Humanity is More Important Than Data in Social Media

Humanity is More Important Than Data in Social Media

Mark Schaefer, Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss all things Twitter, including how to develop a human presence and inspire customers by elevating your employees.

In This Episode:

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Full Episode Details

Humanity is More Important Than Data in Social MediaHumanity At Its Best

Is there anything more cheesy than an awkward product placement in a movie or TV show? You’re watching your favorite characters, you’re into the story, then out of nowhere, “Wow, check out this nifty thing!”

While the importance of advertising is undeniable, perhaps there are places where direct advertising does more harm than good. According to Mark Schaefer, Twitter is certainly one of those places.

He proposes that instead of using social media to simply recycle ads, it is much more effective to use it as a window into the humanity of your business. Your brand’s communication on Twitter should be a direct look at something people find far more interesting and important than the info on your latest product, and that’s the real life hands that built it.

By turning the spotlight on your employees and the people involved with your product, you can create an invaluable connection with customers that is unmatched anywhere else.

In This Episode

  • How Twitter’s shift to 280 characters may affect the company and the obstacles it faces
  • How to engage with Twitter as a human-driven platform rather than a place to broadcast ads
  • Why having a human presence is different from employee advocacy
  • How elevating your employees can benefit your business more than traditional ads
  • Why businesses should be evolving their content

Quotes From This Episode

“Having that human presence makes a big difference and creates a glow for your brand.” Click To Tweet

“If you’re one of those people out there still rolling their eyes at influence marketing, you’ve gotta get over it because it is big.” – @markwschaefer

“If more of our employees have a profound and impactful social media presence, we're gonna win.” Click To Tweet

Everything you do on your job, every engagement, every post, every response, every interaction you’ve got with the outside world; put it through this filter: how can we be more human?” – @markwschaefer


See you next week!

