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BizTok Podcast Transcription

Ep.38 - Michael Mandell and Sebastian Paredes

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Kyle Kaplanis

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Michael Mandell

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Sebastian Paredes

Kyle Kaplanis: 0:00

Hey, everyone. Welcome to BizTok. It is your host, Kyle Kaplanis. In the studio today. I have Michael Mandell. You know him as the biggest lawyer on TikTok under the name of Law by Mike with 3.5 million followers. This guy is killing it over there. He's a personal injury attorney out in LA and got his degree at Duke University, also on I have his counterpart Sebastian Peredes. He does all his editing and managing and all the behind the scenes footage. So , we're going to get two different perspectives here, on the show today. You guys, welcome to the show.

Michael Mandell: 0:32

Happy to be here.

Kyle Kaplanis: 0:34

I have to know, what even got you started in the TikTok space.

Michael Mandell: 0:38

Initially I was looking for a way to promote myself on the interne . Looking around at different ideas of what I could do. Instagram was obviously going to be one of them and I saw TikTok. And initially my thoughts were TikTok's, not really something for professionals, but researching into it and saw that, there were some lawyers on there that were doing fairly well. And I thought if I'm going to do it on Instagram, I might as well be doing it on TikTok too. Before a personal injury lawyer, I was a defense lawyer for about seven and a half years. And I could never do anything to self market myself because it was a huge corporation. They wouldn't allow that. This was something that I've always had wanted to do, but couldn't do it any earlier. And so I ended up doing my own thing as a lawyer. So yeah, it worked out very well.

Kyle Kaplanis: 1:26

That's something I was going to ask, Is there things that you have to worry about being a lawyer, but if you have your own practice, you pretty much can do what you want, which is really cool. I love the TikTok space of using it as an educational source. People that are listening that might not know you, they probably don't know how cool you really are because going through your videos, you grew to 3.5 million in 60 videos. I counted 60 videos. Which is insane. There was a recent report that said it takes an average of 617 videos for people to gain a million followers. And you've tripled that. Sebastian can speak to this as well. You guys got to talk to me about these transitions in the strategy whose idea was that?

Michael Mandell: 2:04

I'll let Sebastian definitely answered the transitions and strategies. One of the things we came into was educating people and we want. People would be better citizens know their rights. No. The things that may be lawyers won't tell them unless they have to pay money. And it's things that I initially thought everyone knew. But as we started to make these videos, we realized that a lot of people don't know these things and they need to know these things.

Sebastian Paredes: 2:28

So piggy backing off what he said, it's super important when creating content. That you are creating content in the minds of either, educating somebody, inspiring somebody or entertaining. If your content doesn't, cover one of those three, then it's going to be very hard to see any substantial growth. Luckily we've been able to have most of our content under , all three categories, we're educating people, we're inspiring them to be better people, and we're also entertaining them with the cool transitions. People always ask. Is it, what you say, or is it the transitions? And I always tell them it's both because you can have, Mike sitting in front of a camera saying everything that he's doing and you can have someone do really cool transitions, but if you're not bringing any value, you're not educating, then it's not gonna catch on. People aren't going to like it. People aren't going to share it. So it's really an equal balance of both. As for the rapid growth, honestly there's little tips and tricks that you can do to, increase your watch rate and your re-watch rate and have people share it. But it's honestly just consistency. You have to be consistent all the time. In the beginning we were posting two videos a day, every single day. We even had to restart our account four times because part of the algorithm is to make sure that, once you post one video, you have basically 12 tries to have one of your videos pop off. We tried four times and luckily after the fourth time we gained some traction.

