I think you will get a ton of information from today’s episode where we’re talking about how to use social media to build relationships and engagement.
Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to The Blogger Genius. Before I get started, I want to invite you to join my Facebook group. It’s called the MiloTree Mastermind group.
If you go to Facebook and search for it, you will find it. I want it to be an extension of the podcast, a place where we can discuss. I do recaps every Monday at three o’clock eastern time, where I talk about that week’s episode.
I want you to come join me, ask questions, share your knowledge. I really want to build this community. So please come. Again, MiloTree Mastermind group.
For today’s podcast, I have Neal Schaffer on the show. Neal is a social media strategy consultant. What that really means is he goes into large businesses and he teaches them social media strategy.
And now, what he’s trying to do is really understand the mindset of the blogger. So we talk about a whole host of social media platforms. He has been in the social media biz for a very long time and he has some interesting insights that he shares. Like, you can’t really know a platform unless you actually use it.
So, without further ado, I think you’re gonna like this. Without further ado, here is my interview with Neal Schaffer.
Neal, welcome to the show. I’m excited to have you here.
Neal Schaffer 1:39
I am equally excited, Jillian. Thank you so much for the invitation.
Jillian Leslie 1:41
Okay. So you are a marketer, an author, a speaker. I have to share how I found you, which is I started using this app called Bonjoro. When people sign up for MiloTree now I send them like a little video saying thank you for joining.
I noticed your name. And then, I was researching just randomly. I was researching social media experts. There was a list that of people you should follow.
You were on the list. I saw that name and I’m like, “Wait a second. I have seen this name before.” I went to your site, and I saw MiloTree on your site or blog. I went, “Oh my God, it’s the same person.”
I was such a fan girl that I was like, “I can’t believe you’re using our app. That’s so cool.” And I reached out to you and I said, “Would you please be on my podcast?”
And when you said yes, I told my husband. I said, “Oh my God, I’ve got this expert on my podcast. I’m so excited.” So thank you for coming on the show.
Neal Schaffer 2:49
No, thank you. Anybody listening as well. We use a lot of technology on our websites and social media tools and marketing tools. So whenever, you know, after a download, the founder reaches out with a personalized video, and it definitely was personalized, that’s very special. So, you know, kudos for doing that.
Jillian Leslie 3:09
Neal Schaffer 3:11
We’re getting back and I know we’ll probably touch upon this, but I know that the listeners, we all want to monetize our presence in social media. I am getting back to telling my clients and those entrepreneurs that I coach that it really is coming back to relationships in many different ways.
Being able to get that one on one, however you do it to be remembered, is three-quarters of the battle, I believe. I think what you’re doing is almost, you know.
If everybody listening could do that, if you are following 1500, this is something I’m trying to do, if you’re following 1500 people on Instagram, that means that every day, if you were to direct message five people and generally send them personalized messages and ask how you can help them, you could be in touch with all of the people you follow on Instagram in a year. Right?
And I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot of things that develop from that. It really is all about the relationship. So Jillian, you’re doing a fantastic job.
Jillian Leslie 4:07
Oh, thank you so much. Well, thank you. Okay. So let’s start with how you got to be where you are, how you got to be this expert, the social media expert.
Neal Schaffer 4:20
Well, it’s a long and funny story. I’ve been doing this for over a decade, right? My journey started when… I have a little unique background. We were talking, Jillian, born and raised here in Southern California, went to University of Massachusetts.
I decided that I was going to do something completely different and start my career in Japan. I actually lived in Japan for 15 years. And then I came back here. After a few years, I was suddenly in transition.
I didn’t have a network because I was always working corporate obviously. So that’s where I got really heavily into LinkedIn. This is really early days for LinkedIn.
This is really when Facebook was still just for college students. Instagram, obviously hadn’t appeared yet. Twitter had just launched. I decided to see LinkedIn, not just as you know, where you connect with people, but as a business tool really.
I was able to develop not only a network from that, but you know, LinkedIn used to have all these functionalities. Like they have LinkedIn Answers. We could go in, and it was a Q&A forum. LinkedIn groups used to be a lot more active then.
And LinkedIn also supported these different apps. They actually had a WordPress.com app. I actually launched my WordPress blog on LinkedIn. That was back in July of 2008, believe it or not. I’m sort of aging myself here.
But as I began blogging, I just got tons of traffic. I noticed that there were people all over the world coming to my blog. And that is when I realized really the power of being on the internet and having a voice.
Now, at that time, the blog was really about making connections with people. It was an extension of my networking on LinkedIn that I can help people all around the world and get to know them.
But it was really fast forward where I did find my job but it was in the middle of the Lehman Brothers crash, what have you. So that ended very very quickly. My wife said, “You know, Neal, you should consider writing a book.”
I never thought I would do it but I had already blogged a quarter of my book, and it was on LinkedIn. So I decided to go full force into it. When I got my next job offer, I was actually negotiating my first real consulting gig and this is in January 2010.
There were companies that say, “We know we need to do social media. We don’t know much about it. We don’t know what we need to do. Will you help us?” That’s where I really started. I do not have an agency background per se.
