What's Working in Marketing™: Understanding Audience Data and The Secret Language of Fandoms with Breana and Julia from Methods+Mastery

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February 15, 2022

What's Working in Marketing™ is a podcast where we uncover what’s working across the digital landscape by tapping into the world’s best data-backed research and through candid conversations with industry experts. Join us if you're ready to learn what's working when it comes to your marketing efforts.

On this episode, we spoke with Breana Bacon and Julia Schroeder, Marketing Intelligence Leaders at Methods + Mastery. Creating a community of raving fans is no easy task for brands and creators. That's probably why our insight-obsessed friends at Methods + Mastery recently published this incredible research report on The Secret Language of Fandoms, which deconstructs multiple examples of raving fan communities online, and identifies a core trend among fandoms: that they are built on, and held together by complex language. Join us as we unpack the findings from their report and search for more ways to interpret audience data.

You can listen to What's Working in Marketing™ – A Podcast by RightMetric wherever you get your podcasts — including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Tune In, iHeartRadio, and Pocket Casts.

Here's a full transcript of our conversation with Breana and Julia:

Charlie Grinnell: Welcome to What's Working in Marketing, a podcast for marketers that uncovers what's working across the digital landscape, by tapping into the world's best data backed research, and through candid conversations with industry experts.

Charlie Grinnell: I'm your host, Charlie Grinnell. Okay, on this episode, I'm joined by Breana Bacon and Julia Schroeder marketing intelligence leaders at Methods+Mastery. Thank you both so much for joining me today.

Breana Bacon: Of course. Happy to be here.

Julia Schroeder: So excited to be here. Yeah. Thank you for having us.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. So I usually open up these episodes by going back to the beginning. I want to give listeners an understanding of both of your backgrounds, how your career journey has progressed to date. So Breana, maybe I'll start with you. I'd love to get an understanding of how your career has gone, and how you ended up at Methods+Mastery.

Breana Bacon: Yeah. So it's windy road. I started off in journalism actually. I was very sure I wanted to be a sports journalist. I have a degree from journalism for University of Maryland. My first job at a college was writing for ncaa.com, npga.com. I very soon realized that I didn't want to write anymore (laughs). So I realized it was time for a pivot. Around that time I think the business of social media was starting to become a little bit more prominent.

Breana Bacon: And one of my mentors actually was telling me, "You should get a job in social media." And I was like, "I don't know about that. I don't know how lucrative that is." But long story short, I ended up getting a job with Mars Wrigley Confectionery. So the candy company doing social media analytics. I maxed out my potential there and started to look for more opportunities.

Breana Bacon: And by some stretch of grace, I ended up at Methods+Mastery with my fellow nerds and now I get to do what I love every day with people who I really enjoy and super smart people on a really talented team. So that's how I got here.

Charlie Grinnell: That's awesome. What about you, Julia?

Julia Schroeder: Similar, maybe a little less windy. I studied public communications and marketing in college, which is more or less the field that I pretty much operated and have operated in since. I did have a little bit of a similar reckoning to you Brea where I was like, "Do I hate PR? Do I hate marketing?" And I think it was because I was working and studying largely in traditional PR, pitching media, managing relationships with reporters and all of that good stuff.

Julia Schroeder: And it wasn't until I got a really great internship in, I think it was called Integrated Communications at the time, which really just meant integrated marketing. So paid media, looking at the full suite of the PESO model. And it was then I was like, "Oh, I think I love this area, which is a lot more results focused, a lot more tangible and data centric." From there, I have been an agency baby ever since. I've never worked in house, maybe one day, but I love the agency world.

Julia Schroeder: And I've always worked in the "digital arm" of my companies. So when I first started was much more general, doing everything from website builds, to SEO, to paid media, to social listening. I then later in another stage of my career transferred more into the paid media end of the spectrum. So both concepting and executing campaigns, as well as reporting on them and optimizing them, which was a really cool 360 view of how campaigns work.

