales. Since June of 2020, with the launch of Ira’s business, Bowman Digital Media, Ira has focused on helping increase visibility for his clients on social media and increasing website traffic. The internet has become the main source of commerce and visibility is important to increase sales.

Ira Bowman has been married to Alicia Bowman since June of 2000 and is a proud father of eight children with several of the kids now in college. The family is located in Southern California just outside Los Angeles.

Bowman Digital Media

The new superhighway of business is found online.  The equivalent of buying property along a busy street or near the highway is increasing your website domain authority and following on social media.

At Bowman Digital Media, we help our clients increase their digital visibility by creating content, writing blogs, building backlinks, and more, so they can focus on running their business without fear of becoming obsolete. 

We create websites, design graphics, write blogs, take photos, edit videos, and improve SEO all at prices that won’t break the bank on a month-to-month basis as we’re happy to earn the business on a prove it basis.

Want to discuss how BDM can help your business?  Book a free 30-minute consultation.

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Full Transcript

Ira Bowman, LinkedIn, and Instagram legend. Ira, how are you doing today, brother?   

I’m a good man. It makes me laugh when people introduce me that way, but OK. I’m doing good,  

Thanks. I feel the same way when people start talking about the things that I’ve done. I’m like, “Man, that guy sounds great. Who are you talking about… oh, that’s me? Oh, that’s right, that’s what I do.” Because we just feel like regular people most of the time we don’t feel like celebrities or anything else. I don’t consider myself a celebrity. I know you don’t either. When someone talks about us that way, say really. Like, that’s me, and you’re like, “Oh yeah, I guess I have done some things that are interesting.”  

It is weird. It is weird when you start to think about it. I was at a San Jose Sharks game back in, I think, 2020, and at the time, I had 30,000 followers or 30,000 connections. The stadium’s seating capacity in the stadium was 17,000 people. And I said, “Wow, that’s a lot of people.” And then I realized they have twice as many people and they got me on LinkedIn, and it’s just the first time I was able to visualize. How many people were there? 

Yeah, it certainly is weird, and it’s weird to think about because you look at all the platforms we have together. And all the people were connected to, I mean, phone calls and emails and zooms that we end up doing, and then we end up doing something like a podcast that I’ve done for the past three years in an organization that we’re both parts of. You meet people all over the planet is weird to think how great it is to be connected to everybody. But you are the only one I know that is closing in on 200,000 followers on LinkedIn and has over 100,000 on Instagram.

But there’s also much more to you than just those numbers because you run Bowman Digital Media, do photography, and love creating digital products and doing all that stuff. You also have a nonprofit that your project, projecthelpyougrow.  You’ve done many amazing things, yet you’re humble. I’m happy that you’re on the show today. Give us a little bit about your background. 

Well, the first thing that everybody seems to get a kick out of is that I’ll be married for 22 years in just a few days. But I have eight kids! That’s how things work. A back and they’re like, “What do you have?” I have eight kids, and I’m like, yeah. And then they asked me if I’m Mormon or Catholic or if I know how that happens, and the answer is no. Yes, I do know how it happens. But it’s a happy wife and a happy life. I have a hashtag. I went for it nine and she hit me with eight. That’s enough, there you go. 

I remember doing my family tree several years ago while working on my genealogy. We got back to the 1300s in Norway, which is just crazy. Someone had done most of the work for me already. But you see, we were farmers in Norway. We moved to northern Minnesota and continued to farm, and you can see how many children were born when the infant mortality rate was around 50%. We didn’t have industrialization. You require farming. The more hands you had, the more likely your farm succeeded. To help make any kind of income. But you’re in San Diego, in the San Diego area, and you’re not running a farm. You’re not Mormon or Catholic or any of that stuff. 

I live in the Inland Empire is a little confusing for people. Because of the inland, Although Empire is not located in Los Angeles, we can consider ourselves greater than Los Angeles So, like, if you look at the map, we’re close to San Diego too so I can go there. All this California nonsense, but no. I live in the desert. There are no farms here. There are ant farms and palm trees unless you are an ant. My wife and I moved here in 2020, right at the beginning of 2020 when we came here. My wife and I are from the Bay Area, and I grew up in Las Vegas; no farming in our area. In our history, at least, the media has been very bad. 

I’m just picturing you and your wife, for you know, 22 years in the desert. I just picture tats, and we need to see the moisture farmers out there just scrapping for every little bit they can. Is one of your kids going to be a Jedi when they grow up?

You never know. You never know. I’ve got a kid who’s 4 years old. If you ask her what she wants to be for a living, she’ll tell you she wants to be a mermaid.

Well, with the technology we have now, I think it’s probably within the realm of possibilities in her lifetime, to become a mermaid. (laughing) But I’m not an expert on any of that stuff, but you seem to be an expert on growing your social media. At the beginning of the year, you hovered around 1,500 followers. By the end of the year, you had jumped up to 25,000. There are nearly 200,000 people now. What drove you to do something different on LinkedIn which was a new platform at the time? 

Yeah, I joined LinkedIn in 2009 and have used it for almost ten years. I think a lot of people did. It was more connecting with the people you worked with or knew from school, and then I would use it to research the sales. I was using it to research potential. And I’m the network in-person—networking events. What I would do, which I thought was smart at the time, I would get on. I would try to find the list of people attending a networking event before the event started, and I would look up their LinkedIn profiles. If it were somebody, I thought would be a good prospect for me, I would try to memorize their picture. A word or two about They’re almost like a stalker, but not in a weird way. You know it’s their professional profile, right?

When I would go, I would try to put some effort into Casual facts or talk about something I thought they would be interested in based on their profiles. And I found that it worked. Well, for me, that’s all I needed LinkedIn for. It’s a great tool, but one day I just happened to be on the platform with somebody that I’m not friends with now, but I didn’t know. But I was connected to them. He was on video and said some things about LinkedIn and networking that seemed brash. It seemed to say, “Oh my gosh, I can’t.” This guy is out of his mind. It was smart, even though I thought it was off.

