What I Learned In 75 Minutes With Mark Schaefer

As a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I’ve had some amazing opportunities other people could only dream of. My sophomore year I watched President Obama speak from atop Bascom Hill. When I finally walk across the stage during my graduation in May, Katie Couric will be in attendance as the commencement speaker. I feel fortunate to go to such a great school and it’s something I will never take for granted.

On February 12th my seemingly perfect undergraduate experience got even better when Mark Schaefer, a globally-recognized consultant, educator, and author, generously agreed to speak with my social media class.

To offer some perspective, five weeks ago I didn’t even know who Mark Schaefer was. But that all changed when I purchased his book, The Tao of Twitter, the best-selling book on Twitter in the world. From the moment I flipped to page one, I couldn’t put it down. I don’t remember ever blazing through a book in a shorter amount of time.front-cover

In it Mark delves into the heart and soul of what makes Twitter one of the most widely used social media channels today. As a graduating college student eager to learn more about social media and content marketing, The Tao of Twitter was exactly what I was looking for.

What made my experience reading the book that much more exciting was the fact that I knew I would get to hear from Mark himself.

When I look back on the 75 minutes Mark spent with my class, two main points stick out.

1. Just Be Yourself

As a budding blogger, I often struggle with finding the confidence to produce content. What do I have to say about content marketing? There are thousands of blogs that talk about SEO or landing pages, how am I any different?

That’s when Mark replied, “Be original. Be yourself.” What Mark helped me to realize is the importance of offering your own personal perspective. Blogging is about finding your own voice. Comparing yourself to others will do you no good.

By having the courage to let your passion for a topic shine through your content, it will be easy for others to see what makes you different. In turn, you can attract your own audience that enjoys the unique perspective and ideas that only you can offer. After all, there is only one you. You have no competition.

If you want to hear more from Mark, check out his blog post, “Why you don’t want to be Chris Brogan,” in which he discusses how the biggest mistake in his early career was trying to be somebody else.

2. Be More Human

People in today’s society are constantly bombarded by advertisements. We’ve all seen those infomercials that want you to, “Pick up the phone and buy now!” The ads pop up so often you can practically recite the script from memory after a few days. shamwow

When it comes to interacting with people on Twitter, Mark offered a refreshing perspective, “Be friendly and helpful to people. Look for ways to be selfless. Give things to others instead of always asking for something.”

Too often people are wrapped up in figuring out what they can get from someone. Twitter is a way to develop more authentic relationships.

For example, Mark developed a lifelong friendship from one simple tweet, “Go Steelers!” You’re probably wondering how is that possible? Well, Twitter is kind of a like a handshake. It is a great way to connect with anyone in the world over a common interest. From there, selflessness can take a relationship to places a simple advertisement never could. The key is to treat humans like humans.

Think about your daily life. When you first meet someone do you ask them to buy something from you or try to shove a blog post down their throat? Of course not. Genuine concern and helpfulness are part of the foundation from which a trusting relationship can blossom. The same rules apply to Twitter. Start connecting and interacting with people the same way you would in real life and watch your network grow.

Want to Learn More? 

Are you interested in reading more about who this Mark guy really is? Visit his blog, Grow, one of the top social media marketing blogs in the world. It’s well worth your time.

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