So, I really started helping companies, helping small businesses, enterprises, with social media marketing strategy, social media marketing training, what have you. I’ve been doing that. I really never turned back.
And you know, you begin to speak more, you speak on bigger stages. You get invited to speak more. Your blog. Your blog gets bigger. On social media, you get to be bigger and bigger. You write a second book, you get a bigger audience.
So I really believe Jillian, and hopefully, you would agree with me that it’s a tumbleweed effect, right? As long as you consistently keep doing it, and you’re targeted, and you’re genuinely developing relationships with people, it gets bigger and bigger and broader and broader over time.
The question then is, what product are you going to bring to market? How are you going to monetize that? But as far as building community and building presence and getting out there and building brand awareness, I do believe it really is that consistencies.
Jillian, you mentioned your community, they’re pretty advanced in what they do. So I’m assuming that they’ve been doing this for a while. There are a lot of people who just give up.
My advice is really, you know, if you’re looking for that broader brand awareness, it’s probably right around the corner, right. It’s just, you know, consistency, pivoting as the social networks obviously.
I’ve seen them and I’m sure a lot of you have seen them change over the last 10 years. You know, trying to figure out what works, always looking at your data. And, you know, continue iterating that really.
Jillian Leslie 8:02
I think you are absolutely right. I would say the first question to ask yourself is, “Why?” What are you trying to accomplish being on social media?
I was just with a group of bloggers. I feel like they get that they need to have a presence and they need to grow. However, I don’t think they’ve linked it to that final question, which is “What are you going to do with this?”
Neal Schaffer 8:39
Righ. And you know, everything has to be intentional. It has to be objective focused. I began my career as a solopreneur because my wife is Japanese, does not really speak fluent English or didn’t at the time, had baby number one. That’s why we moved back to United States.
Baby number two’s in her stomach. I was doing a lot of travel because I was in sales and I was traveling back to Asia quite a bit. One day where she was saying, “Neal, what’s more important to you?” Helping your family or your career?
That’s where I realized, “Wow! I had the balance wrong.” It was after that, that I became a solopreneur. It was really after that, that I became passionate about wanting to maintain my lifestyle, so I could spend time with my family.
I know that your audience is primarily female. I am male. But being there with my kids, you know, being on the PTA board, being the manager or the coach of my son’s elementary school soccer team, being able to take them to all the events is a very special thing that I cherish.
Doing what I do has allowed me to do that. I’d say that’s my first passion. My second passion is obviously helping people and really helping to empower other people with the experiences that I have. So you have to have those passions.
I think that probably everyone listening to this has those passions when they launched doing what they’re doing but the social media side, here’s the thing, and I just recorded a podcast on this yesterday, Jillian, that I’ve yet to publish. But if you’re not really into it, if you’re not passionate about it, if you don’t find a use for using social media, I don’t think you’re going to be successful at it.
Jillian Leslie 10:16
I agree with that completely. I totally do.
Neal Schaffer 10:19
And Jillian, the episode I recorded yesterday, I’m going to be really honest. I was recording a podcast, but I was not a podcast listener.
Jillian Leslie 10:26
Neal Schaffer 10:26
So, over the last few months, it’s been three months since I recorded my last podcast episode, I’ve listened to a ton of podcasts. I subscribed to, I don’t know, maybe half a dozen.
One of those is Jenny Melrose’s podcast, right? I think you appeared as a guest, right? And this was after you had reached out to me. It’s such a small world. But listening to the podcast, I realized that I’ve been doing it all wrong.
I bet you if you are just using tail end when you pin to Pinterest, but you’re not an actual Pinterest user, you don’t consume content of Pinterest or you’re just posting to Instagram without looking at your Feed and the feed of your followers, you miss out on a lot.
And at the end of the day, it becomes a chore. It doesn’t become fun. You don’t have a passion for it. And that’s why, if you want to do really good at social media, you need to become a user. You need to become part of the community and understand.
Jillian, I found MiloTree on Pinterest. Pinterest is incredibly educational for me because the way that people create visuals, and the content on there, it’s so direct to the point, and it’s actually brilliant.
I look at my blog, I have a lot of guest bloggers, and they are so not to the point on so many things. It’s like, “What are the Google keywords that you’re trying to target?” “Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.”
I have learned just a great deal becoming a consumer, a member of a bunch of tail end tribes, where I’m sharing a lot of contents. Every time I share it, it gives me data to see what works and what doesn’t work without me having to experiment with my own data, right? Etcetera, etcetera.
You have to become a member. I started social media, obviously on LinkedIn, but I love social media. I consider myself introvert sometimes in public, but very social online. I’m sure there’s many of us like that out there.
And I just love to meet people and help people. That’s why I got into sales to begin my career. That’s really the key thing. I know that everybody wants really tactical, “Do this and you’re going to make seven figures next year.” As you know, it doesn’t really work that way.
Jillian Leslie 12:24
It doesn’t work that way.
Neal Schaffer 12:25
Right? But I guarantee if you become a bigger part, you don’t have to do all of them, pick one or two. Right? It’s not rocket science, these social networks. I mean, my 14-year-old daughter, I just let her start Instagram because she’s a freshman in high school now.
