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Jan. 30, 2015

95: The Role of Stories and Human Interaction in Sharing Your Expertise

95: The Role of Stories and Human Interaction in Sharing Your Expertise

You’ve heard about Neal Schaffer’s Social Tools Summit that he’s launching this May in Boston, but maybe you haven’t heard why he’s creating this event. Aiming to educate organizations about the social tools that are available, the goal of this event is to close the gap between customer understanding and company potential. By bringing vendors, CEOs, and potential clients into the same room, everyone can gain insight into the value of these tools and how to leverage them. In this episode, delve into the importance of in-person interaction, sharing stories, and showcasing your subject matter expertise.

Key Highlights

[01:50]  Why I Am Doing Social Media Conferences

[03:14] Real-time Interaction Between People Is Better

[05:07] The Other Side of Content Marketing That I Was Doing As A Salesperson

[06:38] Get Your Stories Out

[07:04] The Gap I Found

[09:44] Scaling Through Tools

[11:53] A Greater Truth

Notable Quotes

  • And just like, you're not going to learn everything from reading one book, you're if you read books, you read a lot of books, and maybe multiple books on the same subject. I think it's the same with social media conferences, there's room for everybody should have their own unique take on what type of events it should be, who you want to target, and what type of experience you want to provide or what have you. So events are something that I've always wanted to do.
  • I've always been into the real time interaction between people, those of you who know me from the old days when my brand was windmill networking of bringing the virtual relationships into the physical world, that's what it was about.
  • And you know, I've always thought that social was about the human touch. And it still is today, right? And we talked about the humanizing and HGH and, and all these different concepts, but at the end of the day, it comes down to people. So the summit really came about because I wanted to utilize my experience and figure out how do I add value to the industry.
  • I'm passionate about the education as you all know, it's all about making my clients, making my readers, my listeners you more self sufficient in your own practice, in social media, whether it be for marketing, or sales, or PR, customer support, whatever it might be.
  • I tell you, great salespeople are also great storytellers. And if they're not great storytellers, usually in order to move a deal forward, they bring in people internally who are great storytellers.
  • But I realized there was a gap between what the customer understood about our company, and tools and what they can do. And what we knew we could do in marketing, the marketing message, and what have you, it was not bridging that gap. Only when the customers started to use our product, would they get it but even if they used our product in a different way, they wouldn't see the other potential benefits. 
  • So there's a gap, and a physical one day event of bringing together tools companies not to sell to people, right, but to show their product, and to be part of panels, with experts with practitioners that use these tools, to provide feedback, but to have a conversation and through the conversation between the practitioners, experts, and the tool vendors, we're going to learn a heck of a lot as to what tools are out there and how they can be utilized in a way that can only be achieved on a one on one basis.
  • Because with social media, you have the ability to promote anything. Without social media, promoting the social tools summit would have been really, really hard, I would have had to rely on traditional media, it would have required money, it would have required a paid effort in order to scale with social not necessarily, although the paid helps accelerate things.
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Welcome to maximize your social, actionable 10 minute 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, the Social Media Center of Excellence, and the social tools Summit, Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer, welcome to another episode of maximize your social in 2015. I hope you've been enjoying these podcasts. It is 2015. That's going to be my third podcast of the year. And if you've seen my publishing of these podcasts and maximize your social together with transcripts and summaries and links, you'll know that I'm obviously putting a lot more strategic emphasis on my podcast. And this year, part of that strategic emphasis is really trying to provide you with unique, insightful and valuable and actionable content. So let's get to today's podcast. Now, some of you already heard me talk about this, when I launched something called the social tools Summit. It is my first social media conference, it will be in Boston, on May 12 2015. And obviously, it's something that I'm really, really excited about. And there's some lessons to be learned. Or I should say, there's advice that I think is applicable to anyone listening to this podcast based on the why I am doing this, the reasons why and the things that you can be doing, whether it's your own event, or anything else, to help your brand, leverage your brand equity, or whether it's to help you leverage your own personal branding. And I'll talk about how that all comes together at the end of the podcast. But I did want to start with the social tool Summit. And you know, there's a lot of social media conferences out there. And I know the founders of a lot of them very well. And they've all been very, very kind to me. And I'm big fans of them. So it's sort of weird that I decided to do something that may some people may think is competitive, I don't see it as being competitive at all. And I see it as a way of complementing what others are doing in the market. And that's why when I write about the best social media conferences to attend, you know, I include the social media marketing worlds, the social freshers, the social shake up by social media today, social media strategy summit and what have you, because they're all great conferences. And