The Business of Pharmacy Podcast™
Sept. 28, 2020

Gain Traction on LinkedIn | Chris Cozzolino, PharmD, co-founder Uptown Creation

Gain Traction on LinkedIn | Chris Cozzolino, PharmD, co-founder Uptown Creation

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD, helps businesses gain traction on LinkedIn through his company, Uptown Creation.


(Speech to Text)

Gain Traction on LinkedIn

Mike Koelzer: [00:00:00] Well, hello, Chris, how's it going, Mike? Good. How are you doing? I'm doing well. Good. Thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me. Hey, Chris, for the people who haven't maybe stumbled across you online, tell our listeners why we're talking today. What's going on? 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah, so I'm a pharmacist by training and actually just graduated in May, 2020.

Um, but while in pharmacy school and as an undergrad, I've run a couple businesses. And my latest business uptown creation is a social media marketing agency. Um, so we put a lot of focus on Instagram and now as of the last year, more so on LinkedIn. So really dive deep into how healthcare as a whole, specifically pharmacists as well, are able to establish their online presence and get benefit while also being able to give something to them.

Mike Koelzer: I think that it's so cool to be talking to the millennials now, you know, and they're like, well, I'm on my third business already. I just graduated in may. You know, I, I, I think that's really cool and you're hearing more and more of that now. It's just remarkable. And, and I think the computer has, has leveled the playing field for everybody to do that.


Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: And I think that's the punchline is that, you know, growing up with the internet and being able to see other people that were my age, making businesses and doing businesses and knowing that that was a tangible thing, you know, you, weren't always seeing 17 year olds running their own businesses, at least publicly because of social media.

You're able to share that publicly. So that really serves as motivation, but also the tangible thing that makes it attainable because you're seeing somebody else that doesn't really have different circumstances than. Right. It's putting in the work and being able to achieve this thing. So you can go do it yourself.

Chris, when I was your age, graduating college, I had a mentor in the neighborhood association. He would get all kinds of press, 

Mike Koelzer: you know, and, and 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: I learned under him and he would teach me whom to call and the paper and how hungry they were for information and not to be afraid of them and things like that.

But the difference I tell my kids now is that there's no middleman anymore. 

Mike Koelzer: You know, the middleman doesn't exist now. That can be good and bad because anybody's able to do it now. But the skill of the relationship of the middleman, you know, of calling up the people at the press and using some schmoozing skills in oh, to get on, those were part of the skills to get on and.

Now those skills aren't used, but you don't need those skills to get out of however 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: anybody can get on now. And so the whole game is raised up. 

Mike Koelzer: It used to be that, for example, I had a it's this guy would always brag about his kid being a great downhill Alpine skier. And I'm like, yeah, that's good. Except, you know, one out of a thousand kids do that.

Well, that's how maybe the N the news and Hollywood used to be, but now it's like, anybody can do it. So it's kind of like the soccer of the world now where anybody can pick up a soccer ball and play. And so when you're good at soccer, you're really, really good. And when you're good, then on the internet, you're really, really good now because there's so much competition.

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. I like that. I like that analogy a lot. And. The funny thing with it all is I think the competition really becomes the execution of it and just being able to be consistent. And so when it comes to social media, from everything that I've learned over the last five years of being in the trenches with Instagram and LinkedIn is really that consistency wins and literally 99.9% of people aren't going to have that consistency.

So if you're able to form the discipline or set a goal and just have that consistency down, you're already, you're already in the top 1% or above. So that consistency really is what puts you in the top 1%. And then that's the game that you're playing. Then that's where, you know, the little things that you can do, like including hashtags, making a story that's relatable, um, being a good storyteller, being relatable and just sharing things that are, we always talk about the two.

Of social media and content. And so it's education and entertainment. And if you can hit on both of those things, then you're creating good content and that's the content that's really going to resonate with 

Mike Koelzer: people. Tell me what you [00:05:00] mean by consistency. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. And so I thought about this with my clients and to everybody, it means something a little bit different in terms of posting on social media.

But consistency in terms of posting on social media really is going to be what you're able to sustain. So if you're able to post 10 times on LinkedIn a week, that's great, but most people are going to be more in the one to three posts range. So really just making it so you don't burn yourself out and do 10 posts one week, but then you don't do anything for three weeks.

It'd be a lot better just to do two posts a week. And build up that momentum and that's kind of how the social media Mart or the social media algorithms work, because they want people to use their platform. And so when people are using their platform, you're getting the dopamine from likes and everything, and it 

Mike Koelzer: keeps you going.

So the consistency you're talking about is mainly the timing, consistency. What are your thoughts? Or what about any other consistencies, such as, you know, for example, with tick tock now, or, or reels on Instagram or something, and you see that someone's a dancer, you know, and they've got six dance videos.

Yeah. Consistency. Would that also include making that seventh one, a dance video too? Or, or could that be anything? What are your thoughts on a consistent style? 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah, that is a great question. I think that depends on your goals and the reason that I frame it like that. If it's personal branding and you're trying to build a personal presence and you're playing the long game, I think you should share the content that's relevant to you at that time.

So the nice thing about LinkedIn is that it's in its infancy with respect to becoming the like professional Facebook professional social media, that it is LinkedIn has been around forever, but people still view it as like the place to put out your resume and get a job rather than, you know, the professional place to network and everything.

So in terms of playing the long game, I think it is important to share whatever current with you in terms of gaming the algorithm. So for Instagram, for example, Instagram is going to prefer you to make that seventh video dance video. That's just from the algorithmic perspective. So I go back and forth with this in my head.

Mike Koelzer: To let our listeners know is, as you were saying earlier, and just let me rephrase that too. It's like Instagram couldn't care less whose video they're showing their main goal is to have Chris on there and Mike on there flipping through that for the longest time. And if they could do that with a million pictures in a row of, you know, LeBron James or Michael Jackson or whatever they would do that they don't care about getting your stuff on there, that algorithm is to keep you on there.


Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: right. Yeah, exactly. And, and then it plays from the content creators perspective to keep them creating content as well as the viewer's perspective. But at the end of the day, all social media that is not paid for. It's trying to make their money off of ads and they make their money off of ads by keeping your eyes on their platform as long as possible.

Mike Koelzer: Well, you say that again. See, you're, you're bringing me all these new thoughts. So you already brought me the thought about, you know, cause I was, I was telling my kids how great it is to do business, but you know, with the current platforms, but they're already seeing that, like you're saying from other 16 and 17 year olds or 12 year olds on there, so they don't need their old man for me to preach about that.

They're already seeing it. And what you're saying now too, is that I just got done talking about Instagram, not caring, how the producer feels. They want the viewer to be on it. You said something different that they want to give you as a creator enough dopamine to keep you coming back. Right.

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Right. Right. And, and for example, when Snapchat came out and Snapchat was doing stories, Instagram made their own version of Instagram story. And now with tick-tock Instagram made reels to kind of be the competitor with tick dock. And so making those features for the creators. So they don't find another medium that they like creating more, whether it's stories or reels, and then they go to another platform drop Instagram, and now that other platform serves them better.

So Instagram kind of has to play it on both sides. They have to play it to keep assets with them, as well as be able to monetize on the other end. [00:10:00] This is just a thought that came to my mind, but it makes perfect sense that there's probably going to be a social media platform that goes to I'm sure this has happened already and just not succeeded, but goes to the creators, offers them a stipend or a salary to come and create content on their platform and have that exclusivity deal.

So like Joe Rogan got the exclusivity deal with Spotify. I'm sure that social media is going to make a similar play with that eventually. And I mean, it just takes Google. With the next thing and then make it be, you know, I mean, it could even be a paid for subscription model where you pay five bucks a month to be on this social media platform.

But now you're not bombarded by ads. You're not bombarded by the kind of BS that comes along with the free first subscription. So I'm sure that'll happen 

Mike Koelzer: eventually. Yeah. What role can get a hundred million for three years or something that's crazy. And it's only going to be on there along with his videos too.

