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Nov. 30, 2015

119: Rediscovering the Value of Social Media for Business - in South Africa - Part 2

119: Rediscovering the Value of Social Media for Business - in South Africa - Part 2

Neal recently visited South Africa and was interviewed on South Africa FM. Last week, you heard the first half of that interview. This week, listen in to hear a continuation of the conversation about social media for business, and what it might be like if we could start over with social media. What would we do differently? Would we change our priorities? You’ll also hear more about Neal’s story and how he got to where he is, as well as an entertaining countdown of questions.

Key Highlights

[01:59] Changes In Social Media Platforms

[03:06] Can I Use All Platforms At The Same Time And Effectively?

[04:23] Spray and Pray

[05:02] What Did Mark Zuckerberg Do To Outperform MySpace?

[07:22] What I Do To Help Businesses

[08:32] How I Got Into Digital Marketing

[11:00] The Story Of How I Wrote My First Book

[12:07] Acknowledgements I Have Received

[12:57] South African Digital Market

[14:04] Beat The Clock Questions

Notable Quotes

  • They need to make sure that you want to stick to it, the information you find is new, it's interesting. And they're really devoted to making sure that happens. So when you leave Facebook to go home, they still kept the Sun Microsystems sign that you actually have to see as you go home to as a reminder, we do not want to become the dinosaur. We always want to be fresh. But the problem is, the demographics are changing.
  • Every network is different.
  • I try to help businesses, and it's all about best practices. So we have companies that have succeeded, we have companies that have failed. The problem is that most companies start with a disadvantage. 
  • So there's, there's some cleanup work that's often involved, but it's really about, you know, how do we perfect what we do in social? How do we get how do we do best practices? How do we constantly improve?
  • But you know, social media is, is an experiment, because the people that use it, how we use it, and the functionality being provided, is always changing. And therefore, we need to manage it like an experiment. So we need to have controls in place. And we need to make sure we need to be measuring and making sure that we're always doing our best.
  • And that's why don't wait until you're in transition for that you should be building that on a daily basis, and really dig your well before you're thirsty. 
  • I have a very practical way. It's no fluff, practical, rational way of looking at social, which I think a lot of people find refreshing.
  • I think the businesses have have really become one, they've really found a community in social media, they've served that community, whether it's through unique photos, or videos or content, they've allowed the community to decide on what products that they end up making.
  • Brands in the past, they created this big wall between consumers and the company. And social media is really about breaking down those walls, and letting your customers become one with the brand. And it's a very, very new way of thinking, but I think those smaller businesses that get that are going to be the most successful one.
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Welcome to maximize your social actionable advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now, the host of maximize your social, social media author, speaker, consultant, founder of maximize social business, to Social Media Center of Excellence, and the social tool Summit, Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer, welcome to another episode of maximize your social. I mentioned on my last podcast that I had the opportunity to recently visit South Africa and be interviewed on South Africa FM. I'm really excited to now present to you part two of the interview where it was a continuation of talking about, you know, social media for business, as if we could redo it again, and re understand our priorities, and how would we start over? And what are the important things to think about. But there's also a lot of personal information here that I was asked about, actually how I got started in social media. So if you haven't heard my personal story, you'll be able to hear that as well as this unique one minute countdown of questions that I was asked at the end, including Neil, what would you like on your tombstone? If you could have lunch with someone? Who would it be? What period of time would you like to live in? So I was not prepared for any of those questions. They're very much on the fly. But I enjoyed answering them. And I hope you enjoy listening to them as well. So without further ado, here's part two of my interview in South Africa. Next week, we'll be back with our normal format. gets me thinking therefore, if you look at the comparisons, and correct me where I'm wrong, this is so many, but I'll stay with Twitter, and and Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn. So what's right for where? Because we are talking within the context of social business. Right, right. Well, I mean, the no brainer is if you're a b2b, if you sell to other businesses, LinkedIn is going to be the best social network, right? If you sell to consumers in general, Facebook is going to be the best network. However, that's recently changed, because we see, you know, Facebook has something called EdgeRank. And it's an algorithm that determines what shows up in the newsfeed. And brands are finding it harder and harder to get through, so that their fans actually see their messages when they post. So Instagram is actually becoming more and more engaging. I think, if you're an E commerce, you know, you didn't even mention Pinterest, which is another major one. Yes. But if you're an E commerce, I'm almost thinking of Pinterest and Instagram might be almost equally important as Facebook, if not more important, depending on the type of product that you have. Pinterest obviously has like 80% Female demographics. So you know, e commerce female demographic product, that might be more important than Facebook, even though it has 1/10 user base, Instagram, mobile commerce, and young demographic that might be number one for you, as well, versus Facebook, or any other is really good for both because Twitter, like I said, it's for the newsbreaks It's real time it's mobile. You know, if I was writing a social media strategy for most companies, whether you're b2b or consumer facing Twitter would probably be a part of it. Okay.