But in the end, he said something I’ll never forget, which changed my life. He said if you’re smart, call me. Now he wasn’t talking to me directly; he was talking to whoever was watching the video. But he said my phone number is in my profile. If you’re smart, call me, and I was like, “Well, I think I’m smart.” I called. Because I was living in the well at the time, my commute was 2 1/2 hours one way. I wasn’t living in the Bay Area. That’s a problem. I was living 60 miles outside of San Francisco. The little town called Manteca is south of Stockton by 60 miles. Because of the traffic, it took 2 1/2 hours to drive there. I got in my car. It was that time of year.

I went home, and I called this guy named Michael Connor. I called him, and He opened my eyes to some things I will share with you right now, and I mentioned them in my Ted talk. Suppose you haven’t seen my Ted talk out there. Shameless plug. You can watch my Ted talk and get more information, but he told me how LinkedIn works and why it’s different. For example, does anybody listen? Do you understand why there’s a first, second, and third-level connection? It’s not a coincidence that they don’t have that on LinkedIn or any other social media platform for that matter.  And I did not even think about it, and probably most of you have never thought about it either. Like, who cares?

Well, it makes a difference, and what is the difference between a connection and a follower? Again, most of you probably have never really thought about that, but it makes a huge difference. From that point forward, my mind was open to this new OK. Here’s how it works. Now that I know what I know, how do I take that and get where I want to be based on this new information?

What is that? What’s the difference between a connection and a follower? And what’s this first, second, and third-tier level connection?  

The first thing you must understand about LinkedIn is that it’s the only platform I know of, and I’ve studied this stuff. I offer this social media management because it is something my company offers, right? I’m knowledgeable on the topic as a baseline for your audience. The only platform that I know of on social media where you do not have access to see everybody. Most everybody’s content without connecting.

There’s the first level because you’re directly connected to me, and you and I are directly connected on LinkedIn. Now there are people you’re connected to directly that I am not connected to. Those would be my second-level connections and the people that you’re directly connected to, not to confuse anyone, but just try to picture this or draw it out right. Ira has connected with people that Travis hasn’t. Those are Ira seconds, and those people are connected. Those people you do not become your seconds, and they become your thirds. Why is that important? But because of LinkedIn, do you remember those old games back in the 80s and 90s? I’m talking about 8-bit Nintendo old games, right? Zelda:

I love Zelda; it is my favorite game.  

You had the wooden sword, carried this little crappy lantern, and could only see much of the board when it was nighttime. But as the flame got stronger, you could see more of the board and how LinkedIn works. Your first, second, and third-level connections allow you to see more of the board. Well, here’s the thing. When you make posts, why are you making the posts? The answer is that you want people to see the correct, you’re not connecting with more people; it is a better way to look if you have open slots or wasted slots. 

If you’re not maximizing your reach, both for what you can see from a consumer standpoint and what People can see you from a producer’s standpoint. It affects both. Here’s a little challenge for you. Take any hashtag you want, put it on LinkedIn, and search. And I challenge you to find one that isn’t a first, second, or third-level connection. You will not find one. They’re all your first, second, or third choices now.

The biggest hashtag, the largest hashtag on LinkedIn, is I67 Million and change. But the one that more of us would use in the United States is innovation. It’s the second-largest and comes in at 30. 8,000,000. Just search. Innovation # innovation 38 million followers and see how many results you get. And then look and see how many of those are the first, second, and third levels. You’re going to find you can go as far as you want, and it’s all going to be first, second, or third. OK, once upon a time, I realized that now what’s the let me finish this lesson. OK, the difference between a connection and a follower? What’s the difference? Because a lot of people don’t. You know, there’s a huge difference. A follower does not enter your first, second, or third level connections as a follower. And see some of what you post. The algorithm will show it in the feed. That’s it. But if they don’t engage, they don’t comment. Then everybody that they’re connected to has no influence, there’s no influence on them. 

Let’s say You are connected to me on a first level. You may not post. You may not even see a post; you’re not going to comment. Engage with it. It’s all but other people in your network. Your first degree, my second, your second, my third. They’ll still have an opportunity. The algorithm can show it. So, the feed I could get this, get some natural organic pick up that way, and if they were to search for a hashtag—first, second, or third level.

Now my results come in their feeds, even following people. You’re following their hashtags if you’re not first. Second, third, it won’t show up in that list. This doesn’t work that way. You must understand the mechanics of LinkedIn. That’s the first part. Now the other part of LinkedIn, which I already alluded to, is that there’s a limited number. Several people to whom you can connect, limiting the open power box. If you will, the fuse box is 30,000. You have 30,000 open fuse slots. And everybody should be trying to put as many of those in as possible. I already know this because I hear this every day. I don’t want to discuss everything with everybody. I’m only looking for quotes, from certain people. That’s great. You’re not going ever to be able to communicate with 30,000 people, but what you’re doing is just opening the board for searches if somebody spams. You know where they bug you or whatever.

Then it’s not, I say, in my marriage. I said this in my Ted talk. It’s not a marriage contract. You can boot them and replace them as often as you need to until you find the right 30,000. There’s nothing wrong with that; you connect with somebody who spams you immediately. If you don’t do that, just connect with them. Just connect with them. Nobody else but he connects with 30,000 and then learns to manage. You will succeed if you know to manage it. That gives you the power to see and to be seen. And you don’t need to do that on any other platform I am aware of. But LinkedIn is unique. When I learned that. I went through my Rolodex membership. Those cards he had put in, I mean spin. He was there in any case. Yeah, I had a real Rolodex.

Tell me, you graduated in the 90s without telling me you graduated in the 90s.  

Right now, my Rolodex is the business card in my Rolodex there. You go, I went through. I think I had 500 cards at the time, and I first reached out to all of them. OK, now I still have. At the time, however, there were 28,000 open slots. Do you do right? Because it was also back then; if you guys remember, you can still get in trouble for this to a certain extent.

But LinkedIn is much more lenient than it used to be. If you sent a connection request to people you didn’t know, they would reject it, and then it would say, ” OK, well, why did you reject it? And most commonly, people will go. I don’t know them. And if you got three of those, LinkedIn would send you an e-mail saying you’re on. You’re being warned. You’re being forewarned that you’re not supposed to reach out to people you don’t know. That’s not how this game is played, even though that’s exactly how the game is played. Because of the way they set up the visibility, right?