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Right? Right. Yeah. Spotify is trying to go that video route and play with that 

Mike Koelzer: even have video yet 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Spotify. They just have like, like when you're listening to a song, if it's a popular song, gosh, A repeat of a 15 second 

Mike Koelzer: clip that I'll clip or something on it. That's going to be interesting with that. And what's interesting to me, as in the day of the cancel culture, I don't know if you know the name norm, norm MacDonald is a comedian and they do whatever they want to on YouTube.

But as soon as he got a Netflix, like the next day he was on like Barbara Walters show, you know, apologizing for something. And you'll wonder like with Rogan, who can now basically say, Hey, I'm on, I'm on a dozen platforms. Screw you. If you don't want me on here, they'll pick me up on YouTube or the other 11 platforms.

And you'll wonder if he's going to have to change at all when he's got that much coming from one source. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Right. Right. And I think that's an interesting thing to have to hedge when you're at that level. I think it's similar for. I'm sure that's existed with record labels and all of that, and labels, dropping people and producers dropping people.

So it's an interesting aspect for the people that have made it so to speak when you're too big to fail. And when you could be on the downswing, you can actually fail. 

Mike Koelzer: I'll never get to that point, but at least it's fun to talk about it with Rogan. It kind of goes in reverse a little bit about what I was saying about the middleman, because now in a way they're kind of trying to please that middleman where, you know, the internet hasn't, hasn't really gone before and now you're seeing it a lot too, with the social platforms, with, uh, the election coming up, you know, with the truth, that truth finders, you know, and all that kind of stuff.

Interesting stuff. How did you first take a liking to this stuff? Chris, did you do this in high school and where did you latch on to this more? And when did you start thinking about more outside yourself? Instead of saying, you're going to do this. It was like, wait a minute, I'm in pharmacy now. There's people that need this and so on.

When, how did that come 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: together? Yeah. And so I've always just liked to have what I call side hustles and things that are on the side as a place where I can go and put X amount of time in and then reap some sort of benefit, whether it's personal benefit, monetary, whatever it is. Um, and so, I mean, I did that with video games when I was even before high school.

Sell virtual currency, essentially. I guess that was probably my first entrepreneurial venture virtual 

Mike Koelzer: currency, like Reddit coins or what is that? 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah, so, I mean, it was in World of Warcraft, I would say gold. So, the currency in World of Warcraft, when I was like 12, 13, I was selling that. And I mean, I was making like a couple hundred bucks here and there, which is big money.

What do you get for buying that? You get stuff in the game then. So the people who bought it from me were able to go and spend that virtual currency on items and stuff 

Mike Koelzer: like that. And you got it by being a good 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: player. Right? Yeah. And, and just from a time perspective, so the people they're saving time by buying it so they don't have to 

Mike Koelzer: go and they don't have to go through all the levels 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: and stuff.

Right, right. Yeah. So that was that, that was probably one of the early ventures that I did. And I've always just had kind of things like that. Then fast forward to. College. I went to college at the University of Iowa for both, both undergrad and pharmacy school. Where's your hometown? So I'm from the south Southwest suburbs of Chicago.

So I'm from Illinois. How far is Iowa then 

Mike Koelzer: from 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: here? It's about three, three and a half hours. So it was far enough away that I got to go away to college and not have my parents visit me every weekend, but I was still close enough that I [00:15:00] could go and visit them when I wanted to, as the joke that I would 

Mike Koelzer: say.

And it's not just the visiting, they can't pop in on you. They're not going to drive three and a half hours to surprise you. A girlfriend might do that, but not a parent. Yeah. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: But at the university of Iowa, um, it probably wasn't until my junior year of college, but I discovered that they had like an entrepreneurship program.

And that was the first time that the ideas that I kind of already had were like given a name and then other people were having these ideas as well. So that was really the first time that I started, like meeting friends. Kind of had the same level of ambition and just liked to throw stuff against the wall and see what happens.

So that was really fun for me 

Mike Koelzer: financially. Right. I mean, 


Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: wise. Right, right. Yeah. Business wise. And you know, I've always wanted to find unique ways to make money, but money has never really been an important aspect of it. It's more just fun to build something. It's like going and playing with Legos.

It's fun building 

Mike Koelzer: And the money is the money can be kind of a kind of point to see if you're on the right track, but not, not necessarily the first goal. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. So the first serious business that I had was a solo venture where I would sell stuff and I still do this to this day. I sell stuff on Amazon, um, through drop shipping.

So finding products, other places online, um, and selling those products on Amazon. So selling a physical product. Became kind of an infatuation for me to buy something cheaper and sell it for more money. That was the game 

Mike Koelzer: that I played. This is like through Ali, Bob, is it, what is it? Allie bobber, no, 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Alibaba and Ali express are definitely places to do it.

I was doing it just through eBay, so I would find products on eBay. I would list them on Amazon. Then somebody would go to Amazon and purchase them from me. Then I would go back to eBay and put in their shipping information. So then my eBay seller would ship it right to my Amazon customer. 

Mike Koelzer: Were those like used products or were those new 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: products they're brand new?

Yeah. And that's why the price disparity exists is because most people think eBay is like secondhand. There's a ton of, you know, big box wholesalers that just have their products on there. Cause it's another channel to 

Mike Koelzer: sell stuff through. And what you sold it for, you knew that you would win, you would either buy it now or when the bed, or I guess it was buy it now probably.

So you knew for sure you could get it. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. Yeah. So I only bought it now. And it was only products that had an inventory. So that was kind of the caveat that I had to look for when I was searching for 

Mike Koelzer: products was enough 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: inventory. Right, right, right. Exactly. So if I sold one in two weeks, I knew that I could go back to it and it would still be there and it happens sometimes that it wasn't.

And then I'd have to go figure out where else on the internet. I could buy it and take a loss maybe. But at the end of the day, you're getting the product to the customer. The thing that taught me more than anything. Customer service because that's what the job became. And inevitably I needed to start hiring people because I mean, my job was customer service, essentially since I already had the products listed and those were selling all I had to deal with the problems.

Um, but that, so if you don't know, Amazon has a very strict seller policy, so you have to, that's why they can sell things for more. So, from my perspective, I kind of had to do everything that the customer needed me to do to be able to keep selling on Amazon and not have them shut 

Mike Koelzer: me down. Oh, Amazon can raise their price a little bit because the people trusted and they know you're not going to get screwed by a possible E-bay person or something like that.

Even though that may not be true, Amazon has that trust built up. Right. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Right. And, they have that trust by being super strict on the sellers. So I had that kind of motivation to be really, really good at customer service. So. So I did that for two, three years. And then devil's 

Mike Koelzer: advocate, Chris. Yeah. So you're selling something on eBay and you want to do well, but then this thing comes from the eBay guy and it's got, you know, the views cran instead of ink to write, you know, whatever, I mean, or the, you know, the, the package is, is wrapped in old twine or something like that.

I'm joking. But how did you know, did the customers, did they suspect like when it came from the eBay people, did it have any of your stamp on it or was it all the eBay sellers? 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: So the first question. About like quality control, essentially at the end of the day, it comes up to me to vet it. So I would like to do test purchases, make sure that the couch is there.

And then the other aspect of researching the product came into researching the seller as well. So if there was a seller that had a product that I wanted and it was cheap, but they were getting awful reviews saying that, you know, it's counterfeit, [00:20:00] it's secondhand, whatever. Then that's kind of the job of me to be able to say, uh, you know, I'll take the 10 cent hit and go for the more expensive product.

Right. So, yeah, that's where, that's where I could have failed very easily. I think if I would have just not 

Mike Koelzer: Look at the quality, give me one example of a product that you might've done. Yeah. Yeah. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: So the funny thing with it is it's all the non-sexy products that you would never expect to sell.

So, you know, sure. Like dog shock collars were a big product of mine. Um, I was selling a lot of them. Like second and third generation cell phones. Because those weren't available in stores anymore. So everything was, you know, becoming a smartphone at that time. So it was really hard to find a razor, a flip phone, and it was really hard to find a construction phone and stuff and it still would have been new.

Right? Yeah. It's still just never sold. Exactly. Yeah. And then the biggest product that I ever had with Bluetooth headsets. So I got lucky and it was just serendipity that, cause you know, you just, when you're doing this, you list products on Amazon and I might list a hundred products and only five of them sell.

