Steve Everley of FTI Consulting and Energy In Depth joins us to discuss how you can use Twitter to shape the public debate about oil and gas. We went a little long, but that’s Steve’s fault! He’s too darn smart and I couldn’t stop asking him questions 🙂
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Sooey! – @JamesHahnII (tweet this)
If you don’t care what your bottom line is, then by all means you can ignore social media. – @saeverley (tweet this)
Steve Everley on Twitter
Energy In Depth
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The Top 5 Marketing Mistakes Oil & Gas Operators Make – And How to Avoid Them
James Hahn II: Oh man, oh man, welcome into another episode, ladies and gentlemen, of The Oil & Gas Digital Marketing Podcast. I am your host James Hahn II of TribeRocket.com for marketers in oil and gas and B2B marketers across the globe.
I am loving this episode #007. You might be wonder what’s been going on, we’ll touch on that in a second because #006 was 2 weeks ago. But before we talk about all of that, we have a phenomenal interview lined up. We have Mr. Steve Everley from FTI Consulting and a little group you might have heard of called Energy In Depth. This dude is crazy smart and it’s a phenomenal interview. As I’ve already used the word phenomenal I think at least three times. Or maybe I just need to use it a few more dozen.
But even before we dip into that interview and before we get to the Pay Zone, I want to give some shout outs!
I don’t have any music for that, but this is crazy. Listen to this, Nick Dubya. So — Nick — Shout out to you over in Singapore. This is crazy, he listens to the podcast while he’s walking to work in Singapore. That just blows my mind. The interwebs, thanks to Al Gore, it’s a phenomenal world that we live in. That is a third phenomenal. And a fourth.
Anyway, Nick, thank you for reaching out on LinkedIn and for letting us know you’re appreciating the podcasts. The Tribe is an officially international phenomena at this point, which is just awesome.
Lucas, thank you for reaching out on LinkedIn as well. He had some great things to say about the podcast and he’s over there in ATX holding it down. Please eat some Franklin BBQ just for me, Lucas. Please.
Alright, and then lastly, but not leastly, SLB123. My boy or my girl, I’m not sure. But this — oh man, I’m fired up about this one — because it is our first ever. First ever, iTunes review. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we got 5 stars. Check it out:
“Anyone can benefit from the insight this podcast provides. Finally someone has harnessed digital marketing for the oil & gas industry bringing it up to speed. Not just another boring soapbox podcast, engaging & enlightening!”
I love to get on my soapbox. I’m glad to hear that it’s not boring to you, SLB123. Thank you very much for those kind words and for taking the time to do that review. This is an open invitation to everyone else who listens to this podcast.
Please go to TribeRocket.com/review. That’s TribeRocket.com/review. That’s going to take you straight to iTunes and then you can open up the application and please give us a review. We love 5 stars, but if you’re willing to take the time we thank you so much for that! It’s going to drive us up in the search engines, more people find the show, The Tribe grows, and we’ll be all partying in Singapore soon.
I wanted to be able to bring in some really good music at the end of that at the end there. I love Johnny Cash in Folsom County — sooey! — I think that’s good for the shout out. I can’t really afford to license Johnny Cash right now. I mean, we’re only 7 episodes in. So that’s my — sooey!
Alright, shout out to y’all. This is great. Thank you, again.
As I said, it’s been about 2 and a half weeks. Where was I? I was in Sunny San Diego. Out there, Mike Stelzner and the crew. We were partying battle ships. I got to see my man Doug Karr, Jay Baer, Marcus Sheridan. I got to link up with this really cool cat from Monroe, Michigan. As y’all know, I am originally from Michigan wearing some Spartan green and white right now. So, it was really cool to link up with Stan Smith. Check him out at PushingSocial.com. The dude has a lot of great things to say about how to maximize your traffic on your blog.
Special thanks also to Mark Schaefer over at BussinessesGrow.com. He gave me crazy time and amazing insights and advice. It was just a great time and when I got back I needed to take a step back and examine what I was doing from a content perspective and kick it up a notch. So that I can make sure that I am delivering the absolute best value content to you on a weekly basis. So, don’t worry, I know it was two and a half weeks. But we’re not going anywhere, we’ve got amazing things lined up and it’s only going to keep, keep, keep getting better.
And on that note, I think it is time to turn over. Let’s go. To another Pay Zone Power Move. Let’s get into it!
Pay Zone Power Move
Alright, if this is the first time you’ve ever kicked it with us here in The Tribe, the Pay Zone Power Move is a digital marketing tactic, technique, or strategy that will help to move the needle for you online in your business.