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Episode Transcript

Jay Baer: Welcome everybody to Social Pros, the podcast for real people doing real work in social media. I am as always, Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert. Not joined this week by my typical co-host, Adam Brown from Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Adam is out on assignment at Dream Force this week, gallivanting around Salesforce-style. I have a very special guest on the program this week, cannot wait to speak with them. First, I just wanted to take a second to acknowledge the tragic passing of Jason Spencer. Jason was head of social media communications for Humana, a fantastic individual. Everybody who knew Jason truly, truly loved him. He was tragically shot and killed in a robbery in Louisville, Kentucky just a few days ago. Jason was a guest here, on the Social Pros podcast, not too long ago. Our thoughts are with Jason's family; his wife, they were recently married just a few days before his tragic passing, obviously his family, and all his friends in Louisville and across the social media community. Jason, we will truly, truly miss you. On that somewhat somber note, there's no eager or good segue there, I am incredibly thankful to have my very good friend, Mark Schaefer, on Social Pros here. Mark is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is the co-host of his own fantastic podcast called The Marketing Companion with our mutual friend, Tom Webster. He is the author of more books than I can even keep track of now. Every time I write a book, Mark writes two; which I'm not sure how he does that, but it is spectacular. His most recent publication is the fourth edition of The Tao of Twitter. We'll talk about Twitter a lot with Mark here, today. He's also the adjunct marketing professor of digital marketing at Rutgers University. He is a gentleman, a scholar, one of my very, very good friends, and somebody ... If you do not know Mark, you need to fix that forthwith. Please welcome to the podcast, Mr Mark W. Schaefer. Mark Schaefer: Forthwith. It's one of those words, I just wish we used more. Jay Baer: We can do that. You and I can make a pact right now, that we're gonna use forth ... At least one social post a week. Mark Schaefer: Yeah. Forthwith. Yeah Jay Baer: Yes. Mark Schaefer: Okay, that'll be our little ... It'll be a little wink at each other. Jay Baer: We should actually, that would be, actually a fun assignment. We should get the audiences of this podcast, your podcast, maybe Robert Rhodes' show, Chris Penn's show, a few others, Mitch Joel's; and we'll just have the audience throw out a weird phrase every week ... Mark Schaefer: Yeah. Jay Baer: And we'll have to use it in every podcast Mark Schaefer: It'll be like a little Easter egg, or something. Jay Baer: Yes! Yes, insider stories. Mark Schaefer: Yeah, forthwith. Forthwith, I'd like to talk to you. Jay Baer: Henceforth, I'd like to ask you this question. I'm just gonna go with a detailed question to start and we'll get into it. So Twitter now is going to 280 characters, they have cheekily doubled their length and rolling that out across the platform, what do you make of that? Do you think that that is a good idea, the gasps of a desperate organization? Do you think that is going to fundamentally change the fabric of Twitter, being able to double your length? What's your take on 280? Mark Schaefer: Well, I can only offer an opinion. I do study Twitter, as you mentioned, I've written this book about Twitter, The Tao of Twitter, or the [Dao] of Twitter is actually the correct Chinese pronunciation. So I've gotta stay on top of what they're doing. And I do kinda have a sense for what they're doing right, and what their dysfunctionality is, and how they signal the market. And my ... Look, here's the pressure on Twitter right now. A number one, you have got to increase user growth. That's it. That's the whole mission of the company right now. So I'm not a Twitter insider, so I haven't seen their research. But I can pretty be, pretty well be sure that they've done research. They've done tests to show that if they could increase the count on their characters, it's going to increase the use of the platform. Now that may not be true for me and you, but I gotta tell you something, it's gonna make it a lot easier to tweet. I think you and I both have done the colonoscopy, where we need to get that one extra character, so we take out the colon. Jay Baer: I love that. Mark Schaefer: So ... And you start thinking in terms of 140 characters and that's a pain. And it's difficult to communicate that way. So, I think ... Look, every time you, Twitter makes one of these changes, the purists call foul. I don't think it's gonna make a big of a difference and if it helps Twitter's user base grow, everybody wins from that. We want Twitter to succeed. We want them to make money. Twitter is part of the fabric of our society. It's an essential part of how we entertain ourselves, how we communicate, how what news breaks. And we want it to be successful. So look, if this is a little tweak that can help them; that's great. Jay Baer: They've clearly had robust user growth for many years and that growth slowed precipitously and halted, why do you think that happened? Where did Twitter lose it's way, is it lack of product innovation? Is it Facebook kinda copied features and vice versa, just sort of ran out of runway? So obviously there's lots of instances of abuse and sort of harsh words on that platform as well, where do you think their obstacles came from? Mark Schaefer: Well, I think it's ... To me, the big obstacle is that it's quirky. Its hard to use compared to something like Facebook or YouTube, or even Linkedin, which are just insanely intuitive. It's just so easy to use. Twitter kinda has its own rhythm, has its own language. And I hated Twitter. 