The Future of Social Media: Being Everywhere (a Steve Rubel Interview)

social media expert interviewIn this video I interview Steve Rubel, Senior Vice President at Edelman Digital. Steve advises some of the biggest names in the world, such as Dannon, Hewlett Packard, Pepsi and Microsoft, on social media.

Watch this video to pick up some of the nuggets of social media advice he gives his clients. One valuable tip Steve gives is about “shared mutual gain” and what it means.  Steve also explains why he quit blogging.

You will also learn why Steve believes digital is mandatory and not optional.  And here are a few other takeaways:

  • Why you need to have a presence on all social networks where your customers are spending time.
  • How to use mixed messages to tailor your stories to different venues.
  • How to measure social media metrics.
  • Why the different vectors of reach, engagement and reputation lead to trust.
  • Why it’s important to understand people & understand business.

And Steve also shares some insights about why he stopped blogging on Micro Persuasion and started lifestreaming on Posterous.

What are your takeaways? Do you agree that blogging is old? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, and host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. He also authored of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.TheConfidentCopywriter.com/ Victoria Ipri

    Mike, this was a fantastic few minutes of learning…a real crash course in the future of social media marketing. I didn’t want it to end! I’m not surprised to hear Steve predict tangible media will be on the way out or completely out in 5 years. Many ‘experts’ posted 2010 predictions with similiar sentiments. I especially appreciated the ‘social media measurement funnel’ of reach, engagement and reputation, all leading to customers who trust you and ultimately purchase from you. As far as blogging…my god..when would the guy have time even if he wanted to? :) My blog is new, so I’m not ready to let it go yet. But I can imagine in one year I may be ready to move on after building a larger base. He makes a ton of sense.

  • http://www.TheConfidentCopywriter.com/ Victoria Ipri

    Mike, this was a fantastic few minutes of learning…a real crash course in the future of social media marketing. I didn’t want it to end! I’m not surprised to hear Steve predict tangible media will be on the way out or completely out in 5 years. Many ‘experts’ posted 2010 predictions with similiar sentiments. I especially appreciated the ‘social media measurement funnel’ of reach, engagement and reputation, all leading to customers who trust you and ultimately purchase from you. As far as blogging…my god..when would the guy have time even if he wanted to? :) My blog is new, so I’m not ready to let it go yet. But I can imagine in one year I may be ready to move on after building a larger base. He makes a ton of sense.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSocialExec Ryon Harms

    I like Steve’s work but he’s totally off on blogs being obsolete, there will always be a place where you’ll need to expand on your thoughts, unless of course your thoughts are always only 140 charters long. Blogs, in my opinion, will continue to be the mothership of all social media strategy until something better comes along for expressing yourself in a well thought out manner.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSocialExec Ryon Harms

    I like Steve’s work but he’s totally off on blogs being obsolete, there will always be a place where you’ll need to expand on your thoughts, unless of course your thoughts are always only 140 charters long. Blogs, in my opinion, will continue to be the mothership of all social media strategy until something better comes along for expressing yourself in a well thought out manner.

  • http://philbaumann.com philbaumann

    I think the answer depends on what you think blogging is. I don’t see blogging as simply publishing content on a web page. Blogging hones many other skills which are critical in developing an effective presence online (and offline).

    Steve is right to call attention to the diffuse nature of the web and the need for companies to speedily convey their message and interact with stakeholders.

    But I wouldn’t advise companies to skip blogging. Why? Because having a presence online is a long-term prospect that requires discipline and creativity and pliancy and responsibility. Having a home-base is an essential component of an effective presence.

    What I would suggest is that companies not over-do blogging or over-invest in blogging at the expense of all the other varieties of media and the different modes of social interaction. All media are important to master – and even though blogging is no longer a novel medium, it’s still one of the simplest means to convey the core essence of a company’s character and goals and activities.

    @PhilBaumann

  • http://philbaumann.com philbaumann

    I think the answer depends on what you think blogging is. I don’t see blogging as simply publishing content on a web page. Blogging hones many other skills which are critical in developing an effective presence online (and offline).

    Steve is right to call attention to the diffuse nature of the web and the need for companies to speedily convey their message and interact with stakeholders.

    But I wouldn’t advise companies to skip blogging. Why? Because having a presence online is a long-term prospect that requires discipline and creativity and pliancy and responsibility. Having a home-base is an essential component of an effective presence.

    What I would suggest is that companies not over-do blogging or over-invest in blogging at the expense of all the other varieties of media and the different modes of social interaction. All media are important to master – and even though blogging is no longer a novel medium, it’s still one of the simplest means to convey the core essence of a company’s character and goals and activities.

    @PhilBaumann

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hi Ryon,

    I do not think he’s saying blogging is obsolete. I think for him it was just aging and he made the decision to move to what he calls life streaming using tools like Posterous.

    By the way we did a good post on Posterous here:
    http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/7-ways-posterous-improves-your-social-media-presence/

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hi Ryon,

    I do not think he’s saying blogging is obsolete. I think for him it was just aging and he made the decision to move to what he calls life streaming using tools like Posterous.

