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Building Your Business with Twitter: Dino Dogan Interviews UFC’s Dana White

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At NMX 2013, Dino Dogan from Triberr sat down to talk with UFC President Dana White about Twitter, the possibility of the UFC going public, and more. Dino is a true fight fan with a passion for new media, so he was the perfect person to interview Dana! Check out the video here:

Thanks, Dino, for a great interview with Dana! Dana also sat down with NMX’s Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin to talk more about how the UFC is using social media, so if you missed that interview, you can see it now here.

Dino was one of our NMX 2013 speakers, and his session was packed. You know things are good when it’s still standing room only at the end of the presentation! For this week only, Dino’s session is 100% free on NMX University, the home of our 2013 virtual ticket. Don’t miss out; check out Dino speak about Insane Loyalty today!

Building Your Business with Twitter Transcript

Dino Dogan (0:08):  Hello everybody, my name is Dino, founder of Triberr, and I’m sitting here with Dana White.  We’re broadcasting this from Vegas for BlogRoll.com.  And, it’s an absolute pleasure for me to sit here with the president and the face of the UFC.  And the way UFC has been using social media is absolutely bleeding edge and very fascinating.  And we’re going to talk to Dana to get some insights into how he uses social media.

(0:41)So, Dana, thank you for being here.  Excellent keynote earlier.  I want you to make a business case for Twitter.  How do you use Twitter to actually lead your business?

Dana White (0:55):  The way that I personally use Twitter is I speak directly to the fans.  I talk to the fans one on one.  You know, I’m not speaking for the company, as the company, it’s me.  You’re talking to me personally.  And that’s the way that I like to do it, but what Twitter does for me, as far as the night of a fight, right, which is different from anything we’ve ever done in the history of the company is, you always have problems.  Things are always going to go wrong.  You know, I’ve had situations where people’s seats were blocked by a camera or pay-per-view goes down in Indiana, a laundry list of things that I wouldn’t have known until Monday.  But because of Twitter, I can handle it that night, get everything taken care of, make sure that everybody has a good experience.  That’s my job that night, is to make sure that everybody that bought a ticket or stayed home to buy the pay-per-view or watch it on free TV is having the best experience they can possibly have.  So, I love that.  That’s one of the million aspects I love about Twitter and social media.

Dino (1:58):  Yeah.  And you can respond to situations, to the crisis in real time.

Dana (2:01):   Yep.

Dino (2:02): Yeah, that’s amazing.  You’re out there.  You’re doing it yourself.  You almost take pride in saying that you’re bypassing the PR department; the filter that’s created between you the person and the audience.  And there’s certain inherent danger in that.  And, clearly, you embrace the danger.  And the benefit of it outweighs the danger.  But, you’re out there, you have 400 fighters doing what you do, representing the brand.  And just tell us a little bit about the crises that you’ve encountered.  How many of them have you encountered?  How exaggerated is the danger of getting out there?

Dana (2:46):  Yeah, it’s very exaggerated.  I mean, yes, we’ve had a couple…I have 400 plus guys tweeting every day.  I tweet every day.  You know, you’re going to have some problems here and there.  The biggest problem that we’ve ever had is guys trying to be funny.  Telling jokes and, basically, I tell these guys, use common sense when tweeting.  You’re not a comedian.  Leave the jokes to your friends, in your inner circle.  Don’t tweet jokes.  But, really, we’ve really had no problems.  There’s going to be some stupid stuff here and there but, at the end of the day, people need to relax.

Dino (3:22): Right.  It’s a tweet.

Dana (3:23): It’s a tweet.  It’s a tweet, relax.

Dino (3:27): Get over it.  That’s terrific.  A lot of people want to know.  UFC is a giant franchise.  You guys are just going gangbusters.  You’re on this incredible upslide.  Are you going to go IPO?

 

Dana (3:43): I never say “never”, but I’d have to say never.  I don’t think we…I don’t think so.  I don’t think we’d do it.  I haven’t seen too many great experiences with going public.  And I just don’t think this is one of those businesses that we could really run the way that we wanted to if we’re not…The thing that I’ve always said since day one, too, about going public is, nobody believed in this thing.  When we first bought it, started to build it, nobody believed in it.

Dino (4:13):  I just want to say that I did.

Dana (4:14):  Well, I’m talking about the business world, right?  Now, all of a sudden, I’m going to take advice from these guys, you know, on Wall Street who never believed in it in the first place?

Dino (4:23):  Right

Dana (4:24): I don’t see it.  Not while I’m here, anyway.

Dino (4:25):  Gotcha. Terrific.  Anderson Silva/Georges St. Pierre fight.  I know you’re working on it.  This year?  Could it happen this year?