The mechanics suggest that you need to connect to a bunch of people you only know need to change one or the other, in my opinion, but they haven’t. I created a project to help you grow in 2018. September of 2018, to be exact, is when I launched the website. But the reason for “Project Healthy Girl”? was not what it became. In terms of job search assistance, correct? If you’re not familiar with Project up. Go to You’ll see it’s a bridge. We connect job seekers to recruiters and employers around the world. It’s free for everybody.

There’s a lot of good information on there, but when I created it, the idea was to be a growth incubator. This is why it’s called “Project”; it helps you grow because I’m saying I can’t be the only guy on LinkedIn. And I use Dad Universals for everybody. But you know, I can’t be the only one on LinkedIn to have the same problem. I’ve got 20.8000 open slots, and I don’t know how to fill them. Certainly, I want to fill it. The idea was this: Travis, It is growing at a growth rate of about 100 people per year. I thought if I could get 100 people to connect with me in the next two weeks, that would be something. I did a year’s worth of growth in two weeks. That’s all I do. I was trying to do so. I put up in my post; that I announced the project. I was asking for people to commit to joining.

The project was this. One hundred people, I included and 99 others, would all come together, and we would blindly accept each other’s connection requests. We’d all grow by 100 and then go our way. That was a fun ride. All it was going to be. Well, the day I announced it, I had 400 connection requests. By the way, just that first day and that post were seen by over 100,000 people, which was my largest post at that point. If you added every post, I had ever made on all the social media for my whole life and added them together; it wasn’t seen by 100,000 people just. To be honest, Right, I knew that I was on too. This big idea was bigger than what I, you know, loved. I’m into it, honestly. I said, OK, I knew we needed a new form. I created a group called Project Help you grow a group on LinkedIn, and I had people joining it in a couple of weeks. I had 4 or 5000 people in the group. But over half of them, because I’m a numbers guy, I know a marketing guy. Over half of those who join say that this is awesome.

Did you know what I needed, Ira? I need help finding a job, but I was saying I’m a sales guy in the print business from the Bay Area. I don’t know how to help you find a job in Toledo or Nebraska. You know, wherever they were. I didn’t have any idea what it was. I’m not a recruiter. I’m not an HR person. I didn’t even own my own business at that point, right? I’m just a guy with an idea of how to help people, some extra followers, and connections on LinkedIn. Through that, I started making a bunch of friends, and anyway, the project up here was born. But that project helped you grow. It was certainly a big part of the wave, or the leverage, if you will that I rode to build my LinkedIn following it. It had nothing to do with my Instagram following, but it had everything to do with the first 100,000 people I connected with on LinkedIn. I would give 90% of that credit till the project is completed here.

It benefits people just how quickly that kind of idea can take off and ignite. It is exciting to see some of that stuff happen.

Well, that’s when you hit it on the head. Ira wasn’t anything other than a giver. That’s what made people attracted to me. They’re like, “Why would you do all this for free?” because I’ll be honest with you. I’m always going, to be honest, but I had offers for the project when I first launched it for over $50,000. People want to buy it for me. They were just willing to write me a check. Hey, we just want to take this idea because it’s hot. Let me have it. I was saying, “No, it’s my baby.” I had the impression I wasn’t. I’m not going to sell one of my kids, although I might give you some of them for free. I can help you with teenagers. I have them, but anyway, I figured out it wasn’t for sale, and then I had people trying to join me as a business. But you know, they wanted to change it, and I was saying I don’t want to change it because I never got into it for money.

It was always just a way to help people by saying I said the mission changed because I let the people determine it. Then ultimately, the thing that you said that resonates and is true is that people will tell you that they love Ira because when you see me and my white glasses, they wear white glasses. Right? You might think ego and all these things, but then you talk to me. You realize it’s not who I am. And certainly, I’m not a selfish person at work. If you don’t drive a Mercedes or BMW or anything else, you know. I mean, I drive one of the cheapest cars. Besides paying for the kids, I go through my business. You know home digital media now; I’ve committed to keeping it a free project forever. That’s my commitment. 

Yeah, no, I know that about you. For those of you that don’t know, I had the opportunity to spend a week with Ira. We were at a ranch in Texas, and there was a lot of business training. There are about a hundred people there in attendance. Most of us learn some part of the staff and whatnot, and it’s just an amazing ranch. Fletcher Cox was nice enough to host. Our group’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner snacks are covered by booze. We had live music. I think I even snapped some photos of myself singing karaoke, and then we had a flag football game, which was a lot of fun.  

I got pictures of you rolling around scoring an amazing touchdown, brother.  

Proof that I have that I’ve done something with my life. Of this  

He caught that touchdown pass from Fletcher Cox, you all.  

I mean, how many people could say that? Uh, not too many. Not too many people. For those who don’t know, Fletcher Cox is the star defensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles. Currently, the best part about the ranch and the best part of that experience, other than the learning, was building those connections and relationships when you get time to spend with Ira. Who is, by all accounts, a regular dude who’s done some amazing things and just has the heart of a giver? It helps to build that connection. When you see something on social media, pick your channel. It changes your accurate perception of who these people are. It doesn’t matter if your channel is large. We only see their highlight reel. We don’t get to see who they are day by day.

I talked to a few people who have a lot of the following: I got to interview Steve Sims. He’s saying we’ve done all this carefully. He said that of all the things I do if I hop on and do life, I’m just—myself from the heart. I have five times the engagement of any stuff I spent thousands on. generating millions of dollars 

That’s 100% true. Because I’m a professional photographer, I look at what I’ve got. I can’t tell you how many cameras I’ve got, but I’ve got them. I’ve got cameras everywhere. OK, I do good photography work on Instagram, and I’ll put these photos that I’m proud of up, and I’ll get a certain amount of activity. But I’ll take a selfie photo of myself that I don’t even want to put up, but I know my users will love it, and I’ll put it up, and I’ll get you to comment—5X10 times the response. You know, people want to see the heart. They don’t. I think the word is authentic if you keep it authentic, it’s better.  