60% of the people who start Twitter, quit after the first week. And I don't think you'll see that kind of drop off at YouTube, or even Snapchat probably. So I think, that is the big obstacle that they have been wrestling with. On the one hand, the reason it's so popular is because it's quirky. It's not for everyone. It's kind of a club of 330 million people. The people who use it, they absolutely love it. They don't need any other reason. They don't need any incentive to use it. But that has been Twitter's problem. And there's been a lot of pressure on them to try to make it easier, to try to make it more intuitive, and so that's ... I can pretty much predict that every major announcement you see from Twitter for the next two years is gonna have something to do with making it more accessible to drive that user growth. Jay Baer: And they've also started to do a lot more on the video side as well, both organically and lots of new video ads that are in the offering and even available now for advertisers. Do you feel like video inside Twitter is going to help them, or does that change the fabric of the platform so much that it becomes something that it's not inherently? Mark Schaefer: Well, I have to make a confession. I saw all these announcements that Twitter was signing deals with the NFL and these award programs, and they were gonna be broadcasting live events over the Twitter platform. And I was incredulous, I thought, "Why would anybody wanna watch something on Twitter, instead of on their nice, big screen TV at home?" And then, I did it. And it's awesome! Because it's twice the entertainment because, not only do you see the event, you see real-time live commentary streaming beside the event. And this is something only Twitter can do. It's truly leveraging the power, and beauty, and relevance of Twitter. Twitter's all about, Twitter is the most human powered social network. The best things about Twitter, like hashtags and Twitter chats, they weren't invented by Twitter; they were invented by people. Jay Baer: Right. Mark Schaefer: Twitter's never really been able to figure out what they are, but the people do and the people are driving the innovation. And so they're leveraging this, because think of just the absolute hilarity and the added entertainment by watching this real-time commentary, real-time humor, real-time brainstorming from all around the world while you're listening and watching to this live event. Jay Baer: Yeah, we do that now in many cases, but it's two screens, right? Mark Schaefer: Oh, yeah. Jay Baer: You've got it on your TV and you have your iPad in your lap and ... Mark Schaefer: Yeah Jay Baer: That makes it a much more seamless experience, for sure. Mark Schaefer: Twitter has been the defacto second screen for years. Nielsen has acknowledged this, they say that if you advertise on a television show that's being discussed on Twitter, you're gonna get a 6% increase just from the flow going on in Twitter. So it's been very powerful in that way, so I think absolutely this is an incredibly powerful and entertaining innovation. Here's the challenge though, how do you get people to do it? How do get people to ... I think the people who use Twitter may discover that and use it more, but Twitter's gonna have to do, maybe some mainstream advertising, or some other sort of promotion to make people realize how incredibly fun it is to view video in this way. Jay Baer: That's a good point. How important is Twitter to you in promoting your own work, your blog, your podcast, your webinars, speaking engagements etc? Is Twitter the nexus of what you do in that regard or is it a side dish? How ... Mark Schaefer: I love that! You ... Jay Baer: It's creamed corn, and if it isn't the creamed corn, it's the turkey. You know, it's almost Thanksgiving. You think that ... Mark Schaefer: Yeah. It's stuffing ... Jay Baer: Stuffing, cranberry sauce ... Mark Schaefer: Ah, love that. Well, I'm kinda unusual, that I'm in the business, like you. I actually love Twitter. I engage with people on Twitter. And so twitter does work for me. Twitter drives an enormous amount of traffic to my blog. I get a lot of engagement on Twitter. And it's, for me it's not just broadcasting links, which a lot of people have kinda fallen into. I do some of that. I do that, primarily at night when I'm asleep because I love the people who follow me in Asia and in Europe. And I don't wanna fall of that social channel when I'm asleep. And Twitter is ephemeral, if you don't see it while you're awake, you're probably not gonna see it. So I do some scheduled tweets at night when I'm asleep, just to keep things going in other parts of the world because I have so many friends around the world. And if they do respond to me, then of course I respond when I wake up but ... So Twitter really does work for me Jay, and I think I'd like to take your question a little bit further here because I think this also represents the opportunity for businesses. I saw this statistic that kinda blew my mind, maybe it makes sense if you think about it, but it said that digital natives on social media, about 50% of them say that they want ... It's important for them to be acknowledged by their peers on social media. About half. 64% said it's important to them to be acknowledged by their favorite brands on social media. I thought, "Wow! Brands are more important to people, even than their friends?" So lets just go with that, let's just say that this is a real thing. That people ... And there's, by the way, I've been doing a lot of research. Or I've been consuming a lot of research, let's say that correctly, about what's going on and the great, massive, cataclysmic changes really, that are going on in consumer behavior that's driven by technology today. And let's just go with this, where is a brand going to engage with their fans? I mean, really engage, leaving them a comment. It's probably not gonna be on YouTube. It's probably not gonna be on Facebook. It's not gonna be on Linkedin. Twitter might be the place. Maybe Snapchat might be the place, but that's a little more difficult. So there's this enigma. There's this chasm I see, that everybody knows Twitter is a human-powered, human-driven platform. But brands typically don't treat it that way. They just broadcast, broadcast, broadcast, and they wonder why nothing's working. So if think about, gosh, people really want that connection. There's also a lot of research that supports that, people who follow brands on Twitter are more loyal to brands on social media than other platforms. So, but brands have, as you know from your experience and