It’s like, “Okay. You can use social media now but I have a bunch of rules.” But I mean she’s teaching me things I don’t even know. It’s very intuitive the way they’ve created social networks so squat there and do it.
Jillian Leslie 12:50
Okay. So I absolutely agree with everything that you have said. For example, I started this podcast because I love podcasts and I listen to podcasts. And I do that more than say, be on YouTube. So, therefore, podcasting made perfect sense for me because I understand the media, right?
Neal Schaffer 13:14
Jillian Leslie 13:14
But here’s the thing that I think bloggers sometimes miss. Especially when it comes to something like Instagram, which is “I need to grow my Instagram followers. I need to grow my Instagram followers.” And bloggers are really good at growing Instagram followers, especially if they use MiloTree for example.
But then the question is, what do I do with them? So for you as a solopreneur, you consult right? So you’re trying to use social media to ultimately find clients that you can then teach social media to.
Neal Schaffer 13:49
Correct. I’m no different than your blogger audience actually.
Jillian Leslie 13:52
Okay. But I feel like sometimes my blogger audience feels like just getting followers is the end goal and they don’t take it to “Well, how do I monetize social media?”
Neal Schaffer 14:06
Yeah. It’s just this evergreen topic that a lot of people are confused about. At the end of the day, you have to have passion, you have to have a product to sell, and you also have a community that wants that product.
In order to build the community that wants that product, you need to have a certain type of branding. If you’re just posting about what you had for breakfast, you are what you tweet. If you’re posting those photos on Instagram, you’re going to attract foodies.
If you’re like a food photographer, that might be a perfect audience for you. But if you want to attract people that are interested in what you have to sell, you obviously have to be pushing that content.
Now, people do this in a blog, and a blog is where you should be 100% on brand. But every social network is slightly different. I think Pinterest, you can be 100% on brand. But on Instagram, if you’re just posting out images of like, quote images of things from your blog posts, I do not think you’re going to be that successful.
Every social network is very different, right? Instagram is different because you’re competing with photographers with models. I mean if you’re also competing with the same sort of people on Facebook.
But people become really really good at taking really really good photos and really really good videos. And then there’s your image that you created using the camera template, and it just is not as engaging as seeing a person.
I just finished writing my next book, which is going to be published in March. It’s really on how to build influence in social media and how to leverage influence called the age of influence.
I don’t want to get into promoting my own book, but I will say that in my endorsements, or in my foreword, I should say, I did thank a lot of people that had inspired me. One of them is Jenn Herman. Now, Jenn Herman. I don’t know if you’ve heard of her Jillian.
Jillian Leslie 15:57
Neal Schaffer 15:58
Okay. Jenn Herman, I consider to be one of the biggest experts on Instagram. There’s a few of them out there. I think a lot of people talk about Peg Fitzpatrick. A lot of people talk about Sue Zimmerman. She’s in that league.
Jenn actually blogged on my blog about Instagram like seven years ago. And she had just been on target. Whenever she has something to announce, she doesn’t put up a camera image, she puts up a picture of herself with text that sort of hints at what she’s going to be talking about.
And then she writes almost a mini blog post on her Instagram photo, obviously, if you want to get further information, you know, LinkedIn bio, so there’s just a very, very different way of operating an Instagram than you would on for instance, Pinterest.
I used to create a pin for every blog post I created. And then I realized, you know what, some of this stuff is just not relevant to the Pinterest audience. I don’t have to pin every single blog post on Pinterest if it’s not relevant to the audience.
So a lot of it is experimentation. A lot of it is looking at thought leaders in your industry, looking at those bloggers that you think are successful.
But at the end of the day, you have to monetize, you have to limit the time you spend, and you have to spend the time in the social networks that are actually driving business for you.
But I will say out of all the networks, why Instagram is important and why a lot of people like myself, I know Jenny Melrose has really been talking about Instagram stories, but it really is the best way, outside of LinkedIn, which is really for business.
It really is the easiest and best way to engage with people in social media today, as we record this podcast. This may change next year, it may change next month but truly and organically you have the ability to reach the most number of people.
And with just the engaging functionality you have in stories, and obviously with the ability to message anybody, you do have the ability to really engage and get to know people in in a deeper way that you can in any other social network.
And that’s where I get back to if you want to monetize, you need to build community. In order to build community, you need to have engaged. You need to build relationships with people. And that’s where it gets down to.
You’re not going to generate the traffic on Instagram that you get on Pinterest, right? I get more traffic on Pinterest than I got on Facebook or from LinkedIn.
There are some days where my Instagram though will be Facebook for traffic, will be LinkedIn for traffic for me. You need to sort of put it in perspective.
Right now, I focus on the networks where I can generate a lot of traffic for my blog. My number one is actually Twitter. My number two is Pinterest. Twitter and Pinterest is easy to automate. Right? In an authentic way.
Instagram, you can’t really automate. Instagram, I know I have to spend more time but I think there’s going to be greater ROI over time. So Twitter, Pinterest, I do as much automation as I can to scale. And then, with that extra time I like to try to engage and really build up a community on Instagram.
