Back to articles

Podcast Pit Stop: Braden Wallake on Being Authentic and Transparent Online

Being Authentic and Transparent Online

In episode 86 of Pit Stops to Podium, we sit down with Braden Wallake, the CEO & CSO at HyperSocial. With a proven track record, Braden excels in leading marketing teams and creating potent B2B strategies. Notably, he's driven a Canadian SEO company to $115,500 in 6 months, lowered cost per lead to $2.35, and boosted LinkedIn profile views by 258%.

Our central theme revolves around the concept of authenticity and transparency in the online world. Braden provides profound insights into leveraging imperfections for growth, fostering genuine connections within digital landscapes, and cultivating unwavering positivity in the face of adversity. These invaluable lessons hold the key to reshaping your digital footprint and unlocking unparalleled opportunities for personal and professional growth.

If you’re ready to learn from one of the best, then buckle up and hold on!


Pitstop Highlights

LinkedIn vs Instagram: Exploring Social's Strategic Significance

If you're putting out content on LinkedIn, you need to be a lot more creative and consistent than a few years ago (due mainly to algorithms).  But the effort is worth it as most VP's and C-level executives are spending the bulk of their social media time on the platform.

LinkedIn is also great because there are no gatekeepers--you can connect and converse with someone directly as most people do not have someone else managing their LinkedIn account (as opposed to other platforms where that may often be the case).

The First Steps in Audience Engagement

Focus on relationships first and content creation second.

Focus on being helpful, not just selling/pitching. (no pitch slapping)

Building relationships, having conversations, and not viewing it as a transaction will lead to great content creation.

"People don't care what you know until they know that you care"

Creating a LinkedIn Voice and Content Strategy

The most important thing is to simply be yourself because that's how you'll naturally be the most comfortable when interacting and conversing. 

Your LinkedIn posts should accurately reflect how you speak and think so that there's not a  disconnect if you meet someone in person or speak on the phone.

Share stories of your real life that can be related to lessons in business.

Connect with Braden


Full Transcript

Brendan:  Hey everyone, welcome to Pit Stops to Podium, the RevPartners podcast where we talk to execs who competed and won in taking their companies from high growth to high scale. My name is Brendan Tolleson and I serve as the co-founder and CEO of RevPartners and I'm delighted to have with me today, Braden Wallake, for this episode of Pit Stops to Podium. Welcome, Braden.

Braden:  Brendan, thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Brendan:  Well, hey, I'm pumped to have you. I'm really excited about this topic. I know it is becoming more and more mainstream as it relates to how companies are going to market. And so that's a nice teaser before we get into the big idea. But Braden, for those who may not be familiar with you, you're the CEO of HyperSocial. And I'd love for you to give our audience just a little bit of perspective on who HyperSocial is and a little bit about the origin story. How'd you come up with the idea? What inspired it based off your past experience?

Braden:  Sure, yeah. As of about a month ago, we launched a SaaS company too. So I'm also, I guess the CEO of that, it's called Automate as well, but it's very similar to Hypersocial, it's just a SaaS version of what our agency does. So I live in Columbus, Ohio. Hypersocial has been around, well, there was an old version of Hypersocial, which started in 2016, and then the current version of Hypersocial, which has been around since 2019. I come myself from a B2B sales background. So I started the old hyper social group. Basically I did a lot of Instagram marketing back then, got into LinkedIn myself to be able to grow that company, struggled at first, figured out quite a few things, then really grew that company. Fast forward a couple of years to 2019, decided that, hey, I feel like I could do this for a lot more companies. So we decided to just. get rid of all the Instagram marketing lines that we had, get back in the B2B world, and now we help clients utilize LinkedIn to be able to grow their outbound and inbound at the same time actually, to grow their businesses using the best business social platform that there is. 

