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!
What do you think is the most underrated social platform that businesses often overlook?
@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!
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)?
@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?
@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!
What are your thoughts on Casey Neistat's app BeMe? How can businesses use it to tell compelling stories about their products/services?
@tomstocklein I've actually never heard of BeMe! Tell me more!
@nealschaffer It's basically a video sharing app.
@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!
Peter J. Davison
@ourmaninto · Our Man in Toronto
@tomstocklein Very interesting background in the sense the founder is the viral video dude from the snow storm in NYC cc @nealschaffer
@ourmaninto @tomstocklein Over the years I've seen a number of various video platforms. Only a few have stuck. Technology they have is cool - need to quickly build a huge community and generate some PR and social visibility. Who knows - maybe Twitter will buy them out? ;-)
@ourmaninto @tomstocklein And my apologies for not being able to go deeper into their technology or founder ... trying my best to quickly respond to all of the questions here!!!
@ourmaninto @nealschaffer Yes, I love Casey's YouTube channel and his story (high school dropout; used to work as a dishwasher for minimum wage at one point; his love for making videos and his persistence made him successful)...
@tomstocklein @ourmaninto @nealschaffer you can also read more of Casey and BeMe's story on his LIVE chat last year https://www.producthunt.com/live...
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.
@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.
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
@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!
Whose social media strategy do you admire right now? In terms of companies or brands?
@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!
Who should we all be following to take inspiration from for upping our social game?
@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, what are Twitter's biggest challenges and opportunities?
@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!