Kyle Kaplanis: 3:57

Mike you brought up a good point at the beginning you thought everyone knew these things. A lot of professionals I think have that mindset of thinking what do I teach when everyone knows these concepts? And at the end of the day, we really don't. We think so because we see it all the time. So we just are conditioned. But there's so much education. I always tell people, take your profession that you're in. And with the mindset of going to the ground floor, it might be really boring for you or thinking like everyone knows this, but you'd be surprised. Like you said, you were really shocked at how many people do not know this information. I watch your videos and I learn tons from them . It's a good Testament to see. It is true , you could have easily sat in front of a camera and said all these things you probably still would have got some traction because I've seen other lawyers that basically do a more traditional, straight to the camera education. But adding that entertainment factor in there is so critical. I watch your videos from start to finish without skipping it. And that's the whole key is making sure that watch time is complete and wanting to share it. And people were wanting to share it cause they're like, did you know this? Oh my gosh. And share it with their friends. Before this podcast kicked off, you talked about how people are taking that audio of one of your videos and making it into something trending. Can you talk more about how that happened ? Michael Mandell: One of our most is what to say when the cops say". And then repeat after me. And just recently it's been taken off as a trend with people from all around the world doing different versions. And some of them I don't even know what they're saying, cause it's not in English. They're using the same background song, the same format, and it's just a really cool thing to see that other people are using their own creativity to take something that I did to help people and whether they're making a parody or actually some of them are giving information for different fields. That was, the whole goal of this. Is to reach people with information and educate them and help everyone. How cool is it that, TikTok can be used to market your business. And you're reaching global. To be known as that personal brand where people all over the world know you is dope. There's tons of lawyers, in LA that people only know him there in the town. You can show up in Germany and they're like, you're that Law by Mike, that's dope. How cool is that? There's no opportunities with other platforms to reach such a huge level. . Michael Mandell: It's wild. TikTok does have that unique ability , if it notices that there's good content out there, that's getting a lot of engagement. It will push it out to everyone. . And that's just a great thing. And like you said, in LA, you might see people on the billboards, but the billboards aren't around the world. So there's definitely a unique aspect of TikTok that really allows your message to reach, a much larger audience. Yeah. I can guess how much that costs zero, right?

Michael Mandell: 6:34

Like a lot of time on Sebastian and my part.

Kyle Kaplanis: 6:38

Yeah, exactly like time but at the end of the day, if you're just starting as a marketer, if you want to go quickly, definitely hire somebody that can do some wicked transitions with some value. But if you're just getting started, it doesn't cost anything by using your phone and just sharing some value upfront. And you still could reach a lot of people, which is really exciting. Has this channel helped supported your law practice in any way ? Michael Mandell: Oh yeah, definitely. I'm fielding tons of messages every day, but the, 50% become a lawyer. What do I do in school? What do I do to Excel in school ? things of those nature, which I'm always giving advice to people, what to do and whether they want to become a lawyer or just go to a under undergraduate college or just need help on how to be a better student. And then the other 50% of questions are actual cases. Around the country and I look at the cases, I see if I can help them. I work with lawyers in every state. when there's a case that I'm willing to take on I work with that other lawyer, we both take on the case and we help out these people that actually have, injuries or other issue that need legal representation. There's a lot of marketers out there who are like, TikTok okay, show me proof. Has this actually somebody's business? And everybody on my show, it has. It's changed their business, and it's actually brought them some new clientele. Proof there that you said it's really helped you . But the cool thing is now in people's Yes they might see a billboard, but that billboard does not resonate with them authentically. They're going to think Law by Mike. I gotta call that guy. Like he's cool. He's relatable. He seems awesome. People are going to want to reach out to you if things like that happen.

Michael Mandell: 8:13

Yeah, that's 100% true. A billboard is just a billboard. You can't really understand the person's personality or what they can offer you or who they are as a person. And TikTok, does allow you to show, your personality, what you can offer people, how you can educate them and build some trust over a platform that you know, didn't exist prior to it

Kyle Kaplanis: 8:35

Sebastian, you mentioned growth strategies and you said within your first 12 videos, you basically have to hit the opportunity to hit viral success. Is that what you were saying?

Sebastian Paredes: 8:46

Yeah. With the algorithm. The best way to grow is by posting three videos a day at three different time periods, morning, midday, and early afternoon, the first four days that is like the cookie cutter secret to success. And if one of those videos don't get some traction out of the 12. My strongest recommendation is to delete your account restart a new one and try again until you get one of those videos to really pop off. Then that tells the algorithm that, Hey, this is a channel that, has just started, already knows what social currency is. So within those first four waves that we start pushing content, let's maybe push their content a little bit more. That's exactly what we did. We had to try four times, but luckily on the fourth time we got a video that got around, 25,000 views. And after that, the rest is history.