I’ve already gotten business from Instagram. I think there’s a lot of other people that have as well. It really comes from those relationships and being there constantly, whether it’s publishing or engaging with your community.
Jillian Leslie 19:09
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Okay. So let’s break down what you do on Instagram daily. Tell us your strategy.
Neal Schaffer 21:19
So Instagram requires a few different things. If I was publishing every day on Instagram, I’d be a happy camper. I am not. That’s always been my goal. I do publish a few times a week.
I mean I’ve been an Instagram since like 2012 or 2013 myself, and I really never used it for business. Obviously, I have a lot of followers on social. They found me on Instagram. I’ve really kept it to keep in touch with people.
Now, when I travel, or when I speak at events like Social Media Marketing World, obviously, I’ll be posting more photos. But over the last year or two, I really want to develop my own strategy.
So as I said, I don’t think Instagram should be 100% business only. That’s my own personal Philosophy. I think when you have a broader reach, and you post things that your community would engage with, it’s going to help your overall engagement.
On Facebook in the old days, you might have posted a blog post and you might have posted a picture or quote image because you want to get more engagement right? It’s the same thing with Instagram.
I’ve created my own sort of buckets of content over the last few months where it is one-third travel. I define that as business travel because I do do a lot of business traveling, a lot of it is international, so there’s always travel. And I go to Japan a few times a year so there is definitely this Japan/travel component that I have that I know people engage with.
The other one is food. Wherever I travel in the world I love to you know, sample the cuisine. I eat a lot of Asian food here in Southern California. So there is that food part that people definitely engage with.
I’ll tell you. There are bloggers out there that will engage in my food posts because they like to eat food too you know. Guess what, we all need to eat food. And there’s also a part that will engage with the travel.
And then the other third is the more business-focused. It could be a blog post. It could be a podcast. It could be an event that I’m speaking at or a webinar. I try to mix it up that way so it’s not 100% business.
Guess which posts always perform the worst? It’s always the business post. Right? I did do an Instagram story, a poll several months ago asking my followers. “Do you want me to post more social media content on Instagram?”
And I think it was like 32 to two yes. And so, that’s what gave me the confidence. If you’ve been posting 100%, business in Instagram, I take a step back. And by posting these other things, people get to know you better, right?
That’s why I encourage you. You need lifestyle content bucket on Instagram, and you need to shift the weight of those greater than any other social network. You don’t need to do this on Pinterest. Okay?
Jillian Leslie 23:47
Neal Schaffer 23:49
You should do this on Facebook. But on Instagram, that’s where I would post the least amount of business content and get the most connection with people, whatever it is that you’re passionate about.
In that way, I think Jillian, you’re actually going to have more fun on Instagram as well because you’re posting about things that you’re passionate about outside of your business. But you’re going to create these different touch points with people, right.
So maybe a blogger is following you and/or a potential client is following you and they haven’t really engaged with you but then they see that one thing like, “Oh, my God. Carbonara is my most favorite dish too.” “Oh, you’re in Turkey? I went to Istambul.” It’s these little connections that really generate the sparks.
Jillian Leslie 24:40
Now, here’s a question. How are you using posts versus stories?
Neal Shaffer 24:45
So, stories. I try to post stories more frequently knowing that they disappear in 24 hours. This becomes another best practice is to really batch things, right? I never went with an Instagram business account, I have a personal account.
The reason being that I always stayed with a business account, you’re going to get dinged in the algorithm. Now, a lot of people on Instagram say that’s not the case.
Instagram reached out to me when they developed this creator account. Right now, I have a creator account, which I think is better than a business account, actually. But the tools, no, you cannot automate it with like a tail, because it’s not a business account.
I’m trying to get into the process of batching and getting content ready in advance. But here’s the thing, Jillian. I was in Europe a few weeks ago. And just a few days ago, I published a photo of when I was in Europe.
So, you don’t have to publish everything all at once. Once you batch it you can drip it over time. But when I don’t have stuff over time, or I don’t have the inspiration to post that day, that’s where I can go to a story. And it’s really about in the now.
I like to be real-time with Stories. I also tend to do more video on story. And I have noticed, Jillian, I know that everyone’s saying “Oh, you got to be on stories.” And you know, I’ve had potential sponsors reach out to me saying, “Hey, does your community engage with you more on stories or in the feed?”
And to be honest with you, my feed has really been at par with stories. But over the past few weeks, I’ve definitely noticed more impressions or I should say more engagement on stories than on my post. So it’s definitely increasing.
The other thing I use a story for, I do have over 10,000 followers, so I can use a swipe up. I can use Jenny Melrose’s advice and try to DM. I don’t know if it’s better or she had something to keep driving that so you don’t have to have 10,000 followers to do that but I do use it for that reason as well.
And it’s also stuff that is definitely more… it might be a little bit more out of brand, more lifestyle-ish. But it also may be more business if it’s sort of timely. “Hey, this is happening tomorrow. Make sure you check this out.”
So it’s still clinging to those buckets of content but just be more real-time. Try to do more video because I think people are more attentive. If I can create something interesting for 15 seconds versus on the feed where they may scroll through, and really use it in that way.
