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Social Media talk with Mark Schaefer

Mark Schaefer is one of the up and coming Social Media professionals. One of the people that Jason Falls mentioned is worth reading. I have been reading Mark’s blog posts over the last couple of months and they are very well worth the time to read. We talked to Mark about a few things about Social Media. Here is what he had to say:

I see the current buzz as “The Real Time Web.” How do you see Social Media fitting with “the Real Time Web?”

The Internet as we have known it is fading from our reality. Although social media is generally Internet-based, we don’t think of it as the Internet any longer. Facebook, for example, is seen more like a distinct communication channel like the telephone. As technologies and delivery devices emerge to make social media and its successor even more omnipresent and accessible, we will see pervasive, continuous electronic communication more like our sixth-sense than a distinct technology. We already know how to manipulate brain waves to send text messages. The man-machine interface will be here sooner than you think.

What can possibly be greater than real-time communication and information? How about applications that know what you want before you want it? As individuals, we are flooding the Internet with so much personal content and behavioral information that it’s only a matter of time before companies aggregate this information and create predictive models. It’s already underway. How about a web that anticipates what you need, when you need it, based on years of cumulative behavior monitoring and data collection?

Some businesses have fully embraced Social Media (Whole Foods and Starbucks, for example). What phase do you see corporate america in terms of getting involved with Social Media? Are they just getting started or closer to going to mainstream?

Unfortunately, I see a lot of parallels between the clamor for social media and the Internet gold rush of the 1990s. We are in a period where companies are spending large amounts of money to stake their claim in social media because they don’t want to miss out. In 12-18 months they’re going to look back and wonder what it was all about.

The largest companies and biggest brands are approaching this methodically and thoughtfully, and would be as close to mainstream as you can get I suppose. But what does mainstream really look like in this space? It will take several years for the channel to mature but by then something else will be competing as the newest marketing channel.

What are the biggest challenges facing social media strategists (the people who are defining social media for their employers)?

Last week on my blog I ran a series of articles on social media marketing and measurement. This seemed to hit a nerve, based on the engagement on the subject.

The question I hear the most is, “how do we make money from this stuff?” Many “purists” will say that businesses should not ask that question, that it’s all about “the conversation” and “engagement.” However, you cannot cover your employee payroll by handing out tweets or page views and until we can, monetization will always be the challenging topic for social media professionals. Measurement and alignment with financial goals will be a hot topic for years to come.

As a great followup to Mark’s last answer, read this post on his blog.

Mark Schaefer is from Schaefer Marketing Solutions. Schaefer Marketing Solutions creates remarkable marketing solutions, services and products for you at a fraction of the cost of traditional agencies. By leveraging a “virtual” network of experts who provide high-quality work without the overhead costs, they can pass tremendous savings on to you. It’s a new kind of marketing company for a new economy.

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