Julia Schroeder: And then finally ended up at M+M which I think has been a really fantastic culmination of all of those experiences, a lot more in the research world, but blended with strategy. So everything that we do is tailored to, how can a business improve or grow or meet its goals within a marketing capacity and really reaching into any tool in our tool to get there?

Charlie Grinnell: Super interesting. I think both of you, what strikes me is I feel like the first part that Brea mentioned around her career, I know a lot of journalists that have ended up in marketing, which is funny. And then I know a lot of marketers who studied marketing and some of them aren't in marketing or some of them do end up, I find it's not a ton of them actually do end up in marketing.

Charlie Grinnell: So it's interesting to see that you both landed here. As we dive into the topic of this episode, it was sparked by a piece of work that we saw, and it was a white paper that your team put together, about the secret language of fandoms. And so we're going to link that in the show notes below to the listeners, but can you start by telling us how did this report come to be, and Julia we'll start with you.

Julia Schroeder: Sure. Social intelligence and audience intelligence is really what Methods+Mastery does best. It's what we do every single day. Even if we're analyzing more of an evergreen topic, it's still being talked about by an audience, and that means lens is always something that's interesting to us. What makes the tick? What triggers certain responses? And how can we learn more about their behaviors and maybe their thought process via what they talk about?

Julia Schroeder: It's funny, a lot of the times in our social analyses when we're looking at a conversation fandoms whether related to the topic or not, we'll have a way of infiltrating the conversation and we'll have to do some fun creative hacking to either remove them, because it's not related, but they found their way in.

Julia Schroeder: So it just seemed like a really natural extension for us to dive deeper into. We're already in audience mindset on a day to day basis and just exploring it more in depth was something that we knew we wanted to tackle for a while.

Charlie Grinnell: And I guess one of the things that when I first hear the word fandom, I think of sports specifically, right? Sports fandom, but y'all have uncovered that it means so much more than that. You can apply fandom to many things. Brea, what's your take on that?

Breana Bacon: Yeah. I mean, honestly the idea of fandom spans across anything really that people can enjoy. Like you said, with sports, it can go into music, television shows and people who will probably read in our research, it even goes into entities like Elon Musk. There is a, I think Julia can talk a lot more about the spectrum, how fandoms exist on a spectrum. And of course within that spectrum, there are negative examples of fandoms.

Breana Bacon: You have Nicki Minaj and her barbz, which can get out of, very much so out of control, or you can have positive examples of fans. For example, the Free Britney movement. So they really do exist on a spectrum and exist literally across the gamut of anything that people could possibly enjoy from sports to TV shows to even, I think some games for example, UNO has fans, and Legos, and stuff like that. So all over the place you can find fandoms of any kind that exists across the spectrum of extremism.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. It's funny you mentioned that. And before we go into that spectrum, and Julia I'll come back to that. I think about, and this is a personal side and you guys are probably going to think this is ridiculous. I find that I discover new fandoms of my own specifically on TikTok. This has gone pretty nerdy.

Charlie Grinnell: Apparently I've learned I love watching power washing videos on TikTok. A guy or a girl takes their phone, puts on a tripod and power washes their driveway by time lapse. I'm just like, I love this.

Julia Schroeder: Oh yeah.

Charlie Grinnell: Not that I want to do it, but just more so I'm like, that's so satisfying-

Julia Schroeder: Clean talk is very therapeutic.

Charlie Grinnell: Clean talk? Yeah. So, I don't know. I just wanted to explain that. That yeah, there are these random things. And I think I've seen that in my own life and there are probably listeners who are listening to this going like, "Oh shit. Yeah."

Charlie Grinnell: There is this thing that's oddly satisfying that I watch. Or there is this thing that is super, super niche, but that goes really deep and like, "Hey, I'm not the only person that loves this stuff and consumes this stuff."

Breana Bacon: Yeah. Honestly, I'm the same way because those videos of tiny kitchens and stuff like that, I'm a watcher of those. Most people don't know.