So it just so happened that Bluetooth headphones started to sell for me. And as I looked more into the reasons, because I had a day where, you know, I got 70 orders from Marilyn. And that really, you know, sparked my interest on why it was, and it was something that it was either like July 1st or maybe it was January one, but a new law had passed that required people to do hands-free in a car, so they couldn't be on their phone anymore.

So being able to see how that trend played out, I went and listed a ton more Bluetooth products and ended up doing pretty well just by looking for those laws and then looking at an advance, what states were about to pass those laws. Um, and trying to get ahead of 

Mike Koelzer: that. Was that a physical transfer you had to do some copying pasting and things like that.

Or did you have any computer program that would do the shift from the eBay description over to your site? 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah, so I did it all by hand and I talked to a lot of tech savvy people that told me that I could save a lot of time by not doing it by hand, but I was learning to I'm a very hands-on learner.


Mike Koelzer: And you don't miss stuff that way either. I mean, you start cutting copy and pretty soon you're not reading things like you should and 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: that kind of stuff. Amazon's very strict. So that's kind of the, the difference between the people that make it and the people that don't is there's little nuances 

Mike Koelzer: and your eBay sellers, they didn't care who they were sending it to.

They were just happy to sell it. Right. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Exactly. Yeah. They were happy. They were getting whatever the price they listed it for. And then to answer your second question, the Amazon customers, I thought that they were going to care, but they didn't care at all. I don't, I think maybe in my entire duration of selling the first three years, maybe two people mentioned something.

Oh, gotcha. They just mentioned it. They weren't even really like, mad about it or anything. Because they were just happy to get the product in a timely manner that they wanted. It. It 

Mike Koelzer: Sounds to me like you really picked up on a good trend there because if I go to eBay and if I see something let's say for a buy now and something new it's 20 bucks, you know, and if I see.

You know, Amazon and it's 24 bucks. Well, I'm going to buy it from Amazon. It's easier. I trust it. It's at 20% marketing that Amazon has won over now with their good service. And then you took advantage of that because you're under a little more scrutiny. You've got to maybe respond more quickly or do this or that.

And so then you're, you're getting paid for that extra effort. And then hopefully some on top of that, with that spread. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah, exactly. And that's why I say that my job just became customer service because at the end of the day, that was the differentiator. That's the difference you're making. So the customer that purchased it from me got the quality product that they were expecting in the time manner that they were expecting to get it then, and that if they didn't that I would correct any of those problems and make it right.

Whether it was given, you know, a 20% discount or reshipping a product and taking a loss. Right. But doing all those customer service. 

Mike Koelzer: All right. So at some point what became the bottleneck for that? Right? Cause there's always a bottleneck or right now you'd have a hundred employees and you'd be doing this.

So what became the bottleneck on that little side hustle gig that you had thought 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: up? Yeah. Yeah. So the bottleneck became my time eventually. And essentially, so that was before I even liked hiring employees or even thought about that. It was really hard for me to let go of responsibility at first, because like I said, the whole, whole reason I was in business was customer service and not missing the little things.

Exactly. Right. So that was something [00:25:00] really hard for me to give up eventually. Um, so I was the bottleneck for a really long time and I would sit there and copy and paste products for like three hours after class and then respond to emails for another two hours after class. You know, I got into it because I didn't want to work the typical job and I wanted to have more time, freedom, but ended up losing that.

So that's kind of where something had to give. 

Mike Koelzer: It's like all the marketing things you see online, you know, quit your, quit, your job and work only, you know, four hours, you know? Yeah. It doesn't, it doesn't quite go that way. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. And so, I actually ended up taking time off of Amazon for that reason.

Um, and I took a couple of years off of selling on Amazon until I found a company that allowed me to hire and outsource people that were doing the same thing and do like a revenue revenue share type deal. So that's kind of the deal that I have going right now with Amazon is being able to do a revenue share with the team.

So it maintains quality because they're incentivized by how much they sell. Maintaining the store and keeping it 

Mike Koelzer: up and everything. It's basically you, you built the business where these are the employees, and now you're getting paid more for your expertise and finding the correct spread. And, and 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: in my line of credit, 

Mike Koelzer: Tell me about that.

Your line of credit. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: I don't ever purchase a product until I sell it, but Amazon won't give me that money right away until I fulfill it. So if somebody buys a $30 product for me and I'm buying it for 20, at another site, I need to go in front of that 20, even though I know the 30 is going to come 

Mike Koelzer: in, what's the delay on that?

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: It's about two to three 

Mike Koelzer: weeks. So if everything goes well, you could do that with the revolving, you know, 30 day paid off credit card, but things don't always go that way. And then you quickly lose 18% APY. If something goes. Something goes the wrong way, right? 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. And luckily I haven't had that hat. Well, I had things go the wrong way plenty of times, but I haven't had to pay interest on anything.

There was a time where I was on vacation in Yellowstone national park and my store got shut down for some metric things. And when your story gets shut down, Amazon holds all your money. So I was in that scenario where I had like a $20,000 credit bill coming up and Amazon was holding onto my 30,000. So I had to scramble to make it so I was interested in kick-ass.

Mike Koelzer: Yeah. So that's still going. So your academy is probably clicking now. What's going to be the bottleneck now. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. Now the bottlenecks, my credit, my line of credit. 

Mike Koelzer: Your credit? 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. That's the bottleneck currently. 

Mike Koelzer: That's the pain of growth, 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: right? Yeah. I've learned a lot about credit as well.

And I thought that as long as I paid off my credit card bill and kept things rolling, they would just keep increasing my credit. But that definitely has capped out, I guess, for good reason, banks will only give you a certain amount of credit given your assets. And even if you have a ton of assets, they'll still only give you a certain amount of credit.


Mike Koelzer: I suppose. That's right. I remember years ago I had like a line of credit with the pharmacy and business was more consistent back then, you know? And, and I think that was in 2008 or something. I remember seeing them, my banker it's like, I could take any line of credit, basically. I want to write. And they're like, no, you really couldn't right now during this time of, you know, flux with the banks and things like that, you know, it's like, oh, I never knew that.

I never knew there was a winner. I knew there was a cap on 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: that. So that's 

Mike Koelzer: been learning you're steady as she goes on now. Or are you kind of like at a certain limit and you won't go higher right now because of the credit, you can only invest so much 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: right now. You shouldn't really go over 150,000 in sales a month.

Anyways, because Amazon will, they'll categorize you a little bit differently and then you'll have to abide by different rules and things become a little bit more stringent. Um, so that's kind of where I'm going to stay anyways. And if I wanted to, I could open up more stores and figure out ways to do that.

But I'm happy with that being essentially passive. I struggle with using the word passive because nothing is really passive, but it's as passive as it could be right now. That's just going steady. 

Mike Koelzer: I know the service is very important, you know, on Amazon. And so on. How much do you have to spend with the algorithms of that?

As far as like asking for ratings and then trying to get your product on, you know, let's say you're selling an alarm clock where everybody else, you know, you'll look up and there'll be like 10 bestsellers and you're like, wait a minute, there can't be 10 best sellers. So you'd go in there. And one of them is the best seller for it's an alarm clock, you know, one I'm joking, but you know, one would be enormous wristwatches, you know, and one would be bedside alarm and one would be studying alarm and one would be wind up [00:30:00] alarm and you know, so there's all ways to become number one and all that kind of stuff.

Do you have to deal a lot with that? Or 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: I've looked into those types of business models and played around with them a little bit back when I was more in the trenches. Luckily, with the model that I run right now, I'm only selling products that are like big brands. So maybe I'm selling Samsung, Samsung phones, maybe I'm selling, um, you know, like Cottonelle paper, towels and toilet paper.

Um, so I don't, I get to take advantage of their marketing dollars as well as Amazon, as a platform. Um, and then it just makes it, so my margins are a little bit more slim, but I don't have to deal with building up a page, building up a product, holding inventory or doing any of those things. 

Mike Koelzer: You don't have to prove that your well, let's just say alarm cloud.

You don't have to prove that you are better than someone else. Basically you're buying, you know, whatever the time, an extra Sunbeam alarm clock, and already people know the brand and trust and things like that. So you'll get enough sales without trying to manipulate in any way, some unknown thing from China that you just happened to put a sticker on and make it your own logo.

