Neal Schaffer

Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON January 25, 2016

Discussion

Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
Hey! I'm Neal Schaffer, cofounder of the Social Tools Summit, author of Maximize Your Social, and founder of Maximize Social Business and the Social Media Center of Excellence. I live and breathe social media for business, and through my work have engaged with dozens of social media tools vendors. I love geeking out about social and tools - so ask me anything you're curious about and let's make this an epic time together!
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
What do you think is the most underrated social platform that businesses often overlook?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@ems_hodge I actually think the most underrated social platform is Twitter! It's not often overlooked, but never seen as a strategic network these days with the rise of the visual social networks. I'm actually in the process of writing a free ebook on Twitter Marketing and speaking on this subject at Social Media Marketing World 2016 #smmw16 so I look forward to revealing more about my ideas soon!
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Hi Neal. How did you first discover your love for everything social? What tools do you use daily and recommend to businesses, large or small, to maximise their social presence (without spending a ton of money)?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@ems_hodge I suppose I've always been an outgoing social person, and thus my love for social - I love to meet new people from all around the world on a daily basis! I use LOTS of tools on a daily basis, but the main one companies should have is a social media dashboard. I use HootSuite SproutSocial, and Buffer ... all companies should have at least one of not two of these platforms for various reasons. Hope the answer helps!
Eric T. Tung@ericttung · Recruiting Marketer, BMC Software
I know you have lots of international experience with social media, Neal. Can you talk about how it's used differently, either from a societal or marketing perspective in other countries that might be unexpected or unusual?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@ericttung Hey Eric! Social media is used pretty similarly throughout the world, but there are differences and the stage of development differs as well. Europe, in general, I find is 6 to 12 months behind the U.S. in general social media marketing. I expect that gap to close, but it does seem a little behind. WIthin Europe, every country is different. The German-speaking countries still use XING over LinkedIn, but LinkedIn is actually more popular in certain European countries than in the United States (relying on Alexa.com data here). Facebook is as universally popular in Europe as it is here. Pinterest adoption lacks behind. In Asia, mobile social using personal messaging apps has become the predominant social media. Specifically, this means WeChat in China and Chinese-speaking Asia and LINE in Japan. If 2015 was the year Facebook started to monetize Instagram for marketing, I expect they will do the same with WhatsApp in 2016 to compete with these two apps. Hope this helps!
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What are your thoughts on Casey Neistat's app BeMe? How can businesses use it to tell compelling stories about their products/services?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@tomstocklein I've actually never heard of BeMe! Tell me more!
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
@nealschaffer Check out this intro video on BeMe: https://beme.com/
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
@nealschaffer It's basically a video sharing app.
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@tomstocklein I checked out the @BeMe video briefly. It's hard to compete with major photo and video sharing apps. However, as a technological engine, I think it a great target to be bought out by one of those major apps should they have a large number of users and/or have more secret sauce technology. That's my take!
Porsche Tysk@porsche_tysk
Thanks for taking the time Neal. 1. What is your best advice for startups. 2. What kind of budget should they expect. 3. Best routes to traction. All the above can obviously differ for different industry sector. But in general.
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@porsche_tysk My pleasure! 1. Advice for startups? Growth hack leveraging social! Create content to attract and share in social and build a handpicked community by leveraging Paid Social in a savvy way! 2. Budget's a toughie. I think it comes down to people and Paid Social more than tools. You don't necessarily need expensive tools - maybe a few hundred dollars a month tops. The budget should be allocated to a person - which doesn't need to be full-time necessarily -, content creation which might require a budget of at least a few hundred dollars a month or more depending on how much content you want to create, and a few hundred dollars a month of Paid Social. In other words, excluding personnel, start at $1,000 a month for tools, content creation, and Paid Social combined. Make sense? 3. Best route to traction is difficult as well. If there was one best traction everyone would be on it and be successful, right? Social media is powerful only if people talk about your product. Sometimes it will happen organically, but usually at the beginning you need to think of a creative way to get people talking about you. Some do it via leveraging influencers, others using a Kickstarter, and others with unique campaigns. Social media, as is marketing in general, is 1/2 science and 1/2 art - you need to become the artists here and paint a picture that works best with your own community.