Charlie Grinnell: We're getting into it. Now we're getting into the deep stuff here.

Breana Bacon: I would watch those videos, I love the little tiny kitchen. It makes absolutely no sense to me, but I am so fascinated by the way they cook. Literally can cook full blown meals that are meant for mice. I mean, it blows my mind, honestly.

Charlie Grinnell: Julia, do you have anything you want to share? Do you want to talk more about the broad spectrum of fandoms?

Julia Schroeder: Oh God. I mean, I don't want to embarrass myself too much, but no, I think that's a perfect example of it though. Fandoms can be small or large. And regardless of their size, I think the constituents who make up that fandom can very much operate on a scale. And in our research, we put it on this sliding scale of devotion where you could be an apathetic, maybe a bystander, maybe it's, you see the power washing videos that come on here for. You page, and you like it, and you keep swiping.

Julia Schroeder: And then there's other people who that's their whole life. And maybe that's their therapy and how they wind down for the day. And they really take a lot of pride in maybe crafting that content, or sharing that content. Sometimes gate keeping that content. It really is a spectrum of how devoted you want to be.

Julia Schroeder: And in the most extreme cases like the barbz, as Brea just mentioned, it can almost get into cult territories where we're seeing people really subscribe to the beliefs and values of the "figurehead of that fandom" and tabling maybe their own beliefs systems in favor of the fandoms belief systems. Which is an interesting change that I think social media in particular has really, really fostered.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. And I want to expand on that. We've obviously gone through... Social isn't necessarily a new thing, but it also is a new thing. We're what 10? 15 years into this thing really that is social media. So yeah, that's a long time, especially in an internet minute, but also in the grand scheme of things, where was television at when it was 10 or 15 years old? Right? We are in its infancy. What do you think have been the big drivers of change?

Charlie Grinnell: Or in regards to what it means to be a fan in the last five to 10 years with social. And I have something that I can share, but I'd be curious to get your take on it in that I feel like a lot of this deep fandom stuff used to be more hidden in different corners of the internet. On deep forums, or Reddit like that sort of thing. And now it appears a lot of these platforms, TikTok, Snap, reels on Instagram, wherever, Facebook groups, all that is being brought more up to the surface. What do you think about that?

Breana Bacon: So I think one thing that you touched on is everything being brought to the surface. I think back in, I'll say, back in the day, people were like you said, hidden in the crevice of forums, essentially in the dark, but now when you have social media, you have basically news coming at you in all forms, on all platforms 24/7 about anybody or anything that fandoms can create themselves around.

Breana Bacon: People start to feel like they have these parasocial relationships with these figureheads or these entities. And they start to feel a little bit closer to them. So just like Julia was saying before with this cult idea and mindset and fandoms, when you start to feel like you're closer to these celebrities or these brands or whatever, you start to get a little feel like you have a little bit more or a little bit less space between you so that you can reach out and touch it.

Breana Bacon: But that breeds a negative type of thing too. There are positives, but it does breed a little bit of negativity with harassment of other people who may not be A, your fan, to harassment of the person, the target of the fandom themselves. What comes to mind is Rihanna's fans, the Navy harassing her constantly about this album while she's trying to live her best life, her best billionaire life. And the rise of anti fandoms. You have some people who think fandoms are absolutely insane and think these people are super unhinged so that those two groups can go back and forth.

Breana Bacon: But I think that there is also a positive, but of course, when you have that large group of people with that same hive mindset is very easy for it to go left, and for harassment to go forth, or bullying, or just all around craziness, I would say for fandoms. And the fact that social media has created this portal where people think that that is real life, and that whatever happens on social, it makes you closer to whoever is on it. That's created a dangerous aspect, which can be a tad bit scary. But I mean, there are some positive aspects to social media with fandoms.