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Okay. Exactly, exactly. And, and I've tried doing the, you know, purchasing in bulk and selling wholesale and that's just a whole nother can of worms that I didn't necessarily want to learn at the time. Since I already had put all the time in the dropshipping and learning those nuances, those same nuances exist, but I would have been starting from square square one, but that's kind of, that's kind of the transition point of where physical products and my infatuation with selling physical products when I was an undergrad in college leads into kind of the social media stuff and how I got into that.

Um, and so at probably this is probably like four or five years ago now. Um, Instagram was talking about releasing something called shopping on Instagram, which they actually like just released within the last couple months officially. Um, but you know, with selling stuff on Amazon, I was seeing Amazon take a huge cut cause they take about 15%.

So they take about 15% and then so whatever margin on top of that, that's going to be your profit. I think the third-party sellers have exceeded. The revenue of Amazon and them selling their products themselves. So that's kind of what oh, is that right? Yeah. That's kinda the, that's kind of what they've created inadvertently, but then they just learned to roll with it and pivoted 

Mike Koelzer: with it.

Their warehouses are not small, you know, so they didn't have to touch products. They'd probably be happy to, but yes. So back to your 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: pivot then. So at that time I had a friend who's now my business partner and has been for the last five years with optom creation, but he was selling physical products kind of by the way of holding inventory, holding 

Mike Koelzer: it, but at Amazon right at Amazon.

Yeah. It's interesting because you know, people can say they're hands off, but you're really hands-off. But some people I've got a friend that has water filters and he sells, you know, Worms of some sort, you know, dry worms or something like that, but they're still their product, you know, but Amazon has it.

So, so he was doing 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: that. And so then we both saw that Amazon was taking big margins and looking for ways to sell on different platforms and find ways of getting around those Mar margins. So Instagram was talking about shopping on Instagram. So our idea was to go and make like an Instagram page and we were going to sell these like mugs, like tumblers, essentially.

Um, so we made an Instagram page, never sold a toddler on there, but in doing that, 

Mike Koelzer: Wait, why didn't you sell any? Because they never 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: launched just because the pages didn't gain enough traction at first, was that through a paid ad to know we weren't doing any paid ads, we were just doing kind of organic posting and then Instagram growth hacks, which.

Where's my new infatuation? People could 

Mike Koelzer: click on that and it would send them to a buy page or something. Or, 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: uh, initially it was just, you'd have a link in the bio and then you'd be able to drive traffic to that link that is in your bio right now, though, you're able to sell products on Instagram. Um, yeah, I mean, Instagram actually has a cart, so you can buy products on Instagram without ever leaving the platform.

Mike Koelzer: They probably have realized pretty quickly. I'm not a teenage girl. There's, they're like, what the hell are we going to sell that guy? We know he's a 53 year old fart. What are we going to sell him? But nothing ever comes up 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Here's the aside that I'll have just really quick. My, so my PR and this is new in that novel of a prediction, but I believe that Instagram will try to [00:35:00] serve the purpose of what a mall serves as.

So you're scrolling through your feed and you see somebody wearing a cool shirt that you. Being able to click on that and then buy it from their 

Mike Koelzer: mail online. It said, London news aggregator, I guess they write their own stuff, but they'll do that if you're reading through and you'll see some Hollywood stuff and they'll have ads of what the person's wearing right below that and so on.

So yeah, that's, that's right there. It seems. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. So it'll be interesting to see how Instagram kind of runs with their shopping platform and everything. But going back to me, trying to sell Tumblr's, what I was trying to do then is like the only way to get sales is if you're getting eyeballs on that page.

So that's what I just became obsessed with. And eventually that's why that became the start of uptown creation. As a social media company, eventually after so much trial and error and making a bunch of different Instagram accounts and trying a bunch of different stuff. I became really good at growing Instagram accounts and driving traffic in that way.

And so people. We're coming to purchase that rather than our physical product. So that was the first initial pivot of moving toward being consulting and growing on Instagram. And then that just kind of took off 

Mike Koelzer: in defining Instagram growth. That would be how many likes your page has basically so likes and followers and I mean, 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: followers, I guess, right?

Yeah. Yeah. And really I'd define it as like how many eyeballs and the attention that you're getting on your page, um, from the right people inter so, yeah, so that's what uptown creation was for three years prior to moving into the LinkedIn space. The only thing that 

Mike Koelzer: caught me if you talked about a partner that I always tell him, like, don't get a partner.

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. And I was against that with my first business last 

Mike Koelzer: year, but sometimes you bring a certain vibe. So what was that, that you 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: saw? And truthfully, it was a time aspect because I knew I was in pharmacy school at that point. So it was either. Do the business, give us a little bit of control and actually like, get it done and have that business versus yeah.

Either trying on my own and not sleeping or not doing the business at all. Um, so that's kind of where my acceptance of having a partner and you know, why it makes sense a lot of times to be able to do something with somebody else. Yeah. Yeah. 

Mike Koelzer: And sometimes it's intangibles, you know, especially when you got a business like that, which is well in the cloud.

I mean, it's kind of intangible and having a, I mean, having the business kind of intangible and having a partner to keep you, keep you going. I mean, to, to look at someone and say, oh, that's probably business. If not, I really don't know what my business looks like. It's all in the cloud. It's kind of 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: exactly.

And we were lucky enough that our skill sets are different enough for sure. And he, I mean, he became the front end salesperson and he did, he drove and still drives our sales and then I'm kind of the backend fulfillment person. And even since then we brought in. To other people as equity partners that can serve as the thing that allowed us to scale.

Mike Koelzer: Yeah. I saw your website and you've got a woman on the team. Yeah. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: I dunno. I don't think our new website up yet, but our new website should be up in a couple 

Mike Koelzer: of weeks. Oh, look forward to seeing it. So you said, all right, I'm not selling these mugs, but I'm doing a damn good job of growing Instagram accounts and other people who may be wanting to grow their Instagram either to sell something or just to get a big Instagram account took notice.

And so you guys for your uptown creations and you say, we're going to get these accounts popular for you. Yeah. Yeah. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: And that was kind of the inception of that. Um, and then how I talked about Amazon, my job became customer service essentially with Instagram and even with LinkedIn. And be in a service based business.

It still is. And I think that's the reason why uptown creation has added a level of success that it has is because if you're able to understand people and talk to people and genuinely care about those people, it just leaves the good business and a lot of the competitors in the space. So in Instagram growth specifically, there's varying degrees and levels of Instagram growth and quality perspective.

Um, so we always came into it as we were going to be like top tier premium level quality, as well as service. And that's kind of how we beat out our competitors, who might've had cheaper prices, but provided an inferior service. Essentially. It has gotten a lot harder, um, over the last five years and a lot more expensive, which is one of the reasons why we ended up pivoting and.

The space that we're in now, um, as well as for a number of other reasons 

Mike Koelzer: harder, because there's more people, I mean, people only have so many lights in [00:40:00] them and there's more competition on Insta. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: So there's more competition. And some of the tactics that we used were probably in a gray area and Instagram didn't necessarily like it, but they didn't hate it enough to, you know, like completely banned things and make it because it's good for their platform to an extent, as long as like there's a, there's a point where things turn into like spam and then in authenticity.

And so as long as you're not going into that territory, it's good for Instagram as well. Well, 

Mike Koelzer: I know back in the day, this is like probably, I don't know, 10 years ago I could put up anything. Facebook with the store and, you know, you'd have 300 likes or something quickly, and now it's like, people just don't even see your stuff because of the saturation.

What we talked about earlier. So Instagram got more expensive. What were the words you use more difficult 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: or more? Yeah. Yeah. And for a number of reasons and to echo what you just said, I think that'll provide clarity into the next question that you had as well. Every social media company and social media platform will have a similar life cycle to what you explained, how, you know, 12 years ago, you could post anything on Facebook and then you get 300 likes.

The cool thing is LinkedIn is in a similar spot to that right now. And the reason why that exists is the platform isn't saturated with content. So there's more, there's more eyeballs trying to view content. Then there are people putting out content. So your content organically can gain a lot of tracks.