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
Thanks for joining this Ask Me Anything on @ProductHunt ! If I don't respond to your questions after a few minutes, please be patient - I'll get to 'ya!
Porsche Tysk@porsche_tysk
1. Do you believe in Facebook paid ads? 2. Which paid ads would you use? Facebook's ad revenues are impressive but there are plenty of articles out there saying that their paid ads are not worth the money. We have experienced some of the same issues as the author of the below video. We lately had issues with Instagram showing content to the completely wrong target group and FB ignoring all requests to investigate and respond. http://youtu.be/oVfHeWTKjag
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@porsche_tysk Thanks for the question! 1.) I'm a HUGE fan of Paid Social in general, including Facebook Paid Ads. If I wanted to target my ad to 25 year-old males living in San Francisco who already Liked Product Hunt, I have the ability to do that on Facebook but I can't do that anywhere else - even on Google! 2.) For Instagram, I believe that Facebook has improved and Instagram ad posting is now set to "OFF" as a default. Furthermore, not every ad format can be posted to Instagram. Taking that out of consideration, the ROI of a Facebook Ad campaign is only as good as 1) your targeting, 2) your budget, 3) your conversion definition, and 4) the strength of your ad copy & visual to attract the relevant potential customer to convert. I would take a look at each one of these and see if there are ways to optimize. Experiment, measure, optimize. Repeat!
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Whose social media strategy do you admire right now? In terms of companies or brands?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@ems_hodge The challenge about social media strategy is that companies don't go out announcing what they are doing in that it is part of their corporate strategy that they might not want their competition to know about ;-) I've been a fan of a lot of different brands and what they do. Gotta love what Nordstroms does on Pinterest, The Bouqs on Instagram, B2B brands leveraging excellent resourceful content for social like Buffer, "old school" brands trying to stay relevant in this day and age like G.E. Lots of great social brands out there!
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Who should we all be following to take inspiration from for upping our social game?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@ems_hodge There's a lot of great people on social that share a lot of great content. I would personally recommend you follow the following: @NealSchaffer ;-) @AdeldMeyer @AndreaVahl @BrennerMichael @janlgordon @JayBaer @markwschaefer @jeffbullas @kimgarst @MadalynSklar @msocialbusiness @JohnAguiar @pammktgnut @IanCleary @RebekahRadice @JohnHaydon @mike_allton @anatrafficcafe @danielnewmanUV These are not just great people but also excellent content creators themselves who also curate and share a lot of other people's great content.
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
Thanks everyone! I hope to be more active here on @ProductHunt in the future! Feel free to engage with me at @NealSchaffer with your additional questions!
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
Neal, what are Twitter's biggest challenges and opportunities?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@tomstocklein Boy, the Twitter news is really shocking. Hint at extending the character limit - which is good for advertising revenue - and immediately your stock takes a tumble and executives leave. The challenge is that: "Tweaking" Twitter to generate more revenue while growing a passionate community without alienating them. Facebook and LinkedIn have been successful doing this. On the other hand, the opportunities are numerous because Twitter provides the realtime firehose of information that everyone uses. They have a plethora of tools companies that make a lot of money through providing them API access. They are supported by celebrities, television stations, et. al. So there are many ways to monetize Twitter to a greater extent and keep everyone happy - but they should be thinking out of the box and do it in a different way than others have because they ARE different!
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
If you were in charge of monetizing ProductHunt, what would your strategy be?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@tomstocklein If I was in charge of monetizing ProductHunt, I would 1) repurpose these Ask Me Anything into definitive content and publish them for SEO, 2) grow a larger community in social through Paid Social and creating more content that is shared in social such as in 1) but also other content related to all of the product reviews on this site, 3) consider having "promoted product reviews" - requires more thought and strategy but I think is possible and acceptable and 4) have "promoted chats" because you give exposure to anyone coming on these Ask Me Anythings that has value - the larger you social community, is, though, the more apparent value you will have. I believe that more and more of us are looking to and relying on review sites. The goal is to make Product Hunt that review site that everyone comes to for your niche - and by doing the above I believe you can get there in a monetizing way.