This week it’s sort of an online/offline play because I wanted to put a big ol’ spotlight on this ep … On this episode? … Yeah, please get it out there. But the app is called Bizzabo. We used it at Social Media Marketing World and Bizzabo is spelled b – i – z – z – a – b – o. So bizzabo.com. Don’t worry if you can’t remember how to spell that. I still can’t unless I’m looking right at the word. I’ll link it up in the show notes and y’all can check it out.
Bizzabo, according to their website, is the leading networking platform for event organizers and attendees. I love this app because it made it so easy to find the 3 other people in oil and gas at the conference. That’s right, last year I was the lone ranger. I was the only dude holding it down for oil and gas. This time we went up, I guess that’s what? 400%? I’m not good at math, I work on Facebook.
But I got to meet-up with Elaine Ball and Amanda Finn. Elaine Ball has a technical marketing firm. They came over from the UK. Found Social Media Marketing World via Google. So that should tell you something about the need for SEO, but we won’t go off on that tangent.
Also, this is the dude’s real name — Axel Axmann. What up Axel? He’s really cool. He’s up there in Alberta. Anytime I get to hang around some Canadians it’s really fun because I sound like one in about — in aboot five minutes, yah?
Anyway, the Bizzabo app is so cool and I want to highlight it for our industry. Because, while a lot of us aren’t on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, etc. A lot of us are on LinkedIn and this integrates extremely well with LinkedIn. It actually encourages you when you sign up for the event to sign in with LinkedIn because it will pull in all of your information. Then you’re able to quickly find the people who are relevant to you and your business at the conference. So I would not have been able to find Elaine or Amanda or Axel without this app. And it made it really easy to connect with people that I’ve been wanting to connect to. Because it was awesome getting to go out to dinner with some oil and gas family out there in San Diego. But there was also a few different people from Social Media Examiner and other places that I wanted to link up with and it was so easy because of the Bizzabo app.
So, if you’re listening out there NAPE or Hart Energy or Roseland Publications — shout out, you’ve got your Texas Showdown coming up this summer. But check out the Bizzabo app. It’s a really, really cool way to easily connect with people that mean something to you and your business in a large, large crowd. And I can’t say enough good things about it.
So, thank you Michael Stelzner for turning me onto the Bizzabo app. Hopefully I can convince at least one or two event organizers to use this because it’s a really great technology. I guess the next step would be getting the people at the conference in oil and gas to use it. Which is always…Anyway…
Alright, I’m just being crazy today! So, check it out, bizzabo.com. B – i – z – z – a – b – o.com. I’ll link it up in the show notes. But for right now, why don’t we go ahead and get right into that interview with Mr. Steve Everley.
Steve Everley of FTI Consulting and Energy In Depth
James Hahn II: Joining to Tribe this week is Steve Everley. He is a senior director in the public affairs and strategic communications division of FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm. His chief role is serving as team lead for Energy In Depth, a research and education program of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA). Prior to joining FTI, he was manager of policy research at American Solutions, a grassroots organization of 1.6 million members, and a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute.
Steve Everley, you have made the rounds out there and welcome to the Oil & Gas Digital Marketing Podcast.
Steve Everley: Well, thank you and good to be here.
James Hahn II: Yeah, it’s a pleasure to have you. As I told everyone that’s a guest here, I’ve been stalking you maliciously on Twitter because you do so darn much out there to let people know what is actually going on. But before we get into that, tell us a little bit about FTI consulting because it sounds like y’all do you quite a lot out there.
Steve Everley: Yeah, we’ve got offices in every major city around the world. It’s a major firm, I am in just one division as you noted the public affairs and strategic communications bucket of what the firm does. We got all kinds of different offices and options for clients in the energy space, but then in every other industry as well. My focus is obviously in the energy sector. As you mentioned I serve as team lead for Energy in Depth.
But one of the things we think about here on the energy team every single day is how can you deliver results to clients? How can you help the energy industry in a variety of different ways? I obviously do communications and what we see is that online media, especially social media, is really driving that discussion. Not just in terms of the energy industry itself, but how you interact with the public at large, which unfortunately gets put into two different buckets when in reality there is a whole lot more overlap there through social media, through these online channels.
James Hahn II: you said two different buckets, which are those?