Yeah, when I started doing things on social media, I started this podcast. I didn’t want to go live. When I started the podcast, and we were recording on Zoom via video, I would hide the screen behind another screen, or put a card or something up. I wouldn’t have to look at myself because we get self-conscious. We have all these things we don’t like about ourselves that we are insecure about, or whatever the thing is. And if we’re looking at ourselves, just saying a lot of people look in the mirror-like. They don’t want to see that stuff. And once you start doing it and once you start posting, once you start sharing who you are and your life and experiences, you do those 5,000 to ten thousand times. Suddenly, you stop caring what everyone sees and likes. I didn’t post the video for a long time because I didn’t have a high opinion of my appearance. 

You and me, both brothers, look at me. I made a joke in my Ted talk. You don’t have to be rich, famous, or handsome. I said, “Look at me”, I got visceral laughter from the audience, who said they were like Yeah, but if you could do it, anybody?  

We all kind of have whatever feeling about ourselves or whatever it is. And I had people listening to the show reach out to me and say, “What you’re doing.” to see you in the video. You’re talking about this, saying I know you use your hands. You’ve got great facial expressions that make people want to see you, and I was reluctant to do it just because of how I felt about myself.  

Talking about that and the ranch is just a title you’re singing karaoke. And I think the baby got back just, full disclosure here, I think this was the song because you did more than one, right? The way you use your hands and some of the dance moves and the facial expressions to say you were in it and you were just wholly entertaining the whole crowd. We’re talking about 20 people here. It’s not playing to a large stadium, but everybody, I mean, we were in it, and if the song had gone on for five more minutes, we would have been. With you all the extra time.

You are entertaining, for sure, but I tell people. I get what you’re saying. I have the same thing saying I don’t have. Yeah, look. But I’m used to seeing myself on camera because I go live almost daily. It’s an old hat now, but the first time I had to upgrade, as you and I have talked about off-camera, right? I had to upgrade all my stuff because It’s at. At least I can not; it’s not. It’s not fuzzy, and you can see everything, and the sound quality is semi-decent. It drives me nuts when something Before we started this show, I was fixing my backdrop because it was crooked, and there was a little wrinkle in the backdrop saying you want it. To be clear, I’m not a plastic surgeon. I can’t change the way I look… 

We say all that stuff. To say this, when you are yourself, your true authentic self, you show up, and you build connections with real people. Most of that stuff doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all. It doesn’t matter in the slightest. I told a friend of mine – I forget how we got into the conversation a few years ago – but I said I only hang out with beautiful people. And she took that as the full meaning right up front: it was a beauty. When you have true beauty on the inside, regardless of the symmetry of your face, blemishes, whether you lost an ear in combat, or all that stuff, right? If you’ve got that inner beauty that shines out, it’s not going to matter what your physical appearance looks like. It’s not going to matter, yeah?  

There’s no doubt about that. I 100.0% agree with that. 

You’re feeling the feelings. You’re seeing who they are as true, beautiful people. And those are the only kinds of people I hang out with. I don’t have time for people that are ugly on the inside, that is nasty backstabbing.  

But I’m talking about myself. You know who I’m talking about, my inner circle. Do you know what I mean? Where there are too many people. That you don’t know that you are in my inner circle already. Do you know what I mean? But why are they those people? Because, as you said, they’re real, and they’re about themselves. There are a lot of people that aren’t necessary. Ugly, but they’re all about themselves, right? They’re only interested in furthering their own experience, and they’ll work with you if you work to that end. But what I like about the group is that That’s what I’m referring to and you. You should know that many people will bend over backward to help you, even if there’s nothing in it for them. To me, that’s beautiful people.  

The group we’re talking about that we’re going to be kind of cloak and dagger about is amazing. Every time I’m around that group. Of people, where? Every aspect of my being is alive. 

And you kind of forget everything else. Right, you’re just. You’re there in that moment and don’t want that moment to end.  

Yes, those are. They follow me closely. They looked at all the social meeting stuff. I did a week at the ranch with Ira and the crew. But then I also went to several other cities and stopped and had lunch in between. I took our friend Corrine down to the DFW, and I stopped to see my friend Denny. Before that, I spent five days in San Antonio. And I drove to Pensacola, but I stopped at Lake Charles on the way to see mine. With Buddy David, with his massive house, this guy got a ridiculous sight.  

Full disclosure: I used to live and work in the San Antonio area in a town called New Braunfels. If anybody is listening, I’m shouting out to you for all the fun shenanigans. What we used to have, but I’ve driven through Lake Charles, and my daughter goes to school in Florida so I can picture this. the entire journey 

Oh yeah, Oh yeah, on this whole trip I met people in this group at every stop along the way. David was halfway between Lake Charles and New Orleans. He’s in the group. I spent three or four days in Pensacola with them. People in the group I drove in North Carolina but not in. I stopped in Atlanta to have lunch with three of the guys in the group, and then I hightailed it back across the country. I stopped in Nashville with a guy who’s now a new group member. It’s about building real relationships and community. No matter what your group is or what it’s called. Because this wouldn’t happen, my conversation with Ira here would not. And unless we take the time to build a relationship with many people out there, businesses, and nonprofits, they throw up a social profile, or they throw up a website and say, why am I not a millionaire yet? Why don’t we have 10 million in donations yet? And it’s because a lot of them don’t use those platforms to build relationships, and they don’t use their website to post weekly.  

There’s that baseball movie. With Earl, Thomas, and the other guy, he says to Ray; you build it; they will come. The dreams Kevin Costner If you build it, they will come, Ray. You can build the most beautiful website. It can work perfectly. It can be aesthetically pleasing and have all the right keywords. The metadata description can be correct, but if you don’t get your SEO strategy right, if you don’t, next to your audience, on a visceral level. In social media, your website traffic will be next to nothing. You have to connect with your audience. You have to give them content that they can use. Consume the podcasts and the blogs. They are the easiest. You have two forms of content that you can do that with, but social media. The first social media word is social. And I believe People forget even your business page. That has a social component.