There’s no science behind it. Every day I’m on Instagram. Every day I’m looking through my feed trying to engage with other people. I follow some hashtags. I look for some new people to follow.
I also use some tools to go through my own followers. Are there people that haven’t posted in a year that have just tuned out of Instagram? Are there people that have not engaged with my content? I do a lot of different things.
Jillian Leslie 27:28
What will you do with those people?
Neal Schaffer 27:31
So I’m in a different situation. If you’re just starting out, there is no reason really to do follow and follow, right. I have been doing this for seven or eight years. So, I have done things like follow everybody.
When I began on Instagram, I started following all of my Facebook friends. Well, guess what? Three-quarters of them never posted on Instagram. So, I will go through and I will look at inactives. And I will unfollow them.
I have actually recorded a podcast about this. Instagram is very very different. You don’t have to follow a lot of people. You actually shouldn’t. It’s really about who you follow. You should keep really really good touch with.
So, I’m actually paring down. I’m actually reducing my follower count because I don’t want an activist following me. Because what happens is, when Instagram feeds my content, some of it is going to go to people that never see it.
And so, I am very scientific about that. And I say, “Hey, just because I unfollow, doesn’t mean we’re not friends. I just use Instagram very very differently. If you want to unfollow me, go for it.” I’ve announced that publicly.
I have no problem with that. Because really, you want to find your fans, and you want to develop deeper and deeper relationships with them. And from that, you know, a business will come.
But also, it sends Instagram some pretty powerful signals, that you have really, really engaging content, you have an engaging community. And it’s going to help your future content do all the more better.
There’s different phases that everybody is in. If your phase, I would say, I am trying to get my following of under 1500 people. Because I’m writing a book on influencer marketing. There are tools out there that say, if you follow more than 1500 people, you are not an influencer.
They’re saying, “Why do you need to follow more than 1500 people?” So it got me thinking because I’ve had people, some pretty influential people in social media, that we follow each other on Twitter, what have you, that have unfollowed me on Instagram.
And then I go back to their profile, and they were following 5000. Now they’re only following 500. And maybe some of you are nodding as well. You’ve seen that happen as well. And I used to have sort of a bitter grudge. I don’t have that anymore. I get it.
And in fact, when I talked to some of these influencer tool companies and Instagram marketing tool companies, they say “Hey, it’s all about who are your supporters right?”
If they’re not your supporters now, they’ve been following you for a few years, your content is just not being seen in their feed. Why waste to follow? Even my daughter, right? My daughter’s best friend follow me on Instagram. I followed her back. And she go, “Daddy, don’t waste the follow on my friend.”
Jillian Leslie 29:55
That’s so funny. That’s so funny. Okay. Could we talk though about your DM strategy on Instagram?
Neal Schaffer 30:02
So this is something I’ve just begun, right. DM is extremely powerful as we know. Tag brands in stories, tag brands in post. Whenever you talk about someone in a post, tag them Don’t tag people you don’t talk about in a post just to generate engagement because that’s really strange. Yeah, spammy.
But I have just started this concept. So if you go into who you follow on Instagram, this is all in the Instagram app, by the way. You can actually sort by the date you follow them.
You can go back to the people you followed, you know, when you just started and start with five a day. If you press messages, you’re going to see your history. Go to their feed, spend a minute or two a person just to reach out and say, “Hey, it’s been a while. How have you been?” Or, “Hey.”
There was someone that hadn’t posted in three months and I didn’t want to unfollow her so I don’t unfollow everybody, family and stuff. She was a dear person, a social media expert. She hadn’t posted in three months. She was always engaging.
And so I reached out like, “Hey, I see you haven’t posted in a while. Are you okay?” And she’s like, “Oh, I just started an eCommerce company.” It was great to reconnect even though she hadn’t posted.
So doing DMs allows you to do that. So, what I do constantly is if you go in order, you know, you DM five people, you take a screenshot on your phone of how far you went, who was the last person you DM.
And then tomorrow you start the same thing and after you’re done, you take another screenshot of who you need to DM. This is something like I said, I’ve not started to do. I plan on doing.
But look, you don’t need to spend an hour a day on social media. Right? It’s a target. Yes, you might have to spend time getting your tail in loops, or recuse. I’m forgetting the word. Or tribes, whatever.
You may have to spend time getting this stuff set up, right. You may go in once a week or when you have a new blog post. For the general social media, I don’t need spending too much time.
But the time I want you to spend should be more on the actual engagement. I do believe the two key places to do that right now are Instagram and LinkedIn, if you’re on LinkedIn and that’s where your target audience is.
Jillian Leslie 32:00
Okay. Now, what about Facebook? What is your feeling about it?
Neal Schaffer 32:04
I have spent less less time on Facebook. Facebook is still obviously at a very very active place but for businesses, it has become pay to play. So yeah, Facebook ads allows you to scale. Spend a little bit of money. Build up community there.
I think you should be present there but I just think it’s so much harder. My Facebook, I’d say is sort of on the bare minimum that I could be doing. Yes, I post once a day. I tried to do live streams.