Steve Everley: I mean people think just in terms of the general public and the energy industry as two separate things. How do you talk to the energy industry vs. how do you talk to the general public? And I think what we’re seeing with online media and especially social media is that kind of division has blurred if it’s not completely blown away just because of the kinds of interactions that you can have between your average Joe and someone who may be a high ranking executive with an energy company.
James Hahn II: I think that is a really great point to drive home for listeners even outside of the energy industry. A lot of people don’t really understand that when it really comes down to it, people are people. And it doesn’t matter. We throw around terms B2C — Business to Consumer, B2B — Business to Business and we try to silo out, “OK, Coca Cola is going to have this approach. GE is going to have this approach.” But when it comes down to it, the strategies and the tactics are the same across the board no matter what. It’s just the messaging and the branding that sounds different. But as long as you’re human and you interact with people on a human level, then you’re going to be successful to some degree.
Steve Everley: One thing I think people look at — start over there. I think people look at Twitter. They look at Facebook, and it has this sort of stigma of, “Oh, that’s where people talk about what they had for lunch. That’s where they share cat videos. That’s where they do some of these silly things.” There is plenty of that. Guilty as charged on that, right?
James Hahn II: Right.
Steve Everley: But, there so much out there that’s valuable through that and being able to untangle that is often the difference between being affective in communicating your message and not really understanding where the public is going with these sorts of things.
If you look at Twitter, just as one example. When it started out, it was this sort of, “Here’s where I can talk about where I am.” When FourSquare integrated it it was, “Oh, where is this person? He’s at this airport now, that’s cool.” But it was still this marginal thing that people did for fun. When I first started doing it back in 2008, you couldn’t even search by hashtags. It wasn’t a clickable thing. It was just an added feature that you could put on. But within a few short years, you now see breaking news on there. We found out about Osama Bin Laden being killed on Twitter first. You look at reporters, it’s much easier for them to put together breaking news through 140 characters than it is to put up several paragraphs, get it approved by their editor, published, and then sent out.
It’s rapid, it’s immediate, and like I said this is now the difference between being affective at communicating and, frankly, being left behind.
James Hahn II: So what would you say would be those successful components of communication your message?
Steve Everley: In what context? I think that there’s — I think that was purposely a broad question. But, what kind of specifics are you referring to there?
James Hahn II: I guess specifically referring to mediums like Facebook or Twitter. But you could also touch on some of the broader things, what you consider social media because we had spoke about that before we got on the call here. Social, a lot of people think of that as Facebook and Twitter, but it’s a lot broader than that. So, what sort of strategy do you think the energy industry, or just a particular company in the energy industry, what sort of strategy or components of a communication message; how do you make that successful?
Steve Everley: I think you have to be active on all of these different channels. I think it’s easy to look at social media as just Twitter and Facebook and focus all of your time on that. That’s your focus, that’s what you deal with, period. And you can be affective at that. You can have some impact by being active on Twitter and having a good Facebook page and communicating with people. You can drive a lot of traffic to your website and you can impact the debate. But you are leaving a lot on the table if you’re not dealing, for instance, with LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is, this is an admission for myself as well. It used to be that thing that appeared in your inbox every now and then that some random person wants to connect with you on there. And it was more of a nuisance. You filed it along with free iPad adds and these other things. It was just sort of a throw away thing. But if you search for anyone. If you’re looking for an energy company, or an energy company executive, or just someone who is active out there in the public debate, there’s a good chance that if you search for them on Google the first or second or third result is going to be their LinkedIn profile. Which means if you don’t have that. If you’re not active on there, you’re not engaging on there, then you are missing out on a big opportunity to impact people who are looking for you and looking for your company.
I think Facebook and Twitter are self evident, but you also look at blogs that are out there. And I don’t just mean Blogger.com or WordPress or some of these other things.
James Hahn II: Or TribeRocket.com.
Steve Everley: Yes, yes, I can’t believe I forgot that one. But also these things like BuzzFeed and some of these other that if you want to get out of the sort of free anybody can go out there and do this bucket. Doing paid ads. Doing sponsorships. Linking up with these groups and creating relationships so you can put your message on all the channels. A lot of this stuff just gets overlooked.
Again, people see BuzzFeed and they’ll look at it and say, “Oh, different images of funny dogs rolling down a hill.” And you can do that. But you can also do a lot of different stuff on those sites that is impactful information in a way that people are willing to share; infographics, these kinds of things. So you can have a big impact just by looking into these things and being active on the online space. Not getting tunnel vision in terms of what social media is, but thinking broadly about it.