Interviewer:

So that's the next question that if you get someone like myself who, outside of Pinterest, which I don't use, I'll use all the other fall. Right, right. Can you use all four? And when I speak on behalf of the listener? Of course, can you use all four and effectively at the same time,

Neal Schaffer:

it's really hard because every I like to compare this. So I didn't go through my own professional background, but I did business in Asia. So Japan, China, Korea, these are all very, very distinct communities, different cultures, different ways of doing business, different currency, different laws. And really, these social communities are all very different in their own way, as well. So when you're on Facebook, you want to be as Facebook II as possible. When you're an Instagram, you want to use lots of hashtags, which you may not want to use on Facebook, because they're still foreign. To many people on there, right? A Twitter is going to be different, it's going to be short, concise. So ideally, you actually have a different tone, a different way of speaking, that leverages best practices in that community for each of these. Okay,

Interviewer:

I didn't know that that's well said, that easy to understand now that, that there are different causes in every country, as you move from different social media to different ones, you actually are in different countries, you need to speak that currency, or that language of that other country. So what about those that effectively link? You know, often? I mean, you mentioned Instagram. And if you're on Instagram, and you then link a post there to Twitter, the language then won't change.

Neal Schaffer:

Right? So you know, there are these tools out there that you know, you post once in a blast with all these different networks, and that's in marketing, we call that spray and pray, right? You really want sorry, spray and pray. Okay, this spray suggested

Interviewer:

that you're a critic of it. Yes, I'm

Neal Schaffer:

very critical. Okay. So like, so take a few minutes. And that's why I talked about you know, creating the content. That's really what it comes down to the the five to 10 minutes really come down and take an extra 1530 seconds to craft a message that's going to be it's going to be better engaging with that platform.

Interviewer:

This question, what is Zuckerberg do to outperform the initial MySpace comment? So they have insight into all of the That way,

Neal Schaffer:

can you repeat the question?

Interviewer:

What did Zuckerberg do to outperform the initial MySpace? A great

Neal Schaffer:

question. Wow. Well, MySpace was I won't say it was before my time. But MySpace was definitely very focused on on music. And on certain demographic, Facebook obviously started from college. And it really went out from there. But Facebook was really smart and and visited Facebook headquarters. And if you go to Facebook headquarters, it's where Sun Microsystems used to have their headquarters in sudden became this dinosaurs in the IT industry. And what Facebook realizes is that newsfeed that you look at every morning, when you wake up, and probably right for you go to bed, that's their lifeline. So they need to make sure that you want to stick to it, the information you find is new, it's interesting. And they're really devoted to making sure that happens. So when you leave Facebook to go home, they still kept the Sun Microsystems sign that you actually have to see as you go home to as a reminder, we do not want to become the dinosaur. We always want to be fresh. But the problem is, the demographics are changing. Facebook is an old person's network. Now United States, amazingly, isn't is doing the same in South Africa to you. Yeah, and it really the young people are Snapchat, Instagram, you know, Tumblr, so it'd be interesting to see what happens over time, how Facebook will react to that. But it's I mean, there's still a very strong place. And that's really where a lot of the money is, as well in the older demographic. So, but we'll see what happens over time. As always,