    By the way we did a good post on Posterous here:
    http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/7-ways-posterous-improves-your-social-media-presence/

  • michellecarvill

    I’m sitting with Phil on this one. Blogging is currently the central hub for businesses social media activity – it underpins what they are sharing. And whilst Steve may consider it an aging medium – there are still so many businesses out there that even now, do not currently host a blog – and social media is still such fertile territory. I agree, it’s not about blogging for blogging’s sake – but utilising these channels strategically. If anything, I think we’ll see an increase in the focus given to blogging before we see it phased out… His sentiment about digital not being optional – I agree 100% but there’s still a long way to go. Exciting times ahead…keeping up with it all is the biggest challenge – and it’s refreshing to see that even someone who’s end game is to keep on top of emerging trends etc – also finds it significantly challenging!

  • michellecarvill

    I’m sitting with Phil on this one. Blogging is currently the central hub for businesses social media activity – it underpins what they are sharing. And whilst Steve may consider it an aging medium – there are still so many businesses out there that even now, do not currently host a blog – and social media is still such fertile territory. I agree, it’s not about blogging for blogging’s sake – but utilising these channels strategically. If anything, I think we’ll see an increase in the focus given to blogging before we see it phased out… His sentiment about digital not being optional – I agree 100% but there’s still a long way to go. Exciting times ahead…keeping up with it all is the biggest challenge – and it’s refreshing to see that even someone who’s end game is to keep on top of emerging trends etc – also finds it significantly challenging!

  • Guest

    Hello Micheal, this interview was inspiring awe as you always do. Thanks for sharing.

  • Guest

    Hello Micheal, this interview was inspiring awe as you always do. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks!

  • Juliesquires

    Excellent, thanks. The WordPress.org search optimized platforms make blogging just too compelling; we see many smart business people starting blogs now. Is blogging, perhaps, an important first step for eventually being everywhere? Blogging is just moving from childhood to adolescence. It can be the central hub for many businesses. We’re replacing our website with a blog, following the lead of http://www.copyblogger, http://www.chrisbrogan and our friends at http://www.toprankblog.

  • Juliesquires

    Excellent, thanks. The WordPress.org search optimized platforms make blogging just too compelling; we see many smart business people starting blogs now. Is blogging, perhaps, an important first step for eventually being everywhere? Blogging is just moving from childhood to adolescence. It can be the central hub for many businesses. We’re replacing our website with a blog, following the lead of http://www.copyblogger, http://www.chrisbrogan and our friends at http://www.toprankblog.

  • http://www.jerrysjuicebar.com/ Jerry Johnson @jjohnsondc

    As long as there are search engines that index against them, blogs will be an important tool both in conveying ideas and making them findable.

  • http://www.jerrysjuicebar.com/ Jerry Johnson @jjohnsondc

    As long as there are search engines that index against them, blogs will be an important tool both in conveying ideas and making them findable.

  • http://inboundmarketingpr.com/ RM – InBoundMarketingPR

    Very rich interview with Steve Rubel, but I also enjoyed all the comments. Excellent points being made on blogging as a SM platform. I agree, it’s still a very young concept, in the sense that not many of the big corporations/companies have caught on. Michelle made some very interesting points. I do believe that for someone like Steve, who has found that success online, blogging is very time consuming for him. I am definitely trying both just for the learning curve of it.

  • http://inboundmarketingpr.com/ RM – InBoundMarketingPR

    Very rich interview with Steve Rubel, but I also enjoyed all the comments. Excellent points being made on blogging as a SM platform. I agree, it’s still a very young concept, in the sense that not many of the big corporations/companies have caught on. Michelle made some very interesting points. I do believe that for someone like Steve, who has found that success online, blogging is very time consuming for him. I am definitely trying both just for the learning curve of it.

  • http://www.djnightlife.com DJ NightLife

    I couldn’t disagree more on some points: “There hasn’t been any community site that [...] power for more than 3 years..” Euhm, Facebook is almost 6 years old ? Unlike Geocities, Facebook keeps evolving and it’s here to stay “Post different content on different sites” If you said people do not have time to read anymore, they do not have time to subscribe 30 social networks as well… I’ve tested results using ping.fm and the trafic from other networks is not even 0.01% of my total traffic. My opinion would be: invest time on sites that it deserves to and where your customers are. In my case, it’s 95% Facebook, 5% Twitter, and looking forward launching YouTube content one day.

    It also really depends on what field of activity you operate. In my case, LinkedIn is completely useless after trying it.

    On a more positive note, thanks for sharing us Instapaper, it’s the ish! Days that I used to email myself links are behind me :)

  • http://www.djnightlife.com DJ NightLife

    I couldn’t disagree more on some points: “There hasn’t been any community site that [...] power for more than 3 years..” Euhm, Facebook is almost 6 years old ? Unlike Geocities, Facebook keeps evolving and it’s here to stay “Post different content on different sites” If you said people do not have time to read anymore, they do not have time to subscribe 30 social networks as well… I’ve tested results using ping.fm and the trafic from other networks is not even 0.01% of my total traffic. My opinion would be: invest time on sites that it deserves to and where your customers are. In my case, it’s 95% Facebook, 5% Twitter, and looking forward launching YouTube content one day.