Because your competition's not there and you don't even have to be good. You just have to be there. And if you're putting out anything, it gets shown. Well, I 

Mike Koelzer: Tell you about LinkedIn, I started a group, an independent pharmacy group back like 11, 12 years ago on LinkedIn. Pretty much at its infancy. Boy, LinkedIn sucked for a long time until Microsoft bottom.

I mean their user interface. I mean, that just sucked. And, and I was thinking to myself, I always just like, this is, and it's going to remain like the main business interaction. How can this be so bad? You know? And then, and, and that's from me. I just, I wouldn't know how to change it, but I mean, but then Microsoft came in and LinkedIn really, really took a leap, you know, three or four years ago, just for example.

I mean like their group settings were pretty difficult. Like even four years ago, too many choices, too many ways to do things. And now they've kind of cleaned it up. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Exactly. Yeah. And that's what I talked about. As it is kind of an infant platform, even though it's been around forever. Cause I don't, I don't see it as being what it is today until like two, three years ago.

But that was because Microsoft bought it and kind of changed their whole vision for the platform. And so going back to that, like how, how all social media platforms evolve is you're trying to get people on and by bringing in new creators and allowing them to get a lot of reach, you're also showing it to a lot of people that is the way that social media platforms get people to use their platform is by, you know, giving that organic reach for creators to be able to put out a piece of content and get a lot of eyeballs on it and get that attention.

And then same for users that brings users naturally by just having good content. And then as platforms evolve, they become more pay to play is what they call them. Well, the platform's end goal is always to make money from ads. And if you're giving people all organic reach, there's not a big incentive for them to spend money if they don't need to.

So that's kinda what I, when I say Instagram became more hard or more difficult, um, it's because it became more of a pay to play platform. And as it became more saturated and they just increased users by hundreds and hundreds of millions, they didn't need to provide as much organic reach, or it just became as, as saturated that majority of people's content, couldn't beat out the algorithm to get shown without having to pay money.

Right. And that's how Instagram makes money and Facebook makes money as well. 

Mike Koelzer: When we hear ads, most people, people my age are thinking, you know, an ad for tide detergent or something, but we're just talking here about a promoted post, right? That's going to show something in it that sometimes you don't even realize it's an ad.

Exactly. Yeah. Often a little tangent, Chris, when Instagram said like a year ago, I guess it was, it seems less, but maybe it was a year ago where there, they weren't going to have likes anymore on it. And I was curious about that and wasn't part of that because a lot of the advertising dollar was [00:45:00] sneaking past Instagram and people or going right to the Kardashians or something and saying, look, I'm not going to pay Instagram.

I know you have millions of likes here. I'm going to pay you this, you show the product and Instagram just kind of lost out on it. Right. It didn't have 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: to go through. Right. So that was definitely one of the reasons. So what they made it, if it isn't public, then it means that the Kardashians would have to show you their analytics from the backend.

And so they could either take screenshots and send that to you. Or you could let's say that uptown creation wanted to do a, uh, paid post with the Kardashians. I could become like a partner with the Kardashians and then I would get access to their analytics on the backend. Gotcha. But now Instagram knows uptown creation and the Kardashians are working together and they could request some middleman money in there.

Let's say that the transaction is $500,000. Maybe they could scrape 10% off of that from doing it on a safe 

Mike Koelzer: place. I could have done your own homework by knowing they're still popular and looking at other things and stuff. But this gives you some, if they were able to hide that, it gave you a reason to say, well, we need to show the analytics too.

Customers as uptown creations, we just can't say, well, we think the Kardashians are pretty popular. You know, they need something to go on. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: The narrative that they tried to share was that it was for mental health reasons because yeah, checking lights and everything. Yeah. But also people doing things like what I was doing, where you are able to get people more likes, um, then it makes it, so that kind of doesn't have a purpose anymore.

If you can't track likes, I don't think that they're going to do that. Because they got a lot of pushback from their community and they tried it in Finland or something. Right. Right. And what I think they found out, I don't think they've said this publicly though. Is that how we talked about earlier? The balance between keeping the creator happy and keeping the user happy it made it, so the creator wasn't happy with that system because, because, because for example, like let's say that you're at a high level and the way that you're going to look for inspiration or try to find things that are working is you're going to go and follow all the other people that are in.

Niche and look at the content that's performing well, you'd never be able to do that type of research on your own or anything like that. 

Mike Koelzer: You don't know, only by talking to your friends. Hey, which ones do you like or something? Exactly. Yeah. One really hard analytic right now is podcasting. It's really hard to tell.

I mean, you can see your own, but it's hard to tell other people, I mean, you can go by ratings and stuff like that, but Hey, I'm all for it as a new smaller show because no one can stack me up against Rogan or something like that and see like what our numbers are. So I'm all for that. But when you're up there with numbers, the opposite of me, you kind of want to show your stuff, Chris, because of that saturation.

You move on to LinkedIn, but let me ask you this, you know, social media at relatively new, you know, 20 years, whatever Facebook and Instagram, they already have that probably planned out. Right. They know where Facebook's going to be 10 years from now. And they know they have to buy into the tick. Well, not anymore, but because Oracle got tic-tac, but they got to do certain things and that's no surprise, right?

Oh, it's a much longer cycle, but it's just like, fads are a movie where a movie is, life might be four days or maybe 11 days, you know, two weekends in the week, the social media already knows this, right. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. Yeah. But I don't think they're even able to predict the trends. Um, I like what Gary Vaynerchuk talks about.

He is platform agnostic. And I think that's the way that you have to be. Yeah. He doesn't care. You just have to care where the attention is because of the principles and that's why we were able to pivot to LinkedIn. So, so easily the principles are the same, like creating good content is going to be the reason people find success on any social platform and then being able to be consistent, put out good content.

And then the most important part, because. How do you get it seen by the right people and get it seen by the people that want 

Mike Koelzer: us, you're absolutely right. About being agnostic of the method, because, you know, it's kind of like, well, it's kind of like a friend, you know, whether, whether you're meeting with a friend over coffee or at McDonald's, or at a new frozen yogurt thing, or there's still some basics to stuff that might be a little bit different ways you do stuff, but there's basically, well, let's put it this way.

It's agnostic. It might take you an hour to learn how to tap on something differently, or you only get six seconds on vine versus something else on this, but it's all the same. Yeah. All right. From Instagram to LinkedIn. Yeah. I know they're all different because I know that Facebook is trending older now and this and that, but a shift from [00:50:00] Facebook to Snapchat, to Instagram, to tick, tack, to reels, you know, from the old vine and all that stuff, it's like, all right, I can, I can see all that.

But LinkedIn seems like a whole different crowd. And what did it take to say, all right, we're LinkedIn now versus strong on Instagram, then it was 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: always interesting to me. So even while I, all my eggs were kind of in the Instagram back bucket, I was doing things on LinkedIn for myself and for my own personal brand.

And just because I knew that, if I had any aptitude for social media, I may as well use it for my profession as well. And whatever, whatever way that can help me in the. So that's how I, and like I said, I'm the, I'm the service side of uptown creation. So what I go out and do is learn something, use it usually for myself as well as our business internally.

And then if it makes sense, apply it to other people. And that's kinda how we started off. We were doing something for ourselves and eventually we got good at it and then started to do it for other people. Eventually we did stop selling products and we got to the level where we could sell our own products and everything, um, on Instagram.

And then, to answer your question more about the pivot, essentially, it was a forced pivot in a way, because like I was saying, all platforms are going to have a life cycle and the life cycle of organic. Was decreasing. I mean, and, and is this decreasing on LinkedIn, but was decreasing from day one that we started on Instagram.

So it was kind of like a downhill trend from how Instagram will show it. So our methods became less effective. Um, and initially we were using automation and doing things with bots, but doing it in a good way. So you're able to, as long as you make the settings the right way that you can, you can gain a lot of good traction from doing things that way.

What we, what we learned on Instagram, though, what. Social media platforms. I'm never going to like automation. So you're always going to be fighting a battle. If you want to be in that gray area and use bots and automation to supplement the activities that you're doing. Yeah. 

Mike Koelzer: And, and for the listeners, that might be something like, you know, on Instagram, let's say you have your own Instagram account and someone likes you and you say, oh, that person like me, while I'm going to like them, that's where some of the bots might, they might like people.