Julia Schroeder: Yeah. And I would add to that just on why we've seen it taken off even before forums like IRL meetups. I think the Star Trek community was one of the first examples of a real fandom in the traditional sense. That's documented and you can refer back to the actual IRL origins of how the fandom began. And at this point, it's no longer nerdy to be a fan of something. It really is your identity.

Julia Schroeder: And now so much of your identity is really based on how you present online. So sharing what you like, bonding over what you like, and finding your people is almost table stakes expectations at this point, rather than something that was potentially embarrassing, or you wanted to hide away as a nerdy aspect of who you are. And that's very much celebrated. I expected to be celebrated at this point.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. It's interesting. I actually just watched an personal anecdote here again. Here we go. I just watched the Harry Potter HBO reunion and-

Breana Bacon: Yes, you're a Harry Potter fan. I love it.

Charlie Grinnell: So yeah, I grew up, I read the books. I wouldn't consider myself a crazy, superfan. I've read the books, I've watched movies, I'm down with it. So on that spectrum, I'm probably somewhere in the middle. However, what was fascinating was they showed footage of Potter mania when it first happened. And looking back to the lineups outside the bookstores when bros were happening, and I was just like, "Whoa."

Charlie Grinnell: It made me pause and think back to, okay, the only other times where I've seen this was the Harry Potter book, the iPhone, right? There's a few of these pillar products or things that created this demand that brought in all different walks of life. Do you think those have played a role in shaping fandom as we see it today?

Breana Bacon: I would say absolutely.

Julia Schroeder: I mean, it's just there. Those are all showings of connectivity and bond. It's really interesting now to think about it in the context of COVID right? Because I don't know who's going to the Midnight Premiere. I don't think there are Midnight Premiere anymore, RIP. But at its core, it's very similar to what we see happening online.

Julia Schroeder: They're just showing up to celebrate and enjoy as a group the thing that they're bonding over. I'm sure if social media existed back then it would be the same thing. But this is just a natural online extension of you going to the Midnight Premiere, or the books at the Barnes and Nobles with the cast.

Breana Bacon: And with community, it really is built on the sense of community. I think it's human nature for people to try to bond over things that they like. So that goes back to what you said about people from all walks of life gathering together around this one common thing. And I think that's probably one of the more positive parts of social media in its effect on fandoms.

Breana Bacon: I listen to a podcast called True Crime Obsessed, and they have a Facebook group and they always talk about on the podcast how you can find your people in the Facebook group. And some of them have, the Facebook group itself is facilitated by the podcast and the podcast host. But the people in the podcast have created area specific groups for the podcast.

Breana Bacon: And I recently found out even somebody that I work with is a fan of the podcast. So that sense of community is very important when it comes to fandoms, and having that on social media where everything and everyone is at your fingertips, has made it that much easier.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. I want to talk about language, how language plays into that a little bit. Because I feel like there is these groups of people that are being brought together by a certain thing, whether it's a product, an experience, a piece of content and interest. When we think about language, and we think about the language being used to talk about these things, how important is that for brands to understand that? Is the juice worth the squeeze to go out there and understand that language?

Julia Schroeder: Yes. And probably more than ever before, where there is so much conversation happening 1,000,000 miles a minute, all the time online and not having a direct line into what that looks like, what people are talking about and how your brand is being perceived by the fandom that you're trying to connect with. You're losing out on a ton of Intel. You're leaving it all on the table.

Julia Schroeder: We get into our research and I think it's a really interesting and applicable quote from Amanda Montell, she's the author of the book Cultish. And she posits that language is the medium through which ideology is created and disseminated. And without it, there are no beliefs, no cults at all. And we thought this was so interesting because again, fandoms are like cults. They're bonded by the ability to communicate and share.

Julia Schroeder: And via that, this almost insider in group membership is created. And it says, you're with us, you're not with them, right? So if you are a brand, and you are not picking up on the specific language cues of how a fandom operates, you don't know them. You don't know they're psyche, you don't know what makes them tick, and therefore you really can't market to them effectively.