Interviewer:

there's another question I'll pick out in just a second. Okay, not sure whether you can answer this other less irritating people on Google Plus, then on Facebook,

Neal Schaffer:

wow, you know, every network is different. I find the Google Plus people to be really passionate, in every social network at the beginning of the same. I remember, like, I used to say, what was that tweet and someone say, No, you don't say tweet on Twitter, you call it something else. So they're very, very protective and very, very passionate about their community. And they want to make sure you understand that. So Google Plus is no different. I find Google Plus to be predominantly male, very techie, geeky, and you cannot just have a simple conversation on Google Plus, they tend to be very long, sort of heated

Interviewer:

debate, because so so one line is fine, 140 characters will work there,

Neal Schaffer:

it does not work that well, people are a lot more, if you want to have a deep conversation, that's really the place to have it. So I've met some wonderful people. But it's really a deep place compared to other network.

Interviewer:

I want to get your story. And of course, your accolades. We'll do that in a second. But this is a space that you enjoy, because effectively you you crit you critique the business of social media, but in doing so that is your business?

Neal Schaffer:

Well, I won't say critique, I try to help businesses, and it's all about best practices. So we have companies that have succeeded, we have companies that have failed. The problem is that most companies start with a disadvantage. A lot of companies in the United States will start with, hey, we'll just have our intern do our social media, because they're young, and they do it all the time. Problem is, young people do it for themselves. They've never done it professionally. They don't know what it's like to represent a brand professionally on social media. So they're already off to a fast start, right? So there's, there's some cleanup work that's often involved, but it's really about, you know, how do we perfect what we do in social? How do we get how do we do best practices? How do we constantly improve, I spent 15 years in Japan. So you know, the concept of Kaizen, and constantly improving is something that I'm very passionate about. But you know, social media is, is an experiment, because the people that use it, how we use it, and the functionality being provided, is always changing. And therefore, we need to manage it like an experiment. So we need to have controls in place. And we need to make sure we need to be measuring and making sure that we're always doing our best Oh, good

Interviewer:

point. And whether question is, can you get into business? Can you be in business right now to the 1520 20. And not to be in social media? Think about that. Let's just talk about your own journey. So so we know, how did you get into this? What were you doing before? Because there's some accolades in terms of what you've done for social media with things like the Forbes list, blah, blah, blah, we'll get to that in a minute. Give me your story?

Neal Schaffer:

Well, that's a great question. You know, I never intended to become a, you know, a person in social media. It just happened organically. My background is in high technology, sales, business development and marketing. As an American, I'm pretty unique in that after I graduated from college, I went to Japan, where I lived for 15 years. And I have a lot of great holistic business experience. How do you sell something that no one's ever heard of in Japan, China and Korea make them successful in the market, which was I was able to do. So it was 2008. And I came back the United States, I married someone in Japan, and we had a child move back to United States. And in 2008, I was in transition, as we seen the United States looking for a job for the first time in my native country. And my network was all in Asia. And it was at the time where I realized I had to build a network in order to help, you know, look for a job. And that's where I went to LinkedIn. And a lot of people were still using LinkedIn very personally. Then I realized that it was a business tool back then, the more connections you had, the higher you appeared in search results. So if someone's looking for you know, Japanese business, and I had 500 connections to CEO, Sony only had 100 connections, I showed up higher in the search results. So that was the aha moment for me. This is a business tool that can be used where most people didn't realize it. So I ended up getting that job and I started a blog in July 2008. That's what has now become maximized. Social does not always see okay, but But it's funny because that company decided three, the blog is called maximize social business. That's correct. Maximize social business. Com three and a half months later, the company decided to pull the plug on international sales. And it was literally the day the President Obama was elected president that my boss flew out and said, Sorry, Neil. So that was a real bitter experience for me, because I'm very passionate about what I do. And I give it my all, and I invest time and energy. And it was the day before a six week business trip to Asia to uncover new business. So So I realized that I had to build something, then that no one could take away from me, that was my brand on your own. Yeah, man, that's your brand. And that's why don't wait until you're in transition for that you should be building that on a daily basis, and really dig your well before you're thirsty. Right. So my wife as I was interviewing for jobs, and this is the Lehman Brothers crash, you know, end of 2008, early 2009, they were not good times globally. And my wife was saying, you know, you should consider writing a book if you don't find a job. And I don't want to become an author, right? But I said, Okay, if I don't get