Dana (4:34):  Yeah, it could.  You know, obviously, everybody knows that GSP wants to fight Diaz right now.  That fight’s going to happen.  And after that fight, should Georges St. Pierre beat Diaz…yeah.  I want to make the fight.  I mean, everybody thought it was going to happen after Georges’ fight with Condit.  The kid had, you know, almost two years off with a knee injury, rehabilitating.  And he wants another fight first, so, we’ll see what happens.

Dino (4:58): Fair enough.  You have your employees actively engaged in social media.  And, I know this is not a fair stereotype, but if a general population was to imagine the worst type of person to represent your brand, that would be a fighter.  Because they’re perceived as brutes, which they’re not.

Dana (5:23):  Right.

Dino (5:23):  I know this.  But, there’s…you have a lot of your employees actively engaged, getting out there, representing your brand and there’s a certain amount of training that they have to go through in order to…just to know what tools to use, how to use them and how to represent themselves.  Like you said, don’t try to be funny, you’re not a comedian, right.  So, tell us a little bit about the training that these guys go through for social media.

Dana (5:50):  Yeah.  It’s not as hard as you would think.  Not only do I have, you know, 400 plus fighters.  But when you say my employees, my actual employees inside the company are all on Twitter too.  And, you know, obviously you’ve got to educate them on how to use Twitter, how to do this, how to do that as far as using social media goes.  And then is all about using common sense.  And I’m very lucky in that I’m not dealing with stupid people here.  Yes, we have 400 plus fighters.  Most of these guys are college educated.  You know, very smart guys.  Guys who, not only are the representing the UFC and the sport, but they represent themselves and their own brands and their own business.  For instance, like Anderson Silva.  Anderson Silva has 3 million followers on Twitter.    When he’s done fighting and he moves on to the next chapter of his life, those 3 million fans are going to go with him into the next chapter.  So, he’s not just representing us and the sport, he’s representing himself, you know, and his family and whatever he decides to do when fighting is over.

Dino (6:51): Right, yeah.  I have a theory about Anderson Silva.  Is he really a robot?

Dana (6:56):  I think he might be.  I’ve wondered that myself too.  He’s an amazing, incredible athlete.

Dino (7:03):  Mind blowing.

Dana (7:04):  Yeah, he really is.  Doesn’t get the credit he deserves, in my opinion.

Dino (7:07):  Yeah, he is just incredible.  Dana, this was a dream come true.  Thank you so much for sharing your insights.

Dana (7:15):  My pleasure.

Dino (7:16):  And it’s great to see you here in Vegas at BlogWorld.

Dana (7:18):  Thanks, brother.

Dino (7:19):  NMX!  Thank you, guys.

Dana White Shares Social Media Success Secrets at NMX

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I have to admit: when I heard that Dana White would be keynoting at NMX 2013, my initial thought was, “Who?”

Our co-founders, Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin, were extremely excited, both being huge UFC fans. But as someone who is not into UFC or other fighting sports, the name was not familiar to me. It is now, in a huge way.

With over 2.3 million fans on Twitter and a complete sports empire built on social media, anyone in the social space would be shooting themselves in the foot not to listen to what this guy has to say. After his keynote at NMX, Dana sat down with Rick and Dave to talk about Twitter and dish out a little general social media advice to anyone smart enough to listen. How did he grow his personal following and his business using social media? Check out what he has to say:

You can see Dana’s full keynote at NMX University, where you’ll also find access to more keynotes from our 2013 event, bonus interviews with other speakers, and more.

Social Media Success Secrets with Dana White Transcript

Rick Calvert (0:05): We are backstage in the green room, here with Dana White.  Dana I know…

Dave Cynkin (0:10: At New Media Expo!

Rick (0:11): At New Media Expo.  And I know you get this, I mean, as Dino said earlier, was talking to you.  I don’t get star struck either.  I’m freaking star stuck, man.

Dana White (0:21 🙂 Thank you.  I’m honored.

Rick (0:23):  I mean, we’re huge fight fans.  Thank you so much for coming to the show, we really appreciate it.

Dana (0:26):  Pleasure.

Rick (0:27):  You said something in the keynote that you love Twitter.  Why do you love Twitter so much?

Dana (0:33):  I love Twitter because, first of all, it give me the ability to cut out all the middle men.  Meaning the media or whoever it might be.  And I can talk directly to our fans or whoever wants to talk to me.  You know, you’d be surprised how many, you know, how many amazing things that I’ve done, you know, real time with our business through Twitter.

Rick (0:56):  By the way, is this the strangest place ever don an interview before?

Dana (0:59): No, actually it’s not.  Funny you should ask.

Rick (1:01): What is the strangest place?

