Spotlight on #SocialMedia: Stefan Pinto & The Facebook C Diet™

Meet Stefan Pinto.  He’s just your average guy … if you call “Fat to Fit” on his own accord, unhealthy and unhappy bank employee to male model, writer, social media aficionado, and creator of the Stefan Pinto C Diet™ (formerly the Facebook C Diet™) “average”.  Stefan is a longtime social media participant, but unlike the casual social user, he used his platforms to build his own brand – quite successfully.  After the break, read how Stefan quickly climbed the social media ranks – told in his own words!

Q:  Let’s start from the beginning.  What prompted you to welcome social media into your routine and, eventually, come to rely on it for much of your branding efforts?

A:  It’s unavoidable, don’t you think?  We see those little square icons for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest on everything.  Had it not been for social media, some of my contacts… my network would not have grown the way it has.  I believe we met on social media!  How you present yourself on social media… your words, your pictures – even the things we “share” from someone either on Facebook or as a Twitter RT – will shape how others perceive you.  It can be highly addictive.

Q:  What makes social media so different from any other traditional marketing/advertising/PR tools?

A:  I used to say you can measure your results instantly.  But I don’t think that’s true anymore.  You certainly can’t base how effective your reach is on counting Facebook likes and Twitter RT’s.  How many times have you seen or read something that you thought was interesting – or perhaps you even follow a particular person and find all of what they say is interesting?  You don’t very well re-tweet or post everything they say or do on your timeline or Twitter stream.  So, your not-actively sharing does not mean there was no reach.  Sure, an active share may increase the traction, but then there is the quality of impressions vs. the quantity of impressions.  I like to think you don’t need one hundred Facebook likes, you just need one useful one.  When I did the abdominal cream campaign on Facebook, I wasn’t searching for likes, I was just posting photos.  Never did I imagine that a reporter from The New York Times would see it — and write about it!  (Editor’s note:  To learn more about this experiment on Facebook, see The New York Times article “Your Abdominals May Need a Touch Up.”)

Q:  How has social media affected your image?ShirtlessStefan

A:  I don’t know.  I want to say that I am transparent but that would be a lie.  I don’t share everything.  Some things I think are private and should remain so.  There are posts that some people seem to be more interested in than others.  I do try and reply to every Twitter @ mention.  Clearly people like to know that their mention was seen and even replied to.  Otherwise, it’s sort of like talking to a brick wall.  No one likes that.  I may have inadvertently created the perception that I am always shirtless.

Q:  Sharing and engaging are the hallmarks of social media – but what should be kept OFF off social media?

A:  It would depend on the person and their followers.  Certainly posts that are morally and ethically questionable, but then again, there may be social media accounts that are devoted entirely to servicing that landscape.  Social media is about engagement… it’s about sharing info that was useful to you and may very well be to others.  It is a great utility for helping others.  If something is surprising and irresistible, then I say, share it.

Q:  What are you favorite platforms and which have been most successful for you?

A:  Certainly Facebook.  The C Diet™ runs entirely on Facebook and that has grown my network significantly.  Twitter has helped me to open new associations with people I would not have access to without it.  Instagram is a bit of a new found addiction.  There is a method to using it, though.  Don’t bore people.  (Editor’s note: See!  Be interesting.)  Sometimes we get excited and upload those drive-by posts… you know, a blow-by-blow of everything that is happening right now.  Now.  At.  This.  Very.  Minute.  Scroll, scroll scroll… okay, we get it… you’re having fun.  People can be very protective of their streams!  They will unfollow you!

Q:  What drives engagement?

A:  Be interesting.  Give people something they can identify with.  Be surprising and irresistable.  If you show something no one has ever seen before, then they will want to share it.  Sometimes it can be controversial (this works on Facebook) or sometimes it can be something out of the ordinary but applicable to many, many people.  It is best to be authentic.  What does that mean when it comes to social media?  Even though a new Apple device applies to many, many people, it may not be interesting — or even new news — to the people who follow you.  So if they follow you for diet advice, go ahead and give them useful information on that.  If they follow you for diet advice that is fun, unique, and not a chore, then by all means don’t tell them what they already know!

