Think Big Movement Podcast - Jon Dwoskin Interviews Jeff DwoskinPresident and Founder of #Hashtag Roundup

Jeff (@bigmacher) is an Internet marketing pioneer. In 1995 he co-founded an online marketing venture that rapidly established its dominance and was acquired by the world’s largest web development firm, USWeb. Jeff is also an award-winning standup comedian and renowned tweeter. His tweets have been featured on Good Morning America, MSNBC, Laughs TV, CNN.com, People.com, and numerous other media outlets.

Currently Jeff is the CEO of Hashtag Roundup (@HashtagRoundup), a Twitter-based media group that is the source for the majority of top trends in the United States. Hashtag Roundup has worked with companies such as @TheWalkingDead, @TVLand, @Gillette, @ChakaKhan, and the Surgeon General to help them gain massive reach and exposure on Twitter.

*E – explicit language may be used in this podcast.
Read the transcript

Jon Dwoskin:
Hey everybody, I’m Jon Dwoskin, an executive advisor and business coach. I work with successful business people who are stuck and want to take their company to the next level.

Today, though, get ready to grow your business big. Very big. In just a few seconds, you’ll meet a dynamic business owner, executive, or salesperson willing to share the best practices that fuel their growth and success. Each interview is no longer than 15-ish minutes long, so you can quickly learn effective tools to put into your business today. Please listen with new ears, and let’s get to learning, let’s get to growing, and let’s get to thinking big.

Hey, everybody, welcome back, and thank you for taking time to listen to this episode of the Think Big Movement Podcast. I am so excited and happy for my next guest, because it’s my brother, Jeff Dwoskin, who I love very much, and am very proud of a lot of the things that he is doing. He’s gonna tell you all about his company, Hashtag Roundup, where he is the founder and CEO. My brother is a social media expert and guru, and a digital pioneer. We go way back. We’ll share a little bit about our business together through this podcast.

But Jeff, welcome. Love having you on the show. Thanks so much for being here, and tell us all about, for starters, Hashtag Roundup, and we’ll kind of grow the conversation from there.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
Oh, it is great to be on the show. Yes, we do go way back. I feel like I’ve known you forever.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
The feeling is mutual.

 

Jessica:
You can totally tell that you guys are brothers.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
That is Jessica, the sound …

 

Jessica:
Person. That’s fine.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Person. Thank you. All right, so go ahead, Jeff.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
Wow, yeah. Well, Hashtag Roundup is kind of an exciting thing that I’ve been a part of … started a couple years ago. What we do is, we do fun activities on Twitter to get people engaged and use Twitter. And we do them through hashtag games. So they’re like … Jimmy Fallon does them a lot. They’re fun, the hashtags are fun premises, and then people can just tweet to those premises. Like unlikely pet tricks, or stupid questions for astronauts. Things like that. So it’s like, we set these silly things that people can just play. And any background works. Basically all your useless knowledge that you’ve been carrying for the many decades you’ve been alive all fit great one way or another into these hashtags. And it’s a community on Twitter, so a lot of people engage. A lot of people actually meet a lot of people on Twitter. And it’s fun, ’cause you get a lot of likes and a lot of retweets, and it’s a great way to get your voice out there and have people see it.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
I love watching what you do and I love watching it online. Talk a little bit about how and why companies would use you, and how they can benefit from using Hashtag Roundup, and what it will do for them as a company. Their brand, their marketing, and all that type of stuff.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
Sure. So the brands that we work with … We’ve worked with Gillette, Potbelly, TV Land and numerous shows there, and The Walking Dead. And what we do with them is, we help them humanize their brand on Twitter. So Twitter’s a very unique social media platform, in that there’s a lot of real-time interactivity. So brands have a real opportunity to engage with fans or potential fans and/or customers. By engage, I mean they can retweet, they can follow an account, they can like your tweet, they can reply. You can actually build a little bit of a connection that you can’t get through Facebook or Instagram like that.

So the other day, I tweeted something and James Gunn … He was the director of the … Oh my God, the Chris Pratt movie.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Guardians of the Galaxy?

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
Guardians of the Galaxy movies. He liked two of my tweets. I went through the roof, right? I’ve done tweets about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which is a hilarious show on Twitter, and they like the tweets. So when that kind of thing happens, and then people talk about it, like I just talked about it, they get excited. Because brands on Twitter really are all celebrities. They’re superstars. And a lot of them don’t see it that way, but they are. When I engage and Krispy Kreme engages with me and I’m at the supermarket … I know it sounds silly, but when I see the Krispy Kreme stand there, I go, “Oh, I know those people.” You know what I mean?

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Sure.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
So it’s like a long-term play ROI, but you build up these relationships, and then when you’re ready to make those decisions, you make them based on who you like, right? It’s the same thing in business. You work with people you like and you trust. So if you can build those reputations as a brand on Twitter, then that extends to all the other buying philosophies as well.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Talk a little bit more about the community on Twitter. Because it seems to be, in the way that you’re talking about it, much different than the communities on other social platforms. And why a company would want to engage and get recognized by the Twitter community versus other social platforms.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
Sure. So right now as we’re talking, original content from Hashtag Roundup … Two of the Top 10 trends in the United States originated from Hashtag Roundup. And it’s not uncommon for us to have, say, three hashtags in the Top 10. So we create these conversations that are extremely interactive and powerful.