And then when they get liked back, then they might drop those people and go on and like some more people and so on. So it's all, it's not like you're getting into the, it's not like you're hacking in and changing numbers. You're just doing things automated quickly, autumn automated, what 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: humans are doing.

So like a tangible example, we worked with woodworking companies. The way that those woodworking companies make a lot of sales is through interior designers. So if an interior designer likes their work, that designer gets a client who needs a table, then they might go to the woodworker and buy that table.

So we had accounts of our woodworkers going and interacting with these interior designers, whether it's through liking pictures, commenting on their posts, and then that makes it so the interior designers might reach out in a direct message. And then that starts a human to human conversation with our woodworker.

So that's kind of like the way that those things would work. And we were working with a lot of businesses on Instagram as well. Um, so we were already doing kind of the B2B thing just on Instagram. So moving into LinkedIn, which is primarily a B2B platform, became pretty intuitive. Um, but to go back two years, Instagram made a huge algorithm change and they made a ton of companies.

What uptown creation was doing at the time went out of business because they made it. So automation took a huge hit and you just there's actions that wouldn't take place, you'd get action blocks and it just wouldn't work. 

Mike Koelzer: Or they allow you to do 50 or something 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: like that. Right. And that's why I say that it gets harder like seven years ago.

I could, you could do whatever you wanted. I mean, you could go like 3000 pictures in a day and you'd be fine. I mean, you'll get an action block if you do that with 50 to a hundred now. So, that change made it. So we either went out of business or we had to make a change ourselves. And the initial change that we made was we made everything a hundred percent human powered.

So we hired people to do the actions themselves. So then you're able to do it in a way where you're not getting a block because there's certain nuances that Instagram could detect from. 

Mike Koelzer: [00:55:00] Kind of like that capture thing where like, how do they know? Just I'm checking it, even though I'm a humanist, like, well, they know because you're an old fart and your mouse goes past it and then it comes back and then it goes past it and finally finds the middle of it and clicks on that.

Well, that's 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: they know things. Exactly. Yeah. So our first pivot was to do everything, a hundred percent human powered, which allowed us to stay in business and even grow at that time because everybody else was going out of business. But we were able to maintain it because we made that change, but it became more expensive, which is fine, that's expected.

But the unfortunate thing from a business side that ended up happening is our services went up. But what Instagram allowed you to do went down. So it was really, really, really hard for people to pay more money, to get less than what they were used to for the last five years. Even though it's the best that they could have gotten at the time.

It just wasn't. This is a hard thing for them to do. It's a hard thing to sell them. The things that we learned there and learned on Instagram entirely was we were getting followers and likes and eyeballs, but that wasn't leading to direct ROI correlation. A lot of times on marketing is like, you can't always, if you have a billboard or a sign on a bench, you can't always say, oh, that's how this person came to 

Mike Koelzer: me.

You're not getting ROI because the investment costs more money. Now 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: I still think the ROI was there. It's just a harder sell to the client investments, the investments higher, and the results might be lower. And you can't say, unless you do some like hardcore analytics and tracking like, oh, this activity, which caused this person to follow me, then three months later, they made this purchase.

Like those things aren't always trackable the return might've 

Mike Koelzer: been. Per eyeball, but not per dollar spent because it costs more to do. Right, 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: right, right. And yeah, so it was a blessing in disguise that Instagram made it. So we had to pivot, make everything human powered, make everything done by hand. Um, one of the services we started to provide on Instagram was the Gary V dollar 80 strategy.

Um, and so the concept was you go out, find people, leave genuine comments and real comments. So that was the first service that we kind of pivoted to 

Mike Koelzer: That was to give someone your 2 cents. So 90 times a day say, Hey, I like your cat or something like that. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. Yeah. And reading the caption, providing conversation to it and, you know, making it be genuine, whereas everything else on Instagram was pretty inauthentic.

It was just comments saying things like, great, awesome. 

Mike Koelzer: You posted a picture of your mom. New gravestone or something, and someone writes back, you know, hot or something like that. It's like, well, 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: exactly. When you put a human and a human can respond to that and make that be a real interaction, your 

Mike Koelzer: employees are using their thumbs on their phone.

Are they on a, 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: so they were on phones. Yeah. Wow. Um, and now, since it's on LinkedIn, everything's done by hand over the computer. So I 

Mike Koelzer: go on LinkedIn and I say, oh, there's. There's this guy, Chris, on there, he's a pharmacist talking about this and we're most people have, you know, 10 comments and six likes, you know, he's got 300 likes and you know, 70 comments.

So when I'm looking at that, am I looking at my contemporaries loving you? Or am I looking at the dollar 90 club of Chris? That's pumping this 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: up? Yeah. And so I wouldn't say the contemporaries love me, but it's all, it's all authentic. And none of it is boosted in any way. And so 

Mike Koelzer: It's all real people and none of it is, and none of it is my doing none of it's computers, but as any of it, your boy.

None of 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: it is my employees. This is the fun part about everything that I've done. 

Mike Koelzer: Chris, I'm looking at you and you're a handsome guy. You're nice to talk to. You got some good thoughts, but come on. Are you 50 times as good on your LinkedIn posts and other people? What drove that 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: number up? Yeah. So the bottleneck on LinkedIn is how many connections you have and how many connection requests LinkedIn will let you send out.

So every day you can send out roughly 50 to 75 connection requests. Right? Okay. So for two and a half years, every morning, I would send out 50 to 75 connection requests. And that allowed me to be very targeted, like I'm connected with pretty much exclusively pharmacists. And so by doing that, I've made it so there's 19,000 or something connections that I 

Mike Koelzer: have, they used to allow like [01:00:00] 5,000.

Back in the old days, they said, Hey, I know there's no way in hell. He's got more than 5,000 friends, but now, but now they allow more than that. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: They allow 30,000 now, 30,000 now. Yeah. So that, so, I mean, anybody can get that level of visibility. That is the secret to it all. And I, and I would encourage you to do it by hand.

That's it. The other thing that I learned from my Instagram days is even if bots are able to save you time, you're going to fight a losing battle at some point, because you're going to get flagged on the backend. They're going to limit your reach. They're going to limit the people that are going to be able to see you.

So you can't lose if you just do it by hand. So I took all that as I was learning about Instagram and started to employ it on LinkedIn, just for fun. Yeah. And that is what my LinkedIn is now is essentially the culmination of sending 50 to 75 connection requests out a day for two years. 

Mike Koelzer: Here's the $64,000 question.

Yeah. There's debate on this. I know online. Do you put any note in your request or do you just send it because I've heard varying things about notes or not? I'll 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: put it, I'll put it to rest because I mean, this is what I can sell people on all day long. And would I analyze from like coming in, if you go to your inbox, 9.9 out of 10 of people that send a message are going to be a bot, it's going to be an inauthentic message.

It's going to be a red flag. Don't connect with this person. Exactly. 

Mike Koelzer: That, that's what I think. And it doesn't take a genius, but when someone says, uh, Hey, I'd like to learn more about this. It's like, well, then get off your ass and look, I've got it all right there on my LinkedIn. I've got my post, I've got a podcast, you know, what do you mean?

You want to learn more? You know, it's a bot of course. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yeah. Yeah. So that is pretty much like a red flag right there that it's going to be a bot. So the only reason that you should ever send a message in your connection request is if you're going to say, you know, Hey Mike, I saw your podcast the other day, and you were talking about X, Y, and Z.

So I wanted to send you a connection request and see if there's anything that we could talk about. If you send that message, good. It probably might help it, but that person probably would have connected with you anyways. And then you could send a message to them. Afterwards. I have these red flag words that I teach people never to use.

And so I never used the word connect on LinkedIn. I never use the phrase " add you to my network or anything like that, because those are just telltale signs. Even if you're saying that authentically, those are just telltale signs that the bots have taken and just kind of ruined 

Mike Koelzer: your non bought stuff on Instagram, similar to what your non bought stuff is on.

