Mark Schaefer Explains Why We’re Failing Social

Post by Ray 3 years ago - social media marketing - 0 Comments

Mark Schaefer Failing Social Media HOA


Mark W. Schaefer most definitely does not fail “social”, but he knows why so many of us do.

I first met Mark through his renowned blog. 

After months of small provocations we got to meet in person and this week, Mark guested on my weekly Google Plus Hangout On Air show.

That’s how “social” is supposed to work. 

Mark is the author of The Tao of Twitter, Return On Influence, Born to Blog and the recently publishedSocial Media Explained: Untangling the Most Misunderstood Business Trend.

I started the interview with an obvious question:


Social Media Explained BookWhy did you write “Social Media Explained”, Mark?

(The following is a summary scattered with direct quotes. Watch the full show below.)

“Every time I walked into a company, I faced the same questions:

How do we measure this?

What’s the ROI?

How do we get started?

What do we do about negative comments?”



There are a lot of senior and middle level executives, as well as business owners, who know they need to understand this but they haven’t got the time nor ability to get a handle on this whole “social media” space quickly.

So the challenge?: 

“If I only had one hour to teach these executives in a way that could leave them feeling optimistic and confident about social media strategy, what would I say?”

The book is a culmination of two years of presentations and training that gets to the core, cuts through the clutter and addresses the essentials of social media marketing. 

Is this social failure shared by Fortune 500 and mom & pop stores alike? 

“Many of the benefits of social media are qualitative not quantitative.” 


Building relationships and communities are the qualitative benefits that work really well for small business.

But how do you put that on a spreadsheet, on a pie chart?

Big businesses are run from spreadsheets.

To succeed, they have to embrace the mindset that there are new ways to measure ROI.

“If they’re disappointed with what they’re seeing in their data, it’s because they’re asking the wrong questions.”

They need to know what they’re doing in social media and marketing and understand where social media fits into the marketing mix.

Small businesses have an advantage in this space.

They are more nimble and flexible; they can respond to and build on these social connections. 

“It’s difficult to scale “human”; it’s difficult to scale authenticity in these big brands.”



Does it take a successful business to succeed in social media marketing?  

There seems to be a correlation between companies that are very successful and companies that do a good job on social media.

Take for example: Coca-cola , McDonald’s, Nike and Chipotle.

Chipotle kills it with content marketing. 

“To be first, be overwhelming and have competitive advantage, you need to own your niche.” Click To Tweet

How does “storytelling” fit into all this?

You have to start with the foundation of a business and marketing strategy. 

“Finish this sentence. “Only we…””

When Mark gives this exercise to executives, he says that it’s not uncommon to have ten executives sitting around a table give ten different replies.

Companies need to ask themselves: 

“What is our story?

What is our point of differentiation?

What do they love us? Why do they buy from us?

What’s our customers unmet and unserved needs?

And what is our place in that ecosystem?” 

If you can answer “only we…” and get leadership to embrace this is a unified way, your social media program reveals itself.


What’s social media’s role in the marketing mix? 

Using Chipotle as an example, Mark explains that the company is making an emotional connection with their product, in their case, burritos. 

How do you build emotional connections?

Emotional connections are the result of a series of little provocations over time.

“Every time we create these opportunities and these provocations to engage, we build closer bonds. 

That’s how social media fits in the mix.”

What role does Content play in social media? 

Content shock Mark Schaefer

“Content is the fuel of what makes social media marketing successful.”

Blogging, podcasting, video, Hangouts, Pinterest etc. are the sources of that fuel.

You have to look at content strategically.

Amount of content on the web will grow by 600% in 6 years! Customers will use filters.

Google is already doing that for us with its algorithm changes.


So how do we get people to see our content?

Saying “be awesome” mean nothing.

Define awesome.

Put a dollar value on it.

Epic content is not scalable.

'Creating “epic shit” becomes very costly as we try to become “epic-er and epic-er”.'Click To Tweet

The reason we fail at social is because companies are putting all the emphasis on “content”. They’re not putting enough emphasis on igniting the content. 

Content needs to move and be shared to be seen.

Now my turn to ask you a question?

Do you think we’re suffering from “social fatigue“?



About Ray Hiltz

Thanks for dropping by. I'm the Director of Digital Marketing for My background in business includes non-profit (performing arts), restaurants and Promotions. Having moved on from my own strategic consulting company, I now write about what interests me. So in this blog, you may read about my thoughts on marketing, health issues and business culture. You can follow me on Twitter @rayhiltz or @image24Call

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