Breana Bacon: And then to go off of that too, there's a nuance with the language too. Honestly, language can be captured within, I think you touched on this in the research too, it can be captured between not just words but pictures with memes, the emergence of memes, the emergence of inside jokes, all of that stuff is nuanced between the language. And I think that also has to do with the fact that these brands and companies and entities have to be up to date not only on what their fans are talking about, but also what everyone else is talking about as well.

Breana Bacon: Because these fans are not just necessarily just fans of that brand or that entity or that person. They're also part of other fandoms as well. So they'll probably bring language, or memes, or whatever from other fandoms, and probably try to adapt them and integrate them into the fandom that they are currently in, the one that we're speaking of now. So I think that you have to be as a brand and as marketers, you have to be aware of everything, not just what pertains to your brand.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And so what would be your advice to marketers? If marketers are sitting there going like, "Okay, yeah. I know we need to focus on building community, nurturing community." But in terms of communication specifically, and decoding that, what is the key to understanding that obviously y'all at Methods+Mastery have nuanced methodologies to do that, that require data and tools, but what are some important things for marketers to consider when getting started to dig for this language to inform them?

Julia Schroeder: I wanted to hit on your comment in there about tools. Obviously we use scaled social listening at Methods+Mastery, but if you're a community manager, or you're a brand and you're first starting out, maybe you don't have a huge marketing budget and you don't have the ability to invest in something like that, you really don't need it to get a really strong foundation around a given fandoms language. Make some Twitter lists, identify the key opinion formers and influencers within a specific fandom or community, and listen to them specifically.

Julia Schroeder: Isolate those conversations, given free tools, and really go in with a curious mindset to understand, when are they talking? What are they talking about? Why are there specific sub or meta themes that are driving some of these conversations? In the example, in our research, when we looked at the Witcher's fandom we found an immense amount of conversation related to mental health. What does mental health have to do with a fantasy franchise? Nothing, but it is the common glue that bound that fandom together.

Julia Schroeder: You really wouldn't pick up on that. If you were just specifically looking for the key character names of the Witcher, or the episode names of the Witcher, you really have to look at who are the core talkers, I guess, within a specific community? Who are they influencing? And what are the themes that are driving and catalyzing those conversations?

Breana Bacon: Also, I think one thing that marketers really need to be aware of is that market alone can't build the fandom. Honestly, you could foster it, but the product really has to be the foundation on which the fandom is built on. And also they need to be aware that a lot of these fandoms are self-sufficient. If you look at most fandoms, they put themselves together without any help of anybody who was involved with whatever they're rallying around.

Breana Bacon: You brought up the Harry Potter franchise. That wasn't the doing of J.K. Rowling, or Dan, Brad cliff, or Emma. That wasn't the doing, that was just people who are consuming the product and they created a fandom themselves. So I think that's one thing that is very important. They're so sufficient, but they need to understand the nature and the influence of their fans, before they can create the strategies around interacting with them.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. That makes a ton of sense. You're absolutely right. Yeah. There probably wasn't a marketing mind sitting there being like, "Oh yeah, we're going to get people line up at midnight." That's really the thing. It's more so they realized they had the demand because of the product and then said, Okay, what can we do to enable people to get together and celebrate this thing?"

Charlie Grinnell: I want to switch gears here and talk about the white paper a little bit. I'd like to get an answer from each of you on this. What are the findings that maybe stood out to each of you? Is it something that you're proud of? Or something that you're surprised with? Or something that shocked you? We'll start with you Brea.

Breana Bacon: I think one thing that stood out to me is that some people were roped into the fandom. I found doing the research by Proxy. For example, for the Elon Musk one, I found an article about, I think it was a woman out on the west coast who was not Elon Musk fan. She just liked Teslas. And by doing more research on Teslas, she started to learn more about Elon Musk and stumbled upon Elon Musk fandoms, and ultimately became a Musk fan.