    It also really depends on what field of activity you operate. In my case, LinkedIn is completely useless after trying it.

    On a more positive note, thanks for sharing us Instapaper, it’s the ish! Days that I used to email myself links are behind me :)

  • http://www.profitablesocialmarketing.com/ Pam Brossman

    Very powerful and informative interview. Thank you so much for providing such insightful and ‘just makes sense’ information. And thank you for providing me with the one line that says it all for my target market ‘digital is not optional it is mandatory’. What exciting times we have in store. Thank you for providing such great content.
    Cheers
    Pam Brossman

  • http://www.profitablesocialmarketing.com/ Pam Brossman

    Very powerful and informative interview. Thank you so much for providing such insightful and ‘just makes sense’ information. And thank you for providing me with the one line that says it all for my target market ‘digital is not optional it is mandatory’. What exciting times we have in store. Thank you for providing such great content.
    Cheers
    Pam Brossman

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey DJ,

    To be fair Facebook has not been an open network for more than 3 years. It was private and closed to only students. However I do agree that Facebook does have the staying power that the other networks lack. The big questions is what will be competing against it in 2 years. Look out for Google…

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey DJ,

    To be fair Facebook has not been an open network for more than 3 years. It was private and closed to only students. However I do agree that Facebook does have the staying power that the other networks lack. The big questions is what will be competing against it in 2 years. Look out for Google…

  • jimmatorin

    Absolutely agree with you. I started blogging because peers urged me on since I have unique opinions. I was having a difficult time getting published. Blogging is all about self publishing. Now I have a following that is looking for what I have to share. My blogs provoke thought. In the end it is all about content. Other social media tools do not facilitate content 100% of the time.

  • jimmatorin

    Absolutely agree with you. I started blogging because peers urged me on since I have unique opinions. I was having a difficult time getting published. Blogging is all about self publishing. Now I have a following that is looking for what I have to share. My blogs provoke thought. In the end it is all about content. Other social media tools do not facilitate content 100% of the time.

  • http://www.cakescientist.com/ Cassie Rice

    This was a very informative interview – very content rich. Although, I don’t agree with a couple points he made. I don’t agree that brands should be sending out mixed messages in different mediums. I do think they should tailor their message to each medium, but they should send similar messages for branding purposes.

    Also, I don’t agree that blogging is becoming obsolete. I think right now is just the beginning of blogging. The concept has been developed and will continue to be developed much further. I remember that blogging started off in the late 90s as a journal/diary for many people. Then over time, it became more of a source for news and other useful information. Eventually, it may even take the place of newspapers, who knows (although, that is already beginning to happen to an extent). Also, it is true that there are many people that don’t want to read articles that are like essays, but there are a lot of people who really do like reading essay-long articles as well. I don’t think there’s enough of a majority of people who don’t like reading long articles for that to change quite yet.

    My two cents…
    Cassie Rice

  • http://www.TheConfidentCopywriter.com/ Victoria Ipri

    Cassie, I think what you are saying is essentially what Steve expressed: different messages for different audiences delivered through different media. To an extent, many of us are doing that now. We write an article on a topic, then condense it down for use as a blog, then condense it further as a tweet. That same message, altered slightly for three different delivery channels, reaches a broad audience across all three channels, specifically because…some people prefer the tweet and some people want the meat! lol

  • http://www.indiebusinessblog.com Donna Maria Coles Johnson

    Thanks to Michael and Steve for this informative and interesting interview. I am commenting from the perspective of small business owners. Posterous is a great platform, just like FaceBook and others, and lifestreaming is an amazing and fun thing. However, I feel strongly that it’s a mistake to rely quite this heavily on a third party owned website for the nucleus of branded outreach. As Steve stated in the interview, the tools we use will change and evolve. What if Posterous disappears one day? Or the owners change it so significantly that it no longer serves Steve’s needs? If that happens, what will Steve do? If he has not been feeding is Posterous content to a branded blog, he may end up having to manually duplicate the content in some way (at best) or lose it altogether (at worst.) I maintain a fairly active presence at about a dozen third party hosted lifestreaming and social networks. They all connect with my blog in some way so that, no matter what the owners of those sites do, I will maintain control over my content and how it appears and is distributed. I would love to hear comments on this strategy from others, including Steve. Thanks again for a great interview!

  • http://www.hightouchweb.com HighTouch

    I have to say, this was refreshing. I have not blogged in about a month. I find that I am just restating alot of what other people are already restating. It is recycled info just in someone else’s view point. I am not saying that blogging is not necessary, but say something when you have something to say. I am going to check out Posterous and see what that is about.

    Thanks for the insight!

  • http://www.travesti10.com travesti

    Thank you for your explanation. There really useful information.

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