It’s not a place to put out white papers and treat an old PR campaign as something to talk about. You know this CEO. Or I’m sorry, this C-level person is retiring, or we just brought on this new person for marketing, whatever. You can certainly post systems, but that shouldn’t be what it is all about. That shouldn’t be all-encompassing. What do you’ve to get? Products and announcements of hires, fires, or whatever. It should mostly be this. What do you guys talk about at the water cooler? Also, promote your vendors. Promote your clients’ rights. Tell case studies about the things you’ve done and the problems you’ve solved, and tie this all together.

Shouldn’t it be humanistic? Tell the human story. The champion, you know. Make someone else the champion and watch what happens. You’re going to just say I was with Project Healthy Growth. I exposed my heart to helping people. If you do that and people can’t see the direct correlation, how does that help your business? The more you do that, the more your business will succeed on social media. And here’s another thing: People forget Travis. I don’t understand why. How many employees do you have right now? Your business has however many employees it has. I have 33 employees right now. Are those 33 people that work for Boeing Digital Media crazy? I want all of them to engage with not only the posts for Bowman Digital Media but also the posts my client is supposed to write. Oh, a community of support as opposed to playing the crickets.  

Yeah, it’s amazing when you do. I think you mentioned at our group at the ranch that if you’re going to engage with someone’s post, you can support it or whatever. But if you’re going to comment, give us at least five words to help the algorithm. Make it look like something that it wants to show more people.  

The column value adds comments instead of just engagement or thumbs up because it’s common. The weight for these algorithms is lower than if you give what we call a value-added comment. It takes five words. Now every algorithm is a little different, so don’t hold my feet to the fire on every platform, but generally, it’s true. It’s certainly true on LinkedIn, five words or more; you know, I’m on the third post. Great post. Awesome share. Forget that stuff right now because it can look at the words. that you’re using. Too, but you made a post about the veterans. Hey, that’s something we’d consider at Bowman Digital Media, I respond. Let’s talk about that privately. That’s a great value. What is the new comment? It took me 1012 words to say it. Right? Well, now you’ve got a potent comment.

Well, you want your audience to do for your audience just what you know they can. You want to become the top comment or in what we call the relevant comments, and that’s one of the ways that you can also do it. That is, by making a value-added comment, it’s great to see if you’re doing just an od job or a good share. How’s it going? Those kinds of things? You know, just off the cuff. However, we have auto. If you’re Using the reaction that the AI gives, it’s suggesting it’s probably not going to make a top comment, or into the relevant comments, so you have to create a little bit but invest. Here’s what I will tell you, though. Many people are trying to be these content creators, which is not their natural skill set. And they have a very small following. Not even a lot of people would see it. I was saying this is a Great post. I tell people that if they spend 80% or more of their time on social media commenting on other people’s posts rather than creating their own, their brand, awareness, and visibility will grow. A lot further, a lot faster.

Let me ask you this. Let’s say you make a post every day, and you do not know that I comment on every one of your posts. What are the odds of that? You’ll come to one of my posts and return the favor.  

It’s high, and I just did this on LinkedIn. I connected with the owner of the Savannah Bananas. If this is the first time, you’ve ever heard the phrase “Savannah bananas,” Go to a Google search. They are the most fan-first, engaging organization as far as I can tell in the world. I don’t know what level baseball is at. I’m just going to say AAA. It’s probably not true that the AAA baseball team in Savannah, GA, and the owner walk around in a yellow top hat and suit jacket because he’s the bananas, and everything they do is for the fan experience. They’ve got short videos of the whole team, not just the pitcher. The whole team does a little dance before the pitcher throws the ball, and they all do it simultaneously, in sync.  

I’ve seen some of these videos. I didn’t put the name together with that, but I’ve seen some things. I think of the pitcher sometimes. He takes his shirt off and stuff, and they get crazy. Yeah, all sorts of stuff they had. Yeah, they get crazy.  

The team, the crew, and the back-end guys worked all weekend, and then at 1:00 AM, they played an impromptu kickball game with all the people working after working alone, because they want to, that’s fun. I’ve replied. It’s fun, and it’s gauging. I’ve come in on a couple of his things, and no kidding. He replied to me directly, and then I saw his stuff on my post. I did a job update yesterday or this weekend that says I’m now the host of the veteran podcast awards, which I am. Check it out, But I had a bunch of people send me messages in messenger, and a lot of them used the auto AI response. Congrats on your new position.  

You’re not going to get, but you’re not going to get top billing or the most relevant comment slot from LinkedIn with that, right? Again, to the point. Point out if you want to be seen. You’ve got to spend more time making comments. Because now look, let’s say you got 80 comments. Those people are far more likely to remember that day than the others. Thousands of people that you’re connected to didn’t respond correctly. Any comments are better than no comments for that, raising your visibility. But let’s say the 80, you’ve got 75 auto-responses, or they’re really quick hitters. There’s not a lot of effort, you could tell. And then you. I’ve got five of them, like Sentences or pairs of sentences. Those are the ones that you will most likely be endeared to now.

They’re investing in you, and it will work, especially if they do that again. Let’s say you wanted to meet Gary Vee or Simon Sinek. These famous people are on LinkedIn, right? I think Gary Vee has 5 million, and Simon Sinek has 6 million followers each. They have a large following. Crowds let’s say you were to make an intelligent comment on their posts every single day for a year. Do you think you have a much better chance of meeting them and engaging with them than if you just wing it? A comment or two every once in a while.

It’s saying, hey, great post, or you just share their posts. Do you know what I mean? The more you invest in people—like anything else—the more you invest, the better chance you have at a return on investment. With LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or any of them, Tik T.O.K doesn’t have an account. It matters if you make a post. It’s going to be seen by a certain number of people. I’m just going to tell you guys about how this works. When the post gets released to a test audience, only a certain number of people will see it now. The test audience, depending on how they respond, then the algorithm takes over and says, OK, we got this much of a response rate, we’re going to show this many people, or we didn’t get. The minimum response rate, now

The post is put to bed. It’s dead. You wasted your time. You could do that. With a small audience and maybe be seen by Hundreds of people or 1000 people. You must go to your post to see how it performs. Well, let’s say you get 100 views, or you get 1000 views. Gary Vee made a post this morning at 9:00, which is 9:00 Pacific Time. OK, in an hour. It has been engaged with over 2000 people. I’m guessing from the formula conversions I’ve come up with that it was seen by something like 50,000. People, let’s.

