Neal Schaffer is a leading expert, keynote speaker, educator, innovator and influencer at guiding businesses and organizations through their digital transformation with a focus on social selling, social media marketing, and sales, and marketing alignment. He’s the CEO of PDCA Social, an agency which powers businesses to generate prominent ROI from social media. The founder and editor-in-chief of Maximize Social Business, he is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive book on social media strategy, ‘Maximize Your Social’ being taught at many universities. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge records his blog Maximize Social Business as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching. Named Top 100 Marketing Influencer 2017. Neal has helped in executing many brands to reach their top level on social media marketing. Here, in this interview, he’s available with his vast knowledge and experience to both educate and entertain the youth, business, entrepreneurs, and starters.
SOCIAL CHAMP: Hello Neal, Social Champ is glad to catch you for the interview. How did you start your career as a marketing guru? Moreover, what has been your motivation to become such an extraordinary social media influencer and innovator?
NEAL: So those of you who know me, my background is in primarily B2B sales also did marketing, business development. I love sales and marketing, when social media came around there’s huge domain for social media as public relations as it was started out and for marketing. I always say social media was streeted to find me and when I wrote my first book ‘Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn’ back into 2009, it let speaking opportunities in 2009 which is led to consulting opportunity to begin as my social media strategy consultant career in 2010. That’s what I started really focused on the marketing side, but in business, I’m experienced in doing technology sales in Asia and I always have localized our content for Asian marketing, understanding the need of markets in China, Japan and Korea, and to my game that’s all the beginning. I realized that doing blog and tweet I was worked onstage and therefore I started it to global projects.
SOCIAL CHAMP: Being available and visible on social media is vital for brands today since that is the place their clients are, and more dynamic than any other time in recent memory. What are the accepted procedures for drawing in customers through social?
NEAL: Social media is made for people not for business so there are no acceptable procedures. Let’s get started the way people have information at their fingertips, unlike when I was young and doing research information, we have the thing called encyclopedia for those who remember. Now there’s so much information out there today and all are indexed and searchable. My kids have it so easy to do research, with that in mind consumers are so had the internet and they are reading my views, asking out their friends in social media and they have power. I don’t think brands have power well they stole it with advertising because they have huge marketing budgets that they now start to shift it digitally. From a consumer perspective, social media is obviously awesome for brand awareness but it’s truly about building community, trust, providing information and been there every step on the way of consumer buying journey. If you’re using hashtags in your personal Instagram you’re going to be found if people looking for and if not you’re not going to be found. I mean there is more to it but being available, invisible, on the beware social network and visual. It never requires investment basically, the company have PR departments and their social media investment almost extensional. For the companies who do not have PR department, it requires a leap of faith, something you need to do because that’s real customer is. It becomes produce infrastructure similar to you have the website, social media part of your marketing period.
SOCIAL CHAMP: Can you share any illustrations in view of your brand or from others who’ve figured out how to connect with customers on social staggeringly?
NEAL: The best examples today are the brands that going directly to the consumer. I work with some clients who primarily sell through Amazon or retailer outlets like Wal-Mart but they don’t know about their end-customers and there are no connections with them thus leveraging connection for the brand. You can see its tapping influencers and help them spread the word it’s taking a good innovative approach and interaction to the consumer and for instance the influencers that are doing better than the big brand because they grip huge community. I think if you want to look for a successful company is using social media, you need to look at Instagram, at influentials’ role as the brand that is utilizing them and now is strategically investing on Instagram.
SOCIAL CHAMP: What are a portion of the greatest errors or confusions that you see fledglings reliably make?
NEAL: I think the biggest error is social media treated for business as many do though it is for people basically. Their advertising platform and that’s mistake so you can become very spammy, sales. Just like within 24 hours I get the blanket of emails for market or asking to set up a phone call in the very beginning and I also see brands do this and on Instagram as well. You have to stay from brands perspective that you are operating on territorial people and you need to be respectful. I also see a lot of people posting harks, fax and infographics on Instagram and I don’t know how successful that going to be because Instagram is made for the Polaroid icon, photos, and people, not for businesses.
SOCIAL CHAMP: Can you share some tips on how companies can decide where to start in social media marketing?
