Two years ago, I was a first year graduate student looking to find a sense of professional purpose. With four classes completed, I decided to make the journey to Morgantown, WV to attend the annual INTEGRATE conference. Any obstacles that stood out in my mind to get there were outweighed by the knowledge I gained when I departed. One presentation, in particular, still stands out in my mind as being a pivotal moment in my journey to finding my professional return on influence.
WVU Alum, Mark Schaefer took to the stage at INTEGRATE on June 2, 2012 to present key points from his book Return On Influence. With a Klout score of 75, Mark knows more than a thing or two about social media, blogging, and marketing. In addition to his successful Businesses Grow blog, Mark is an accomplished author. His widely popular book The Tao of Twitter has received high praise as being a #1 Best Selling Book On Twitter. In the past two years since the book was first released Twitter has drastically changed so much so that Mark revised and expanded The Tao of Twitter.
If you have not seen Mark’s presentation, I highly suggest watching it before reading the questions and answers presented below.
Mark was gracious enough to answer a few questions I had in regards to what has changed in the Twitterverse, best practices for live tweeting along with the realities of social media marketing.
Long: At the WVU INTEGRATE 2012 conference, you highlighted key points from your book Return On Influence. Two years later, have the realities of power and marketing on the internet changed, or have they stayed the same?
Schaefer: I would say that everything I talked about indeed has come true, perhaps even more rapidly than I could have imagined. Big agencies and small are creating influence marketing departments. Being an influencer is becoming increasingly lucrative (even I am starting to make some money in this area!). And new measurement platforms are emerging.
I think the dynamics of acquiring power that I talked about in my book and my speech are the same. Yes. I called that one correctly! : )
Long: For graduate students starting to provide social media consultation services, what advice can you offer?
Schaefer: The biggest mistake I see is the people enter this space without any real marketing experience. Before you go out on your own, get a marketing job and learn about the broad spectrum of activities before focusing on social media. If you are a social media “hammer” and everything is a nail, you would be doing a disservice to both youself and your customers.
I also think an exposure to statistics is a must. You don’t have to be an expert, but increasingly, marketing insight is coming from big data and math. You need to know enough about it to ask the right questions.
If you are going to go out on your own, be prepared to be broke for two years. Build your personal brand through blogging, videos and public speaking.
Long: With the rise of live event tweeting, what best practices should both presenters and attendees be putting into practice?
Schaefer: For presenters, be sure to include your Twitter handle and the event hashtag on all your slides. Embed tweetable moments [– short key points — on slides to make it easy for the reporters. Don’t go too fast and make your slides available after the event.
For reporters, don’t get so involved in the tweeting that you miss the presentation. Proof read everything before you tweet. Remember that a tweet has the same legal weight as a blog post or other online article so you need to be fair and accurate. If the speaker says something controversial or inflammatory, remember that you might be held legally accountable as the person sending out the tweet.
Long: If you could only follow ten people on Twitter who would make it onto your feed?
Schaefer: If I could only follow 10 people, they would all be my customers. Twitter is an amazing opportunity for marketing insight, and I would not want to miss a thing!
Long: You recently revised your widely popular book The Tao of Twitter. How has Twitter changed in the 2 years since the book was first released?
Schaefer: So much has changed in the Twitterverse since I wrote the first edition. In fact, I really had to consider whether Twitter is still the hub of human connection it was when I fell in love with it many years ago. Does Twitter still have a heart or is it just another broadcast channel?
Specifically, there have been four powerful new developments driving Twitter:
• Twitter has experienced explosive growth, finding new audiences among younger and older users as well as new fans globally and corporations. Twitter is being used in so many creative new ways we could not have imagined just a few years ago.
• It has matured into a public company with a responsibility to shareholders. This has altered its strategy and how it relates to its customers and fans.
• Twitter has developed innovative advertising programs that are accessible to businesses with nearly any budget. But many businesses don’t understand the unique features of these programs.
• Twitter has become the de facto “second screen” for television, providing the channel of interactivity for live programming. This is a role that is now driving many of its strategies. It has also driven the hashtag (#) into our everyday culture!
Make sure to follow Mark to keep up with his latest endeavors in the social media field.
If you have read one of his books, let me know what was the biggest lesson that you were able to realize out in the social media field?