Say you were one of the 37 people that made it. A comment on that You potentially could have been seen by 50,000 people in an hour as opposed to the 1000 people, 500 people, or 100 people that normally would have seen your post. Now do the math. How many comments can you make in, let’s say, 15 minutes? Let’s say you could make one every minute. In 15 minutes, you could be seen by 50,000. And I do that every day. Do it five days a week, 365 days a year. Watch what happens. You’re going to be growing your visibility, just raising your visibility straight out of the gate. But also, you’re going to be investing in these people that you’re commenting on, and they have a much higher proclivity to return the favor as you paid for it.

And maybe they don’t respond right away. maybe Travis doesn’t know who you are and your comment on Travis’s puzzle. Come to mine, and I can’t tell you? Comment on my post, and at first, I don’t really. Do you know what I mean? I’m like, Thank you for your support. I respond to every comment that somebody leaves on me. That makes me a little bit. Unique, I reply to every one of you. But at first, it will be generic. I don’t know you, but the more I get to know you, the more I might work on that baby. Got backreference. Do you know what I mean? I might put a funny picture or an emoji that’s an inside joke, but the more I get to know you, the more I get to know you; I might send you a calendar link and say, hey, let’s jump on a call; I’d say, hey, say to get to know you. How many DMS do you think I get per day because I don’t accept? You’re displaying 600 a day. I have hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. OK, I get DM requests every day. Repeat several times. Hey, can we? Can we have a Coffee, a virtual coffee? But I can’t say yes to them. I just can’t because I don’t have the bandwidth. But the ones that I do accept are the ones that I feel like saying to you, OK, I know enough about you now; I’m willing to invest in 10 minutes or 15 minutes as if there’s been a differential in our relationship compared to the other people that are just. It’s a cold outreach. 

You’ve got to engage, and you’ve got to be different than everyone else. I wanted to jump back to what I posted this week and just post an update on the job post. I got a handful of likes, and I got a bunch of comments. Most use the algorithm. Congrats on your new role. There’s one guy that stuck out to me because he said, “Congrats on your new role,” and added value. He’s like, Is there any? Is there some way that I can help you with your new position? And I was like, this is refreshing. This is something different. We hadn’t interacted at all before this engagement. He saw that I had a new role and took it upon himself to not. I only say, “Congrats.” Is there some way I can add value to your life and your world now? I wasn’t sure what to say. I was hey, thanks much. I hate asking for something, you know, the first time we cite it. I’m like, how long have you been? Between podcasting, we started a whole conversation out of all the people who messaged me. He’s the only one that I went back and forth with because he did something different. He did something engaging, and he did something selfless, asking how he could provide me value. 

Let me ask you a question because I don’t know if you’re connected to this guy or not. Well, let’s say he did that. You had that exchange, and he sent you a connection request on LinkedIn. What are the odds that you’re going to accept it?  

Oh, 100%. 

Right, right, and so think about that out there, folks. You know you want it. To connect with people. The problem with most people is that they’re either doing automated stuff or there’s no humanistic to it, or they fired their shot. A connection request message is like, “Hey, let’s connect, and I’ve got this.” I want to talk to you about this. I don’t care. I don’t even read those. Can I be honest? I don’t read them at all. Why? Because if I knew you, you wouldn’t need that connection request message.

Even with my 30,000, which I’m at the limit, I’m always at the limit. OK, what do I have to do to connect with somebody new? I could go into my network, and I must. Find somebody and blow him out. That’s what I must do. If we talk, if you get blown out all the time, you know too. But if anyone, I’ll find someone if I find somebody interesting in my comments. I’ll blow him out and. I’ll send them a connection. Because they’re like, hey, I. I appreciate your support, and I think we could be friends. Let’s connect. The key, I tell people, is the key to everything you want. To do it professionally, at least. It starts with the comment. You shouldn’t be. I was starting with emails or direct messages, alternatively content creation.

You start with the comments in their posts because, why everybody? As for themselves, whether they admit it or not? Do you want to talk about yourself? You want to talk about things you’re interested in, and you’re going to be interested in the people who are interested in the things that you’re interested in, right? Because that adage is true, it isn’t even what they said. You’re not going to remember it anyway; you just must remember how they made you feel at the time. The End of Texas Thinks about all the conversations. All the training of all the information that was given to us, what do we remember the most? I remember how Fletcher Cox made me feel. I remember him cleaning my dishes, which I thought was insane, but here’s a guy making a buttload of money. He’s a Pro Bowl NFL player, a 10-year veteran. What a great guy he’s been. Successful on multiple levels, and he’s taking my plate. I’m that dude who is Mississippi humble all day. You know, he’s not faking anything. I remember and will remember. That servant leader, part of his, and then the training we got. There was a lot of great stuff.

I don’t sit in front of two notebooks full of notes. Information that I wrote. I had. Writer’s cramp, right, but what do I? What do you recall most vividly? The training was engaging. That happened before and after the breaks because that was the emotional relevance for me, right? The relationships that were built Yeah, how do you feel that electricity running through the air, and you come up? Social, but it’s the social part, right? I mean, I think that’s again, people. Even with LinkedIn, they think I must be, you know, 100% professional. Let me ask you this if I was. Working with you and we’re, you know, let’s say we’re on the same level. It doesn’t matter. We’re working at the same place, doing the same job. We’re cubicle mates. Our offices are. We’re next to each other at the water cooler. What are you talking about? You’re talking about a spreadsheet; probably not. You’re talking about the latest analytical numbers that came in or the new widget that you guys are manufacturing. Probably not. What are you talking about? What would you have watched on TV last night? Who won the game? How’s your wife doing with your cake? Is one of your kids sick? How’s your kid doing? You’re talking about That sort of thing, right, LinkedIn? It’s the same thing. People are not there to work. On social media, they’re goofing off. Why not? Do you think they want to talk about work? They’re there to be entertained. They’re there to make friends. They’re not there to talk about the spreadsheet or the widget, I promise you.  