LinkedIn is increasing your connections. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Yes. So with. Instagram, I don't really touch anymore because it's not worth the time investment. Gotcha. So that might account for 5% of uptime creations business. We're 95% on LinkedIn. Um, because then the runway is there for LinkedIn. So what we do on LinkedIn is we connect with people and that's apples to apples, what we did on Instagram, but how I was saying people didn't see the ROI.

This is where LinkedIn becomes the powerhouse. What we do further is start conversations with people and essentially schedule calls directly to our clients, calendars with people that they would want to do business with. Um, and so in a world of you receiving 99% of bodied messages, yeah. We have a network of stay at home mothers as well as other people based in the United States that go out on behalf of our clients and just interact and have genuine conversations.

With people to get them on a call, essentially, a mother 

Mike Koelzer: at home, the people that they're interacting with, they know they're interacting with this lady. They don't think she's at home in her PJ's, but they know they're interacting with, with Susie or whatever. And then Susie might say, Hey, I've got this friend in the business that does this or that.

Would you like to talk to them? We're 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: doing the work primarily off of our client's accounts. So if I have Joe in New York, that's selling sprinkler systems, Joe's going to go out and connect with building managers, just send out the connection request. And then we're going to send out a message the next day talking about how their sprinkler system is at X, Y, and Z buildings.

And, you know, kind of just starting the conversation. For Joe, 

Mike Koelzer: and this is the mother at home, but through Joe's account. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: So this is the 

Mike Koelzer: mother at home. And how do they get into Joe's account through just a simple password? So we do it through VPs. Tell me what that is. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: So a VPs is a computer that is always on that's hosted remotely 

Mike Koelzer: and they all can go in at the same time and they could have 50 Joes at the same time [01:05:00] doing this.

And so you 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: can only have one person at a time, but I can access it. My business partner in San Diego can access it. My business partners in Texas can access it. And then the person working on the client account can access it from Florida. Gotcha. And we can all do that remotely. So 

Mike Koelzer: Basically you've got this lady at home, maybe doing it, but you don't have a million ladies for Joe.

You've got like one lady for 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Joe. It's one. If our employee can't answer a question, we'll tag Joe, Joe, go in and answer it. And then. We'll look at that response. And then for the future, we'll be able to respond in a similar manner. If that sort of question comes up again with the end goal, being to get them out of college, Joe, and once they're on the call, 

Mike Koelzer: Then it's all Joe.

Well, let's put other pharmacists in my spot. So for me, I'm going to, I'm going to say for my podcast, but for our listeners, it might be somebody who wants to do compounding more, or they want to get ahold of certain doctors or they want to do whatever, but I'll ask from my spot. So with my podcast, now I've got maybe 6,000 or something compared to, you know, 20 that, that you have.

So I'm going to get on every morning and I'm going to look for a pharmacist. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: This is where this is where the answer changes, depending on what you want. You need to get people that care about what you're gonna say. Regardless of what that message is going to be. 

Mike Koelzer: Dan, you tell me where I'm wrong. I was thinking for the sake of argument, I can know on my podcast.

I can know, basically who's looking, I can tell by LinkedIn, I can tell by LinkedIn who's responding. And I guess mainly by that, and so many pharmacists, so many managers, so many, there's so many that, but yeah, basically I'm thinking any pharmacist that may be, has any interest in business. Would that be a fair place to start?

Yeah, I 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: I think that would be the perfect place to start. And you could even go even more granular if you wanted to go with pharmacy managers and just connect with every pharmacy manager. Interesting that's how you can get even more specific or you can connect with the a hundred thousand pharmacists that exist on LinkedIn, but you can also go for more granularity.

Demographics like pharmacy managers, 

Mike Koelzer: you started there and then pan out from 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: that. And then, I mean, the power of LinkedIn, which is like no other social media platform is if you buy the sales navigator, which is what we use, the amount of search information you can get is crazy. I mean, you can search for anybody.

Who's a pharmacist that also has entrepreneurs anywhere in their profile or a pharmacist that has positions doing other things. Besides just being a pharmacist, maybe they're a realtor or a financial advisor or whatever. I can pretty much guarantee that those people are either entrepreneurial or interested in.

Doing other things. 

Mike Koelzer: Okay. So I've got LinkedIn, I've got the first step up, whatever that is, you know, it's like it's, it's premium or something like that. The navigator is going to allow me to go in and parse out 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: more. And then this is where it gets, it gets more fun and the skill level comes in. Then you're able to sort by people that have posted within the last 30 days.

So what that tells you is that they're active on the platform posted anywhere, right? So posted, posted on LinkedIn. Yes, yes. Yeah. But, you know, then that they're active on LinkedIn, right? So your connection request isn't gonna go to somebody that gotcha. Checks it two times a 

Mike Koelzer: year. There's a limit. I take it right.


Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: day, or it's like 50 to 75. It's not a, it's not anonymous, 

Mike Koelzer: But if there's a limit, then you want to start with these because you know, if time is of the essence, I guess it is for all of us, you might as well start with your, your best. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Right. And that's how, that's how you go from taking the strategy of targeting all pharmacists, regardless of if they posted, if they're active or whatnot, to being able to get to like a really granular perspective and targeting the people that really would care about what you have to say 

Mike Koelzer: and what you're putting out, because you have people that have posted.

And if they don't really love your stuff, at least they might share it or post or do something like that. And 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: then you go to everybody else that has a podcast and pharmacy, and you see who's engaging with their podcast content, and then you go connect with those people. So everybody who's liking that content because now, you know, like if somebody likes it, that's them telling you from an analytics perspective that they're into that content.

That's just by hand, that's the stuff that 99.999% of people will not do, but that's why it's, if you get to that level, It's really easy to see some semblance of success. I've 

Mike Koelzer: been hesitant to just like people. What I typically will do as if they've commented or something, but I can actually go in like, those people 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: never post a link on LinkedIn, only post content directly to the platform.

So don't post it, directing it to your website or directing it to another podcast location. There's tricks that you can do to do that. But if you're making a 

Mike Koelzer: post, wait, slow down on this for me, don't 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: don't post a link to another website or another place you don't care if they leave LinkedIn, but LinkedIn [01:10:00] cares if they leave LinkedIn.

So LinkedIn is not going to show that post to as many people because you're just incentivizing people to leave their platform. So you want to keep the content on LinkedIn rather than sending them directly to your 

Mike Koelzer: website. So if I'm putting my podcast on hold, Yeah, I don't want to give my podcast address. That brings them to 12 other listening spots.

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: What do you want to do is you want to take a snippet of 30 to 360 seconds that is engaging and good. And then post that snippet directly to LinkedIn. And then you could have a call to action, like check out the full podcast at the link in the comments. And then in the comment section, you go and leave a comment on your own posts saying, check out the full podcast here.

And then you put the link there and that's kind of the trick and the hack to get around it. 

Mike Koelzer: They see that differently. If someone leaves because of a comment, they don't see that as bad as leaving because of an original post. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: The algorithm is not that smart algorithms are very smart, but it's not as stringent from that perspective because like the post itself is going to get analyzed in a specific way.

And the current. Are going to be secondary and analysis, 

Mike Koelzer: not primary, basically. It could be whatever the 30 seconds or whatever, or you could post some things. And then in the first comment you could put you tag your guests and say, Hey, it was great having so-and-so on this show. Here's the link to it. But that's in the comment section, not in the actual post 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: above.

Exactly. Yes. Your posts will perform a lot better just from doing that. Then it is the format of the post itself. I don't know if you've heard of Russell Brunson and click funnels. I've heard of click funnels. Yeah. So Russell Brunson's like the founder of ClickFunnels. And so whenever they talk about creating content, they talk about content creation and video creation specifically in the format of hook story offer.

So you have a line, that's a hook. You tell the story that exemplifies whatever you're trying to say. And then you have an. As the last thing. And usually the way that I tell it to clients is I replace the offer with a call to action. So the best way to get engagement on any social media platform is just to ask for it.

And so if you ask a question and say, what are your thoughts on this episode of the podcast? Um, or whatever, by just asking that question, you're encouraging people to engage with your content and comments on it. But so if you follow the hook story, offer the hook, being just like a title. So let's say that you're going to make the post for something that you and I are talking about.