Brendan:  No, I like it. Yeah, and I want to get more into that kind of the insights that you've had as a result to the clients that you supported. That's what we're going to focus on for our conversation. But before we do that, we do have a tradition here at Pit Stops to Podium, and that's getting to know our guests outside of work. So what are some fun facts that our audience should know about you, the passions, hobbies, interests that you have?

Braden:  Yeah, too many hobbies actually is like the worst thing. I'm like really good at a lot of things, but not really great at anything. So I go play like, I play a lot of soccer and golf and everybody I play with, I always like have one sport. So I'm always like less than that first version of that person and that's for it. But I'm like, hey, let's go play the other sport. They're like, no, no, no, no, no. So love hanging out with my dog, Roscoe. We actually lived in a van for the last three years. He's been to like six or seven countries with me now. He's just a little corgi. And last but not least, I love Ted Lasso. Best show ever.

Brendan:  Yeah, it's funny. My wife and I just watched an episode last night. So we're all caught up now. 

Braden:  Yeah, it was a solid one. I cried for sure.

Brendan:  Yeah. Was a camper a COVID decision or is this pre-COVID?

Braden:  No, actually it was pre-COVID, it was crazy. So we bought the, we basically rebranded Hypersocial to focus on LinkedIn. My girlfriend just graduated from Ohio State with her masters and I said, hey, we're gonna go buy a van and we're gonna go travel while we build Hypersocial. And it happened like December 2019, we got the van. Took like a temporary trip or like a fast trip down to my parents place down in Florida, just to kind of stay in their driveway and see what things we needed or wanted. And then a couple months later, we were in Arizona, conference thing for vans and RVs and stuff, and the world shut down there. So immediately just went to two weeks of isolation in a national forest and yeah, kept, luckily we had the van by then because all vans and everything got so delayed once COVID hit. Everyone was like, let's buy a van, let's go travel. And luckily we had ours already.

Brendan:  Yeah, that's great timing. My, it's funny, actually, my first camper experience was this past weekend. So my in-laws just got a camper. And I experienced it for the first time. So I don't know if I would say I'm a believer, but I am open-minded. I'll put it that way.

Braden:  Okay. So it wasn't a terrible experience, but it wasn't a great experience.

Brendan:  Yeah, we got hit with a bunch of rain and we had like both my wife's brother's family and her sister's family. So it was a little crowded, but I can see why I said I'd give it another shot. So that's a positive signal.

Braden:  Yeah, that's the biggest point is you're so relying on the weather. Cause you live, we're gonna say we live out of the van, not in the van. So weather can't be too hot. It can't be too rainy. It can't be too cold. Otherwise you're just like stuck in the van. You're like, okay, I hate my life. So plenty of those days for sure.

Brendan:  Yeah, I like that phrase. I'll have to share that with my in-laws. I'm sure that's a very common phrase in the camping world. But for me, it's a novel one. Well, Brian, let's transition into the big idea. And I really want to focus as it relates to how brands, and ultimately individuals, because I think there's a connection there, can we talk about social as being kind of the next frontier for our marketing teams. But I want to talk more so just in terms of how it can be leveraged. And I think an interesting starting point, primarily talking to B2B companies, and we're talking to revenue leaders. And you mentioned an interesting point, which was you focusing more and more on LinkedIn as opposed to Instagram. I think it may be a good place to start as to why did you make that decision? I think that might be a good anchor, contextual layer for our audience as to why is social really the watering hole that they should be mindful from a social perspective.

Braden:  Yeah. So when I was doing Instagram stuff, I had a lot of B2C clients. I wasn't really involved in B2B then, just B2B for myself, because I was selling to B2C companies. So I was still involved with B2B there, but I didn't have any B2B clients. I just linked to myself on the B2B side there. So LinkedIn is such a cool platform. So when I was first getting into it, there wasn't as much noise on LinkedIn as there was today. So things were a bit easier. Now you've got to be a bit more creative and a bit more, a lot more consistent than you used to have to back then because of algorithms and things like that. So, but then if you look at all the statistics around LinkedIn, around where C-level execs and managers and VPs of all these companies are spending their time and it's on LinkedIn. So, the other cool thing for a P2P sales side is there's not really any gatekeepers if you can get to the person on LinkedIn. Um, you're getting right to them. Most of them don't have like a person managing their LinkedIn account or, you know, saying, Hey, no, I can't get you access to the owner, the founder, the person that you're trying to reach out to. Cause it's just them themselves.