One other thing I wanted to mention here too is that it’s sort of become a worthless talking point to say “the democratization of the media.” Anyone can have a blog anyone can put stuff out on Twitter. But there is a truth to that, and it used to be that if you wanted something out there for the public to see you had to call up a reporter. You had to reach out to the media. You had to cross your fingers that they would agree with you that it’s meaningful.
If you have something that’s important now, you don’t even have to send a press release. You can go onto Twitter and start talking about it. And you can tag reporters, you can tag other people, other influencers. You can put it on LinkedIn. You can start your own blog. If you have useful information you can get it out there, ad you don’t have to rely on the approval of someone else to do it.
And I think that’s the overall message of the impact of social media. Is that you don’t have to wait for others to approve what you’re doing. I don’t mean that in the sense of going over the head of your boss in terms of the contact you put out. But in terms of the message that you want to get out there are fewer bottlenecks now to get that information out. But it does require an innovative look at the online space and how you can get that message out effectively.
James Hahn II: What I really hear you saying is a dual message. Be everywhere and enjoy the benefits of not having the gatekeepers to reach your audience.
Steve Everley: Essentially, yeah. And I don’t want to discount the role that the media plays here. Traditional media, whether it’s newspapers or even online only news sources. I would never recommend people just completely disengage from them.
But my point is that if you look at the debate over hydraulic fracturing, there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the Internet. I think that’s true for every issue. And it’s true for both sides in terms of the pro and the anti-side. But there’s a lots of information that gets disseminated on fraccing that never has to go through an established newspaper. It never has to go through a well known online news source.
This can go almost exclusively through activist blogs, Twitter, and different Facebook group meetings where you set up a conference call of some sort. Someone can put something on a blog, tweet it out, have a conference call. By the time you actually get to that conference call you’ve had a huge impact, and you may actually get a reporter who calls into it. And then you’ve touched the media and done all of these other things but you didn’t even have to reach out to them necessarily.
So that’s just one example of how you can shape the debate on a certain issue or on some topic that you are interested in without having to go through the standard channels that you would have had to go through 20 to 25 years ago.
James Hahn II: Can you give us any, without naming any client names or any things like that, some general success stories that y’all have had and maybe discuss some of the positive impacts that you’ve seen out there shaping the debate?
Steve Everley: Well, one thing that I talked about when talking about the impact of social media, especially Twitter, is in the wake of the Colorado votes on hydraulic fracturing, the local control votes where there were some votes to restrict or put a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in four Colorado towns. One of the thought pieces that came out afterwords was a look at social media and comparing what the opposition said as opposed to what the pro-side said.
And what you see is that the pro side tends to focus all lots on the traditional media play. Getting some op-eds and some letters to the editor out there. Doing some paid advertisement, whether it’s radio, or newspaper, or TV. But really focused on that. Whereas the opposition invested heavily in online and social media and these sorts of online communications. And what that ended up being is you had these big ads that could then be mocked by the quote unquote grass roots. We could talk about this grassroots argument is a little bit phony in terms of having money coming in from out of state to fund these efforts and then there presumably grass roots, but I think that’s probably a different subject for a different day. But the point is that if you are not active in these areas, you are essentially conceding a very effective media outlet completely to people who disagree with you. Completely to the people who are trying to do something that you don’t want.
I put it in this context because it is easier to put it in a situation where there was a winner and a loser. One of the things that we all learned from that is you have to be active there. You have to be engaging. You can’t just put out three tweets a day and not respond to anyone. You have to actually respond. You have to have people who are willing to engage in discussions on there. Frankly pushback on misinformation that’s out there and really take an active role in that conversation. And not just think of it as, “Well there’s a lot of crazy tweets out there, there is no way we can counter all of that.” That can’t be your mindset because then you’re just conceding that over there. And it’s much more powerful than it was even two years ago, much less even 3, 4, 5 years ago.
James Hahn II: As more people in the industry move towards these channels it has this exponential affect of being able to get the message out faster and faster. What you’re saying reminds me a lot of one of my favorite quotes from my friend Jay Baer over at ConvinceandConvert.com. He says that a lot of companies just treat their Twitter accounts like mini-press release machines. But you’re really just missing the point if you’re doing that.
Steve Everley: A lot of people unfortunately will use their Twitter accounts really to only tweet out their actual press releases. They think well this is another medium. Now, you should do that. You should ask absolutely put that out there. But, you also need to realize that what you’re doing on Twitter is a combination of, you could think of it as a press release machine. It’s also a personal blog for you to explore ideas and flesh out certain things. It’s also effectively a chat room that you’ve walked into.
