Many people still have trouble getting a handle on what social media truly is, and besides how to work the basics, what it can be used for. They know that there is Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, but what is the purpose of having friends and followers? Blogspot is simple enough to use, but what should you say? How can a small business monetize the increasing social media activity in the world? Social Media Unscrambled, the podcast radio show broadcast live on The Fractal Stream internet radio station, seeks to help solve many of the questions that the average user has about his or her media.
For these heavy questions, the hosts of Social Media Unscrambled, Chris Curran and David Deutsch, seek advice from another influencer in the social media world. Mark Schaefer, of http://www.businessesgrow.com/, joined the show via Skype from his home in Tennessee. Mark has many claims to his name; besides his successful blog, he also runs a thriving consulting business, teaches at Rutgers, and has authored and co-authored multiple books in the area of social media. And he certainly contributed valuable insights in this episode.
Social media is a constantly updating story, and the news this week proves that. Episodes ago, the hosts shared a story about a Texas student who made a nasty comment on Facebook and subsequently was sent to jail, and was left in there for many months. Recently though, someone (a good Samaritan?!) bailed him out for $500,000. This story once again exaggerates the viewfinder of social media; any comment can be used to reach across the globe, both positively and negatively. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, sharks were attacking from the air… through the television, at least. “SharkNado,” a movie about falling sharks on Los Angeles, did not do nearly as well on the television as it did on the internet. Twitter users blew up the tag, and it was reported that more people were tweeting about the movie than actually watching it.
This proves that traditional media is being officially dwarfed by the social media. The question @smUnscrambled had for its guest, Mark Schaefer, was- “but how do you monetize that?” Netflix, too, has been using social media to monetize as well as to determine what’s working in their media streaming business.
Schaefer started to explain that the most important part of social media is to promote a passion. While people love products, they don’t necessarily talk about them. What a business needs to do is turn their product into a conversation and receive impressions, using social media. New studies by Ogilvy are examining passion for products and consequently how users are sharing about them online. As Mark says, all information can be monetized, because everything “means something, you just have to figure out what.” Twitter is doing this with Nielsen (the market research and ratings company), as they determine that most people have “two screens” in front of them (TV and smartphone/tablet, etc), and are deciding how to monetize that.
Schaefer has also found a different way to monetize– to take his knowledge and publish it into books. He proclaims that he wants a “MarkNado” to rain his books and blog posts all over the world as a tornado, but, as one of his books is already the most sold book about Twitter worldwide, you could already say that he’s had some fair weather. (His internet goal is to eventually become a meme, and through today’s show, he definitely has the spunk.)
One of Mark’s books is Born to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success one Post at a Time. Mark frustratingly comments on the lack of business people with blogs. He maintains that anyone seeking a job should have a blog to showcase their talent, especially if they are going into PR, marketing, HR, customer service, or sales. A blog will stay with an interviewer long after the 45 minute interview time slot is up. Being able to move community and make cohesive thoughts based on your passions, emotions, and experience is a very important job skill. Of course some people have no writing ability, and if that’s you, understand it’s not that difficult to write when you have a passion and personal experiences.
Because many of the traditional ways of advertising such as TV, newspaper and radio are going away, a new type of connection is needed with one’s customers. Content such as blogging, podcasting, and video marketing will help save money. Use your life and stories to explain and connect with people; be emotional more than technical. Every company has the ability to do that, and if they do it will help them be successful. Do they have the courage? Do you?
The discussion then turned to another one of Mark’s books, The Tao of Twitter: Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters At a Time. He explains that Taoism, an Eastern religion, means “path,” and there is a path to correctly using any type of media. The first step is to get appropriate content, meaning posting topics and thoughts that are relevant and insightful. After that, you have to grab the right audience and market to them; if you do the work in making yourself an appropriate source of information, people will come to you. Finally, be thoughtful. People don’t want to be sold your ideas, they want to be helped.
If you make your social media activity a conversation instead of marketing, you will establish relationships in order to help others. Once you establish relationships, people will see small, consistent provocations, and eventually you will be able to make sales and establish loyalty.
From speaking with Mark, it is obvious that he enjoys helping people understand social media; that’s why he does consultations. He believes that his competitive advantage is that he’s older than the average user. He has enough perspective to look at an internet marketing strategy and suggest proven ways to help companies get from A to B. He believes that the biggest deficit in business is marketing. While people know how to create something, they don’t always know how to spread and connect it to others. Getting a consultant for help can be very beneficial.
Chris Curran of Fractal Recording and David Deutsch of SynergiSocial signed off with their tip of the week segment. On LinkedIn, you can see who is “stalking you,” or in other words, viewing your profile. Don’t be shy! You can reach out to people with notes such as “thank you for viewing my profile! Is there anything I can help you with?” You can turn their curiosity in a relationship and opportunity. They’re “stalking” you for a reason!
We were overjoyed to have Mark Schaefer as a guest today, and we really appreciated his experience, knowledge and expertise in the world of social media and marketing. Social media can be used to monetize any product, if you learn how to use it correctly – and there’s a ton of help out there.
~ Naomi Barnett, July 16th, 2013