Q:  How was your diet plan a perfect fit for social media?

A:  It was born there.  A Facebook status one Thanksgiving, “Gobble! Gobble! Post a picture of your Thanksgiving meal on my wall”, was the birth of the C Diet™ – people posted their meals and not all of them showed turkey and stuffing.  The following New Year’s Day, I sent an email to ten people inviting them to try a new “diet project” using their camera phone and Facebook.  Five signed up.  Now, there are over 27,000 photos submitted by people and over 20 brands have sent free incentives in the form of full-sized product to all of the participants… all because of Facebook.

Q:  How do you set social media goals?  What might they include?

A:  It’s different from platform to platform.  Typically, on Facebook, there are days that I know when to post and when not to post.  Best times as well.  Mondays are dead days on social media… at least for me.  Almost no traction.  Tuesdays through Thursdays work great!  Saturday nights and Sunday mornings also create great traction.  Twitter seems to be solely on how interesting the tweet is.  Content rules on Twitter.  Be it funny, smart, or engaging.  Instagram I am still trying to figure out.  Sometimes hash tags work (wonders), and then there are times that nothing happens.  I have found that photos on Instagram should fit the square and should not be landscape — even if the photo is beautiful.  It’s like fitting a round peg into a square hole.  But hey, I might be wrong!

Q:  What is your biggest (social media) pet peeve? 

A:  Apples and oranges.  If you’re talking apples, don’t show oranges.

Q:  How does the average person/student/business get started?  Aren’t there barriers to entry?

A:  Just get started.  It will take time to grow a following, but as long as you post engaging content, people will take notice.  Engaging pictures rule, especially on Facebook and Instagram.

Editor's note: Engaging picture alert!

Editor’s note: Engaging picture alert!

Sage advice from a man who’s built his personal empire from his virtual neighbor’s Thanksgiving eats.  His Average-Joe-to-fitness-model transformation is impressive enough (more on that? Not on this post. Google him!), let alone when you consider what he’s gained from putting in the work.  While I do have more great tips from Stefan for you, I wanted to take a moment to say this:  He is not joking.  Engagement rules, and photos will help you more than you can imagine.  Also, ladies, it may or may not be true that he appears to own very few shirts.  His contact information is included in this post.  You’re welcome.

I couldn’t leave out these bonus tidbits.  Stefan was gracious enough to go above and beyond answering the ten question Q&A, all in the name of providing you with these gems:

Q:  What role does social media play in brand management?

A:  What you put out there is how people will define you.  You are abstract on social media, and people will most likely base your brand’s voice — and you — on what you post.

Q:  Would developing a phone app be beneficial to your brand?  To every brand?

A:  To my brand, yes.  To every brand, I don’t know.  Pizza delivery and plumbing services, yes.  Things like that are instantly oriented.  Yelp worked great when we were traveling the Western states this past summer.  Found some great restaurants we would have never known about had it not been for Yelp.

Q:  If you could be any kind of dinosaur, what kind would you be? (Just seeing if you’re still paying attention.)

A:  Pterodactyl.

Q:  After embracing social media, what has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to teach yourself (or unlearn)?

A:  That not everyone wants to know everything (about you).

Q:  Is social media really a critical tool for any organization in today’s marketplace?

A:  I think so.  However, if you’re on it, then you need to service it.  How many times have you gone to a particular Twitter account or Instagram feed and seen the last tweet or post was over a week ago?  What good is being on the platform?  What happens to all of those potential customers that have @ mentioned you, or tagged you to no avail?  That’s lost business.


Stefan Pinto lost over 60lbs and became a male model.  You may have seen his racy ad where he spills yogurt all over himself!  His social media is fun AND helpful; he posts useful eating advice, gorgeous photos of his travels on model shoots, cute animals that seem to talk to him, and generally interesting stuff!  

To follow Stefan on social media:

Twitter: @stefanpinto  |  Facebook:  |  Instagram:  stefanpinto

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