People don’t really talk about chat rooms anymore, but 15 years ago when people would go into chat rooms no one would go in there and just write a few things and leave. You went in there because it was a conversation and you actually wanted to interact with people. That’s what Twitter is, but it’s also this very impactful medium to put out messages that you want to engage with people and frankly understand what other people are saying so that you can shape your messaging, so that you can shape what you are going to do moving forward to address concerns or be a part of the existing conversation that’s out there.
James Hahn II: I really like what you’re saying there because it reminds me a lots of one of my favorites and analogies in this regard is the cocktail party. I guess we could just say your standard oil and gas networking cocktail party that you go to. Is anyone going to want to continue talking to or even be around someone that just comes up and says, “We just drilled $100 million well, here’s my business card.” And then continues to go into each and every circle. Nobody even wants to be around that guy. Doing that on Twitter by doing nonstop self-promotion, you’re not going to gain any traction. And then you’re going to come back kicking the can saying, “Oh, this Twitter stuff doesn’t work.” But it’s not necessarily the platform. Or as many people say, it’s not the hammer it’s the carpenter. And you really need to look at how you’re using the tool to make sure that you’re using it effectively.
Steve Everley: And to carry that analogy out too, if someone came up to a circle and said, “Hey, we have this wonderful well that’s getting great results here’s my business card.” What would be the next response to that? Someone in the circle would say, “Oh, that’s interesting. Where is it? What kind of technologies are you using? Where else are you active?” They’re going to have follow-up questions. And you wouldn’t just walk away from that, you would have that conversation. I think you have to think of Twitter as, if you want to keep with that analogy, you have to stay in the conversation and answer those questions or no one is going to call you back.
James Hahn II: You can’t just treat social media, Twitter, Facebook, or anything like that as some sort of a checkbox. “Okay, yeah give me some of that Twitter. Alright, we got our Facebook page. Linda updates LinkedIn account every six months, we are killing it over there.” And then wondering why you’re not getting results. As you said, you have to keep in that conversation. One question that I wanted to ask you because you are so prolific in tweeting. Do you have any tactical workflow style tips that you could give us? Because I’m trying to learn from you here in how you manage to push out the amounts of information that you do. Do you have any tips for us?
Steve Everley: I think you start with the news. You start with the different headlines that you see. You set up Google Alerts. Sort of the standard thing that anyone who is active in this space, energy space or if it’s a different industry, healthcare or whatever. You set up the difference Google Alerts so you know what the news is. From those stories, sometimes the headline is just worth tweeting out to get the news out. Sometimes there is a quote deep in the story that you want to highlight.
There is a great story out today about what the Obama White House is saying about natural gas. Sometimes the headline is a little nuanced and it may have something to do with methane research. But deep down you actually find them pushing back on some of the more radical green groups and what they’re saying about hydraulic fracturing safety, and specifically methane in emissions. He’s pushing back specifically. You wouldn’t get that just by doing a Google search for the story necessarily. But you want to highlight those elements.
I think one of the goals you want to have as someone who is active on Twitter. A goal you should set is to be someone who, if someone goes to your profile, what they will see are news stories, links, credible information, reputable claims, that kind of thing. I think you can toss in a little bit of your own opining, your own blogging because Twitter is called micro-blogging. What you don’t want to see is someone whose entire Twitter account is a stream of consciousness about a bunch of different issues, or even about one issue, and they don’t have any sort of links or sources or anything like that.
You need to think of your Twitter profile — you know, people can see the full range of tweets. Every tweet is not an isolated events. So, you need to think of your Twitter profile as you would think of if you had a blog. When people go to your profile they see all of this information. I tend to focus on the news. I like to focus on what stories are out there. What people are saying about shale or hydraulic fracturing. Or, frankly, anything in the energy industry that I think is interesting. Work from there finding those key nuggets in the story and eventually you’ll be seen as someone who is not only a credible voice on this, but someone who understands the news. Understands certain trends.
And ultimately, as I was saying earlier. The traditional way of interacting with the media was to either send them an email or give them a call and say, “Hey, here’s this press release. Here’s an interesting piece of news that’s about to be made.” But on Twitter, you can be followed by reporters who see the information that you put out. And, again, that’s instantaneous. There’s no worry about, “Did they get my email? Why won’t they return my call?” Anything else like that. Everything that your putting out has a chance to reach the media. Has a chance to reach influencers. So, again, think about your Twitter profile in that content context rather than whether you want to say it’s just the outlet for cat videos or just the occasional press release. People look to Twitter, people look to Twitter profiles to see credible information and they treat it like they would be going to a blog.
