Maximize Your Social – Book Interview

Heidi Cohen Interviews Neal Schaffer

Maximize Your SocialWhat’s your best piece of advice for readers looking to improve their marketing?

Gain deep knowledge of social media and gather data points to help support your social media strategy. Social media is a mainstream communications channel, and you can’t afford to allow your business to get left behind.

It’s important to educate, experiment, and measure all of the different things you can do in social media so that you can determine what unique value you will derive from your social presence after creating a social media strategy as outlined in Maximize Your Social.

What was the inspiration for your book?

When I left my first job, General Manager of China Sales for ROHM Semiconductor, I told all of my managers that they needed to exceed what I had accomplished as I would also move on to my new heights.

Writing and publishing Maximize Your Social was a way for me to reveal the science behind creating a social media strategy so that I could help raise the social media literacy of the business community and focus on what I believe to be the higher value-added work regarding the “art” of social media strategy.

I truly wanted to reveal all that I knew through my social media strategy consulting experience so that I could showcase my expertise to the world as well as exceed what I had already done.

What is the key concept behind your book?

The key concept behind Maximize Your Social is that because the social media landscape is always in flux, it really should be considered an experiment.


When looking for frameworks for managed experiments, I went back into my business roots and realized that the ideal framework was something that I had studied early on in my career in Japan: The PDCA, or Deming Circle.

Developed by Professor Edwards Deming, revered in Japan as the Godfather of Quality Control, it is a simple yet eloquent framework for controlling managed experiments, and the more I thought about it the more I realized it was extremely appropriate for social media as well.


The P stands for plan, or the social media strategy. Without a social media plan it is hard to derive ROI out of one’s social media program to say the least. Outside of the execution tasks derived in the strategy, one of the critical components of a social media strategy is the objective(s) for social media and determining the KPIs that will help us measure and optimize the ROI of our program.

The D stands for do, or execution. But this isn’t just execution for execution’s sake but execution according to the strategy to ensure that we are implementing things correctly. Why would we do an experiment and go off of our assumptions? Same thing for social media: It takes discipline, but it is essential that execution is aligned with strategy.

The C stands for check, or measure. What were our assumptions as represented in our strategy, what did we do in our “experiment,” and finally what were the results of our actions? Only by checking do we see how we measured up vis a vis our KPIs and we find data insight to optimize our programs for even greater social ROI.

The A stands for action, or optimize. It is a continual kaizen process of now using our data from measurement to optimize our strategy and program so that we can continually Maximize Our Social.

While the book goes into a lot more detail on the above, that framework describes one of the key concepts behind the book.

What do you want readers to take away from your book or be different as a result of reading it? 

I want to give readers, whether they are advanced social media marketers, new-to-social media marketers, business owners, executives or anyone with an interest, to stop asking questions about social media and start actually creating a strategy and implementing upon it. The objective of the book was to replace my social media consulting through the written word, so most of all I want my readers to be able to act upon my advice and implement!

How do you describe yourself professionally?

I am a social media consultant, coach, speaker, and author that helps businesses and professionals maximize their social media potential.

What are 1-3 books that inspired your work/career?

What is the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your life or career?

From working in foreign countries where my colleagues didn’t speak fluent English to being responsible for new sales territories in the same foreign countries where companies I represented had little to no brand recognition, I’ve had to face and overcome many big challenges doing business overseas.

But it is through that experience that has given me an extremely holistic perspective on business in general, a perspective that helps fuel my own unique insight into the world of social business.

What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?

Probably that I have always wanted to be in a rock band. When I was in elementary and middle school I learned to play violin. In high school I actually joined an indies band for a few months playing electric violin. Although the band didn’t last, I actually appeared on vinyl in a compilation on two different songs from the relationships I made with other indies bands in Southern California.

Fast forward to the twenty-something Neal living in Kyoto, Japan who decided to start learning to play the drums and was studying in a room full of mainly high schoolers! I was successful at putting a band together that, through various incarnations, led to the creation of two CDs and the experience of drumming (and rapping in English) on stage in Japan for dozens of concerts.

#GoodTimes 😉

Is there a piece of content, a social media campaign or a marketing campaign that you worked on that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m actually in the process of finishing an ebook about LinkedIn in coordination with the launch of the Social Media Center of Excellence that I am particularly proud of. Based on interviews I had at LinkedIn as well as my own experience writing two books on the social network, it is a free ebook that I plan to provide to anyone who wants to better leverage LinkedIn as a social media professional, from marketers to employees who are participating in an employee advocacy program.

I believe that the perspective is unique and I am confident it will fill a need in the market for social media education. (Note: Hopefully it will be available for download in the next few weeks)

Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you’d like to share?

The only other thing is how I plan to take what I cover in Maximize Your Social and create a community to help my readers create and implement their strategies while staying up-to-date on social media. That is the new community I am creating called the Social Media Center of Excellence which I have already created a Facebook Group for and will launch the website for soon.

Neil SchafferContact information

Thanks, Neal.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

Creator Economy Expo
May 1-3 in Cleveland, OH

If you run a content-first business this is the event to attend. Last year's inaugural event in Phoenix was a huge success. Join me this year in Cleveland.

Register Today and Use the code AMG100 to get $100 off any pass.

Photos and other images used with permission.