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
thanks so much for joining us today. I would love to hear what you think is the most under utilised but effective method of social media for business? Also, what are your fave social media tools to help with the process?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@harrystebbings Thanks for the question Harry! Wow - that's a pretty broad and general question to give a complete answer to, but I'll try ;-) Most effective method of social media for business, in general terms, is to 1) have content on one's website that is shareable, 2) build community in social, and 3) leverage that social community for business objectives. My fave social media tools? To do the above I prefer 1) WordPress, 2) SproutSocial, and 3) LeadPages, if that makes sense!
Dewi Eirig Jones@dewi_eirig_jones · DewiEirig.Cymru
What do you make of the Twitter dismissals over the weekend?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@dewi_eirig_jones I'm actually shocked by the Twitter dismissals and worried about its future. I would speculate that there is disagreement about moving away from its 140-character roots, but I might be mistaken. The world is changing and social media is changing - to survive, one needs to adapt to the present. I believe that that is exactly what Twitter is doing.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
What are you most proud of in your career?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@ems_hodge I suppose what I am most proud of is before social - helping foreign high tech companies in Asia build business from scratch with no previous brand recognition. Did this for a Japanese semiconductor company in China and a Canadian embedded software company in Asia. I like building something from nothing ;-) I also think it is that holistic business experience before social that has helped give me unique insight to help other businesses with social media.
Peter J. Davison@ourmaninto · Our Man in Toronto
What is your opinion of the social selling tools out there around social CRM? I'm a big fan of Nimble but open to hearing more (other than using LinkedIn directly of course .. which I do). Cheers and great to see you here. We've been connected for awhile. Peter
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@ourmaninto Thanks Peter! I'm of two opinions regarding this: 1) Salespeople, even in this age of social media, still need a CRM. They also need to append that CRM with social data so that they have everything in one tool. Nimble is the best representation of that by far, especially with the social appending. Of course, using LinkedIn Sales Navigator directly is another option. 2) On the other hand, just like social media marketers need to use many tools to get the job done, perhaps salespeople will need to do the same. I recently, as a small business owner, started using Pipedrive as a CRM and I must say it is a brilliant and eloquent tool. I can't manage my social contacts through there, but I do that through a separate social media tool. Is it less efficient than using one tool? Perhaps - but I feel like I am in better control of the information because CRMs just don't do social right. Nimble is the closest, but it is still different than managing my social contacts through a dashboard like SproutSocial. Don't know what your thoughts are on the subject, but I hope mine makes sense!
Peter J. Davison@ourmaninto · Our Man in Toronto
@nealschaffer Neal - thanks for this. Was meant to open the discussion. I am consistently wondering about the efficiencies of social crm in that sense. One or two tools or the overall dashboard approach. I can see that if you are already listening to convos via another tool (such as sproutSocial) then pulling all that data could be a duplication. Interesting topic eh! :) Thanks, Peter
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@ourmaninto Interesting topic indeed. We've already seen social networks shut off APIs preventing them access to key data. Based on that, CRM vendors need to reinvent their approach. I believe Nimble has done and continues to work through that - not sure of the others.
Porsche Tysk@porsche_tysk
if you were to fundraise a startup today how would you go about it?
Neal Schaffer@nealschaffer · Co-Founder, Social Tools Summit
@porsche_tysk If I was to fundraise a startup today, I would work on first being very clear on 1) what problem this startup helps solve, 2) who the competition is and how you can defeat them, and 3) what the total market size and sales/profit estimates are. I think having a solid, well-thought out business plan is the first step. For the next step I would try to gather attention through free user signups, list signups, etc. to validate the idea. Only then would I look to raise money because you now have a solid plan (assuming that you already have or prove that you can develop the product itself) as well as some data that supports your plan. And I wouldn't look to social media for fundraising but connecting with venture capitalists and angel investors in person through networking et. al. Let me know if I missed anything here!