James Hahn II: So now I am thinking, how do you, or how can people out there that maybe say, “Alright Steve, I’m down with this. I’m going to go ahead and get on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook, or whatever the case is. How do you measure your results? And how do you know that you’re gaining traction and having an impact versus sending tweets out into the ether?
Steve Everley: Well, that’s kind of an evolving process so to speak. You can judge it by how many retweets you get. You can judge it by how many followers you have. I think the best metric is to look at the type of followers you have. Someone who has 10,000 followers could have a bunch of people with an egg profile picture. Which, for your listeners, that means that they may have one or two followers. They may have just started their accounts.
James Hahn II: Or they’re a robot.
Steve Everley: Exactly. Or it was some sort of paid thing because you can buy followers. You’ll see people out there who rarely tweet who have 20,000 followers. But it doesn’t really mean anything, it’s just that they want to have that follower number. I think looking through and having the quality of followers. And if you want to be effective as a communicator in terms of serving clients, you want to have a lot of your followers be key … Whether it’s policymakers because you can have members of Congress who follow you. You want to have influencers and key thinkers on the issue. And you want to have reporters who follow you.
That is a validation of what you’re putting out, and that is it is actually useful information that people are finding. And that may actually be the best thing to look at. To carry that out if someone has 10,000 followers, and there are a lot of bots or whatever. It looks kind of cool when you are on your profile page, but it doesn’t mean anything. It would be much more meaningful if you had 500 followers that was heavily skewed towards reporters, influencers, and those kind of things. Because the message that you’re getting out is potentially getting out to a much wider audience. Because they are seeing your content. They are thinking about the issue the same way that you are at that point. And you are potentially shaping the way that they think as well.
James Hahn II: This is another one of my favorite points that I speak to people about. Because in our industry when you say online networking, people naturally default to LinkedIn. Which is, as we have discussed, an important place that you need to be. I get a lot of traction and engagement sharing my links there and having conversations. But, for me Twitter is hands-down the best networking tool that has ever been created in the history of mankind. Because you can connect so easily and readily with influencers. And you see they have 50, 60, 70,000 followers. But the fact is that even people with a lot of followers like that don’t gets a lot of responses. Don’t get a lot of direct interaction, so much that it’s overwhelming anyway.
So if you are strategic about it, which I have been. Full disclosure, I put you, Steve, on a 50 best Twitter people in oil and gas list, whenever that was about a year or a year and a half ago now because I want to develop relationships with a lot of the influencers. And you can’t just do one thing. It’s just like any other networking venue. You meet someone at … you know, shake their hand, get their card. You’re not best-good friends with them yet. You have to nurture that relationship. But as you share links back-and-forth with people. As you add value to their stream, and humor and so forth. It’s a really phenomenal medium to connect with people that are at really high levels in all kinds of industries.
Steve Everley: And I think that there is another angle to look at this as well. A lot of people think that you go on to Twitter and you just want to follow the people who you are agree with. The policymakers maybe that are in your state. Maybe the different thinkers who say things that you agree with, and then have that as your thing. You’re missing out on so much if you do that. If you want to have your own Akal chamber you don’t need Twitter to do that. If you just want to reinforce what you think you can just look in the mirror.
One of the most strategic things you can do on Twitter is start following, in my case a lot of the anti-fraccing groups. And a lot of their staffers. And lots of their followers and people that they regularly interact with. Because then you will understand what the actual debate is out there better. If you just sit in front of your computer you can see a lots in terms of news. In terms of different videos that may hit your inbox, and Google alerts and everything else.
But, again, Twitter as being a blog and chat room all in one you can see what those conversations are. You can see what those claims are that are being made. And you can see if they’re being picked up by reporters. If they’re being picked up by the general public. Or if they’re just staying isolated in these small circles where people are having their own closed off conversation about certain things.
That’s the other element here of social media. Not just following the people, and not just being part of the things you agree with. But really better understanding the debate because you can follow these other people. And it’s not as if there’s a stigma to that too. It’s not as if someone would judge me for following Food and Water Watch. Of course I’m going to follow Food and Water Watch because they’re one of the most active and well-funded anti-fraccing groups in the country. I want to know what they’re saying. I want to know what their claims are. And then I can better respond to those. And I can better respond to the broader discussion because I know what the other side is saying. It’s a bit hyperbolic but it’s just sort of the old adage, “Know thy enemy.” I don’t like using enemy to talk about a public debate over hydraulic fracturing. It’s a little harsh. But it’s that same general thing. Know what the other side is saying because then you will be more effective in what you do.