just like, you're not going to learn everything from reading one book, you're if you read books, you read a lot of books, and maybe multiple books on the same subject. I think it's the same with social media conferences, there's room for everybody should have their own unique take on what type of events it should be, who you want to target, and what type of experience you want to provide or what have you. So events are something that I've always wanted to do. So you know, I have books, I have a website, have a podcast, haven't done as many videos. So I guess it's something that I could do more of as well. And I began a community, the Social Media Center of Excellence, which I'm still building up. But we already have a pretty active Facebook group of more than 300 members, you can, you know, do a search for Social Media Center of Excellence right there and Facebook groups. But I've always been into the real time interaction between people, those of you who know me from the old days when my brand was windmill networking of bringing the virtual relationships into the physical world, that's what it was about. I created LinkedIn groups. And we have sushi lunches monthly here in Southern California, we had bring people together from the group. And you know, I've always thought that social was about the human touch. And it still is today, right? And we talked about the humanizing and HGH and, and all these different concepts, but at the end of the day, it comes down to people. So the summit really came about because I wanted to utilize my experience and figure out how do I add value to the industry. Everything I do, is related to best practices in helping businesses, do social media better, leverage social media for their business, leverage it better more effectively leverage it more departments leverage more social networks, whatever it is, that is the unifying theme, and I'm passionate about the education as you all know, it's all about making my clients, making my readers, my listeners you more self sufficient in your own practice, in social media, whether it be for marketing, or sales, or PR, customer support, whatever it might be. So what is a way that I can add value Now, it's interesting, we talked about content marketing, and we talked about storytelling. And I on my last podcast, if you're listening, I talked about my days as a b2b sales and business person in Japan and how this concept of omega and bringing the souvenirs to my clients which is almost like content marketing before the internet, and before we even talked about content in such a way, but that in essence, what I was doing, and I knew that it worked and that's why social media came quite naturally. Social media as a tool came quite naturally am social selling and how it relates to employees. because he comes quite naturally as well, it all fits together really, really nicely once you figure that all out. But there's another side of this content marketing that I was doing as a salesperson as a sales executive, I should say, not that makes a difference. But what I was doing before the internet and social media, and that is storytelling, right, storytelling has been around forever. And I tell you, great salespeople are also great storytellers. And if they're not great storytellers, usually in order to move a deal forward, they bring in people internally who are great storytellers. Now, when I was representing foreign companies in Asia, and I wanted to try to move up in the organization, I wanted to get into maybe I was meeting with a manager, I wanted to meet with a senior manager, I was meeting with the director, I wanted to meet with a vice president, one of the tactics I commonly used was to bring in an executive. And because I was in a foreign country, it's a hey, so and so our founder and CEO is going to be out in Japan. You know, next month, I'd love for you, you know, if you had a few minutes, if I could, you know, take them by, we could have a quick meeting, it gives the customers that shows them that you you're putting strategic importance on them, when you're taking an executive out, it gives them a chance, if they have anything, they want to say, if they're mad about something, or maybe they want a discount, or they want access to special technology, it gives them a chance to voice directly. So it's a win win for everybody. But what I noticed, whenever I brought the executives out, was that they were telling stories that I didn't know, they were telling stories about our first products, our first customers of how we're helping customers on the other side of the world have different ways of using the products. And I realized at that time, no matter how much you invest in a marketing department, the stories live within people in your organization. And very few companies are good at getting those stories out. Now you have companies like IBM, that are heavily investing into internal social networking, and in bringing out internal expertise to be tapped into throughout the enterprise. And I think IBM is really the most famous of doing that 99% of companies are not there, right. But I realized there was a gap between what the customer understood about our company, and tools and what they can do. And what we knew we could do in marketing, the marketing message, and what have you, it was not bridging that gap. Only when the customers started to use our product, would they get it but even if they used our product in a different way, they wouldn't see the other potential benefits. So I realized having represented software vendors, that there's this huge gap between customer understanding and the potential. And guess what, with social media, it's even more so because not only do people not understand how the tools can be leveraged, a lot of them don't understand some basic social media marketing concepts. And if you don't understand employee advocacy, you can't just get an employee advocacy tool in house and expect it to do everything for you, you need to understand the concepts right? Before you can use the tool. And that's where I was thinking of all the different ways I can add value. That's another avenue where I can add value, which I haven't done before in social media, which is really trying to help out the