from some of the posts that you've written, brands have all but abandoned Twitter. And it's just like, "Gosh, there's this big opportunity staring us in the face." Especially as room for advertising declines on Facebook. As rates for advertising on these competitive keywords increase on Google or Facebook and other places, where are you gonna go? And it just seems like there's an opportunity to be unlocked there. Jay Baer: You've had, you're on record as talking about this notion that the future in digital is human impressions, not ad impressions. Is that what you're talking about here? Mark Schaefer: I think that's part of it. I mean, I'm not saying that ads are going to go away. But if you look at the three big drivers in digital marketing right now, it's user-generated content, it's reviews, it's influence marketing, and ... Look, if you're one of those people out there still rolling their eyes at influence marketing, you've gotta get over it because it is big. It is huge. It is real. And it is taking up an increasing amount of CMO budgets. Jay, I recently facilitated a CMO round table meeting in Florida a couple of weeks ago. And these are CMO's from big companies Citibank and NBA and American Express, and there were about 70-75 CMO's there. No matter what the topic was, what it was supposed to be at these round tables, it kept going back to influence marketing. They're all trying to figure it out. They're trying to figure out, how do we wrangle this thing? So my point being is, if you look at these drivers, they're all really human-driven. And I think a good question to ask is, if user-generated content and reviews and influence marketing are three of the big drivers in digital marketing today, what does a marketer really do? But it does emphasize that these human ... Jay Baer: Finds influencers? Mark Schaefer: Pardon me? Jay Baer: Yeah, uses software to find influencers? Mark Schaefer: Yeah that's right, or to somehow generate, corral, amplify user-generated content, encourage reviews. I mean it's undeniable, the power of these three trends right now. And the common theme is that these are all human impressions. And, here's something very profound, it's very profound Jay. And this was wisdom that came from a young woman, she's my new daughter-in-law, my son got married a few weeks ago. So when I grew up, my mother bought ivory soap because that's what she knew from the ads. That's what she trusted, right? Jay Baer: Sure. Mark Schaefer: And then maybe you bought dial or ... So I went to my son's house and my daughter-in-law had soap from the Knoxville Soap Company. It was cucumber and grit soap Jay, which sound delicious, but I wasn't gonna ... But, it this goop, kinda gnarly looking green bar of soap. And I said, "Why are you buying this, instead of a national brand?" Because we're all hearing how Proctor & Gamble, and Unilever, and all these big companies that have all these big brands; they're struggling. They're absolutely going off a cliff. I said, "Why did you buy this instead of something that has millions of dollars of advertising behind it? Why do you love this brand?" She thought for a moment and she said, "You know, I don't know if I love the brand, but I love the hands that made it." And I think that is so profound. And you see this Jay, in all the research. Not just digital natives, but all of us today, we wanna know who’s actually there. What do they do? We wanna be involved. We wanna know what a company stands for. And every single trend goes towards this idea of human impressionists, this human connection. Jay Baer: Yeah, I think the missing ingredient in your [inaudible 00:18:58] ... It's not just UGC and influencer marketing. We talk about this a lot at Convince & Convert with our consulting clients, it's EGC, employee-generated content ... Mark Schaefer: Yeah. Jay Baer: I've said this for a long time and finally I think the industry has sort of moved this direction, that every company ... Mark Schaefer: Yeah. Jay Baer: Is, at some level, a collection of great people, every company. I truly believe that. There's no company that is a collection of misanthropic individuals. And social media done well, and content marketing done well, allows you to prove that. Allows you to show the hands that made the soaps ... Mark Schaefer: Yeah. Jay Baer: That people recognize the hands that made the soap so they can make that decision in the shopping aisle. But for generations, companies have approached all communications as the company and let me address you as the organization. Well, the reality is ... Mark Schaefer: Right. Jay Baer: We don't trust organizations ... Mark Schaefer: No we don't. Jay Baer: At all. The new research says ... Mark Schaefer: That's right. Jay Baer: We trust companies less than ever and that's saying something. That's I high bar to clear. And so today, people absolutely have the power. So the more you can, this is gonna be a trite statement, but that's never stopped me in the past. The more you can humanize your brand by actually showing real humans and sort of unlocking your communication, your content, your social, from the yoke of corporate convention and say, "Hey, here’s a Instagram video from Bob, who actually makes soap and here's how Bob got into the soap game." That's the kinda thing that resonates today and so ... Mark Schaefer: 100%, I agree. Jay Baer: Companies just have to get out of their own way, is the challenge. Mark Schaefer: And I wanna make a distinction here because the way you're thinking, and the way you're thinking is emerging on this is ... Right and locks up with me. And this is what I've been talking about in my talks now. And it's almost like the evolution of Known, this book I wrote this year. It's about the path, the formula to create your own powerful presence; your own powerful personal brand in the digital age. How do ... Jay Baer: Spectacular, by the way, let me just in real quick and let listeners know that Known from my friend, Mark Schaefer is really, really great. Here's how good it is friends, I bought a copy of the book for all my team members at Convince & Convert. And set up paid consulting engagements between every single person I employ and Mark Schaefer, that's how much I believe in the