Nao Talks: Mark Schaefer & The Tao of Twitter

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Mark Schaefer


The online world has been turned upside down again and again since Mark Schaefer published the first edition of The Tao of Twitter back in 2011 (the book has since been updated in 2012 and 2014). Buzzwords and the next big thing in social media come and go every year, and 2014, the Year of Content, is no different. We talk to author, podcaster, speaker, consultant and overall social media marketing extraordinaire Mark Schaefer of the {grow} blog and businessesGROW about the future of content marketing, how Twitter has changed since 2011, and what he looked for in compiling his list of 70 Rising Social Media Stars.

Nao Media: What has been the biggest change in content marketing in the past year?

Mark Schaefer: Probably the most obvious change is the fact that the amount of content continues to explode as more brands catch on to these ideas. This makes it somewhat more difficult to compete for people’s attention.

We see an example of this in the rapid decline of organic reach on Facebook. This is also driving up the cost of ads and making it more difficult for small businesses to compete.

NM: What will content marketing look like in 2016?

MS: By then we should start to see some very creative uses of marketing applications for wearable technology and augmented reality. That is going to be the next big digital revolution. It is going to change everything!

NM: Out of all the content you provide, from your blog, to podcast, to books, what do you see as having the most real world impact on people?

MS: I get a lot of amazing comments and notes from people from all around the world but I would have to say that my book The Tao of Twitter has really had a major impact. I literally get messages from people every day thanking me for that book! Many people have told me it has changed their lives. Very rewarding!

NM:How has Twitter changed since you wrote The Tao of Twitter, and do you see another platform potentially overtaking its influence?

MS: Twitter has changed a lot since the first edition of the book which is why I have a new edition out now.

Primarily Twitter is a lot more muscular since it has so many new options for businesses now. The whole hashtag frenzy has impacted Twitter a lot and made it a cultural icon. It also plays an important role as a “second screen” when people watch TV.  All of those trends are covered in-depth in the book.

NM: What’s the biggest need, or unfulfilled role, in content marketing today?

MS: That’s easy. Analytics. Many marketers don’t understand data and statistics yet that is where the real gold is these days. Many people don’t even know what questions to ask.

NM: In your time spent working with and consulting clients, what’s the most difficult thing for them to wrap their head around when it comes to social marketing?

MS: Probably the time involved. We have been conditioned to give money to an advertising agency and then step back and wait for something to happen. It’s just not that way any more. People expect interaction. When they “call” your business on social media, you better be ready to pick up the phone!

This is one of the big questions I tackle in my book Social Media Explained. Where do we find the time to do it?

NM: You recently released a list of 70 Rising Social Media Stars. What’s one trait that all 70 up and coming influencers have in common? And what do you hope to see from this new generation of online marketers?

MS: I would say it’s hustle. These are people who refuse to watch the world pass them by. They are forcing themselves into the discussion and working hard to emerge as thought leaders. It takes a lot of creativity and guts to make that list!


Read more from Mark Schaefer on his {grow} blog, follow him on Twitter, and purchase his book The Tao of Twitter.

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