tools, vendors. And a lot of them reach out to me because I blog, I maximize social business, I'm an author, and I have relationships with a lot of them as well. But I'm also a fan of them. I'm a fan of technology, some of you may know that I actually created and I still have an alpha version of a social media analytics tool. And I still think there's there's a need in the market for one that provides more actionable advice, instead of a lot of numbers and graphs, and there's some great ones out there, don't get me wrong, that go a lot deeper. And that, you know, enterprises are utilizing and should be utilizing. But I think there's still space for people that still don't get social media, or what they should be doing to in essence, be teaching them through this tool as analyzes their social and as they input their objectives. Now, I won't say anything more, I don't want to give away my my secrets to my, my tool here. Not that I'm developing an actively but through the process, I realized the challenges that tool vendors go through with, you know, Twitter API's and changes in API's, user interfaces, customer needs, et cetera, et cetera. So I'm a fan of the technology. And in order to scale, right, companies can only scale one of three ways. paid social people are tools. And paid social, I think people are waking up to, but paid social is benefiting social networks that are already doing really well. So they may not need our help. Employees is great education and you know, nine things you should be doing with your social in 2015, my blog post, which hopefully you've read, education is critical. And building a culture around social media education and social business culture will help you leverage employee advocacy and they sort of all work together so people don't get me wrong is an incredibly important thing and it becomes an internal investment. But tools are also become an internal investment problem is you can't create them yourself. And I know big enterprises that try to but it's really hard because of those changing API's and everything else. And that's why you need to, you know, tap into the expertise that tool vendors and so MediaSpace have. So I'm a big fan of the tools. But it's funny because there's still this huge gap. A lot of people just don't know a lot of tools exist, when they may have reached out to me and hopes that I would amplify them to everybody. But not everybody is reading my blog posts, right. So no matter how hard I'm trying to promote them, it's not being listened to by everybody. And even if some people here, like I said, that example of Plavix, if you don't know what it is, or you don't have any thoughts around it, you know, one tool is not going to solve everything for you. So there's a gap, and a physical one day event of bringing together tools companies not to sell to people, right, but to show their product, and to be part of panels, with experts with practitioners that use these tools, to provide feedback, but to have a conversation and through the conversation between the practitioners, experts, and the tool vendors, we're going to learn a heck of a lot as to what tools are out there and how they can be utilized in a way that can only be achieved on a one on one basis. If you have the CEO of any given tool vendor come to your company and have a meeting with you. Right. That's sort of the power that I am trying to unleash with a social tool Summit, that sort of thing I don't see anyone else doing that is a unique value that I think I can add to the industry that I want to do. And that's why although I'm relatively short notice, we, we first my business partner, and I first started talking about this back in I don't know, November, I think, when I was out in Boston, and we finally sort of launched in December. And I think January has been a soft launch, there's a lot more promotional activities we can be doing. But that's really the story. Right. And whether it is a potential attendee, a potential speaker, or a tool vendor, I think everybody's really, really excited about it's something that I see myself doing more of in the future, more frequently, more locations. Interestingly enough, a lot of people from Europe have reached out to a lot of people in London, hey, I wanted to do an audit here. You know, maybe we will. But that's why I'm doing it. And it comes to a greater truth, a greater truth about what companies can be doing what people can be doing with social media. Because with social media, you have the ability to promote anything. Without social media, promoting the social tools summit would have been really, really hard, I would have had to rely on traditional media, it would have required money, it would have required a paid effort in order to scale with social not necessarily, although the paid helps accelerate things. But what I realized, when I met with a friend recently, I haven't seen him for a while who works at IBM, I was talking to him about this. And he works with social business, as do a lot of IBM employees, obviously. But you know, we were talking to and I said, you know, IBM is a company that if you have subject matter expertise in something, they try to leverage that as a corporate asset throughout the enterprise. And they invest in, develop and utilize technology that allows you to do it. It's an amazing enterprise. So I said, Well, what if you don't work on an IBM? Right? How do you showcase your subject matter expertise? How can you contribute to the greater good of society with your subject matter expertise, and companies are the same? Yes, companies are meant to make money don't get me wrong. Enterprises are unless you're a nonprofit, or for profit activity. But the people who created those companies, like the founders of the software, tools, companies, and social and outside of social love worked for, in their own way they want to change the world, they're changing the world. They have subject matter expertise in the product they've developed. How do you talk about that? It goes beyond marketing messaging, right. And like I said, usually on a one to one conversation, if you're a subject matter expert internally, and you happen to have a conversation with a client or with someone internally, you have a way of showcasing that