Neal Schaffer is the second person that I met face to face through social media, and I’m really glad that I had the chance to meet him when I did. I had wanted to meet Neal after reading his book, Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing, and on a trip to California (the same one that I met Calvin Lee on) I asked Neal if he was willing to meet up. Neal went out of his way to come meet me at a time when he was really busy, and I’m very thankful for that. Prior to meeting up in person, Neal and I chatted frequently via social media, and so the groundwork for our face to face meeting was set. I remember the conversation being incredibly encouraging; with both of us being very interested in what the other was doing. It was great to be able to soak in all of the tips and advice that Neal had to give me, and the meeting really set the example of how I wanted to be whenever I met people through social media in the future. Neal gave me some great advice about keeping a good balance between being social online and offline, and not allowing social media to interrupt family time. Nothing and no one online is more important that the family that surrounds you in person. Lastly, when talking about social business, Neal is a great resource and his LinkedIn (mentioned above) and his Maximize Your Social books are must reads! A big thanks to Neal for including me in his book, it was a huge honor.
Me: How and When did you get started in Social Media?
Neal Schaffer: I signed up on LinkedIn in the early days as I worked in the high tech industry and got invited back in 2004, I believe. My LinkedIn user ID is something like 235,001, so I was one of the first million users. However, I didn’t really use the site until early 2008 when I had a specific objective that had me utilizing LinkedIn as a business tool: To find a job for the first time in the United States after working in Asia for 15 years. That ultimately started me in the path of becoming a social media author, speaker, and consultant.
Me: I was first interested to meet you after reading your book “Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing”. LinkedIn has grown a bit since that book was published, can you tell us what some of the great new features of LinkedIn are and why we should take advantage of them?
Neal Schaffer: Most of the features that I recommended in Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing are available today. The new features are more opportunities for Sponsored Updates from Company Pages, Showcase Pages for brands replacing the Products and Services tabs of Company Pages, and the recent introduction of the LinkedIn Publishing Platform for all to use.
Me: Your other book, “Maximize Your Social”, really helps lay down framework for starting a social media program and building a strategy. If there is one piece of advice that you can give small businesses that are looking to start a social program, what would that be?
Neal Schaffer: Understand that social is a continuing operation that will require you to support it on and ongoing basis through time and resources. If you’re not willing to make that investment, your best bet, in all honesty, is probably to focus your efforts elsewhere. If you are willing to make the investment, you’re ready to Maximize Your Social!