Kyle Kaplanis: 9:37

That's really interesting. A lot of people don't talk about that. I do see there's a lot of people who once they have that first video success their accounts do grow a lot faster. So then the traditional people who need to put in that 617 videos to get that success . I know people still have success by But you did that shortcut method and it really paid off for you guys.

Sebastian Paredes: 9:59

My biggest recommendation is once you do get that traction, a lot of people feel a little hesitation because they, feel the need that they have to, up themselves every single time. Do something better every single time. But once you do get that traction, just be consistent with it. Obviously, keep making content that is somewhat similar to what made you pop off, but, try new things. So many people have so much self doubt that they're afraid that, Oh, I have to, continue growing or keep this standard. Now that you have the spotlight on you now, is it time to, Push more content, but also try new things and see what the market wants, because at the end of the day, you don't get to tell what's good. The market tells you what's good.

Michael Mandell: 10:38

Sebastian can confirm it as well, but there's been times where we've put up videos and, they didn't do as well as other ones. And that still happens to this day and I've initially would be like shouldn't we, should we take it down for me? Get rid of it. And he's a never take anything down , you just keep being consistent. And that really is the point to stress there. Even if it's not doing as well as some other videos, just keep pushing out your content, something will bite eventually and you gotta be consistent.

Sebastian Paredes: 11:05

The TikTok algorithm is very unique in the sense. We'll have videos that do, a hundred thousand or 200,000 in the first day, which is, pretty good right now. It's obviously no million and 24 hours, but you'd be surprised in four days, five days it pushes and it pushes the video and it gets another 800,000 views. You never know. TikTok is always about re pushing old contests that does well. So reignite and see Hey, maybe if it was a timing issue let's do it at this time and see if it does well. So never, ever delete your content because of that factor. And also when you delete your content, it actually deducts good points from your account. So if you're going to do anything you want to archive rather than delete, but I just overall say, just leave it up there. You never know what the algorithm is going to do.

Kyle Kaplanis: 11:50

A hundred percent. So many people do it. They're like, Oh, this is underperforming and they quickly take it down. No joke. I had a video recently on my other account go viral again, and it was 11 months later. Crazily enough. My daughter has 2 million followers on the app. She's had videos that she's what the heck's my notifications from videos from six months ago that had maybe a hundred thousand views. And then all of a sudden she's like, why does this have 5 million views? It Is true. You got to keep them up there and at the end of the day, when I go to somebody's channel, if they have standardly millions of views and then one video has a hundred thousand, I don't look at it and be like, wow, they failed. I really don't. I don't think people really look at that. I think it's more personal. People really feel that somebody who's going to think this video sucks. But I don't really think that people think like that . Sebastian Paredes: Not at all. Look at the end of the day, I always tell influencers that don't flatter yourself that much, that you think people care so much. You are purely just another video that people scroll by. People scroll by two more times and they've already forgotten about you. Taking that approach and that mentality hopefully will motivate more people to, get out of their comfort zone and shoot content that maybe they don't think will perform as well, but is more in tune with their beliefs and what they want. It's so important to try new things. Cause they're only one video away from going viral. . Really just push what you really like and stop thinking people care that much because you're honestly not that important. It's true though, man, it really is. The people that I find have the stronger audiences are because they're so authentic to themselves. And they put the content they like, and people can see that they're not fake. They're genuine. And that's why people are drawn to them because they're like, man, this person just like a real person. They're not just trying to put on this fake, persona. That's dope advice there man.

Sebastian Paredes: 13:34

Especially in a world where everyone is only showing that their wins and the positivity in their life. If you show, you more vulnerable and you show the real side of what you're doing. Not only do you stand out and come off as more authentic, now you're building trust with your viewers, right? Now that your viewers trust you more, you can take it as a business approach and say, okay now that I'm building trust with my viewers, now I have more leverage to, make sales or talk about what I'm doing, or promote something that I'm really passionate about . because you are building that trust with people.

Kyle Kaplanis: 14:08

Totally. Hit so many great points there. Sebastian, I appreciate that. And you guys talked a little bit before I hit record about, you guys have plans in place. You're not just creating content. You have plans for your content. So talk to me a little bit about what can we expect from you guys coming up or your long-term plans?