Actually Jillian, when I do my podcast, I know that others have done this, you know use Facebook Live stream to record my podcast. I do what I can there. I also repost my Instagram to my Facebook page to try to generate engagement there, but it’s it’s a losing battle.
So personal profile, sure. You still get a lot of engagement. But I think that compared to Facebook, Instagram, it’s supply and demand. There are just too many people publishing too much content on Facebook.
You just don’t have that situation on Instagram, which is why you get a lot more engagement. I can break through and reach more people.
Make new friends, but keep the old. I wouldn’t sort of disappear on Facebook. I would do the minimum. That’s the word I’m looking for – life support. That’s pretty much what my Facebook is on.
Yeah, using Facebook ads are extremely powerful. If you have a little bit of money, definitely do that. I’d say the value for me in Facebook is more of to do live streaming to record my podcasts and for Facebook ads.
Jillian Leslie 33:33
Interesting. Okay. Okay.
Neal Schaffer 33:36
Everybody listening, all your experiences are going to be different. That’s my personal experience.
Jillian Leslie 33:44
Do you think there is a role for bloggers, let’s say on LinkedIn?
Neal Schaffer 33:50
Absolutely. I mean, you know, who is your target audience? In fact, I am actually recording a webinar today. So let me just go into some stats that I have handy here in a slide. One second here, let me scroll down. This is how I introduce LinkedIn to people.
There it is. Where did it go? Okay, not the stat I was looking for. I think like two thirds of American professionals are on LinkedIn. Here. Fifty percent of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn. So, do you think your target audience has a college degree?
Jillian Leslie 34:30
Neal Schaffer 34:31
Right? Forty-five percent of LinkedIn users earn $75,000 per year. Do you want to target people that earn more than $75,000 per year?
Jillian Leslie 34:39
Neal Schaffer 34:40
Okay. Here’s the thing. Everybody targets Pinterest because they have buying power. But the stat here that I have says that LinkedIn’s audience has two times the buying power of the average web audience. That’s really powerful.
My background is B2B sales and biz dev and marketing. If you’re trying to sell to organizations, 4 out 5 LinkedIn members drive business decisions. So, I think that up until now, a lot of bloggers are probably straight away from LinkedIn, because “Well, I’m not trying to sell to businesses and organizations.”
Jillian Leslie 35:07
Neal Schaffer 35:08
But it’s people. It’s the same people. I do the opposite. I wasn’t doing much on Pinterest, and I go to B2B marketers. And I go, “Hey.” The same people on LinkedIn, you know, some of them are on Pinterest. The same VPs, marketing directors, and marketing.
They might be on Pinterest for different reason but once in a while, they’re consuming content about marketing. So it’s the opposite thing, right? And it’s funny because LinkedIn over the past two or three years has really changed.
We know the demographics of our great country are changing, and that millennials are now majority of the workforce. Meaning that millennials are becoming a majority on every social network, including LinkedIn.
So LinkedIn has added video. They’ve recently added livestream. Not open to everybody but there’s a younger audience there that’s creating more Facebook-like content.
In fact, when I do social selling trainings, like I work with one of the largest insurance companies in the country, and I train their agents on how to best use social.
I will say, if you’re just posting about business on LinkedIn, that’s boring. Every once in a while, you should have lifestyle content on LinkedIn. I show a picture of an agent. I think she’s in South Carolina. She posted this in the hot July day, you know, my five favorite summer lemonade recipes.
It’s the same people, right? And more and more people use LinkedIn. They’re publishing lifestyle content. I know that every blogger is different in terms of the content they publish. But if you haven’t been on LinkedIn, I highly recommend you check it out.
I highly recommend you try to do some searches for the content. And it really is organic content. Even for business pages on LinkedIn. I don’t recommend you do a company page on LinkedIn. I recommend you stick with your personal profile.
I have one client and maybe it’s because they don’t have that many followers yet on LinkedIn, but they get more impressions than the number of followers they have. Per post on average.
Jillian Leslie 36:57
Wow. Okay. So I had done another podcast which I’ll link to in this episode about how LinkedIn is the new Facebook because the algorithm is so much more generous.
Neal Schaffer 37:08
And you know what? I listened to a podcast yesterday. See, I’m a big consumer now. And so, someone said a similar thing, right? I thought about it. I’m like, “Well, this is the reason why.” So Jillian, you’re the first one I’m telling this to in public.
But the reason why is Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, they can only rely on their ads. LinkedIn has a recruiter solution that they sell. They have a sale solution. Right? They have other streams of income.
So they can be a little bit more generous and say, “You know what, small businesses of America, we’re going to give you some more love in the algorithm because we don’t necessarily have to make 100% of our revenue all ads.” Huge difference.
Jillian Leslie 37:47
Huge difference. I think that’s really interesting. I think of my LinkedIn is like very formal and not aligned with who I am, but I think that you are right, which is people are doing status updates every day where they are posting that more well-rounded content.
Neal Schaffer 38:11
Yes. I think that you should also have an understanding that it is a professional audience. It is a business related audience. Also, whatever industry you’re pitching, there’s probably a business side to it. Even bloggers. There’s a B2B side.