Breana Bacon: And I thought that was the weirdest thing in the world how you never... It's literally a slippery slope to being in a fandom. You could like something that is just arbitrarily remotely related to whatever the fandom is and find yourself fully immersed in it, and fully immersed in the language that they use so much so that you start using that and integrating that into your everyday life. Because I personally didn't realize how slippery of a slope it was, because like myself, I personally I'm part of the beyhive, I'm a huge Beyonce fan.

Breana Bacon: And I think that the parallel there is if you like Solange, she was Beyonce's sister. If you like her, start doing some research on her, then start getting into Destiny's child and her appearances on music there. And then all of a sudden you find yourself wanting more music from Beyonce, you know what I'm saying?

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah.

Breana Bacon: And be a part of beyhive. So I think seeing the correlation between people who have, were just on the outskirts, and then the language sucked them in was so interesting to see for me.

Charlie Grinnell: That's fascinating. What about you, Julia?

Julia Schroeder: Yeah, I think our core hypothesis going into this, the research is called, The Secret Language of Fandoms, and we had originally hypothesized that code speak, right? The stuff that only the beyhive talks about, or the words and phrases that they use, we thought that that was going to dominate and be the defining of any fandom that we looked at. Right?

Julia Schroeder: It's the specific terms and phrases that only Trekkies know. And we found almost the opposite when we looked at specifically the case study of WallStreetBets, and if you recall the GameStop-

Charlie Grinnell: To the moon.

Julia Schroeder: Yes, to the moon. Exactly.

Julia Schroeder: We chose that intentionally because they have so many niche phrases that completely took over the internet like wildfire during all of the stock fiasco. And when we looked at their subreddit, and we looked at the period of time that the GameStop, AMC phenomenon was happening, and we looked at the tracked niche, what we thought were the niche terms. So the to the moons, the diamond hands, the paper hands, any of those terms that they specifically use, found it was only present in 8% of the most upvoted separate posts from that time.

Julia Schroeder: And we were scratching our heads at that, 8% feels low. And that really was the floodgates that opened for us where we're like, "Oh, well maybe code speak isn't what defines a fandom." In their language, it's more about the context, the shared belief systems, and how that comes through in a more meta, almost contextual POV as opposed to the specific code speak that they use. So while they might be identified by that, externally, it's really not what makes up the bulk of their conversation and their language pattern.

Charlie Grinnell: Fascinating, really fascinating. That surprised me actually hearing that. I want to switch gears here a little bit more. You both are in a unique position in that you're focused on research. And a lot of marketers that I interact with, they either sit on the agency side and they're executing, or they're on the brand side and they're executing.

Charlie Grinnell: Researchers are rare that I get to talk to other researchers. All of that said, you probably have a unique view on this. What are you most excited about when it comes to marketing in 2022 and beyond? Right? You have access to so many different things and you're constantly digging. What are the things that get you fired up? We'll start with you Brea.

Breana Bacon: I think probably the things that are probably most exciting when it comes to marketing today, is the fact that things like this, this research and into fandoms is probably going to help these brands figure out a lot more innovative ways to connect, and eventually to sell product. You have to be identity... These brands have to identify or be identifiable to the people that they're trying to sell to, or trying to reach.

Breana Bacon: And I think the opportunity for innovation is probably greater than it's ever been. Honestly, just the expansion of social platforms I think is probably going to be one of the major things that happens to marketing over the next 10 years. We saw the blow up of TikTok and it is only a matter of time when another platform comes and runs the world. So I think just really the innovation and the opportunity to connect more with the people that you're marketing to, that's probably what I'm most excited about.

Charlie Grinnell: Interesting. What about you, Julia?

Julia Schroeder: Well, one, retweet all of that. I'm so happy to see, it's encouraging to see brands understand TikTok at this point. It's also concerning, because it's like, oh, the parents are at the party.