Dana (1:02):  I’ve literally done one…I did this interview one time in the bathroom at the Hard Rock.  Because the guy liked the tile in there, so we did it in the bathroom.

Rick (1:11): And were people coming in and?

Dana (1:12):  Yeah, people were walking by us and, whatever.

Rick (1:16): Very good.  So, Google+, you haven’t used Google+ yourself, but I was talking to your content guy earlier, and I know you said you weren’t using Instagram.  But as an organization, you’ve got people on almost every social channel.

Dana (1:28):  Every platform.  Every platform or social media that has ever been created, we’ve been on and we’re engaged in some way.  But me, personally, Twitter is for me.  It just works a lot easier for me.  Twitter is…Twitter is what I’m into.

Rick (1:43):  Do you think it’s important to pick one platform and just kind of live there?  Or can you do two or three different things good?

Dana (1:49):  I think you can do two of three things good if you’re really into it.  I’m really into Twitter.  It’s easy for me, it’s fast, it’s simple.  You know, it’s what works for me.  And that’s the thing.  When I talk about social media, whether your thing is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever it might be.  Whatever works for you, you absolutely 100% should do it and figure out what does work for you and what works for your business or your brand or whatever it is you’re into.

Dave (2:19):  What about control?  I mean, you, I don’t want to say let things get out of control, but most companies are so shielded and so guarded about what they say.  They don’t let people from their company speak without following a specific legal policy.  And you let it fly, and it’s great because everybody…all these fans feel like they’re like you, and you’re like them.  You’re just another fan.

Dana (2:37): It’s what’s made us unique and makes us different than every other sport.  You know, I’ve been the way that I’ve been day one, since we started this company.  And it has allowed me more slack than some of these other guys have or will ever have.  But I think that it’s…The way that I run the business, the way that I interact with the fans and the way that the UFC does things.  I think it’s the future. I think you have to be this way, you have to be.  The younger generations, they live on social media.  This is where these kids live.  They live on the Internet. They live on YouTube, the Internet, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and all these others.  That’s where they live.  If you don’t go meet these people and engage with them where they live…I don’t know.  It’s not good for the future of your business.

Rick (3:31): So, one of the questions I was going to ask is if you think the UFC is particularly positioned, you know, in the world that you’re in makes social media easier for you?  And, say, maybe a Fortune 100 company, maybe Ford, can’t be as transparent as you because their business is different than yours.  Or do you think they should be just as transparent as you?

Dana (3:50):  No, it’s not about being as transparent as me but, I don’t care if you’re Ford or Microsoft or whoever.  You should live where your fans are.  You have to get in there at some point and live where your fans live.  You have to be there.  Or your customers, or whatever you want to call them.  You don’t have to be like me.  I would never recommend going out and acting like me on Twitter or any other place because that might not work for you.  But it worked for me.

Rick (4:18):  And, when I hear you talk about the UFC, and you said you’ve been a fight fan since you were a kid.  We were talking about that a little bit before.  Do you feel like you have a responsibility to fight fans?  Not just UFC fans, but fight fans in general with the way you guys direct the UFC and where you’re taking it.

Dana (4:35):  I think so, yeah.  You know, at the end of the day, the way that I Iook at the business and the way that I look at my job and what I do is; I’m asking you to stay home on Saturday night and sometimes put down 45, 50 bucks, watch these fights.  And, yeah, I think that it’s my job to give you the fights that you want to see.  To give you as much access to the UFC as we possibly can.  That’s another thing that we’re really big on, is giving the fans as much access as they can possibly have.  Looking behind the curtain, getting behind the scenes.  And really making them feel like a part.  Because I remember being a kid and what a huge fight fan I was.  And, for me, and I keep talking all this stuff that shows how old I really am, it’s like, all I had was the newspaper.  Every Sunday, they would come out on the back page and it was all boxing.  It’s the only thing I read.  I wouldn’t read any other part of the newspaper except that boxing section.  And I remember how engaged I was, how…I just couldn’t consume enough information about the fights.  And I told you guys earlier, I knew everybody, man.  The guy over here that rang the bell.  I knew the guy who, you know, the cutmen.  I knew everybody.  And that’s what’s really, you know, the way that the UFC was built and designed is that fans who are really, you know, into it…everybody is interactive.  You can interact with everybody from the octagon girls to the cutmen, the referees, I mean everybody.

Dave (6:07):  You know, the fighters, the businesses, now, that came to this conference that are learning from you.  Is there anybody that you see using social media, where you watch what they do and you say, “That’s really a good idea, I didn’t think of that,” and you learn from them?  Is there anybody that you kind of…?