James Hahn II: Yeah, you really can’t inform the public if you don’t have any clue what the other side is saying.
We’ve been talking, and as you can tell I could probably talk for hours and hours on this, but we’re coming up on 30 minutes here. So what would you say to that person that might be listening right now that is maybe on the fence a little bit about all of this. They say, “I can hear the benefits of Twitter. Maybe I should have a company Facebook page, or maybe I should do more on LinkedIn. But I’m just too busy. I just don’t have time for this. Or it’s not even worth the time I would put into it.” What piece of advice would you have for that sort of person that might be on the fence about getting started and then being successful?
Steve Everley: I think there’s a rhetorical question that has to be asked; what is worth your time? A lot of companies are coming on Twitter and social media because they’ve already answered that question and they know that getting their message out and being active in the public discussion over … Whether it’s oil and gas, or whether it’s healthcare, or foreign policy or whatever. They want to be active in those discussions and I think that as a whole most people realize that you have to be active in this area. It’s just a question of tactics once you’re there.
For the people who may be skeptical about using it, it’s not as if there’s a huge monetary investment that has to be made. You can make a Twitter profile in a matter of minutes. You can make a Facebook page in a matter of minutes. And you could make a LinkedIn page. You’ve got three of the top social media pages, and you don’t even have to get into Pinterest, or Instagram, or any of those other areas.
James Hahn II: Thank goodness.
Steve Everley: To be fair just as a quick tangent, Pinterest is actually driving lots of traffic to websites because images have a very hi rank on Google. Again, another discussion for another day. But what I would say is it doesn’t cost you anything to go set up a Twitter profile, or a LinkedIn page, or a Facebook page. And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go on there. It doesn’t take long. You’re getting the news every day. There are stories out there that you agree with. Or stories that are telling a message that you think is important. It only takes a matter of seconds to go onto these things and literally just tweet the headline and the link. Or just post it to your Facebook page. Or put it on LinkedIn. It takes a matter of seconds.
What you will find is that as you get more and more used to it you will realize that these are not some sort of secret high-tech thing that you’ll never be able to understand. A lot of it is very self evident. A lot of it is very easy, it’s very user-friendly. You just need to realize that the endgame here is being a part of the public discussion in the issues that affect you. Issues that affect companies, whether it’s calls for additional regulations or changes in rules. Even public opinion about a certain company’s operations. That’s not just driven by what’s written in the Washington Post or what’s said on C-SPAN or Meet the Press. That’s driven a lot by what’s on these social media channels.
And so if you think that these are different media sources that can just be ignored or just casually addressed when you want to, then you are essentially saying, “I don’t really care what my bottom line is.” And that’s the crux of the matter. If you don’t care what your bottom line is, then by all means you can ignore social media. But if you do care about the future of your company or your organization or whatever it is you’re interested in, you need to be active on these. Even at a minimal level. Or else you are completely conceding that to, whether it’s your competitors or to the people who may want to shut your industry down.
James Hahn II: And that is a great point to wrap on, which is that if you’re not engaged. And if you’re not going out there and engaging with the public. Giving them answers to the questions that they have that are legitimate because maybe they live, I talked about this with Brittany Thomas who focuses on the Marcellus. A lot of these people have never seen a drilling rig before and so they’re just thinking, “What is this about?” And so if you’re not out there engaging people and letting them know the benefits you’re going to be bringing to their community … Because we’re far past the days of only throwing a community picnic.
We have 24-hour news cycles and people are always absorbing information. So if you’re not feeding into that information stream with the truth of the matter, then you better get used to working under moratorium restrictions in some form or another. Because the opposition knows how to use these tools and knows how to ferment emotion. And unless you can counter that with rational, reasonable facts, then it’s only a matter of time before more and more states go the New York way. And people are shut out of jobs within the state and operators aren’t able to go and do what they need to do.
Steve Everley: And one other point to talk about here, just real quick is that there are a lot of people who are on active on Twitter who may make a certain claim about the industry. And it’s easy to look at that individual tweet, or that individual post and say, “This person just doesn’t like oil and gas. This person doesn’t get it.” And the reality in many cases, and I’ve had this happen to me, is that the person just doesn’t have access, just hasn’t seen the accurate information on that. They’ve gotten a couple of new stories that had some bad information in them and that’s what they base their opinion on. It’s not their fault necessarily, it’s just the information that they have.