Charlie Grinnell: Parties ruin everything,

Julia Schroeder: Right? The parents have arrived. But that being said, I do think honestly now more than ever before, and I think TikTok ironically has helped this. I think individuality in marketing is at an all time high and it's expected and celebrated. If you think back 10 years ago, I feel like every brand's tone of voice, maybe that's a little extreme, most brands tone of voice was really similar. It was so stale. It was very safe, very kind of, I'm a brand 'beet-boot' robot.

Julia Schroeder: And at this point I think that there's a lot more celebration for creativity, for informality, in how people approach marketing and a lot more personal in nature too. So if that's the, what is it? The Duolingo app commenting some random thing on some random TikTok, I love to see it. It's so offbeat, out of left field where if you think back 10 years ago, you would never see that.

Julia Schroeder: You would think someone made a mistake and logged into the wrong account. So I just love the individuality and I think big retweets breath, and I think from that breeds innovation and how brands can show up on a more unique basis.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. That unification of brands is a big one I think. Two examples and I probably don't have this correct in terms of chronologically when this happened. But the two things I go to is, Wendy's on Twitter. That was the first time. The big one, or I believe it was in the Super Bowl when the lights went out and Oreo did the dunk in the dark thing. And now I feel like a lot of brands they're trying to copy it, but also copying it and doing it well are two very different things.

Charlie Grinnell: And so that's interesting. And yeah, it's going to be interesting to see how that progresses as we move on when people... We all know there's a human behind corporate accounts and sometimes now I go down rabbit holes where it's, this is a big epic fail and mistake. Did they do this on purpose? Is there a deeper meaning and all that sort of thing. So, yeah. I don't know.

Charlie Grinnell: One of the last questions I want to ask here for those who have listened to this podcast, they know I dropped out of university and never went back. And I've learned a lot through reading and consuming information. So I always ask guests, how are you staying up to date on business and marketing? Who are you following? Who are you listening to in terms of podcasts? What are you reading? We'll start with you, Julia.

Julia Schroeder: I mean, for one, we just talked about TikTok. I genuinely think it's one of the best resources out there. Not only if, I'm not talking about marketing talk, or who are on TikTok as marketing professionals, I'm literally just talking about being on the platform.

Julia Schroeder: I think it's the direct lifeline into how new marketing trends are made and build and how culture is evolving. It really is the ground zero right now, at least. So one, if you're not on TikTok get on TikTok, I swear I'm not compensated or sponsored by TikTok.

Breana Bacon: She's talking to me because I'm not on TikTok. (Laughs)

Julia Schroeder: I'm on TikTok. Two, candidly, just the trade pubs do it for me. I really like the ad weeks of the world. I love signing up to the newsletters from intelligence houses out there. So I love JWT intelligence who might be Wonderman Thompson intelligence at this point, resources like that to me spark a lot of interest in creativity. But to me, the greatest inspiration in learning is seeing it in the wild via my socials.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. It's interesting. The one thing I would add just to the TikTok thing and I was just quickly searching for it here within our research. We did some research for a customer of ours last summer and #LearnOnTikTok has over 115 billion video views as of June 2021. And we're talking about, here's why ice melts this way, or cooking, or life hacks, or science, or fitness.

Charlie Grinnell: That hashtag alone, and I think to your earlier point around TikTok being this thing for kids, now so, it's like, no, no, there's so much other stuff on there. It's not just dance videos Alarm musically, it is very much a gathering, an entertainment gathering area for the internet where there's so many different topics. So yeah, RT on the old LearnOnTikTok.

Julia Schroeder: I have no interest in buying a house anytime soon, but I know so much about it through the realtors whose been on my page.

Charlie Grinnell: I love it.

Breana Bacon: That's literally how I'm learning about Excel now. One of our other coworkers put in a TikTok about different formulas and whatever in Excel, and I was like, "Wait, I need to know that, send me more. Because I need to know." It's crazy how you literally can learn how to, some people can learn how to do their jobs on TikTok.

Charlie Grinnell: True.