Michael Mandell: 14:27

My goal for the next six months is a focus on educating the masses regarding their rights and slowly move into deeper topics, such as communications, persuasion, negotiation. I'm already starting to post a couple of those things now. But it's really just to give my followers the information that will help them become overall better. And more educated people and one video at a time. So that's really my goal for right now, and Sebastian probably as some additions to that as well.

Sebastian Paredes: 14:55

His brand is law and this lawyer on social media my goal is to slowly come out of that bubble and start talking more broader topics of things that I guess could be related to law. Persuasion, you have to persuade a judge, you have to persuade a jury, but persuasion can also lead into other things in business. Talking about communication. Warren buffet says one of the biggest classes and skills that you can learn is how to talk, how to communicate yourself. So we want to start going into more things like that niche and the law or audiences in different circles and, being very strategic with the partnerships that we do that put Mike in a very good light and brand.

Kyle Kaplanis: 15:40

That's awesome. There's a lot of key things there that you just mentioned that are relatable to things like Gary V says . Michael, you mentioned that your would have to go pay for it. But you're giving your value for free upfront, that is going to prove that you actually know what's up. You know what you're talking about, people will come to you more.

Sebastian Paredes: 16:00

The most important thing is to place yourself as the educator, right? If you place yourself as the educator in a certain topic, Now you're falling under this thing called the halo effect. What the halo effect is that if you are perceived as an expert in one topic, then people will perceive you as an expert in other topics. Now that we are perceived as experts in law and how to talk to the cops and all that stuff. Then we can start going more into other things of communication and people will subconsciously deem us as experts in that case. It's super, super important to go the educator route because when you go the educator route, you build trust with your viewers. It's very easy because, taking the whole, entertaining people or doing funny skits and stuff like that, it's hard. You have to be a lot more creative with it. It's not as sustainable, but with education, there's so much to educate people on because you know what I mean? And with the audience that you're working with, these are people that are looking to learn. These are people that are currently in school and maybe the institutional route isn't really working for them. So it just could be an opportunity for them to really, go towards things that they find interesting. Whether it be, law, communication, cooking , trading, art. TikTok is really becoming a platform for people to learn about the things that they truly find interesting. It's really becoming an intro to self-education, which some people will say, institutional education will make you money, but self-education will make you a fortune.

Kyle Kaplanis: 17:34

Boom. Gary Vee 80 20 rule, how he says 20% of your time should be focused on trying new things and new opportunities and exploring new avenues. I think that's really key a lot of people are so niche focused that they forget that. TikTok really is going to be the next source of education. I've learned more, I think on take talk than I have in the last, like 10 years of my life. And I'm not even joking. I just learned so many valuable things. I go on there everyday and just come off, wow. Things that I wouldn't really be searching for, in the past, you are educating yourself on things you want to go look for. But on here, it's pushed in front of you and you're like, wow, I didn't know I needed to learn this today. Or even life hacks, how many things I've saved myself in my day with life hacks in the house that I would never have searched for, but found on TikTok. And like you said, with education, there's never an end of there. With the short form content you can make a hundred videos on one category because they are 60 seconds or less. There's endless opportunities and you can re-explore things in three months time, you can even, re-explore some of the things that you've already mentioned. It's just, phenomenal.

Michael Mandell: 18:34

Yeah.

Sebastian Paredes: 18:35

A lot of people might find hard to come up with ideas because they're not as creative as other people. But my recommendation for people is, take videos that other people have already made talking about education and just to make them bigger and better, if somebody talks about, , three ways to kill an interview, say, okay, I'm gonna do five ways. You know what I mean? We make it even better. Use it as a way to piggyback off what other people are doing and make it better. That is my biggest recommendation for people that are starting, who are in a creative rut. Just vine videos, make them bigger and better.

Kyle Kaplanis: 19:12

I know people think Ooh, am I copying? But it's no, you're being innovative, take that content and create it into your own. That's not copying by making it better innovative. And those other creators will have to step up too. So I agree. A hundred percent.

Sebastian Paredes: 19:27

It's the world of capitalism, baby. Okay.

