Expert Interviews

6 Questions on Social Media with Brad Klaus

Brad Klaus is the, CEO of Extole and before founding Extole, he was founder and CEO of next-generation direct response leader Syndero. Earlier, Brad was Vice President of Sales at Qualys, Inc., and held management positions at leading SaaS providers, such as DemandTec, Siebel Systems and Raima Corporation. He serves on the Board of Directors of Syndero and the Electronic Retailing Association, and holds B.S. degrees in Integrative Biology and Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

1. How did you get your start in the industry?

I entered the social marketing space back when I was founding Syndero. During my time with the company direct response evolved to include social elements such as referrals via Facebook and Twitter. Experiencing this evolution firsthand, my interest in – really passion for – social media grew and as a result I founded Extole two years ago to focus on the power of social referral marketing and social engagement programs to drive customers into and through the purchasing funnel.

2. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry?

The biggest challenge in our industry is education. Companies know they need to “be social” but many are confused as to what this means, how to execute and which partners make the most sense. In addition, many new companies offering point solutions for specific social networks enter the
market every day, which only adds to the noise.

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3. What is the secret to your social media success?

We have a few not-so-secret methods to making our clients successful. First is the fact that we never place all of our clients’ bets on one platform or network. We strongly believe our clients’ programs need to match the behaviors of their customers and prospects – and it’s rare that a brand’s customers are only interacting in one spot. This is particularly true for larger brands, who have spent years building websites, email newsletters,
and other assets that engage their customers in meaningful ways. We take the best of this and amplify its impact using the power of the Extole Social Referral Platform to power social recommendations through rewards programs, contests and other engagement activities.

4. What do you think is the future of social media?

Social is still a growing and evolving tool in marketers’ arsenals. The very quick rise of Google+ as a contender in the social media space is case in point that the ecosystem is still very dynamic. This makes it difficult to predict what “the future” is, but the best marketers are the ones who test and execute across a variety of platforms to gauge which channels, messages and approaches resonate the most with their customers and prospects.  The future of social will be around how social signals such as consumer tweets, posts, +1’s all affect search results and how they drive consumers to actually purchase products and services for brands of any size.

5. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?

If you’re a marketer, first focus on who your core fans are and what makes them tick and design programs that build off of these strengths. If you’re an entrepreneur, have a long-term vision, set a strategy to get there (but don’t be inflexible) – and be resilient!

6. Where can we find you on the web/on Twitter/Facebook/etc.?

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