message in the book. You can do the workbook as well. So if you as a business person, want to take your passion farther and really develop that kind of, I don't want to say "personal brand", that feels a little pat for this conversation, but it's probably the easiest short hand for what we're talking about here. You will not find a better instruction manual. So grab a copy of Known, as well as Mark's fourth edition of The Tao of Twitter. Mark Schaefer: Oh, that's very kind of you to say Jay, and I am so proud of the book. And it's the fast, this is what you talked about here. It's the fastest growing part of my business right now, is to train executives and ... Not all employees you gotta be careful with this, but some key employees to really elevate their brands. Now, here's the point ... Jay Baer: Which is hilarious because people were training and ... Mark Schaefer: Yeah. Jay Baer: Doing that you know, seven years ago, eight years ago. But finally, it's taken almost a decade for ... Obviously you had earlier adopter executives, of course, who were really good at social. But for the most part, it's taken nearly a decade for people to come around, oh, maybe I should actually ... Mark Schaefer: Yeah, it's exploding. People are realizing that having that human personal presence makes the big difference and creates this glow for the company and the brand. And that's what ... Jay Baer: I like how you put that ... Mark Schaefer: Yeah. Jay Baer: A glow for the brand, that's nice. Mark Schaefer: That's exactly, that's what happens. It's just like, alright if you're the one who's ... Jay Baer: The human candle. Mark Schaefer: Yeah, if you're the one who's written the article. If you're the one who's ... Here's an example. I'm working at a, I think this is okay for me to say, I'm working with an executive from Cisco and I've been coaching him, and putting him through this training program, and he's having wild success. We recently got one of his articles published in Harvard Business Review. Now ... Jay Baer: Nice. Mark Schaefer: He's from Cisco, that's a glow for Cisco. That's better than any ... Jay Baer: I agree. Mark Schaefer: Ad that Cisco could take out. Jay Baer: It goes back to Scott Monty working for Ford all those years, right? Obviously it helped Scott, but it helped Ford just as much, if not more. Mark Schaefer: Here's a point I wanna make that's probably not gonna go over well with a lot of your listeners, but this is something I'm seeing. This is different than employee advocacy. I ... Jay Baer: Oh, I agree, yeah. Employee advocacy is employees amplifying a corporate message. This is employee messages. Mark Schaefer: This is not gonna go over well, but I think the success of employee advocacy programs are kinda hit and miss. And some of them can be gamified, and some people are ... Jay Baer: Well, you're trying to make silk purse out of a sow's ear in many cases. It's like, "Hey, share this on Linkedin." And he's like, "Well, this sucks. I wouldn't share this with my mom, much less my friends." Mark Schaefer: Yeah. Jay Baer: You gotta give people something to show they actually have convictions for ... Mark Schaefer: And I've been interviewing people who, again some have had successful programs, some have not. I've talked to some people, some pretty big companies. And they say the reason these things usually fail is because ultimately, the employees wanna know, "What's in it for me? I'm kinda putting myself out there and representing your content." But ... Jay Baer: Well, you're spending relationship capital every time you ... Mark Schaefer: That's right. Yeah, that's a big decision to post something on social media. It's an extension of you. It's an intimate decision. But a different way to look at it, is to elevate the employee. And this kind of cleft in my mind Jay, I think this will be a very relevant example. I did a project for Adidas, and I won't go into the whole back story of the competitive circumstances, but they were going into a new market and they were three or four years behind. And the competitors had established this very powerful foothold in the market. Every marketing idea I had, it was already taken. So one of the things we looked at was, all these sporting companies, they contract with these great athletes. So we did an analysis of what's the social media effectiveness of the athletes from the competitors, versus Adidas. What we found was that Adidas was spending all this money on these athletes, but they weren't doing anything. And Adidas couldn't really pin it down, what was wrong. Jay Baer: You mean they weren't functionally sending tweets ... Mark Schaefer: Right! Jay Baer: Or they just weren't having an impact? Mark Schaefer: They just didn't know, but there was one exception. One of their contracted athletes was better than any of the athletes from the competitors because she also had a contract with Red bull. And Red bull puts their athletes through this intense training program. They give them feedback. They reward them if they're doing better. I said, "We can solve this thing." So we did training for the adidas athletes and literally, within a couple of months, we turned the situation around. Now, this is why this is relevant. What if we looked at our employees that way? What if we said ... Jay Baer: Mm-hmm. Mark Schaefer: Look, to have an effective social media presence today is a life skill. If more of our employees have a profound and impactful social media or internet presence, we're gonna win. Because people will know at some point, that they work for us and if they love them, they're gonna love us. And I think that's the way we need to be, we need to start thinking that way as marketers. That is, it's a long way to get back to your statement, that branding in the future is gonna be more an accumulation of human impressions than advertising impressions. We need to start thinking that way. That is just the truth. It's the fact. It's the only thing people believe anymore. So what is in our control, and this is one of those things that is in our control. Not sending an email telling people this is what we want you to tweet, but to say, "We trust you. You're awesome. We wanna help you create a better presence." Just like what you're