I’ve talked about this stuff in the past. Got those who haven’t met me in People know that I am kind of a goofball.  

Oh my. (laughing) 

I just said something crazy—a lot. A lot of times, I want people to get engaged, right? But I want to do a couple of things. I want to make sure that I am remembered in that interaction. For a long time, I didn’t care if they remember for good or remember me for bad. I didn’t care, but I wanted to be. I want to file good folders on people when we have interacted. That we feel attached to, we file those in our filing folder. In her head, and every time we interact with someone that has a file, you pull out the file. You remember how you felt about the thing. I want that when my name shows up on the phone when I show up on camera with people when I’m in person with them, they’re like, “Oh, I’m having a meeting with Travis.” I can’t wait for that meeting. I can’t. Yeah, and I’m not going to blow it off. Wait for that call. I’m not going to be. I’m not going to blow it off like 

Hello, they were giving you a hard time because of the holiday, but anyway, I would. I missed this call. I even called, I mean, it’s complete disclosure. I called you yesterday and said, “Hey.”  I might be a little late. But I want to make sure that we are good. I’m saying it’s happening, even if I’m late by a minute or two, which I wasn’t. Thank God. But I wanted to ensure that You knew I wasn’t blowing you off.

Yeah, absolutely, and that’s when you build that kind of relationship with people. What, regardless of whether you’re in business or not, because you never know how that will play out? Tell me if you’ve seen this higher rate. You go to an in-person event. People stop, and they say what their name is, and by the time everyone has talked, you can’t remember hardly anyone. You might have taken note of one person because they’ve got a business thing, you’re interested in talking to. But you hardly remember them; you walk. Shake hands with those around you and act professionally, which is just an act, I think, for the most part.

Don’t say if you know me. It’s very much an act.  

You might get a couple of business cards and throw them away when you get home. You never do anything with them. I want to engage with people. I want to know what gets people fired up. I want to know the thing that they care about.

That’s why I started using LinkedIn back in 2009. The way I was using it for that reason because before that, you know when I started networking back in 2000, going to networking events, I was the guy that thought the winner of the event was the one who left with the most parts. My whole goal was foolish, but my entire goal was to race around as fast as I could and make sure I got my card in every single person’s hand, and I got their card. More importantly, it was in my hands that I could bug him for the next couple of days. Because that’s all I was doing was calling and bugging him because I didn’t. Take the time to meet anyone. It was so. I learned the hard way that that was dumb, and if you’re still doing That’s just dumb. Stop it, OK?

Instead of what you want to do. I picked five people. It depends on how long. The event is, but let’s say it’s two hours, just pick five people and just get to know them. Don’t make statements. I want you only to ask questions. Only ask questions. Let them talk. It’s how they slow down or take a breath, then ask him another question until they walk away from you. But I promise those people at the end of the day, the next day when you reach out and call him or e-mail him. Those are the ones that will. Take your call; they’ll return your e-mail because that’s all they remember about that conversation. They don’t remember anything that was said. Just remember, dude, that guy was in. It’s interesting, you know. You’re interesting because you let them talk about them. You ask them questions about it. Them, that’s all. That’s all it is. 

And everyone’s favorite. 

So what? 

The topic is let me tell you about me. 

Yeah, what was I doing? Remember, what I was doing was I was going on LinkedIn, and I was doing some research about what school they went to, and what hobbies they had; I was trying to figure out what could I’ll tell you. One thing that I did, I started doing, that was smart too. I would try to find one. They are on Facebook. Because then you get the real thing. saying what they’re interested in

I don’t even do business cards. 

Do you know what I mean? 

I give them a thank you poker chip that they look at longer than any business card, but I connect with them on social media before I walk away from them. 

I’m talking about 2009 and 2015 stuff, but most people aren’t that sophisticated yet. I love what you’re saying, though, I do that. That was my strategy at the time, but all I was doing was looking him up to figure out what questions I could ask him when I was in front of him. I could ask questions I knew they were more likely to respond to. You know what I mean, saying hey, do you fish? It seems innocuous enough, but if you’ve been on their Facebook and you see They go bass fishing. Every Friday through Sunday. Do you know what I mean? Then you know they’re going to want to talk about fishing, and that’s just that, an unintrusive way to start that conversation and get them. Tell your fish stories for the next 15/20 minutes.

What’s your favorite place to go for bass? What’s the stupidest thing you did as a teenager that you’re lucky? No one knows about the time that you were embarrassed. And can you think of anyone else that you know? Can you think of their embarrassing stories because they can’t? 

I am glad that I grew up before social media was big time. 

Entirely in agreement there. Bowling agreement we used to go. My buddies and I would go to northern Minnesota. We would find bridges to jump off bridges into little channels of the lake bridges over rivers.  

The answer to your question is if your friend jumped. Off a bridge, your answer was yes. 

Yes, I would. Let’s do it. I agree.  

I love it. 

No one now wants everyone to leave their phones in the car because we don’t want them. We don’t want evidence of this, but this. That’s what we did. We were running around, and We found cool places to jump off bridges. Rivers, meeting girls, all that fun stuff. Because that’s, I mean, what was there to do in the early to mid-90s? You know, like? You’ll get in trouble. Explore and go find stuff. Go hang out. Yeah, learn about life.

I did a lot of stuff. I did a lot of stuff. That I’m glad is not on social media. 

Right now, I’m loving every minute of this thing. I appreciate you taking the time to explain the history of LinkedIn, how the various levels of connection work, and what it’s like to use it. Be concerned with other people but not so concerned with yourself that you don’t tell us before we get too involved. I know that you do work with The Barrett Foundation; tell us a little bit about the nonprofit you do work with.