Kyle Kaplanis: 19:30

It is what it is. New businesses open up from an idea of somewhere else. They're like, we can make this business better. So it's the same thing with content.

Michael Mandell: 19:38

Yep,

Sebastian Paredes: 19:39

Exactly.

Kyle Kaplanis: 19:40

That's awesome guys. Was there any final strategies you could leave with the audience today?

Sebastian Paredes: 19:45

My biggest recommendation for people is to really focus on making content under the three categories of, education. Your content has to educate inspire or entertain someone. And if your content can do all three, you are guaranteed traction. I promise you that really take in mind the three key data points for the algorithm, which is watched through rate rewatched rate and sharing. That's another thing, plan out your content. Don't just shoot. Don't just freestyle it, have a plan. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So have a script, have everything written out and make sure that there's no fat. If there's one scene or one clip that isn't bringing value, take it out. Every single second counts, your first two seconds have to really engage your audience. They have to be, to a point somewhat click baity. We started another trend saying, things, they don't teach you in school that they should. How are you not going to try to at least give that, a quick three second, four second listen? So coming up with little clickbait, things like that. Yep. Making sure that if you want to increase the watch rate, do a very cool, unique transition in the beginning so that it entices them to rewatch it again and then add a big text bubble at the end so that people either have to screenshot it or rewatch it again. So now you're giving them two points of rewatch. Nice. And and then to get people to share. Again, education, you want to make your content social currency. So that when somebody shares it, they are the cool person for putting their friend on. If somebody was to share one of our videos about, how to talk to the cops or do with this, and they send it to a friend that just got a ticket. Now the person that sent that video is looked at as Oh, wow, thank you so much for sending me this. Have your content in that mind. Have your content in the mind that if somebody was to share this, how would they be perceived? Are they getting perceived as someone like, Oh wow. Thank you so much for sharing that. Or is it going to be like, why the hell did you share this? So have the perspective of the you're right in the share. It will help you, get a way, better idea of what type of content to shoot and , on some Gary Vee stuff, just document don't really create new things. It should be applicable to your life. Mike's a lawyer he's talking about law stuff. If you like to cook, talk about cooking stuff. If you'd like to talk about sports, talk about your opinion on what's happening in sports. This is a long-term play. You have to do something that is sustainable or else you're going to burn out. If you're not seeing the traction that you want, you're going to break yourself down. You have to do something that you actually have fun doing. And, it's, obviously easier said than done, but if you really take this approach of the long-term vision, then you know, it'll be a lot more fun. I've talked to a lot of creators that are big on here. And some of the advice that they've given is that exact same thing. They say, look, if you create something viral, be prepared to continue that. And if you can't continue, then don't make that content in the first place, because you got to show up to be, sustainable. If you create something that's viral, I'll never do it again. That's what somebody followed you for. You just failed your whole account. So it is really key to think about what it is you're going to do. If you stick to the things you love and enjoy. You'll never be burned out. You'll just show up because you are so excited to share the stuff that you have. You do law content, Mike, and that's what you do. You do it in your career and it's easy to educate because you know everything about it and you enjoy, and it's going to help your business. You're not going to get burnt out. You're not talking about something totally random that you thought was going to be cool and now you hate it,

Michael Mandell: 23:24

I'm completely passionate about law and passionate about making these and posting videos honestly, too. I love doing it. Talking about, things I've learned, spent my whole life learning . And now, sending it out And one of the things that Sebastian said too, was about cutting the fat. If you guys can see the, behind the scenes of some of these videos, it's like a music production studio where we're sitting there and we're talking, okay, let's say this. No, let's say it like this way. It's cut that one word. We probably spend more time planning out. How are going to say it, what we're going to say, how to make sure that there's not one word in there that is, unnecessary. So the short and quick to fit in 30 seconds, but at the same time, doesn't give information that's incorrect or misleading. I have to make sure what I'm saying is accurate and helpful. Were always going back and forth trying to figure out how to do it. It's funny to see. And I think in some of these background videos out there for the audience to see what we do behind the scenes.

