Social Minds – An Interview With Mark Schaefer

This interview first appeared on my Thought Leader Thursday column over on The Social Axcess blog.

There aren’t many people out there that I would class as true social media experts. Sure, many people get it and are able to use it effectively, however few can take that knowledge and communicate it as well as Mr Mark Schaefer. I took the opportunity to run some questions past Mark, read on for some great insight and a sneak peak of what you can expect from his up-coming book, Return on Influence.

Tell us what you do in 140 characters or less?

I am an author, college educator, mentor, business consultant, founder of Social Slam, blogger, speaker, father and husband.

So, it’s fair to say you are a busy man! If you could give people one tip for managing their time, what would it be?

It would have to be “focus.”  Be clear about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole, especially when you become immersed in the social web! 

Would it be fair to say that Twitter has been a great catalyst for you and your business interests? What has it brought you that was missing in those not so long ago pre-Twitter days?

It is not too bold to say that Twitter has changed my business and my life. The connections I have made through this platform have become customers, trusted business colleagues and friends. The big advantage this has had for me was the ability to network far beyond traditional business barriers.

Your new book, Return on Influence, explores the world of personal online influence, helping people to understand how it is measured and to harness the power it can create. Do you think we are looking at a world that will give more and more importance to such metrics?

Without question. We are in a world of incredible information density so people are hungry for shortcuts to help them make decisions. Social proof “badges” like the number of Twitter followers or a Klout score are important in this regard. That’s not to say that is necessarily a good thing, but it is a business reality we need to acknowledge and deal with. Also, I think Klout is on the brink of really going mainstream beyond the small social media community. When that happens, there will be quite a frenzy of activity to try to understand these scores and how to improve them.  That is all covered in the book (Return on Influence), of course.

Here we are in January 2012, what do you see as the biggest challenges facing businesses in the coming year?

That is quite a broad question and I would like to narrow it to digital marketing.  I think Internet privacy and the Anti-piracy issues will continue to dominate headlines. These are absolutely critical issues that will have to be addressed with some sort of regulation … and the Internet HATES regulation, so it will be an interesting year.

And finally, what does 2012 hold for you?

Of course the launch of the new book in a few weeks is kind of a watershed event. Return On Influenceis unlike any other marketing book out there right now and plows entirely new ground so this should be exciting.  I am also working on a new video educational series on my website called Social Media From Scratch (February), a new speaking tour, and my next book, which is starting to firm up as an outline. Lots of exciting developments!

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About Mike McGrail

Mike McGrail is the owner of The Social Penguin Blog. He is the MD of Velocity Digital. He likes scotch and leather-bound books. Follow Mike's ramblings on Twitter. He also resides on Google Plus here.