knowledge. If you're a company, and you send your founder to, you know, to accompany for a meeting, you have a way of sort of showcase, but how do you really scale that expertise that you have or that your company has, and touch more people with it? To me, that's what creating this social tool summit event is about? It's not about making money, be nice to make money. I mean, you know, that's why whatever I do, I have multiple revenue streams, sort of the, the portfolio career right, once you go independent as I did, when I launched my company in January 2010. I just celebrated my five year anniversary, thank you in advance for your kudos, you begin to look at different ways of generating revenues. And this is one of many streams if it fails, I'm still gonna go to pay my rent and, and buy my kids new shoes. But really, how do you leverage your subject matter expertise, I think for a lot of companies, it comes down to content or comes down to collaboration. This is a collaborative exercise. I have a friend who works for a Japanese food company. And they make a sort of Japanese pastry. And they make some pretty unique types of food that you don't see on supermarket shelves here in the United States. So they're sort of thought leaders in their industry, right? They're sort of subject matter experts on combining different types of fruit with traditional Japanese flavors and creating something that is is very, very popular with certain communities in North America, for instance. So they had the idea, hey, we want to put on a food event, and bring together all the different confectionery companies that create desserts that have any type of Japanese connection to them, and have a one day event where people that are really passionate about where foodies, and chefs can all come in, and try all these samples. And that's a great, that's an idea of doing a physical event, but it's hard for you to do it on your own. You need to collaborate with others in order to make it bigger than yourself. Just like you need to curate content to make your own social media postings bigger than yourself as well, right? It's the same concept. So, you know, don't think of sharing content and social something you have to do because you have to be doing social media. And don't think that, you know, just any message will do, really defining a good social media program, especially from a marketing outward communications perspective, is about the messaging is about are you talking in a way that makes you accepted by other social media uses? Are you providing resourceful information? Are you becoming trustworthy? Through your relationship with social media communities, by the words, the tone, and the voice and the visuals that you use when you're posting on social media, but there's another avenue to look at with your social media posting and content marketing efforts? And it's the same thing that I'm looking at? How do you showcase your companies, your employees, or for your own personal brand, or your own unique experiences, and subject matter expertise to the world? I blog, I write books, I do a podcast, I created the social tools Summit. What will you do today? What will your company do today? That's the message I want to leave you with, as I've become very busy planning for the social tools on it. But because I'm so passionate about it, and I wanted to touch so many people, it feels what I do, it provides me with a natural ROI. Regardless of what happens, the event, your content may be hit or miss. But if it truly is representative of that same sort of storytelling, that you're telling them on a one on one basis, when you go out to meet with clients, or your loyal customers, or potential clients that you want to become you're one of your most loyal customers, if you can tap into that storytelling, that's only within the brains and hearts of some of your outward facing internal employees. If you can tap into that, I think you're on your way to redefining the content, and how effective your social media program can be. You don't have to create your own social tool Summit. Although some of you may want to create a user conference, or try to do a food event to rise above. But when you're competing with others, it's really hard to do that, right. So you don't have to create that sort of event, although you could do it in person, you could create like this for an equity company I worked out in the past did was create a VIP user committee, right. And every 90 days, let's bring together our VIP users. Yes, they're competitors. But they all benefit from learning about how each other using the tools, let's bring them together, let's put them up at the Ritz Carlton, or four seasons, whatever hotel it is, let's fly him in. There's immense value in doing that to deepen the relationships, but also to get feedback. So that's another way of showcasing your subject matter expertise of actually performing an event like that. So that's what the social tools Summit is about. I challenge you to find a new vehicle a new way, whether it's doing a reset on what you blog about your social media, or doing it through a physical event, or whatever mechanism whatever vehicle it is, I challenge you to find a new way to promote your own or your company's own subject matter expertise in 2015. And I want to hear from you of what you decide to do, how you decide to do it. That is the end of another episode of maximize your social. I hope you enjoyed this one. I'm really trying to challenge myself to find unique insight from my own professional past before social media, together with how I help businesses in social media today to showcase general truths that as I like to say, social media replaces nothing but complements everything. How can we leverage this complementary power based on things that we're already doing just by reaching inside and doing a little soul searching? So hey, wherever you're on the world, I want to wish you the greatest of days. And as always, make it a great social Day. Bye Bye, everybody. 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 Neil 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's first social media event, the social tools Summit, which will be in Boston on May 12. Thanks again and make it a social day.