Mark Schaefer is social media marketing expert and popular blogger that I’ve followed for many years now, both in print and online. What a treat it was to hear from him in person at this week’s Reno-Tahoe American Marketing Association event where he talked about “The Future of Social Media.” Did you know, that according to 2014 rankings, Mark is one of the “Top 10 world personalities mentioned by CMOs on Twitter,” one of the “Top 10 people most re-tweeted people by marketing professionals,” and the “#2 Blogger followed by CMOs?”
The Future of Social Media
According to Mark, marketing today has become more challenging than ever before, but it’s also a very rewarding, fun, and dynamic time to be in marketing. In his talk there were four key takeaways for me: 1) we’re in an era of content overload 2) as such, marketing strategies must adapt 3) find a niche and dominate it – stay ahead of the curve 4) be more human.
Content Overload is Upon Us
In discussing the four digital revolutions of web, search, social media/mobile, and wearable/augmented reality, Mark made the point that we are at an inflection point in terms of content consumption and have reached a period of content shock. He noted such statistics as:
- We’re consuming 10 hours of content each day on average
- People share one out of every 318 tweets
- In 2011, if we did a great job on our Facebook content, we might have hit 26% of our fans … today, that number has dropped to about 6%
- In the next 5 years there will be 500% more information on the web
Seeing these facts, the #1 question on the minds of marketers quickly becomes: “how do we maintain our mindshare with our customers in this age of information density?” And because less than 5% of customers (probably more like 2%) are sharing your content, how do you find them? Clearly, brands and customers now, more than ever before, need to think about connecting in new ways.
As such, strategy is different now. It’s not just about covering the world with content, or epic content at that. As stated by Mark—in of my favorite quotes from the event—“epic shit is not a strategy!” Some of the facts he shared to make this point, included:
- 70% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a friend’s social media updates
- We’re going to be in a world in the next few years where the Internet surrounds us like air
- We have to create experiences that are so cool, they invite people out of their bubbles
- You have to find the people who really love you & who will ignite your stories & your brand
Find a Niche, and Dominate It
To drive home the point about how strategy today has changed, as well as how important it is to stay ahead of the curve, Mark shared a case study about a family who moved from London to France to start a winery in a highly competitive market. The key takeaway? Find an unsaturated niche and have an aggressive strategy. Most importantly, never stop.
For Mirabeau Wine, they noticed that very few wineries in their region had a content strategy. Through sharing stories about their winery and how they make their wines online over time, eventually a simple video about “how to open a bottle of wine without an opener” went viral, and today has seen over 9 million views. According to Mark, the important point is that by establishing a base of consumers who were passionate about their brand, they were able to see this particular piece of content ignite in that it was supported and shared by their existing network, which had taken a very long time to establish:
Above All, Be More Human
No matter what your marketing strategy looks like, Mark reminded us that we need to always remember that it’s important to be more human. Because people buy from people, which leads to awareness, to trust, to loyalty, we need to remember to be more human in our approach, as this is the key to connection and hence, marketing influence.
About Mark Schaefer
Mark Schaefer is one of the top marketing bloggers in the world. He teaches graduate marketing classes at Rutgers University and has written four best-selling books, including The Tao of Twitter (the best-selling book on Twitter in the world) and Return On Influence, which was named one of the top business titles of the year by the American Library Association.
His latest book is called Social Media Explained: Untangling the World’s Most Misunderstood Business Trend. Mark has worked in global sales, PR, and marketing positions for nearly 30 years and now provides consulting services as Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. Some of his clients include IBM, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, Pfizer, The U.S. Air Force, and the UK government.