Kyle Kaplanis: 24:21

You could definitely make some behind the scenes content. It just shows there's a lot of people that don't give these creators enough credit because a lot of these creators do the exact same thing. They plan they're strategic. They're really great marketers at the end of the day. But people look at them like, Oh, a 30 second video. Wow. Like how hard is that? Are you kidding me? Try it. I always tell people, look, if you're going to judge somebody, go ahead and do it. Make a video just like that. Prove it to me, show me, I want to see you produce it and see how long it takes and you'll get a different level of perspective. Yeah.

Michael Mandell: 24:51

Each 30 second video I think on average takes an hour and a half to two hours to do from start to finish. So it's not 30 seconds that's for sure.

Sebastian Paredes: 25:02

Oh yeah, no, there's definitely going to be some behind the scenes coming out to give a little bit more perspective and give some of that, more raw footage and going back to what you said that authenticity side of things, you know how we plan it out. We have so much fun shooting these videos. Anytime I shoot these videos, I genuinely do not feel like I'm working. I absolutely love it.

Michael Mandell: 25:23

I'm really funny, but I make him laugh the whole time.

Sebastian Paredes: 25:27

Yeah. If you treat it like a business, they'll pay you like a business. If TikTok is something that you really want to do, treat it like a business, have a plan. If you're starting from zero plan out all your 12 videos before you even post one. We literally had all 12 videos already pre-made before we posted a single video . if this is something you want to do, create your own luck, everyone will tell us all the time. Hey, you guys got so lucky, we we planned this out. We really did plan this out. . Kyle Kaplanis: And your Like comparatively to the whole app. It stands out and I consume all day long. My job is literally to consume TikTok. It's definitely one of those things that stands out. It's not like Mike just showed up there and just talk in front of the camera and got lucky on one video that, that does happen to people. You guys have done such a great job, so you can tell it's paid off with all your research and effort there. I'm really pumped for you guys and I'm sure you're going to continue to grow you're always shown up on my four you page. So it's just really dope. That's awesome. That's awesome. And just as a little motivation is the standard for video quality is so low right now for TikTok. If the bar is set so low, if you can raise the bar, even just 5%, the return will be exponential. You're already setting yourself so apart. Just one tip for people just don't shoot the video, all in one take, you have different clips, have different views, move the camera put a little bit more effort into it and it will make the biggest change.

Kyle Kaplanis: 27:05

Some of the videos I see that are higher quality, just stand out already. Even if there's no transition, they're just like, wow. That looks much more clear and crisp. I have a DSLR that I use even for this call right now, and I've shot a few videos off of that. And some people were like, Whoa, why is this look so good? Just even that they just ask questions. So it is true. A lot of people film on the app. Cause it's easy to it's quick, but I find filming off is so key because now you have those clips that you can share at other points or share on other socials. If you wanted to share it over on Reels without the watermark. Some people are like, I don't have time. Like you said, treat it like a business. If you don't have time, then why are you trying to be successful? You know what I mean?

Sebastian Paredes: 27:44

Yep. 100%. That's another good tip that you brought up. Take out the watermark when reposting on Reels. Instagram is trying to compete with TikTok. They do not want to push content that comes from TikTok. So screen record your video before posting it on TikTok. And that way you can just replicate the other content. I don't know if you've noticed our Instagram is literally just our TikTok. You know what I mean? Just repost the content. It will make your life so much easier.

Kyle Kaplanis: 28:13

A hundred percent. Awesome guys. Mike, talk to me about where people can find you what are all your channels they can find you on.

Michael Mandell: 28:20

Yeah. So pn TikTok it's at Law by Mike and on Instagram it's at Law by Mike so keep it simple for everyone.

 

Kyle Kaplanis: 28:27

Even simpler for people who are listening, because I'm sure they're going to be so keen to check you out right now. Just head to the description of this podcast and you'll find the clickable links directly to the channel. So you can follow Mike today. I really appreciate , your time, you guys are doing some phenomenal things and you guys brought a ton of insights and value to this episode. So it's going to be huge. Thank you so much.

 

Michael Mandell: 28:51

Thank you, Kyle.

 

Sebastian Paredes: 28:53

Thank you, Kyle. It was a pleasure.

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Published: Jan. 28, 2021 @ 5AM Edit

 

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