So what we’ve done … If you think, on Facebook, there’s things like Candy Crush, or there used to be Farmville. I don’t know if people still do that stuff. But where you become addicted to things on Facebook. And hashtag games in themselves are kind of addictive. So this community that we’ve built are people that just thrive on this. And one way to look at Hashtag Roundup is, we’re an organic influencer network.

But the difference between when you pay for that YouTuber who’s got 10 million followers and you pay them to tweet, and they get 500 retweets for that tweet. The difference is, those people that are retweeting that tweet aren’t actually adding additional content to the discussion. They’re just retweeting that person. It’s just the nature generally of how that works. Our network, our community, our influencers, when they create content, people who see that content, and other people in the community, not only share it, but then they also create their own. So that’s how we’re able to create this viral effect day after day after day, even hour after hour. It’s a much more powerful cascading effect.

So when brands can engage in that, we work with them to work them into this community, be a part of the community, and to tweet. And for some, it’s a little uncomfortable, ’cause they’re used to just tweeting sales-type stuff. But if they can tweet and just have fun, being brand appropriate and on brand, of course, but you can have a good time sharing content that isn’t always a hit-you-over-the-head sales message.

And so by doing that … And then occasionally, what we do is we work and then we create a custom hashtag just for them. And then they become the host. So they’re not just engaging in one of our organic games, they’re actually hosting. “At 11:00 tomorrow, The Walking Dead is playing blah blah blah.” And then the people will come and play and have a chance to be retweeted by this brand, or liked, or engaged. And people really enjoy that. It’s a type of feeling you can’t get on the other platforms.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Wow. Well, you’re really doing things to grow not only the business, but people’s brands, and it’s incredible to watch. Talk a little bit about … ‘Cause I think it’s important and gives some additional credibility to you saying and being a social media expert and digital pioneer. I mean, it goes way back. It started when you and I started an Internet company back in 1995. So talk a little bit about how you’ve been in this space, and speak on that for a little bit.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
Sure, sure. Well, yeah, like you said, way back when, just even before it was a thing, we started my marketing company. Very similarly, we recognized that websites could be for any company, right? It’s silly to say things now, because you don’t think, “Oh, in the late ’90s,” but it was really different, right? So it was these small companies … All of a sudden, it was like, “Hey, you have a platform now where you can compete with larger companies.” And that was very foreign to them. So you remember, it was hard to even sell websites to these folks back then, just ’cause it was … All the concepts were fresh and new. But we did, and together we did lots of great stuff. Lots of huge clients and small clients.

And it’s sort of the same. From there, after the whole dot-com boom and all that, I worked in the promotion industry for six years, I worked in the customer satisfaction industry. All kind of tied to digital, all digital-related promotions, measuring customer satisfaction on the web. So I’ve always had the pulse and been part of online and digital world.

So getting into Twitter, when I personally got into Twitter a few years ago … I do stand-up comedy as well, and so it was a natural thing for me to use Twitter as a platform, because it was more expansive. On Facebook, I could tweet, but it was just my friends and family liking my tweets. So once I switched to Twitter and you get this massive exposure, suddenly my tweets have been on … Tweets that I’ve written personally have been on Good Morning America, MSNBC, published in People magazine and Time and Buzzfeed. Any major publication, I’ve been fortunate enough to be published in. So it’s exciting.

So you have this different kind of reach that you don’t have in some of the more closed-off networks. And that’s some of the opportunity that brands have, too. It’s much wider. It’s not just about who follows you. You can go well beyond that.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
You know, Jeff, we started our business when we worked together in 1995, May, June of 1995. And ever since then, and really before then, but specifically since the Internet started taking shape and we’ve been in the business, you’ve always been so forward-thinking as far as your ideas. I was the sales guy, and I did a lot with the business plans and things of that nature. But a lot of the forward-thinking ideas were always yours. And you had such ideas about how to do things. But at that point in mid-1995, the technology wasn’t even available. And some of the things we talked about – where today we could create – were just such a dream to think about what could be.

So Hashtag Roundup is … Are you seeing that it’s still ahead of the curve? Or how close is it to people thinking it’s a little bit more mainstream, it’s something that they need to dive into to get the exposure to Twitter that they need to build their brand and build their influence with their clients that they want coming in their door, whether it’s the door on their Internet sites, or in their brick-and-mortar store?

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
I think one of the unfortunate things is Twitter right now is getting a lot of bad press. People don’t necessarily feel as comfortable, so they spend a lot of advertising on Facebook and Instagram or Snapchat. But really, the swell of really active and passionate people are on Twitter. And I honestly believe it’s gonna come back in vogue again.