Dana (6:22):  You know, I follow a lot of different people on there and everybody has their own unique style of tweeting.  And, you know, putting out whatever message it might be.  I can’t stand people who keep constantly tweeting ads.  Or always pitching or selling or doing something like that.  It drives me crazy.  I block those people.  And I don’t block many people.  I like people…I follow people that are real.  I like people who talk real.  I like people who are interesting, and will tweet interesting things.  But I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anybody that was like, “Wow, this guy has really got it on lock down.  I gotta do what this guy is doing.”  And not to sound like a cocky idiot, but a lot of people follow what we do and start, you know, doing the stuff that we do on Twitter.

Rick (7:15):  It sounds like you’ve learned some things what not to do by seeing what other people do.

Dana (7:19):  Yeah, and that’s…I’ve done that my whole life.  I look at what people do that I don’t like and making sure that I don’t do that.

Rick (7:27):  You mentioned that about boxing earlier, you don’t want to be like them.

Dana (7:28):  Yeah, that was our model.  Is to do the exact opposite of what those guys have done over the last 35-40 years.

Rick (7:34):  So, you guys do this amazing job engaging with your fans in social media and giving us access to things that we wouldn’t get in other places.  How’s the culture inside the UFC?  Do you guys use, you said earlier, if anybody wants to know what’s going on with the company who works there, watch your Twitter feed.  You guys talk to each other on Twitter?  You send direct message to people in the company?

Dana (7:55): Yeah, I’ll see people in my company that pop up on my Twitter and say stuff.  You know, we do things, you know…we let the fans see a lot of personal stuff through Twitter.  At our Christmas party, we were Tweeting, you know, pictures of, you know, we had the Red Hot Chili Peppers play at our Christmas party.  And people were sending out pictures of that.  I was on stage drunk; I saw a few of those pictures out there.  There were a lot of things going on.  So we let people in.  We let them deep in.  And that’s part of the fun of being a fan of the UFC.  There’s nothing that we don’t let people see.  We let them see everything.  We let them see behind the curtain.

Dave (8:34):  You know, something that you mentioned today; you don’t like it when the athletes think they’re comedians and make mistakes.  And I’ve seen those things and…

Dana (8:42):  I’ve made mistakes too.

Dave (8:43:  I just going to ask.  You’ve done a lot of great things.  What you done anything that you thought, “Wow, that was a real mistake,” and what did you do about it online?

Dana (8:52):  Yeah, I mean, you know, to say that I’ve never tweeted anything stupid would be stupid.  I have tweeted some dumb things myself.  That’s always my philosophy.  When somebody does something wrong, the world freaks out.  Like, “Oh my God, how could this happen?”  Because we’re human beings.  And we’re all going to make mistakes, and we’re all going to do stupid stuff sometimes.  Everybody’s had that tweet that they wish they could reel back.  But, you know, once it goes, it is what it is and, there’s, you know, you have to deal with it here and there.

Rick (9:24):  Own up to is, accept it.

Dana (9:25):  Yeah, it is what it is.  It’s going to happen.  It’s going to happen.  If you consistently keep tweeting stupid stuff, then it’s a whole different level.  You know.  Then we’ve got to talk.

Rick (9:38):  Dana, thank you so much for all the time.  We’re honored to have you with us.

Dana (9:41):  Pleasure, thanks for having me.  I appreciate it.

Our Best Information Source? UFC’s Dana White Says Social Media

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“Overall, I think it’s going to keep becoming a bigger and bigger part of what everyone does. As big as it is already, more and more people will just keep getting on board. Ever since I’ve been on Twitter, my number of followers has kept going up and up. Social media is just the best way to give and receive information today. “

This past week, BusinessNext keynoter and Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White was featured in an interview with Mashable. With over 2.3 million Twitter followers, as well as active presences on other social networks like YouTube, Dana is a social media leader in the sports industry. In fact, the success of the UFC in recent years is due in part to the activity of the organization and and its athletes on social networks.

So is Dana correct? Is social media now the best way to share information?

In some cases, I think the answer is yes. I often hear of a breaking news story on Twitter before I see it on television or even on an online news outlet. And when I want information, it is usually pretty easy to ask my followers.

But I think social media as a source of information has challenges as well. Online, people are often more concerned with being first than they are with being correct. The spread of misinformation is a problem.

I also think that while many (okay most) of us who are part of the NMX community live and breathe social media, the general public is adopting more slowly. Many of my non-work friends only check Facebook a few times a week and most do not have active Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube accounts.

Still, I think any organization or company leader who is not opening social media with welcome arms, as Dana is doing, is in denial about the powerful tool this has become. And, as Dana states, I do believe it will only become a bigger and bigger part of our everyday lives.

Check out the rest of Dana’s interview with Mashable, and don’t forget to snag a ticket to BusinessNext (presented by NMX) this January to see Dana speak live about social media.

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