doing with your team, I think that's really the model. If more people on your team are known and they're standing on a stage on behalf of Convince & Convert, that's gonna be better exposure than any ad you can take. Jay Baer: Well, or even Adam, being the co-host of this program. He is the executive strategist at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, but he's also the co-host of the Social Pros podcast, and has been for quite some time now. So Adam's participation on this show creates a glow for Salesforce and of course, they are a sponsor of the program. I wanna just to give them acknowledgement here to say thank you to Salesforce for sponsoring the show for a long, long time. And make sure, if you haven't downloaded the new eBook More Than Marketing: Exploring the Five Roles of the New Marketer, this would be a great time to do that because we're gonna switch out promotions next week. This eBook from Salesforce breaks down five new essential marketing skills that we all need to have. My daughter is a freshman in college and going into marketing, advertising, and I made sure she downloaded and read this eBook. There's interviews in there, there's stories, there's actually interactive features in the eBook. It's pretty slick in that way. And there's of immediately actionable steps that you can take to help master these new talents and skills that we all need to have to make sure we still have a job in a year or two, because the robots are coming to take our jobs. Go to That's to grab a copy of that. Mark, I'm glad you mentioned Adidas because I have a question for you, which is what would be your dream client that you haven't worked with? If you could say, I wanna work with any brand out there, who would it be? Mark Schaefer: Oh my gosh. I love Coca Cola. Not necessarily from a consumer stand point, I do drink a diet coke every now and then ... Jay Baer: It's too bad Adam is not here because Adam used to be head of digital and social for Coke, so we could've ... Next time. Mark Schaefer: In my former life, I actually got to do some work with Coca Cola. And the reason I admire Coca Cola so much is their core product never changes, can never change, and yet they are relevant to every new generation. So, it's really a marketing miracle. It's a marketing miracle and ... Jay Baer: I'm on the fence about the new Coke Zero formula. I'm not entirely certain I'm down with it yet. I'm not sure. Mark Schaefer: Their ads are confusing to me. Jay Baer: Yes. You could help them. That's a good answer, I like Coca Cola. As I mentioned, at the outset that you are a ad ... Mark Schaefer: Oh, wait! Wait! Just in case anybody's listening. NASA. Jay Baer: Ah, there you go. NASA ... Mark Schaefer: Hello NASA! Yeah, all NASA fans at the Convince & Convert podcast. Let's talk. Jay Baer: Yes, you can find him at Mark Schaefer: I'm an astronaut geek, so ... Jay Baer: I mentioned at the outset that you were an adjunct professor at Rutgers and so it's a great opportunity, I presume, that you get a chance to interact with younger people. What do your students know that surprises you? Mark Schaefer: Well first of all, it's not necessarily younger students. I do teach in a special graduate program and about three quarters of the people in the program are working professionals, so they're mid to senior level ... Jay Baer: Sure. Mark Schaefer: Marketing professionals, really from all around the world. It's an outstanding program. I almost said New York, but we're getting people from South America and really all over the world now. The thing that is ... And by the way, there is this symbionic relationship between teaching, and writing, and speaking, because teaching at that level just pushes me to my limit. You have got to know what is going on, because I guarantee you, these folks, they are living it and breathing it and worrying about this stuff. Worrying about being relevant and they're pushing, pushing, pushing. So if I am not absolutely at the top of my A game walking into that classroom, I'm gonna lose my credibility. So it pushes me. Their questions, their comments, that becomes blog posts. Blog posts may become part of a book, So there's a symbionic relationship. Here’s the biggest thing I'm seeing Jay, is that, I've been teaching there for seven years now. Seven years ago, I would be getting questions like, do I need to be on Twitter? How do I set up a Twitter account? Today, the level of sophistication is amazing. The level of how analytics is being used is at a whole new level. Social media marketing, I recently saw a quote from the general manager of marketing for Mercedes Benz, and he said, "Social media is the epicenter of digital marketing." And as I think about my own relevance, and what I'm passionate about, and what I'm working on, I think he's right. I think, in many ways, social media marketing is just starting. And I'm seeing that with the questions and capabilities with these, like I said, mid to senior level people that are coming in from pretty big companies. So that's one of the big lessons that I'm getting, is that the level of sophistication ... Really how this has become, not an after thought, but truly a centerpiece of marketing strategy. That has been a big change in the last few years. Jay Baer: If you didn't have a budget and you could do anything in social to promote your own work, or even a client I suppose, what would you do? If budget was not object, what would be sort of your Mark Schaefer moon shot? Mark Schaefer: That's an easy question and one I think about all the time. Because the big, competitive pressure in my world, in your world, in the world of every single person listening to this today; is cutting through information density. The barrier to creating content today is approaching zero, or it is zero, other than maybe your time. Anybody with a smartphone can be a content creator. And, as you've said for many, many years, when you're creating content for a company; you're competing with my wife, you're competing with my children. And so that is really, it's like a hammer on an anvil, pounding, pounding, pounding. Its influencing our budgets, our strategies, the skills we need. And here’s the thing that I think is, one of the things I predicted at