But yeah, I do feel at times this concept … We’re a Twitter Moments publisher now, which means, Twitter has a platform where they have very specific content that they share with every Twitter user. Anybody can create a Moment, which is a collection of tweets. But we’re a recognized publisher. So when we do a Moment through Hashtag Roundup, it gets published to the greater Twitter audience. So everyone in the United States can see the things that we publish, not just our followers.

So in the last few months, we’ve had over five million unique views on the content that we’ve been publishing, in just a few months. And the funny part about that … You talk about being ahead of it. A year ago, we talked to Twitter and we’re like, “This is what you should have us do. We should be publishing Moments.” And they’re like, “No, no, no, we’re not ready, we’re not ready. We can’t even do that.” And then lo and behold, just earlier this year, finally we started doing it. And then suddenly we’re talking to them about more things, because our content because so popular. So it took a year to be an overnight success.

But we’re on the way to being something. But it took a year of having pitched in and just waiting for the right moment. And there’s other things like that happening now, too, which is good.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
One of the things, I think, that people should be thinking about is, there’s nothing more powerful than building your brand as a business, and marketing that. And as you build a brand, if Twitter is getting some … not as “vogue,” as you say, as it will be when it comes back into vogue in the near, near future, now is actually the perfect time to start building the foundation of your brand. From my perspective, it sounds like that’s what you’re saying. I’d like you to speak on that. But building the foundation of that brand now, before there’s even more users, and get the ball rolling. Any thoughts on that?

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
I agree with that 100 percent. Right now, while they’re having the troubles and they’re trying to rebuild, that’s the time when people are looking to make new partnerships and take on new opportunities. So that’s exactly the message that we’ve been sharing. Now is exactly the right time.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Yeah.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
Facebook’s becoming too commercialized. Ads and … You look for one thing, you look for door handles and then you’re stuck looking at door handle ads for the next six months, right? And so Twitter is a different approach and a different mentality, and the messaging is different. It’s people being more real than on Facebook.

But I do think now is the time. People should start looking at it again. Twitter’s doing a great job putting together good ad properties to give companies exposure. They just announced a beta of an exposure campaign aimed at small companies. It’s the same kind of concept that we were just saying. Small companies can compete with larger companies. It’s kind of exactly the same as when we started the web. That platform is there. So suddenly, you can’t tell the difference between a small and large company, and the small companies can out-perform, because the large companies … If they use this as a reason to be slow, and they can’t interact …

Wendy’s is a great example. Somebody tweeted at them about, “How many retweets for some free nuggets?” And Wendy’s was like, “13 million,” or whatever it was. But this guy ended up with well over … the most retweets of any tweet ever on Twitter. And Wendy’s was all part of that. And it was all this real engagement. And people are talking about Wendy’s. And they’re not selling anything. They’re not doing anything. Those are the type of opportunities that you need to take advantage of and be there.

But it’s not a one-time thing. It’s a day-to-day thing. It’s a long-term. You don’t know when that one big thing is gonna hit, so you have to just always be there.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Keep it going. All right, good. Well, I think that was a great review of Hashtag Roundup. In our last minute together, give either your favorite piece of advice, podcast, book, quote, something that … your once piece of advice that really impacted you the most that you can share with the listeners today.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
My favorite podcast is WTF with Marc Maron. It’s great interview. The advice is, when I always think back … Things come to an end. Things stop. You always have to be willing to pivot and change what you’re doing and adapt. And I think that was advice that I was given a long time ago, and it’s true. You can’t get stuck. You can’t fall in love with exactly what you’re doing. You always have to be willing to love what you’re doing, but make those necessary changes so that you can fulfill all your goals.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
I love it. I love it. So tell people where to get ahold of you and Hashtag Roundup and all that other good stuff.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
Hashtag Roundup: you can go on Twitter, it’s @HashtagRoundup. On Twitter, I’m Bigmacher. That was actually a nickname that our business partner gave me during our online marketing company time. I had used to set up my Twitter account and now I’m stuck with it. So yeah. Those are the best ways to get ahold of me.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
All right, good. Well, I love watching you build Hashtag Roundup and your business, and I can’t speak more highly of you and how much I love you, and am proud of you. Keep on growing Hashtag and having fun, which is the key, which is I know what you’re doing. And it’s great having you on the show.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
Love being here. I love you, too. Very proud of everything you’re doing.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Thank you, brother.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
Awesome book. And hey everybody, think big!

 

Jon Dwoskin:
All right. I’ll talk to you very soon.

 

Jeff Dwoskin:
All right. Love you.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
All right. Talk to you. Love you.

Thank you for listening to the Think Big Movement Podcast. For show notes and links to anything we talked about, please visit JonDwoskin.com. For additional best business practices, you may enjoy my latest book, The Think Big Movement: Grow Your Business Big. Very Big! Lastly, if you want to talk to me about advising and coaching your business, please email me, Jon@jondwoskin.com. Text or call me at 248-535-7796. Have an amazing day, an amazing week, and as always, Think Big.

 

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