Interviewer’s Note: In talking with Steve Cabeza of Amplication, Inc, we talked about the wide range of applications social media has, and the wealth of influences upon it from all kinds of sources. One of the most surprising was from Steve’s father, who happened to work for the CIA, which taught Steve the importance of positioning a message properly. While listening to the myriad ways he uses social media sites in his profession, it struck me that the application of social media truly is only hindered by the limits of one’s own imagination.
Hi Steve, welcome to the Pluggio Blog! How do you describe your business?
I am in social media marketing. I help businesses, politicians, not-for-profits, government and others leverage the benefit of social media. Content / Access / Engagement are the keys to success and Amplification, Inc. does it all. Marnie (Marnie Hoppe Goldberg, my business partner) and I have been generating revenue doing this for 6 years now, and Amplification, Inc. formally incorporated 2 years ago in April.
How did you get started?
I’m 45 years old. I’ve been in marketing, advertising, public relations, and sales throughout my career. I got tired of making money for other people via my ideas. I met Marnie, and here we are! Marnie is the real key to our growing Twitter proficiency. Without her hard work, and tireless dedication, Twitter would not be as effective as it is for Amplification.
What role does Twitter play in your business?
Twitter is invaluable. Being a social media company, we use Twitter for all sorts of positive benefit, for ourselves and on behalf of our client base. Twitter is fabulous for driving website traffic. It is also an invaluable platform to drive traffic to content on other places, like YouTube, Delicious, Digg, whatever. It is like the superhighway of social media. Every new platform (Pinterest) has Twitter built right in. Sharing is the crux of user-generated content and social media, so Twitter is invaluable. It is a great assist for organic SEO. And that doesn’t even begin to mention the breaking news aspect of Twitter. I can’t get enough. It connects blog messaging to my LinkedIn account, back to my blog, to Myspace and so forth and so on.
Compared to earlier in your career, what impact or change have you seen due to Twitter/social marketing?
I have been a marketing and public relations director for HCA—Hospital Corporation of America, and for University of Miami Hospital. I used to have to generate press releases, pitch and deploy them via email and a fax machine. NOW over 60% (probably higher now) of journalists are on Twitter, so targeting someone up and down the media hierarchy via Twitter is real easy. I love the breaking news aspect to it. And Twitter affords, enlivens, accesses, and engenders a global audience. And since so much content is being uploaded every second, Twitter allows you to target via niche, interest, etc.
Are there any of your accomplishments with social marketing that you are particularly proud of?
Many. My father was a CIA operative and taught me about hidden agendas from an early age.
WOW! That’s awesome! So how does that relate to social marketing?
I’ve gravitated to marketing throughout my entire career, even though I studied sociology and criminal justice in college, because my father ingrained it in me. Spin. Messaging. Propaganda all comes easy to me. My brain is constantly reviewing effective ways to generate influence and steer behavior, so I am a natural. I’m a “big idea” kind of guy. I don’t do what others do. So it is great validation and praise when a client or friend spends their hard-earned money with me and sees results in the form of a quantifiable return on investment. I love my job, I love marketing, and I really love social media. And client referrals are the best narcotic one could ever imagine.
How did you build your following? What kinds of people/businesses are they?
I built, and continue to build, by using, studying, reading, being a student of my craft, sharing stuff of interest to me, and generating content that (thankfully) is of interest to a certain niche. Depending on the specific Amplification account you are talking about, it can be very industry specific. As far as my personal / primary account, I share client stuff, eco-friendly, sustainable, solar, aquaponics, geopolitics, social media, Florida, America, and other things of interest. Healthcare, too, because I do medical/ video opinion pieces for MD News about healthcare, specifically to interest physicians, which is another novel and brilliant social media plan conceptualized by Amplification, Inc.
How will you choose who you will follow? What do you look for in a follower?
I most like to follow active and social users, those who don’t use deception and subterfuge and annoying spam or spam-like tactics to push their agenda. I try to follow those who are like minded. No poison or vitriol, there is enough of that in the world already.
What strategies did you use for social marketing (either online or offline)?
Social media is akin to word-of-mouth. It expands the reach of word-of-mouth, so I use, engage, and share a lot and try to be a credible, consistent and trustworthy user who engages on a multitude of topics so that when my messaging is carrying client content, it has greater traction based on time earned credibility. 14% of people trust advertising, 78% trust a peer recommendation. I try to maintain a reputation for a certain level of coveted behavior.
What worked for you?
The SAME strategy I used when learning how to ride a bike. Listen. Try. Calibrate by doing. Scuff my knees but stick to it.
What didn’t work for you?
Shortcuts. All automation or applications. Trying to supplant sociability for automation. Cutting corners. Trying to do it without putting the time in. Insincerity. No one wants to follow, interact with, or attempt to establish an online relationship with a bot.
If you could go back to when you first began using social media, what is one thing you would have done differently?
I was an early adapter to LinkedIn and Myspace, wish I would have started sooner. Usage is knowledge is power is influence. I allowed myself to be steered away from using online platforms based on employer interests.
What does Twitter do for you that nothing else can do?
Twitter is the most effective conduit on social media for efficient sharing. Period. It’s benefit for breaking news, driving website traffic, and everything else is because it is concise and cuts the fluff. It is the talking points of social media. Everyone can appreciate efficiency. Twitter is the go-to share pipeline.
What lessons have you learned about Twitter and online marketing?
There’s a whole list! Use platforms, because they continually evolve based on usage algorithms. Calibrate your efforts. Give more than you want and you will get more than you need. Do this by selflessly sharing others’ content before you ask for yours to be shared. The list goes on. Stay fresh. Employ anything and everything you do as content and use it as an interaction point. You cannot predict what will go viral. Engage, interact, use, be positive, polarizing, and share, share, share.
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