Maybe you use Shopify for your store. Maybe you use Etsy. Whatever it is. There is a side of it, that you could curate business-related content and publish that, right. Just something to think about.
So we’re on Instagram, you have to go the opposite. You have to go lifestyle. On LinkedIn, if you just want to go lifestyle, I recommend you do the opposite and find business-related or professional development related content to mix them with that.
Jillian Leslie 38:52
I like that. I like that. They’re almost inverses of each other.
Neal Schaffer 38:58
Yes. And in fact, I noticed recently that when I post a photo when I repost something I post on Instagram on LinkedIn, it gets way more engagement than when I post a link on it on LinkedIn with some of my blog content.
I mean that alone is not going to pay the bills but I’m going to bring people back to my websites. You need that combination. But every time you publish that lifestyle post, you get that engagement, it obviously helps raise the ocean for all of your other content going forward. So yeah, it’s the opposite.
Jillian Leslie 39:26
I get it. Okay. How do you stay up on all the changes that happen in social media? You’ve been at this a long time. You’ve seen tons of changes. What do you do to stay up to date, given that that’s your business?
Neal Schaffer 39:41
Number one, I look at the data. I don’t freak out whenever there’s an algorithm change because the data will show it. Right? So that’s the first thing. Are you tracking the data? Are you tracking your Google Analytics?
Are you going into Facebook Insights, what have you, and seeing how you’re doing on a regular basis? I believe that’s the most important thing.
Number two, are you actually showing up on the platforms? Are you noticing that when you pin from your blog using the Pinterest button, at least the Chrome extension, it’s not giving you the ability to enter description?
So okay, I need to now manually go to Pinterest and add the pin there in order for me to get the description with the keywords and hashtags I want onto my board. It’s little things like that.
If you use the platforms regularly, you see things. Instagram, when they have new functionality, they always publish a story on it or they’ll sometimes put an ad in the feed to show it to you.
And then, content find you. If you’re following these people like myself or other sort of social media authors or marketing speakers, what have you, the content will find you when something new comes out.
The other thing that I do, Jillian, because I am in the business of social media and social media marketing is I curate a lot of content and I published a lot of content. Now, Twitter, is where I publish the most curated content.
So just by every day going into my RSS feeds to find content to create and publish, I’m keeping up to date on a daily basis. And maybe for bloggers that don’t know what to publish on LinkedIn, maybe by doing the same thing and just keeping up to date on a daily basis.
I mean I use a tool to do that. There’s various social media dashboards and social media tools you can use, but find the tool that works for you and just make it a routine of everyday spending a minute of scanning the headlines, finding something interesting, reading it, and then sharing it.
Jillian Leslie 41:22
What tool do you use?
Neal Schaffer 41:24
My main social media dashboard is Agorapulse. I highly recommend Agorapulse for everybody listening.
Jillian Leslie 41:31
They do some interesting tests. I like their blog.
Neal Schaffer 41:35
Their social media blog, yes. I don’t know when this is going to be published, but they are doing a social media success summit, I think is what they called it. I’m actually going to be recording this webinar for it.
It’s actually going to go public on September 25th. But it’s going to be open for a few weeks. So Jillian, I’ll give you a link to it. And if you go to Agorapulse, Twitter feed I’m sure you’ll find a link as well.
Jenn Herman. There’s going to be like 10 of us. I think Jay Baer. There is going to be some great great speakers talking about, you know. I think there’s 12 of us. And it’s going to be completely free to join. It’s going to be like 10 hours of content.
You will definitely want to check that out. Agorapulse is one. For purely curated content, I use a tool and a lot of people haven’t heard of it. It’s a tool called SocialBee. S-o-c-i-a-l-B-e-e.
I do not recommend it as a dashboard. I totally recommend Agorapulse, but for certain functionality, it’s really interesting. For instance, being able like I said, to do that daily routine of pulling an RSS feeds and being able to put them in different content categories and then move them.
If I want to make them evergreen, I can. If I just want to post them once, I can. But what’s really cool about SocialBee is they also have bees, working bees.
Working bees are VAs that they hire. So, if you want to pay someone, I think it’s for Twitter curated content, it’s like $40 a month. If you want to pay someone $40 a month to actually add 20 curated posts to your queue every month. Or was it 40 a month, I forgot what the number was. You can do that.
And you don’t have to do anything then. Just tell them the keywords. Give them some guidance, and they’ll do the work for you. And they have this for LinkedIn. They have it for a few networks as well.
It’s a tool that actually offers optional professional services at a very very reasonable rate for small business owners like my fellow bloggers out there. So I highly recommend you check that out.
Jillian Leslie 43:27
I love that. Okay. Neal, what about your business are you most excited right now?
Neal Schaffer 43:33
I have spent the last 10 years helping corporations and helping employees. What I’m most passionate now is sort of pivoting to finally having products that I can help bloggers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, because my pricing point was always too high for individual people.
I had a mommy blogger reach out to me a few days ago, I was ecstatic. She’s like, “Neal, can you help me better monetize my affiliates? Can you help me better curate content or help me create more lead magnets?”
