Sunday, November 4, 2012

Social Marketing: Three distinct kinds of thinking needed, says speaker and author Neal Schaffer

What are the most important social media marketing skills that graduating college students need to understand?

Neal Schaffer
I’m asking three questions of some leaders in the field of social marketing and this is what I learned. This is No. 27 in the series (see the links below for other posts in the series).

Today: Neal Schaffer, president of Windmills Marketing, a social media strategic consultancy, author of the books Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing and Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn. He can be found on Twitter as @NealSchaffer

Social media marketing requires three kinds of thinking to be successful, says Schaffer.

"I believe that traditional marketing and business skills are still important in social marketing, but social media marketing definitely requires that you are strong in these areas," he says.

"Analytical thinking: There will be a need to crunch a lot of as well as analyze data from your social efforts.

"Creative thinking: No doubt that you will always have to be thinking out of the box as to how to better engage people and have them talk and share content about your brand.

"'Analogue Social' thinking: Social marketing is not rocket science, but it requires a different mindset," Schaffer says.

"Social media was made for people, not for businesses, so there is a need to always remember this and be customer-centric in thinking," he says. "I call it an 'analogue social' thought process, but it comes down to thinking naturally of how people relate to each other and what makes them tick when they are active on social channels."

"The successful social marketer understands the role that social media plays in his or her business and is confident in their having played a role in influencing the success of their marketing program," Schaffer says. 

 "This means that they can speak to past results and how they influenced tangible business results," he says.

Social media is the "newest, fastest growing and continues to be the least understood part of modern marketing," Schaffer says.

"Social doesn't exist in a silo and complements every other type of marketing, so it doesn't replace any marketing channel," he says.

"However, it can play an increasingly important role as a channel in its own right as well as how it can positively affect all of the other marketing that you are doing."

So, what do you think? How important is social marketing to the future of marketing and what skills and knowledge MUST graduating students have?

Previous posts:
10 Experts Weigh In On Social Marketing
10 More Experts Weigh In On Social Marketing
Social Marketing: 'Be yourself' to be successful, says Ted Rubin of ROR fame
Social Marketing: Converse, don't broadcast says Ricoh’s Sandra Zoratti
Social Marketing: 'Be able to communicate well,' says strategist and author Jason Falls
Social Marketing: Wanting to connect and being inquisitive are keys, says Lisa Grimm


  1. You have given some awesome information about social media in this post. I think 'Creative thinking' is the most important factor in social media. Thanks for sharing. Cheers!!

  2. Maz Capps from - Loving your blog. I think that people completely underestimate the power of social media. It may take time but it will filter through to SME eventually. Hope it won't be too late for these small businesses. Comet in the UK not even a small business but a large one which went under for failing to prioritise digital marketing.

  3. These are 3 good tips to ponder on when you're starting to market your own business in social media sites. But for me, being creative is the most important. You must think of some ways on how to keep your consumers viewing and buying your products. You can either write useful information or share your experiences. Both are good styles, actually.

  4. I think that these three skills and qualities work hand in hand in social media marketing. A balance of these three traits will result in a successful marketing strategy because one may come up of a variety of effective ways in reaching and relating to a market.

    Bryan Douglas

  5. All three skills are equally important in social media marketing because each play a vital role in the process. From the conceptualization to the application of the marketing strategy, analytical, creative, and analogue social thinking are being used to be able to effectively execute the marketing plan.

    Sage Aumick

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