Brendan:  I think to your point, it's the fastest path to get access to probably your ICP and where it's the modern, I don't know if it's the modern inbox, but it's that same concept of where are you going to get their attention to actually drive engagement. One of the things you just talked about, Braden, was just the, I want to say proliferation, but there is a lot more noise to your, I think it's the word you used earlier. there's trepidation as it relates to how do I take that first step? Because like, why is no one's going to care what I have to say? And so, you know, how do you advise your clients and or advise that person that seat of how you take that first step? What should they be thinking of from an encouragement perspective of how they can be successful?

Braden:  Yeah, so generally we start with our clients to say, hey, put the content piece aside for a second and let's just go start building relationships first. And without even posting, just go use like Sales Navigator, go find people that you want to be connecting and networking with that are in your ICPs. Go start conversations with them. See how you can be helpful to them using the inbox, which is a... thing that not enough people do on LinkedIn, they're very much in the inboxes to just sell and pitch. What's the phrase? Pitch slap, love that phrase. Pitch slap everybody they can. When you just start those, number one, you're gonna have a lot more people open up or like kind of lower their walls to have this conversation with you. But then you're actually gonna get and have conversations with these people that you want to be connected with. They're gonna lead to great content for you to share and post later. They're gonna connect to people that. are right in your lane, you're hearing their struggles. So now you've got the content piece kind of laid out for you because you've started conversation with these individuals one-on-one that can lead to such good content.

Brendan:  Yeah, it sounds like what you're describing is like instead of treating it almost like a transaction, really being genuine as it relates to what you're trying to accomplish. And people oftentimes are more receptive to that versus a pitch slap to your point of how oftentimes it is being leveraged these days.

Braden:  Exactly. You're going after, whoever you're going after, small business owners all the way up to CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, they're all people and none of them want to be treated like your used car salesman trying any possible thing you can and they're just a number to you because while there is a certain thing to say, hey, I've got to get through enough numbers, there's still people on the other side. So when you're helpful, they actually will, what's the phrase of people don't care what you know until they know that you care. And that's where you start and you got to figure that part out. And then once you do that, then it'll open up a ton of opportunities.

Brendan:  Yeah, I like that phrase. Say it again. 

Braden:  Yeah, people don't care what you know until they know that you care.

Brendan:  Yeah. Yeah. The way that I kind of we talk a lot about even in a certain internal organization, care for people care for people. But it's that same idea. Once people feel cared for, they're much more receptive to what you have to offer because you will truly have a solution to their problem.

Braden:  Exactly.

Brendan:  So I like it a lot. And for all those people that reach out to me on LinkedIn, if you're listening, do not connect me and then send me a five paragraph message about your solution. It is very irritating. I'm all for the hustle. Just do it the right way. All right. So I think that's a good kind of guidance on how to approach. What about when we think about, you know, for, hey, what my tone, my voice, like, what do I say? You know, we were talking to, you know, our past guest, one of the things he talked about is, you know, consistency is greater than, is better than frequency. And so just... as people start to think through, okay, you're giving me some advice on how to connect with people. Now that I have this audience that I want to talk to, how should they approach the actual posting or communication with individuals inside of LinkedIn?