Interviewer:

the job, this person, right, if we can get people interested, I mean, that's potentially what you're suggesting, right? Well, it's funny,

Neal Schaffer:

because I had already started a blog. So people are already starting to reach out to me, I was very active on LinkedIn, and the communities, their LinkedIn groups. And so I ended up writing that book, it was my first three books. And as I was writing it, people started to reach out to me locally to speak. And then after I published, I'm like, Well, you know, I'd love to speak and can you buy some books in lieu of a, you know, speaking fee, and, and it was really in January of 2010. So a few months after I published the book, we're literally in two weeks, I had four different companies reached out to me say, Neil, we know we need to do social media, we don't know what we don't know, we need your help, will you help us and that's where I lost my consultancy. And since then, what I've focused on is really the strategy and the education and it's never any need for education. There's still CEOs in America that aren't even on social media that need to be educated, because there's a lot of spend going into it. And I've really stuck with my passion. You know, we when Steve Jobs passed away, we all lifted that Stanford University graduation speech, and he talked about connecting the dots to your past. My dad was an educator, he was an elementary school teacher. So I realized that's probably what you know, whether it's consulting, or writing or speaking, it's about being on this interview. It's all about educating. It's a selfless passion thing that I love to do. And that's my, that's my contribution to society.

Interviewer:

And you've been acknowledged, I mean, just talk about some of the acknowledgments you received because of what you've done.

Neal Schaffer:

Well, cmo.com said, I was one of the top 10 marketing thought leaders recently, Forbes does these annual articles. And two years in a row, they said, I was one of the top 50 power, social media influencers, top five social sales influencers, my books have won awards, you know, this is the fourth continent I've spoken on. So I've spoken out a few 100 events and you know, Asia, Europe, Africa, now in North America. So I think that's really what speaks most about me is that people, you know, they want to hear me speak, I think I have a unique perspective. And in that professional background in Asia, I think it's really helped. And my background is actually not marketing. It's more sales and bizdev. So I have a very practical way. It's no fluff, practical, rational way of looking at social, which I think a lot of people find refreshing.

Interviewer:

Okay, so insofar as the South African market because you talk tomorrow and tomorrow, what you said earlier that Instagram and LinkedIn and Facebook are different countries. But in the face, you are in a different country. How much do you know about South Africa, when you talk to when you talk to us tomorrow? You know,

Neal Schaffer:

I don't know as much as I'd like to know. But one thing I do, and I've spoken recently in Romania, Finland, you know, different parts of Europe is I like to do a little data analysis. And I and I'm going to show people tomorrow morning, this is the top you know, this is the ranking like Facebook is the second most visited website in United States. LinkedIn is like number 10. Twitter's number seven. Let's see what it's like throughout the world. And let's put South Africa on the map. And you'll find that South Africa is actually pretty similar to United States in terms of these social media sites being as popular as others. Now, every culture uses in different in Japan, they use Facebook, like LinkedIn. And in fact, the most popular social networks in China, Japan and Korea are not even Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, they are WeChat, or in Japan, they have live in Korea in these these mobile messenger now. So every culture is going to be a little bit different. I wish I knew more about how South Africans use it. I'm hoping it's more like how the United States and Europe uses it rather than the Asia

Interviewer:

I think it's probably very, very similar that to what you're doing in the USA. So that's maybe good news for you. Alright, let's say as we sort of wrap up in the north Los Angeles within the script, we do this everyday. Now. One minute we let's see, can beat the clock and ask him some seriously difficult questions. I don't know what it is. You ready for that? Right. Bring it on. Okay, let's go. Right. What's your one question for your President and our prison?