You can engage with those people and say, “Hey, actually here’s what the EPA has determined. Here’s what state regulators determine in that case. They claimed that this was hydraulic fracturing, it’s actually a disposal well. These are different things that are regulated under different rules.” And you can actually change peoples opinion and they they’ll say, “Oh, I didn’t realize that.” Or, “Oh, that’s interesting, I wasn’t even aware of that.” But we have this tendency to reflexively look at what people have said and immediately draw a judgment about their beliefs on something. Whereas, Twitter, again is not just a press release. It’s an open conversation. So if someone says something and you have better information, it’s worth it to put that information … If you can convince just one or two people via Twitter you’re convincing many more because they’ll tell their friends. They probably got that information from a family member or someone else that they trust, they can spread that information to them as well.
James Hahn II: And that is a conversation that is also being had in public. So anybody who is following your stream or following the person that is pushing back or has questions, the hair going to see that and possibly you could have an impact on them as well.
Well, this has been awesome Steve I said about seven minutes we should wrap. But I could probably go for seven more hours.
If you had a place that you would like to send people, clearly we will have to link up your Twitter account in the show notes. But where would you like to send people so they can find more about you and what FTI consulting is all about.
Steve Everley: Well, there is our main website FTIConsulting.com. You mentioned earlier in the program I focus a lot on shale issues and hydraulic fracturing. The research and education program that I serve as a team lead for is Energy In Depth. You can go there, you can search for it, or you can go to EnergyInDepth.org. All of the information that you would ever want about hydraulic fracturing and shale, and the probably a lot more that you weren’t looking for. But, FTIConsulting.com, EnergyInDepth.org, and certainly I am happy to entertain more followers on Twitter. I’m happy to entertain more followers who may want to connect me with me on LinkedIn or any of these other networks. And, I again, there is a wonderful world out there of news and information that too many people are just completely ignoring, and I hope to be able to change that and hopefully this helped.
James Hahn II: Well, I thank you very much for all of your time today Steven. And for all the time that you put into your Twitter stream and all of these other places because you save me a lot of time.
Steve Everley: I’m here to help!
James Hahn II: Well, thanks a lot for joining us on the Oil & Gas Digital Marketing podcast, I hope to do it again sometime soon.
Steve Everley: Thanks for having me, James.
That’s a Wrap
Oh my goodness as my boys down in New Orleans used to say, “I tried ta told ya!” That man Steve Everley, he got a brain on him, don’t he?!
For real, he’s so logical. So many takeaways. He makes so much sense because we need to be out there. We need to be engaging the public. We need to be telling the truth about oil and gas. Because, I don’t know about you, but I like being able to drive down the street. I like being able to heat my home in the winter. And this is important stuff that we’re out here (doing).
So, many thanks to Steve for lending us that brain of his. So much good stuff. I’m sorry that we went 38 minutes on the interview. We probably could have went 3 hours and 38 minutes, you could tell. But when is that not the case?
Wrapping things up here, I have been your host James Hahn II of TribeRocket.com. If you would like to check us out, you can do that over there. And maybe you want to download a free eBook? We’ve got one for you at TribeRocket.com/ebook. The eBook is called The Top 5 Marketing Mistakes Oil & Gas Operators Make — And How to Avoid Them.
If you do sign up for that, or download that I should say, we will give you a free 90 minute digital coaching session. We will give you as much free advice as we can and talk as fast as we can for 90 minutes straight. It’s always a good time, whether we end up working together or not. That doesn’t matter, we are just there to help. And, as I often say, if you want to hire us by the end of that call, that is your fault. It’s your fault. You can’t blame me. I was showing you some free stuff.
Anyway, alright, I’ve said too much. I better start wrapping here.
Oh yeah, don’t forget TribeRocket.com/review. If you can hook us up with some more iTunes reviews, that’s awesome.
This does bring us to the end of yet another Oil & Gas Digital Marketing Podcast. Many thanks to Steve Everley for joining us. Thank YOU so much for tuning in! I hope you, and your family, and errbody out there in the oil bidness — even if you’re not in the oil bidness and you’re tuning in, thank you for tuning in.
Have a wonderful, fantastic, outstanding, extraordinary week. And let’s all, in honor of Mr. J Paul Getty, let’s all go out there — let’s rise early, work hard, and strike oil.
Folks, we will talk to y’all next week!