Braden:  Yeah, so we have a webinar that we do once a month, teach people on this subject. One of the things that we say is like more important than anything else is be yourself. And we have a little joke that we say after that, which is like, no, if you're funny, be funny. If you're helpful, be helpful. And we say, if you're creepy, well, okay, maybe don't be creepy, but for the best part that you can, be yourself. And I think that relates to more business than people. ever want to like, or ever thought before. We've always thought, especially people who reach out to, we've had a lot of clients who've come to us and say, hey, I reach out to this level person and they're super sophisticated and they don't want to, even though I'm funny, they don't want funny. But truthfully, they're all just people too. So when you reach out to them in the best way, it's gonna be, you're gonna be the most comfortable continuing that conversation, having it. You don't have to overthink everything. Then when you ever, if you ever get to the meeting or anything like that. you're not all of a sudden hilarious, even though you're completely dry in your LinkedIn posts and your content and your messages. So I think it's extremely important to do. And when you're creating content like sharing so many stories, like that's what I think is so cool on LinkedIn is to share stories of your real life that you can relate back to business or can be lessons or things like that for your ideal target audience. I try to do that all the time with all the. all the activities I'm involved in, I say, hey, actually, this kind of really relates to being a business owner. This relates to sales or things like that. And I kind of turn those back to each other. So you get to know so much about me in a way that is extremely organic, but then I can also turn it into, here's a lesson to learn here, or here's this or here's that. But you still get my true personality and everything that I post.

Brendan:  I like that. It reminds me, we have a gentleman on our team named Robert Jones, and we found out that he was really funny. And it was like, you need to tap into that and not shy away from it and use that voice on social. And to see even the past year in terms of his engagement, his followers and the opportunities been created. It's been just amazing and really powerful for him to see like I can be my true self. and it can actually be effective inside of the workforce. And it speaks to your point of like, we're all humans. We all can relate to those types of things. It doesn't have to be buttoned up and we'll get on calls and he'll be on the call. He's the one nervous going to call, but then they see his face and they're like, oh my gosh, you're the mayor of inbound. And it's like, that's how he's known in the market. And it's like that, like that's a great way of knowing that you've actually, not that you've made it, but this is a powerful, powerful tool if you do it the right way

Braden:  Definitely. I think there's a quote that says like Life is short. So why waste it being anybody other than yourself?

Brendan:  Yeah. Well, one of the things that you talked about earlier, Braden, when we were joking about the pitch slap was you're all for systems. And I think one of the things that helps our audience is just, you know, understanding some of those practical insights or application of, hey, I know I need to do it. I've been too scared to do it for one reason or another. I'm convinced I need to. What are some of the easy things about systems and tools? What are some of the recommendations you have for our audience on how they can start to benefit from from LinkedIn?

Braden:  Yeah, there's plenty. So if you have no idea where to start and these are gonna just be pitches because this was just what we do, we'll try not to fully pitch, so we got some other options too. So if you have no idea where to start, Hypersocial can 100% help you craft messaging, create outbound campaigns based on all the LinkedIn campaigns that we've run. So we can help it kind of prove based on other data. So you're not starting from nowhere, we can kind of help explain that. The recent company that I just started was Automaty, which is a LinkedIn automation tool. It's built to be able to kind of make sure you have that level of consistency every single day. Those are obviously two of my favorites, bias completely, of course. There's a few others such as like, what is her name? Crystal is actually a Chrome extension that will allow you to kind of, when you go to somebody's profile. it'll give you their disc profile, tell you ways to chat with that person, what ways are they gonna be the best in their inbox or that kind of stuff, which I think is a really cool extension as well. And then Taplio is one more extension that is basically you can kind of tell the topics that you're interested in and it'll help kind of bring all of those type of topics that others are talking about, others are posting about with that same topic. So for let's say you're interested in, I don't know, corgis, right? And so other people on LinkedIn are posting about corgis and you're getting their content, so you can kind of use that for... for inspiration to create your own as well, I think are a couple of ones to kind of help just kind of expedite your process. If we really want to get into AI and Chat GPT, I think that there's plenty of ways to be able to use that for creating content as long as you're able to, as long as you spend enough time teaching it, who you are, what your personality is, be able to ask it questions and then you're like, wow, that Chat GPT is very much me. I think those are kind of five of my favorite tools to be able to kind of go about. speeding up your process so you don't have to start from scratch ever. And you can make sure that every single day you're showing up consistently in the best way that you possibly can.