Neal Schaffer:

Well, you know, I think it's the same for both what are your plans to make South Africa the United States a happy, happier, healthier and wealthier country?

Interviewer:

Okay. Any other era other than now that you wish you had lived in?

Unknown:

I love today, I'm a futurist. Okay.

Interviewer:

Who would you love to take out to lunch? Mark Zuckerberg? No. Okay. So social media should be considered as a subject in school.

Neal Schaffer:

It must be the kids are using it. They don't realize the consequences of how we should be teaching. It

Interviewer:

is the book that changed your life. The Rise and Fall the great powers, okay, a quote that inspires you interaction.

Neal Schaffer:

I'll give you two 80% of success is showing up and no free lunch.

Interviewer:

What would you like to have inscribed on your tombstone?

Unknown:

Neal Schaffer was a good guy who helped a lot of people.

Interviewer:

Okay, who would you like me to put in the spotlight besides yourself? Well, if

Neal Schaffer:

he ever came out to South Africa, Seth Godin is one of the most amazing marketers,

Interviewer:

I certainly know the name and that they, they may just happen. Okay, I think we got just about time to rush through all of those that are gonna ask you about which person will be put in into our cabinet, you wouldn't know who's I leave that alone? Completely? Right. Let's just then wrap up just some some other lessons that that you can give us other maybe examples? And again, Allison, you know, you don't know the South African market well, of companies that have used social media, and understood well and dramatically change their companies.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, and like I said, the business idea, right. And I think the businesses have have really become one, they've really found a community in social media, they've served that community, whether it's through unique photos, or videos or content, they've allowed the community to decide on what products that they end up making. They include the, you know, their customers, their fans, as part of their decision making process. They bring them into the company on tours, I mean, Zappos is, you know, one company that comes to mind, that's really, you know, brands in the past, they created this big wall between consumers and the company. And social media is really about breaking down those walls, and letting your customers become one with the brand. And it's a very, very new way of thinking, but I think those smaller businesses that get that are going to be the most successful one.

Interviewer:

Are you suggesting you quite quite normally, buyers buy, sell the products? Hope customers come in? And they take their money and they move? Yeah. Are you suggesting that before we make as a buyer, before you make any buying decisions in your company, you actually research it very, very much through social media to say, Should I keep this motor car? Or should I swap the VW because there's problems and then move to a Ford, for example, you know, shoulder, I mean, that sort of thing. Should we be doing that?

Neal Schaffer:

Well, that's what people are doing tomorrow, I'll share a stat which well, you're since you're on the radio, you can listen to the stat now, which is there's one data point success that 57% of purchasing decisions are made before a company's even contacted. So in the old days, when there was no information in social media, you actually had to contact companies to find out more about them. Now, people are making decisions without even contacting you without you knowing it. And they're looking everywhere, including social media 50% 57%, so

Interviewer:

it could even be watching sometime in the future. Lastly, is that just one thing around social bins that we haven't touched on that you just love to share really

Neal Schaffer:

quickly? Wow, I think that one of the few things I'll be covering tomorrow at the it web Social Business Summit, in Hyde Park, is the concept of paid social. So this is really hard for a lot of small businesses who think social media should be free. But time is money. And I think for you know, a little bit of money, you can really get massive brand awareness in a very, very targeted community. So and I think it's very, very cheap right now. And it won't be forever.

Interviewer:

I had a chat with a VP from BlackBerry few weeks ago, in fact, Institute yen and spoke about just that in terms of what they do. And of course from Facebook and what they do so I think is another area to look at. It absolutely. Was great chatting to you, and thanks for allowing me to put in the spotlight.

Unknown:

Thank you very much. It's been an honor.

Neal Schaffer:

Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate all of your iTunes subscriptions, ratings, and comments. If you would like to appear on this show or recommend content, please contact Neal Schaffer at Neal at maximize your social.com Please also make sure to check out Neil's new community the Social Media Center of Excellence at social media ce o e.com. As well as Neil social media conference, the social tools summit