the end of my book, The Content Code, is that we would be seeing a tremendous amount of innovation in content form. Jay Baer: Mm-hmm. Mark Schaefer: Now, we are, but it’s not being adopted by companies. And here's where the innovation is taking place; mainstream media. I think the most innovative content company in the world is the New York Times. If you look at the amazing way they're creating interactive graphs. Graphs you can put your finger on it and try to predict what the next point is going to be. How they combine infographics, and video, and statistics ... I saw a presentation the other day. It was kinda like flipping through a slide share, kinda like power point slide, but there were these little animations and video; and I don't know how they did it. But you look at what we're doing in our companies, a blog is a blog is a blog ... Jay Baer: Right. Mark Schaefer: A podcast is a podcast is a podcast. And it doesn't have to be that way! There are so many other opportunities and we just need to look. Well, look at what NPR is doing around audio. Look what the New York Times is doing with everything. Look at what the Wall Street Journal is doing with video! And why aren't we doing that in the corporate world? We're stuck and more content ain't gonna cut it. Even better content ain't gonna cut it. Unless you do something radically different around authority, around originality, about maybe connecting with influencers in a certain way to get your content to spread. You gotta do something new. So if I had all the money in the world, I would hire an art director. And I would have them look at the New York Times every day and I'd say, "Go to that for me." Jay Baer: Yeah, I think there's some applications out there that can help make some of that a reality, whether it's the Snap app or vine yard, or Vimeo. But it's interesting, we're seeing adoption of those, but I think so any companies are still in the "how do we even get all this content created" or are not even sure what content to create or what topics are appropriate. Who are just not quite there yet, to the third rail, which is format. I completely agree with the premise, I just feel like they're just not there yet. But, it's gonna happen. Mark Schaefer: It's such a frustration because most and when I say most, I'm saying 95% of the companies I see out there ... Jay Baer: Yeah. Mark Schaefer: Are running on a playbook that's two years old. Just creating blogs and videos, we're past that. You gotta be thinking to the next level. The economic value of content that is not seen and shared is zero. Publishing content, there's no economic value to that, there's no economic value to the words on your page. It's got to be seen, it's got to be shared. It's got to ignite about the noise. So figuring out, what are the strings that you can pull to do that? That is the real heart of marketing today. Jay Baer: You've had an interesting career, almost the reverse of the career path of most of the people we've had on this show. Many folks who have appeared on the Social Pros podcast have started off as social media directors, vice presidents of social, heads of digital in organizations. And then over time, we always tract our alumni here have been elevated to more of a pan-digital or even overall pan-marketing role, in some cases even into executive leadership. You went the other direction. You went from executive leadership for big companies for many, many years. And then went back, well not really back, toward social. You sort of went from the big picture, to the smaller picture. You talked about social being the epicenter of marketing, is that why that happened, or is it more accidental than that? Mark Schaefer: The reason it really happened is that when I started my own company, it was almost 10 years ago now, it was a time in my life where it was right. And one of the big milestones was I had my college education for my children paid for. Economically, financially, I was in really good shape and my long term goal in my life was the last part of my career, I was gonna be a teacher. That was what I always wanted to do. I've always had the heart of a teacher. I think having the heart of a teacher is the most effective skill you can have as a leader. And so, I think that's why I was a good leader and a great developer of talent in my company because I was a generous teacher. If you look at my themes, the way I write my blog, or the way I organize my podcast, or the way I write my books; everything I do is teaching. It's sharing, it's helping, and so it's not so much that I switched my career to get into social media; it's that kinda evolved my career to a place where I could teach kind of on my terms. When I teach at Rutgers, I just go up there once a month. I'm not responsible for grades, or tests, or homework, or anything like that. Literally what I do is go up and teach for two days, which is fine for my life style, but then I teach every day on my blog, in maybe doing an interview today with you. So that's really the evolution of my career, to find a way to send the elevator back down, help people, teach people. I've been so fortunate Jay. I've had an amazing career, an amazing education, I've worked with so many incredible, inspiring people in my life. And now I'm at this amazing place where I can kinda be that type of person and that's my fuel. Jay Baer: A lot of people have certainly benefited from your wisdom and your commitment to teaching, there's no question about that. You told me, I know a lot about you because we've spent a lot of time together through the years, but I did not know you had won an academy award, so I feel like I would be remiss ... Mark Schaefer: Ah. Jay Baer: If I did not ask you to elaborate here on the Social Pros podcast. Mark Schaefer: Well, that is an interesting fact that I really haven't posted anywhere and here's why. So let me tell you about how I won this academy award. Jay Baer: The headline of the podcast is going to be, "How Mark Schaefer Won an Academy Award", we've already established that, so please continue. Mark Schaefer: Alright, alright. So I started my career in public relations. And long, long, long, long, long, long story short; I was part of a team that created a, really