You could say, um, this is how you can gain traction on LinkedIn in the next 90 days. And so that's your title line or whatever. Then you do two spaces and you do the story. You know what we talked about and you have a synopsis of what the video clip is going to say. And then the last thing you could do is have a call to action, where it's either encouraging people to engage with the content or tag somebody that could find use in this.

Mike Koelzer: And what you don't want to do there though is send them away. LinkedIn slaps your hand for that. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Well, as long as you're not posting a link, I see that's really the that's really the, the red flag is if you're posting a link, they know that you're trying to lead them off 

Mike Koelzer: the platform. So you could say something like visit 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: my website or something like that.


Mike Koelzer: could say, visit my website or, or this is available on 15 different podcasts. Just something that puts it there, but it's not as easy as taking them off LinkedIn. They want people to stay 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: on LinkedIn. Right, right. But, I would even argue that, like, there's no point in saying those things because they're going to go over most people's heads.

If you can make something, if you can use that space and that real estate as. Getting them to share it with other people or compelling them to do some sort of action that isn't, supermarkety, that's how you can, that's how you can get the most traction on that post. And then by getting more eyeballs on it, that'll inadvertently get more people to go check out your podcast.

Even if you're not saying that you're 

Mike Koelzer: saying that, getting someone to like it and getting someone to comment, LinkedIn likes that because they know it's getting more popular and they want to keep showing it. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: And the, and just the way the algorithm works on LinkedIn, it is insane. The way that it works is that if I go in like your post yeah.

It'll show up in other people's feeds as your post shows up. But then I'll say like, Chris Castellino liked this post, but it'll show up in your post to see it. So, I mean, I've had people reach out to me and say anytime I liked their post, it blows up because it's being shown to everybody that I'm connected with.

On my feet. And that's the unique thing about LinkedIn's algorithm is that it shows people, other people content that [01:15:00] aren't connected with you. If they're connected with the person that engages with a piece of, alright, 

Mike Koelzer: devil's advocate, about five years ago, people on LinkedIn, they would like stuff. All of a sudden I'm seeing like Joe, like this Joe like that, Julia.

Well, I got pretty damn sick of Joe, you know, because he was liking all this stuff. You like stuff on 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: LinkedIn, not a ton. And here's the reason why I'll share a story about engagement groups. And so one of the, one of the initial ways before I knew anything about social media, there were something called engagement groups and power likes on Instagram.

And the concept was Chris Castellino. If I go in like a picture, if Justin Bieber goes and likes that picture, that holds a lot more weight, that like is just way more powerful and that content is going to blow up because just not Chris. Castellino what that tells people though, or what that tells marketers is that.

Okay. There's some score on the backend that the algorithms doing that rank different accounts, in different ways. And so we call that a trust score. So every account has a trust score. That's based on the quality of their profile. I mean, it's a million different factors. It's going to be like how much engagement their profile is getting and how spammy activity there is.

Yeah. And just a variety of things like that. So for that reason, engagement groups and power likes eventually went away and started to do more damage than good. And those same pods and engagement groups exist on LinkedIn. That's all my clients never used them. Tell me, be 

Mike Koelzer: engaged in a group that's hiring a hundred people to like stuff.

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: No. So that would be me going to you and 15 other people in the pharmacy and saying, Hey, every time that one of us makes a post, all the other 14 are going to go and engage with that post. And then we're going to blow it up that way that can still work. And so if people went and did that, that could still. But algorithms are really good at finding trends.

And if they see that there's something weird and fishy going on, they're going to just slap you. And, and that's, so that's why I don't use any of those tactics on my own account is because it's a lot harder to do it the right way. But if you do it the wrong way, there's a lot of risk involved because if they, if the algorithm catches on, they're going to suppress, 

Mike Koelzer: It's not worth it for them to make a big stink out of it.

They just suppress you. And 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: the worst thing is they don't even know it's their algorithm doing it. It's that you made a wrong step and the algorithm caught on. And I wasn't even a human decision, 

Mike Koelzer: but they know that it's really not that popular and they want stuff on there. That's what's truly popular. Right.

Chris, if a pharmacy came to you. Give me an example of someone that would be kind of a low end client, not too low end for you, but probably not your best client you've ever had spending millions. What would be an example of a pharmacy coming to you? What would that look like? What would be their first step, just in terms of calling you, what would you maybe do for them?

And I'm thinking, you know, you tell me, would it be a community pharmacy doing it, or would it be someone who already has a special service they want to do, whether it's, you know, compounding or HME or something 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: like that? Yeah. So I think the ideal thing from a pharmacist perspective is figuring out who they're trying to reach.

So I have a chiropractor, friends and things that I'm going to try this out with in terms of one thing you can do with LinkedIn is search very specifically demographically. So I can search down to the zip code. So if I'm able to look at C-level executives in. The Iowa city area. Okay. I could offer them something, whether, I mean, it might even just be, you know, come fill whatever prescriptions you have at my pharmacy.

And not only will I do a better job because of this, but you'll get this discount associated with bringing your prescriptions over. If that's what you want to do, or if you're trying to sell like other clinical services or whatever it would be, that would be like the mass approach of trying to get things that are lower ticket options.

Because then it comes down to the price of what you're trying to sell in short, our packages start at a thousand dollars a month and then based on what strategy would work best for what you're trying to do, that's kind of where it can get tailored. And we either determined to work with somebody or not working 

Mike Koelzer: with them.

What are some stupid things that pharmacists definitely should stop doing and social media right now? 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: Honestly, I'm going to be biased just because I like it. The stupidest thing is not doing anything. And I think that's what most people do is most pharmacists are type A personalities. A lot are going to be more introverted.

You're not going to want to put yourself out there as much, but I think you can. I think you can create some sort of content without having to put yourself out there. So for one, this is something that I'm going to make a video on in the next couple of days. I think that everybody should have an [01:20:00] about me video.

If you're interviewing for a job in the next 24 months, there's going to be a remote component to it. And you may as well show somebody your voice and give them that little intro before they talk with you. So just give it a 92nd elevator pitch of why they should care to talk about you or talk to you. I think everybody, regardless of their industry, that they're carpenters should do it as well.

But putting a video like that, Hey 

Mike Koelzer: sign, or do they have to show a picture of me playing with my black lab and stuff like that? 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: I mean, I think that just doing phase one is the best way to do it. Just a talking head. Yeah. I mean, just turn your phone towards your face and start talking. That's the lowest barrier to entry because content creation wasn't natural to me and it still isn't supernatural.

It's an awkward thing, but I can't tell my clients, they need to go do it if I'm not doing it myself. So that's kind of why I like listening to Gary V and overcoming it and just dropping all the barriers to entry and just was like, you know, screw it. I'm going to turn the camera around. I'm going to talk. It might suck.

But that's what it is. People 

Mike Koelzer: I have to get out there and do it. Right. Yeah. Just get 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: out there. I think too many people think that they need a goal for it and they need to like, have something to sell or want to do something. I mean, I've had job offers just because of probably the way that. I portray myself and people think that I'm able to talk and they see some sort of value in that.

But for no other reason than that alone, I've had job offers. A lot of people like choosing the devil. They know. So if you, however you do it, are able to get somebody to know you or at least feel like they know you better than the next guy. Right. They're going to like you more and they're going to choose you for whatever, even if it's just a job that you're looking for.

Cause you're trying to change positions. 

Mike Koelzer: Golly, I could talk forever about this. So I know that you probably have work to do for a busy guy like you. So thanks so much for joining 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: us. Thanks for having me on Mike. It was a 

Mike Koelzer: pleasure. That was a lot of fun. I love talking about that stuff. Thanks for not laughing too much.

When I said some things that prove that I'm, you know, 30 years older than you guys. Okay. A number of kids and five of the 10 are boys and we play pig, you know, at home, basketball horse or whatever, you know, and one of the rules now is that when I shoot and if they laugh at my shot, they get a letter. 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: I like that rule.

So like near 

Mike Koelzer: At the end of the game, I'm either like, do I have a chance of hitting this or do I do one of my regular shots and miss the basket by like three feet hoping that they laugh and then they get the letter. So, I appreciate you letting me, uh, play in this playground for a little bit. All right, Chris, we'll 

Chris Cozzolino, PharmD: be in touch.

It sounds like a plan.