That is what got me really excited. So it’s like I’m going to be coming out with mastermind coaching, what have you. I’m not there yet. Over the next few months, you know, I’ll reach out back to you.
So developing those products, to me, I’m really excited about because I think I really love to help people. With those products, I think I’ll be able to help people at a deeper level than what I do a one-hour speech, or even, you know, with coaching, that’s more with companies that’s more short term.
So I’m really excited about that. The other thing is, I am, like I said, publishing a book. It’s going to be called the Age of Influence. It’s going to be published in Harper Collins, so it should get some pretty good distribution.
It’s been a very very long term project that’s finally publishing on March 2020. So obviously, today, I actually have the final proofreading of the galleys. So I have to go to a coffee shop and go to 270 pages to make sure there are no typos. But yeah, I’m really excited about that.
And really, you know, I want to re educate the market on all of this stuff because I think there’s a lot of bad advice out there, right. And I think you’d agree, Jillian. There’s no cookie-cutter approach.
And you know, Jillian, I rebranded myself from a brand name, which maximized your social, which is also the name of my podcast, to Neal Schaffer. I think that the more that you can showcase you, that is going to be the best, most memorable brand.
Because when people are going through feeds, and they see logos, and they see ads, and they see purely self-promotional content, and then they see your real face your real authentic content, you’re just going to build a much deeper relationship. Instagram and all the social networks are going to love you for that.
So I would embrace who you are more than ever today. And really, if you haven’t shared more of your life, I would definitely do that. Even the things that you think are really boring. Let me tell you, they are really exciting.
That sunset that you see every day that you think is really boring or really mundane is really exciting to other people around the world that may not be able to see that sunset for whatever reason. So that’s really you know, my advice today for everybody listening.
Jillian Leslie 46:05
I love that. I love that. It is to show up even with no makeup on, even with all your warts showing, show them.
Neal Schaffer 46:14
Jillian Leslie 46:15
It’s okay. It actually is endearing.
Neal Schaffer 46:18
Yes. Because you know what, we’re real people. I mean look at it. If you are jealous because you see other bloggers that are on travel tours, and they’re in a bikini and they’re in Hawaii and someone’s taking a picture from behind them. Right?
I talked to some of my clients, and one of her good friends has made millions of dollars on YouTube. And she is, I don’t know, maybe 22 or 23. So she was at the right place at the right time.
But guess what? Her boyfriend is a really really good photographer, right. So behind every one of those people that you see with those fantastic photos, there is someone else that’s taking their photo, right?
They’re not taking them on their own. They have a business partner. They have someone who they’ve hired or a friend or someone they’re in a dear relationship with. You have to remember that.
Not everybody can do that. Not everybody does. If you want to do that, just hire. When I was in Tokyo last time, I went on to Craigslist and hired someone to do a photoshoot with me, right?
There was someone locally in Anaheim, who has a pool at her house that said, “Hey, I’ll do a photoshoot with you around my pool like 40 bucks for an hour.” You get beautiful shots, right? So if that’s what you want to do, there’s a way to do that.
Your Instagram feed, the photos in your feed, that’s your personal branding or the branding of your business. That’s like your LinkedIn profile, right. You don’t want to post anything and everything there.
But stories, you actually should post anything and everything. That’s going to be the glue that’s going to keep people engaged with you. You should be selected as what you put on your feed is what I’m saying.
But in stories, I think people do want to see the raw you, the person behind the person. And that’s where you want to post that content. Over time you begin to see the feed as a very very different beast than the stories.
And really, stories, you want to be intentional, but with the feed, you want to be really intentional, because for everybody that follows you, there might be 10 or 20 other people that are coming to your profile and checking out your feed and not following you for whatever reason.
Jillian Leslie 48:21
Right. I love that. Okay. Neal, how can people reach out to you and learn more?
Neal Schaffer 48:27
Well, as I said, I rebranded myself so I am Neal Schaffer pretty much everywhere. I’m even on snapchat, but I don’t really use it, so don’t find me there.
Jillian Leslie 48:34
Okay. So wait, and it’s N-E-A-L-S-C-H-A-F-F-E-R .com?
Neal Schaffer 48:40
Yeah, that’s correct. My podcast is the only thing. If you search Neal Schaffer, you’ll find it but it’s Maximize Your Social.
So if you’re a podcast person, I have about 130 episodes under my belt. I hope you’ll check that out. And yeah.
Jillian Leslie 48:55
Well Neal, thank you so much for being on the show.
Neal Schaffer 48:59
Thank you, Jillian.
Jillian Leslie 49:00
I hope you guys liked that episode. For me, the big takeaway is putting my life, your life out there, especially on Instagram, in our stories. It’s something that I’m still working on, but I completely see the value.
So, I have two asks. I know I’m only supposed to have one call to action, but I think you guys are really smart. So I’m going to ask you for two.
One, please go to facebook and join my facebook group, the MiloTree Mastermind Group. I would love, love, love to see you there.
And two, if you are liking the podcast, share it with a friend. The more people who listen, the better the guests I can get. So anyway, that is all I’ve got for you. I will be here again next week.
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