movie, about our company. We used an agency in, I believe it was Louisville, Kentucky. And they were film makers and instead of making a video, they convinced me to do this thing on film. They just that the beauty of this, the depth of this, the photography was gonna be a lot better on film; than if we did this on video. So I got the budget approved and we did it. And I helped with the script. So it ended up being a beautiful, beautiful piece. So this agency said, "We wanna submit this to the Academy Awards." There used to be a category for industrial filmmaking. And I did the script to this thing. So I said okay, and I'll be darned; they won. So there is a plant location in Evansville, Indiana, with an Oscar in the trophy case. Jay Baer: Well, I get down to Evansville a fair bit for hockey, so I would be happy if we could set this up to take a photo of your trophy and post it on Twitter for you. And with 280 character description. Mark Schaefer: And the reason I've never talked about this before, is they eliminated the category. And when I've done research on the Academy Award winners, it's not there! I don't see it. And I don't know why because you'd think if they eliminated the category ... Jay Baer: They'd still have it in the archives. Mark Schaefer: They'd still have it in the archives. But I've looked for it. I've said," I can't talk about this because someone's gonna look it up and they'll think I'm making it up." So I've never ever talked about it, but it is a true story that I actually won an academy award. Jay Baer: Breaking news right here, on the Social Pros podcast. This ... Mark Schaefer: Yeah. Jay Baer: This is pretty great. I ... Mark Schaefer: Yep. Jay Baer: I feel like we should have the big, red breaking news banner on or Mark Schaefer: Yeah, I've never talked about it before. Jay Baer: Man I, thank you very much. I feel like I've scooped the world here. That's pretty great. Mark, I'm gonna ask you the two questions that I ask every guest here, 294 episodes into the show. What one tip would you give somebody looking to become a social pro? Mark Schaefer: There's three words that I end almost all of my talks with and I end all of my classes with ... Jay Baer: Are they: I'm Mark Schaefer, or there's three other words? Mark Schaefer: Call Jay Baer. Jay Baer: Truly thorny problem. Mark Schaefer: I had the opportunity a few years ago to interview a great hero of mine, Dr. Robert Cialdini, who of course wrote Pre-Suasion and Influence At Work and these great books. And I asked him, "Dr. Cialdini, what do you do to stand out in this world today?" And this was an interview in 2011, and this is what he said, "Be more human." And as I've immersed myself in this world, that's exactly what you need to do. And that's really been the theme of this whole episode that you and I just completed, is this idea of the human connection, the human impression. And I believe that's the killer app. Everything you do on your job, every engagement, every post, every response, every interaction you've got with the outside world; put it through this filter: how can we be more human? And I think that's the winning strategy. Jay Baer: I love it. And with more AI taking root in digital marketing, in all corners; it's going to become even more important than, perhaps it is today. Mark Schaefer: Absolutely right. Jay Baer: Okay. The actual last question for you, Mark Schaefer, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, co-host of the Marketing Companion, fantastic podcast. Look that up in your podcast app. Grab the book, The Tao of Twitter, also Mark's other most recent book Known; and go to Mark's blog If you could do a Skype call with any living person Mark, who would it be? Mark Schaefer: Its funny because I've been on your show a few times and I forgot that you ask this question. Any living ... Bruce Springsteen. Jay Baer: Oh, nice. Mark Schaefer: I think there's probably not many people in the world that I would be star struck with, but he is one. And I don't know if ... Jay Baer: Talk about somebody who's got the human thing licked, right? Mark Schaefer: Yeah. Jay Baer: I mean, a giant rock star who doesn't feel like a giant rock star and that is a real trick. Mark Schaefer: Yeah, it is a real trick and I read his book it came out, I guess it was last year, or maybe early this year. Jay Baer: That's right. Mark Schaefer: And it's a huge book. It is literally like a 700 page poem. He is just that good of a writer. And his songs are poetry. His, just the depth and intellect of the man, and where he came from, and what he's been able to accomplish and ... I first saw his perform, it would have been around maybe 1980 or 81 in a little ballroom at a college campus. He wasn't famous, and he just blew me away. He just tore the place down. And I never forgot that. And so, he has been a huge part of my life ever since I was a teenage, really. And so, yeah. So it would definitely be Bruce. Jay Baer: We can work on that. I'm sure we know somebody who knows somebody who can get Bruce Springsteen on a Skype call with Mark Schaefer. I feel like, if we put the full power of the 10s of thousands of Social Pros listeners on this project ... Mark Schaefer: Yeah. Jay Baer: We can make that happen. Mark Schaefer: Oh that, lets do it! Jay Baer: Alright, now for the challenge ladies and gentlemen, you let me know. You know how to reach me If you have an opportunity to get Mark on Skype with Bruce Springsteen, reach out. We'll figure it out. My friend, thank you so much for being on the show. Always terrific to catch up with you. Congratulations on the success of the new book, as always. Thanks so much for the work with my team as well, its been a huge asset to all of them. I hope you're going to have a fantastic Happy Holiday season as well. Mark Schaefer: Thank you, my friend. Jay Baer: Ladies and Gentlemen, this has been Social Pros: podcast for real people doing real work in social media. We'll be back next week with another fantastic guest. Adam will be back as well. Until then don't forget, all the archives, all the links, all the stuff, all the goodies is at Until next time, I'm Jay Baer from Convince & Convert. Thanks for listening.
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