The Bear Foundation is kind of cool. They’re out of New Jersey, but they’re New York City, right? They’re in Newark right now. But the Ferret Foundation has been around for quite a while, That’s community art. by the community. Or the community, they support social equality, and it’s more than just art. Still, they’re trying to holistically address the challenges we face as a community and give a safe space for people to come from any demographic you can think of. Yes, you’re welcome, no matter who you are.

But they’ll create these. Some of them are huge, at 1,112 feet tall. They often call them Anna modules, and there’s usually an animal element to them, like a giraffe, a lion, or an ox. I mean, they’ve had, and they’ve made all kinds of things. Birds, rabbits, I mean everything you can think of as animals, but typically, they have these cool shapes and are free-standing, and then the community group will come in. And they’ll do the painting. They’ll decorate it, then be placed around the community just in time. What’s that they have in New York City’s Times Square? They were there, I believe, at the end of April. You can see some of these pictures on their Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn page. But if you just go to, you can see more of them. They are for homeschoolers and people looking for art projects at home.

They have a DIY kit, which is cool. It’s 27 bucks, but that’s the idea that they’re trying to promote. Community and its community art again. People in the community come and decorate and do the art, and then it gets displayed publicly. I specifically help. I built their website, and when I say I, I mean Bowman Digital Media. We built their website, and then we also helped them with their social media management. That’s what we did before. 

Well, that is cool. I appreciate your heart. I appreciate you sharing it with me. I appreciate that being in your inner circle, brother. If you want to connect with Ira, start with the comments first. Yeah, he doesn’t have room for you. If you want him to make room, you must give him a reason to do so. Whether on LinkedIn or Instagram, check out all his great work at Do you have anything else you’d like to share, Ira? 

Yeah, I just want to ensure people understand when I’m talking about this comment strategy. This comment strategy works on every single social media platform there is. If you’re on Twitter, and you want to grow, and if you don’t have enough Twitter followers, the way you get them to grow organically is just to start commenting on other people’s tweets, right? Reply: Go to the YouTube video. You watch a video. Maybe you’re watching this on YouTube. Leave a comment. You know what I mean, and I’ll tell you. Something else, people. I love this.

Invite your friends to the comment section of somebody you would like to meet. Your comment, you tag them, and let’s say we’re in the same way that you mentioned Joel. I think you mentioned Oh yeah, Kareem, you mentioned Kareem and Coreen LeBron. Kareem is friends, so she compensates. I would go into the post comment, and then we would write the at symbol, and then I would write to Travis Johnson. He would write to Ira Bowman and then us. I might invite other people. The more people you invite to the party, and they show up, and now you’ve got a string, but you made a comment, and now there are ten comments in the comment string.

I guarantee it. If you do stuff like that, People will notice, they’ll appreciate it, and again, do those four or five times. I can almost guarantee you they will reach out to you and say, Hey, I appreciate all the This is what we want to connect. I’m connected to the guy that created Craigslist. That’s the way I got connected to the guy who created Craigslist. I’m connected to a bunch of people. I’m a Raiders fan. We haven’t talked about football, but I connected to Lincoln Kennedy, a former Pro Bowler for the lot. Well, at the time, it was the Oakland Raiders that gave Las Vegas. Raiders now. I got through to him; he’s on the radio. Calling Raiders games, I’m not famous. I promise you he doesn’t care that I have 200,000 followers. He does not care. He connected with me because he would make posts, and I would make intelligent comments regularly, and we became social media friends. 

Yeah, that’s crazy. Getting involved in these comment parties, which I love, and doing things with nonprofits, especially those they care about, is a great way to get connected. I’ve got a couple of NFL connections here in Oklahoma City. I helped Ricky Brady with his nonprofit. He played for the Chiefs and the Cowboys, but he’s got buddies like Chris Chandler, who played for the Raiders, and Billy Bahama, who is a Super Bowl winner with the Ravens. They all hang out together. I got to go hang out with them all and do all sorts of events because I was giving back to something he cared about. And what a great way to connect and provide value first. 

You contacted the Heartstrings, and you added value, and you weren’t what we call a sick fan or just some? You know, social media doesn’t have. To be fake. It doesn’t have to be phony; it doesn’t have to be any of those shallow things. It can be real people making real friendships and making a real difference. You’re talking about nonprofits. You’re talking about celebrities, and what are they? They’re just like the rest of us; they have a heart. Things if you want. Figure out what resonates with them and talk about it, contribute to it. I promise you again, it’s called social media for a reason. 

I just wish people would figure out what that means. It doesn’t mean you come to try to be a fake celebrity. It isn’t about Showing people. If you listen to what we said in this show, it isn’t about putting out. All the things that seem perfect are your idiosyncrasies.

That’s the thing that people like the best. You know, the struggles we shared on LinkedIn happened quickly in 2022 and 2021. The biggest these are all the performance posts that I’ve had of all the things that I’ve talked about, done, and did some cool things. You can go check them out, but these are neat things. The things that people have responded to and the posts that have gotten the most attention have been the things I’ve shared about my daughter. Nothing to do with professionalism, nothing to do with meeting goals. It’s a struggle. It’s a personal struggle. It’s a battle that we’re going through and going on for almost a full year now, but those posts are. Those are the ones that get seen by hundreds of thousands of people. I get tens of thousands of engagements on these posts. It has nothing to do with anything but my personal life. I’m this. My daughter, you know. What do I mean? If you can find things to talk about, just be open.

You’re going to find much more success, but again, it isn’t even about being on social media, but everybody thinks I want to be an influencer. Well, it doesn’t influence the content’s influence with comments. Comments come from Hey; I couldn’t say it any better myself.

Alright, thank you much for being my guest today. 

Man, it’s been A pleasure; thank you for having me, Travis. 

Oh absolutely. If you like this show and want to start your podcast, go to Check out the resource section. We’ve got a complete guide in there. It’s about 70 pages. It shows you how to do all the stuff we do here, and if you want to get college credit, we’ve got a course approved at Forbes Business School. Technology and you can take it. Whether you’re a student or not and you can get it transferred to your college or your school for college credits. No other podcast course on the market is available for college credit. We’ll see you again next week. 

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