NEAL: Always start with the objective that “what are you trying to accomplish.’ If you don’t know about it, you’re not going to succeed. I wrote more about sales so let me ask how do you get your sells right now? Your customers, where are they are on social media and how are you going to impress them and attraction them to your presence. What’s your budget you are going to have, both organic and also you need to do paid social with organic? Who are the influencers in your reach and how you are going to engage with them? These are sort of top questions, to begin with. It’s obvious to have that strategy and objective in front to determine KPIs, maybe you realize that you’re not going to have an immediate sale because you are the new brand for people to talk about. There is metric for KPI to build from that. However another way you can get started by maximizing your social.
SOCIAL CHAMP: As social media marketing is pondering day by day. What would one say one is the greatest myths you’re seeing sustained about social media?
NEAL: There’s no trick on social, it’s blood and sweat, it’s a lot of work, its content, and engagement. It’s sometimes doing a lot of proactive engagement when you can on Instagram, Twitter or on Pinterest. It takes strategy, measurement, analytics, optimization and time. So if anyone thinks that social media marketing is just quick, it’s wrong. It is going to take time in a better way. Now that ben said if you take this social media growth hacking approach that I like to take with my clients for my agency within 3-6 months, you can make significant gains,, become you know as perhaps one of the leaders in your industry in social media and begin to generate a lot of web traffic, community, reach, engagement and conversions. It comes on different things like how attractive is your product and social media is an amplifier of its good and bad.
Related Article: “Inspirational Thoughts On Effective Branding Strategies -with Mark Schaefer“
SOCIAL CHAMP: How would you encourage the creation of user-generated content? Discuss the relationship between social media and content marketing.
NEAL: Well, you need to have a community, fans, customers, and your own hashtags so you can be searched anywhere when people buy. You need to have an Instagram aspect to your product. If you don’t have all these, you might be getting customers but they might not be inclined to share information about your product. You can do contests, work with influencers and try to get the word out by creating a generic content which is actually done most effectively by influencers or you can use your employees. I think the best way among all is actually doing events, which also follow influencers to engage with them while posting types of photos with people regarding your object. They are doing that the exact same thing in these regular educational events as a way of craving tons of user-generated content by encouraging them to attend and begin sharing it.
You need content. Content is the fuel of Social Media. and without content, you have nothing to say.
From Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to Pinterest, you need to curate content.
SOCIAL CHAMP: Describe the structure of your current marketing team. What is everyone’s role? Who do you report to?
NEAL: I ‘m a Solopreneur, have my own agency and consultancy. I personally like to have a very small and tight organization. To give an idea about the roles of people that work for me, let’s start from myself, I do podcasts for maximizing social business, so I have a podcast editor, I have a WordPress content editor who does the SEO. I have a social media marketing assistant that helps a lot of the task from my client and for my own brand, a graphic designer that just focuses on visual content for social media and eBooks and a content creator and I work with other content creators, writers or editors on a contract basis. That gives you the idea that what most companies need to hire for SMM is this basically. Probably very soon I’m going to hire my Japanese staff to help me in building my Japanese online presence.
SOCIAL CHAMP: Being a leading keynote speaker, you have spoken in more than hundreds of events, attended many conferences would you like to share some memory with us?
NEAL: You know that memorable events are always that are overseas. It’s really an engagement with attendees after I speak and the questions I have always very very special. Bucharest, Romania had the really progressive crowd there and active and Savvy which I didn’t expect just from the economic perspective as compared to Western Europe. I loved Finland too, having several leading products, one them being Nokia. I’m honored to have spoken at the consumer electronics show, my number one award for consumer electronics show, so far goes to a Chinese company ‘Zhiyum.’ Also, have spoken govt. crisis group like FEMA so it was the great experience to speak with groups which use Social media in a unique way.
SOCIAL CHAMP: Playing multiple roles in marketing it would be hard to devote time to social media, it is very crucial to use these social media platform for marketing. Have you used any tools? What do you think about Social Champ, an automation tool that allows you to schedule posts on Facebook and other social platforms? Name your favorite tool for marketing?
NEAL: I’ve used a lot of tools and I’m so passionate about it. I co-founded Social Tools Summit. I believe human can’t scale and you need to scale because there are just too many people seeking engagement. I also daily engage people directly through social networks. For content, I love BuzzSumo, the greatest tool to be able to find content and to share for analysis, insight for new content and reaches influencers and other a lot of different ways to use BuzzSumo. It does have repeating feature too, I think 99% of medium size business like repeating content without getting overwhelmed posting some things on a regular basis by deleting previous one.
Thank you so much, Neal Schaffer, Social Champ wishes you all the best in your future endeavors. Thanks for enlightening the audience with Social Media Strategies and Digital Marketing Tips and Tricks.