Breana Bacon: And I know I'm not helping my case with Julia but praising TikTok and how I've learned on there and I'm not on there, but whatever, eventually I'll get on there, but not today.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. I think the one thing I would add to that is for anybody, either of you or anybody listening who haven't seen it, The Wall Street Journal did this really fascinating investigation into the TikTok algorithm. And they actually created 40 different accounts. And basically what they did was saw which way the algorithm would take these accounts down the rabbit hole.

Charlie Grinnell: So they're like, "Okay, this is an account of a 35 year old female who loves Beyonce. And this is a 52 year old man who likes trucking or heavy machinery." And they were just like, "Okay, boom." And they ran all these things. And then what they do is they visualize the algorithm and topics that are popular that are core in the middle. And then these offshoots that are really niche.

Charlie Grinnell: It's a 13 minute YouTube video. I highly encourage watching it because it taught me a lot about why I got interested in power washing videos. And so I don't know. If you haven't seen that, check that out. But Brea, I want to hear, yeah, who are you listening to? Reading? Staying up to date?

Breana Bacon: So interestingly enough, quite a few of my friends actually work in marketing. So honestly we all just talk to each other about our jobs. But aside from that on Instagram, I follow this woman now in California named Diane Taylor. She's really into social media marketing and marketing in general. She's become a social media guru. Followed by Julian Cole on Instagram. He's in the marketing world.

Breana Bacon: Also there's this account from this guy who's in the UK, his handle, I don't know his actual name, but his handle is The BKH. And he mostly tweets about social media platform updates and how people can integrate them, how he integrates them into his marketing and social media strategy. So those are a couple. Aside from me just gathering the internet about random things. I'll just search Twitter about random things. People are talking about random things I'm interested in.

Breana Bacon: And like my mentors and stuff will tell me, send me things that they've learned. And like I said, a lot of my friends are in marketing. So they're just like, "Yeah, this is what we were talking about at work today." And I'm just like, "Oh, interesting. Let me go apply this in my job."

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. That's awesome. That's awesome. Okay. Last question. What's the best place for people to get ahold of you online?

Breana Bacon: Julia, do you want to start?

Julia Schroeder: Sure. I mean, I guess the common answer is LinkedIn. You can find me Julia Schroeder, if you want to Insta me, great. It's @juliabuliaa with two A's at the end. And my Twitter is @JuliaNoFoolia, but that's usually just me retweeting me. Feel free to DM me though.

Charlie Grinnell: Gangster user names. I love that.

Breana Bacon: Mine are not as interesting. Like Julia said, you can find me on Instagram, Breana Bacon, B-R-E-A-N-A, one N, no I. Also, if you want to follow me on Instagram, my handle is my first name. Breana.JB. There's nothing really interesting on there. I just post pictures of myself all the time. Twitter it's BreanaJBacon, all one thing.

Breana Bacon: A lot of that is me just retweeting foolishness and talking about Succession so. You can DM me there if you want to. Or if you have anything you want to talk about Succession, or the West Wing, or Bones, that's what I'm currently watching, feel free to get in touch.

Charlie Grinnell: Love it. Well, thank you very much both for taking the time. Really interesting to chat with you about fandom. I'm sure everybody listening definitely learned something and hopefully we'll get to speak again soon.

Breana Bacon: Thanks for having us.

Julia Schroeder: Thank you for having us. Oh, and if, I'm sure you'll link it, but it's knowledgedrops@methods+mastery.com. You can read a much more eloquent version of everything Breana talked about there.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. We'll definitely.

Breana Bacon: And follow Methods+Mastery on social media as well @Methods+Mastery.

Charlie Grinnell: Yes. Follow Methods+Mastery. We'll link that in the show notes below. And thank you both so much again for taking the time.

Breana Bacon: For sure.

Julia Schroeder: Thanks, Charlie. Appreciate it.

Charlie Grinnell: For show notes, other episodes, and more content, check out rightmetric.co. If you enjoyed the show, please subscribe and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts. Thanks for listening.


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