Brendan:  If the audience is like me, they're feverishly writing down notes on these tools. So thank you for sharing the ones that you have found to be effective for your organization. All right, final app question. Algorithm for dummies. If people are trying to figure out, hey, how do I amplify my message or get the fastest path to generate a following, what are some things they should know about the LinkedIn algorithm to get them to be successful faster?

Braden:  Yeah, number one, LinkedIn rewards people who are actually building up the platform itself. So people who are just creating content and not engaging with any other content are gonna do worse than people who are actually going out and engaging with others and commenting and liking and all that kind of stuff too. So if you wanna engage them on your stuff, go put yourself out there as well. There's also an algorithm that says like, hey, if I'm reaching out to Elon, if I'm commenting on a lot of Elon Musk stuff, because we're connected for some reason, when Elon... goes and he's scrolling through his feed, it's more likely that my stuff is gonna actually show up because I've been consistent and LinkedIn thinks that, hey, we should be chatting back and forth. Number two is, there's kind of a phrase that somebody told me once and I may butcher it. It's like, if nobody sees your content, like if you're creating content, like just start, just create content and you'll figure out what kind of works from there, right? Like... the mayor of inbound, then start as the mayor of inbound. I imagine there was some iterations and he was creating content until he kind of figured out what that voice was. Start just putting content out there. And if nobody sees it, great. If a lot of people see it, that's also great, right? So like, there's no loss if you're actually just out there creating content and just putting something out there the best that you possibly can, I think.

Brendan:  I think that's a good reminder for people with self-confidence, because they feel like it's not getting that dopamine rush of likes or comments to your point. It's probably unlikely as you start, but just be realistic on what you should expect, and you're really just testing, iterating into your point. And this is just one of the things that you have to put in the effort to see the reward, which is how most things work that are of value. 

Braden:  And then one more piece, sorry, I forgot one more.  I can throw it in there real quick. It's to build out your first three connections because what's gonna happen is you're gonna start building those out. And when they start to like and comment on your posts, now their connection, they're gonna be scrolling through their feed. Let's say you're talking to VPs, other VPs of sales are gonna see, hey, blank like this post or comment on this post. And now it's your post in that additional VPs of sales feed as well. So that's how you can start to really build it up once you need to build your current first degrees, because then you're targeting, you can get into all of their networks and utilize all of their engagement and all of their friends and things like that to be able to continue to increase the reach of your content as well.

Brendan:  Yeah, the whole multiplier effect and how you can broaden your access. It's a good hack. Well, Braden, in terms of the next steps, if our audience wants to learn more about Hypersocial, because they say, hey, I know I need to do it, but I need help, or I'd love to look at the new software company that you've launched, what's the best way they can connect with you?

Braden:  Yeah, LinkedIn's gonna be the best. Obviously, I've got an assistant who helps me manage my LinkedIn account. I get so many messages there all the time. That's the best place. I'm also got a newsletter there all about helpful tips and advice for B2B sales and marketing teams. But yeah, LinkedIn will be the best place for me. Luckily, I'm the only Braden Wallake, so if you just look me up on LinkedIn, you'll find me.

Brendan:  And you're probably the only Ohio State graduate as a Michigan fan. So you got both those.  Well, Braden, I appreciate you stopping by and giving us some tips and tricks on how to best leverage social and specifically LinkedIn to build your brand and ultimately to help you be successful. So I know our audience is going to benefit from it because I have as well. And let's stay in touch.

Braden:  Thanks, Brendan.

Want to learn from more industry experts?

Come check out the full Pit Stops to Podium podcast repository!

Schematic - Switch Box

RevPartners is at Your Service

Does your revenue engine need built, fine-tuned, or supercharged?

To learn more about how to continuously improve operational efficiency and identify the gaps in your customer experiences, see what RevPartners can do for you!