Social Media Marketing: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

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When Mark Schaefer agreed to be a guest on my Facebook Live Show, Classroom Without Walls, I screamed, danced, and had to pinch myself so that I knew I was not dreaming.

I have been a super fan of Mark for a few years. One of my daily habits is to consume Mark’s content, should it be blog articles, live streaming interviews, or podcast episodes. The more I get to know Mark, the more respect I have for him.

You know when you have Mark Schaefer on the show, it will be a value-packed session. Mark didn’t disappoint at all. He offered so much value and shared great insights on Social Media Marketing.

With this particular interview, we had people from 13 countries who either joined us live or watched the replay. The interview so far gained 1.2K + views, 21 shares, and 230+ comments. Even a few weeks later, I am still receiving requests from people to get the replay link.

Click on the image/video below to watch the replay of our interview and draw your own conclusion. Below, I also offered a detailed recap and major takeaways. And if you do choose to watch the replay, I have to warn you that my face was frozen the entire time due to technical difficulties. However, you can hear me and Mark clearly. At least, I was frozen in a good way.

Who Is Mark Schaefer?

Mark Schaefer is “a globally-recognized keynote speaker, educator, business consultant, and author who blogs at {grow} — one of the top marketing blogs of the world.” Mark is also the author of six best-selling marketing books, including Social Media InfluencerReturn on InfluenceBorn to BlogThe Content CodeThe Tao of Twitter, and Known. Mark’s books have been adopted as “textbooks at more than 50 universities,” and “have been translated into 12 languages.” Mark is also among “the Top 10 most re-tweeted marketing authorities in the world” (information from Mark Schaefer’s Website.)

You can connect with Mark on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Instagram. Please also make sure that you subscribe to Mark’s blog {grow} here and commit to reading it daily.

Without any further ado, let’s hear Mark’s insights on Social Media Marketing.

Will Purchasing Fake Followers Ever Go Away?

A recent New York Times article titled, The Follower Factory, exposed the dark and the ugly side of social media marketing. In the article, the authors shared quite a few stories of how people were purchasing followers to become popular in the digital space. For example, do you know that

Celebrities, athletes, pundits and politicians have millions of fake followers.

Intrigued and frustrated by this numbers’ game and popularity competition, I asked Mark if this trend of buying popularity will ever go away?

Mark believes that this trend won’t entirely disappear. As he shared,

One of the things I learned from my time in business is that wherever corruption can occur, corruption will occur. There will always be people creating fake news, purchasing fake followers, or doing lousy tricks with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to become famous.

However, all these practices will only lead to short-term wins if there are any. Within this context, Mark shared two pieces of advice to help combat the fakeness in today’s digital space. Read carefully, my friends. These are powerful words that can change your careers and life.

✅ Google cannot let the bad people win. Instead, Google rewards original authorship and quality content. They are looking for signals that reflect quality and authority.
✅ Act on the web as would on the real world. Act with generosity and kindness. Stay centered. Don’t worry about what everybody else is doing. Don’t worry about the tricks. Don’t worry about SEO. Don’t be influenced by the bad stuff going on. Because in the end, the most human company will win. The most human person will win.

How to Rise Above the Digital Noise As An Individual or Small Business Owner?

It was only a few decades ago that people had to rely on traditional print media or TV to get their stories to the outside world. Today’s digital landscape is drastically different. Anybody who has access to the Internet and a digital media device can create content and make their voice heard. As Mark shared,

The most wonderful thing we have in our world today is this opportunity to be heard, to be recognized, and to be acknowledged.

Regardless of whether you are an individual or a small business owner trying to build a brand, you don’t have to wait for others to tell your stories. You can be the narrator of your own stories. You have the power to create content and to establish yourself as a thought-leader in your field. Remember Mark’s words,

Everyone has the opportunity to create their own power. We don’t have to wait to be published in a newspaper or on TV. That’s someone else’s decision. We don’t have to wait to be picked. We can pick ourselves, small business owners, entrepreneurs, or people who want to create a personal brand in the world.

So, what else are you waiting for?

Get started with whatever you have and start producing content and being consistent with your content creation.

Top Three Content Creation Tips

Mark shared great content creation tips, , which I summarize in the following three points.

✅ “One key aspect to content creation is that you just have to start. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to know exactly where you are going or where your niche is, because often you don’t find that out until you start. And you don’t even need to have all the answers to create content. You just need to have the questions.” The feedback you receive from your audience will help you crystalize your message. Your evolution will come as a result of the feedback that you receive from your audience. Produce more of the content that is resonating with your audience.

✅ “The content you create helps you develop an emotional connection with your audience. Your content helps break down the geographic barriers to allow your audience to get to know and trust you.” Mark shared a story of how he was invited by General Electric to conduct a workshop. The person who invited him had been consuming his content for four years before he reached out and made Mark aware that he was consuming his content.

✅ Select a content creation platform or format that works best for you. Video is the buzz word now. But, does it work for you? The truth is that people consume content in different ways and resonate with different types of content. Some people prefer videos, whereas others may like blogs or audio. Select one platform that works best for you and stick to it. For Mark, it is blogging. And Mark has been blogging twice a week, every week, for ten years. The key takeaway is,

Do what brings you joy. Don’t do what people tell you that you should do. Don’t do what you think you should do because somebody else is doing it. Don’t feel that pressure. Do what brings you joy, because if you are not having joy doing what you do, your audience will be able to tell.

The Importance of Social Sharing

One increasing challenge for content creators is getting their content seen. Take Facebook as an example. Mark shared that in 2011, the organic reach for a business page on Facebook was close to 30%. In 2017, the average reach dropped down to 1%. A person using Facebook can be exposed to, on average, 2,000 stories a day. How insane is that?

Within this much digital noise, social sharing has become even more crucial to help content stand out. As Mark said, “The economic value of content that is not seen or shared is zero.” If you are spending hours producing content, but nobody is consuming it, you are simply wasting your time or money. On the other hand, if someone makes an effort to share your content, they are endorsing your content. In Mark’s words, Social sharing is advocacy and

The most powerful thing people can help you do is to share your content. When they share your content, they are saying, I believe in this and I want you to believe in this too. It is a very intimate choice to share someone’s content. It becomes part of your brand. Social sharing is the most important marketing metric today other than conversions. The economic drive of social media and content marketing is social sharing.

What’s Next For Mark Schaefer?

Mark shared with the audience that he is thinking about writing another book, which will be the next revolution of Known. The new book will dive deeper into the humanity side of marketing. I just love it when Mark said “humanity.” As Mark explained,

We are so lost as marketers. We lost our humanity. We lost our soul. We turned over marketing to SEO analysts and IT doing A/B testing. People don’t trust marketing. People don’t trust marketers. We have done it to ourselves. We had all these amazing technologies that are extending human lives in the medical field for example. And the great use of technology in marketing today is to find more ways to annoy people. We are not using technology to take down these barriers and to connect in a human way, and that’s what we should be doing.

Bring humanity back to marketing. Don’t you just love it? I cannot wait to read Mark’s next book.

Call To Action: Be More Human

Mark used three words to end our interview. That are, “Be more human.” Look at every single piece of the content you are producing and asking yourself, how can I be more human?

How can we show our faces, smiles, and humanity, because in the end the most human company will win.

To add on to what Mark shared here, not only the most human company will win, but the most human personal brand will be remembered and shared. Are you being human enough?

P.S. If you are an educator reading this article, I highly recommend you adopt Mark’s book, Known, as a textbook for your social media marketing class.