Interview with Brian Solis Author of The End of Business As Usual - Part II

11/17/2011

Brian solis_2In part two of my interview with Brian Solis, Brian shares his vision of what I might call the essence of social media. He talks about our new responsiblities, opportunities and business values. (Part I Interview with Brian Solis Author of End of Business As Usual)

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Recently Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) made a faux pas on Twitter. He then said in his blog that he felt Twitter had gone from a “communication platform” to a “mass publishing platform. “ He’s now turned the management of his stream over to his agency as a “secondary editorial measure.”

 Two questions Brian:  One - do you feel that social networks in general have gone from a way to talk to directly to customers or have they become just another mass market communication channel?

 And two - what would you have advised Ashton to do?

Brian Solis: This is difficult to answer. Ashton is a friend of mine and honestly, it’s not my place to comment on his experience. If he asked, my advice to him would be between us. However, I don’t want to let you or your readers down, so allow me to answer it another way.

  • With social media comes great responsibility.

Regardless of the size of our networks, each of carries a duty to engage with purpose, transparency, authenticity, and above all, respect. We are defined by what we say, share, and at times, what we don’t say.  

Essentially, we create a digital representation of who we are and what we value. In the end, what people think, how people value our connections, and how people interact with us is reflective of our investment. Or said another way, we reap what we sow and cultivate. 

The challenge is of course, that this is all so new, that we’re learning as we go. We’re, as everyday people and celebrities, not conditioned for living in public without filters or handlers.

To answer your first question, people are becoming full-fledged media networks and that’s why this moment is so special and alarming at the same time.

As media networks, and as novices really in the world of catering to extensive networks, it’s tempting to approach social media with a traditional mentality. Producing and publishing content in social networks isn’t necessary social media…in fact, bringing a one-to-many broadcast methodology to social is quite anti-social to say the least. 

We are responsible for what we create and share. But we are also challenged to do more than just create content. Anyone can do that now, so what makes you different? It’s also another thing to create consumable content. Again, anyone versed in traditional media can do that.

  • Now, we’re presented with a tremendous opportunity to produce consumable, shareable and actionable media. Those that master this will be rewarded with time, attention, and loyalty for the long term…and that’s priceless.

Marketing/Toby: Your book is filled with wonderful quotes. This is one of my favorites, “… brands must figuratively wear their hearts on their sleeves to best connect with customers.” (p 170) Would you speak a little of what that means to you?

Brian Solis: There’s an old saying, “don’t take it personally, this is just business.” Now, the opposite of that statement is true. One of the best-kept secret ingredients of any engaged business before, during, and after social media is empathy.

The connected consumer is incredibly sophisticated. Add to that, the nature of social networks. What Facebook, Twitter, Google+, et al. share is that they’re rich with emotion. People share what they like, love, dislike, or even hate. People engage with one another based on these emotions because it’s personal.

Businesses are entering these very emotional landscapes and they are treating them in many regards much as they do with other media channels. Just because they’re present and participating doesn’t mean that they’re human or that what it is they’re expressing is empathetic in nature.

During the listening process, we can capture the challenges, joys, struggles, and achievements of people who are customers or those related to our markets. Rather than just track keywords and activity, we can feel what it is that would matter to customers and build off of those findings.

For example, there are companies, like Freshbooks, that makes every employee in the company staff the customer service lines to better understand customers. The objective of course is to instill empathy. Because once you do, business becomes personal.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Brian, as we say, the Diva Marketing viral stage is yours. Wrap it up any way you’d like.

Brian Solis: This is an important time. We are presented with an opportunity and some of us need to make touch choices right now.

I believe that we are standing at a crossroads. In one direction, we can continue our quest to bring social media within business, to help companies “get it” and work with them to socialize marketing, communications, and service. In the other direction, we can use the lessons we learned from social media to bring about change within the company.

As change agents, this path will bring together once disparate teams and functions to coll Brian solis _ the end of business as usual.phpaborate in creating new culture of customer and employee centricity and overall market relevance.

Each path is important. It’s up to us to make a decision and push forward to help whomever we work with benefit from our vision and perseverance. 

Catch up with Brian on Twitter or Facebook and of course read more about The End of Business As Usual.

Bloggy Disclaimer: Brian kindly comped me a copy of the book The End of Business as Usual.

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Comments

This is my favorite quote, "In one direction, we can continue our quest to bring social media within business, to help companies "get it" and work with them to socialize marketing, communications, and service. In the other direction, we can use the lessons we learned from social media to bring about change within the company"

Social is a window into a business that highlights the good and the bad. Companies can no longer sweep the bad under the rug and hope it goes away. Social forces brands to address it head on.

Great article Toby. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Teresa Caro on Nov 17, 2011 3:13:33 PM

I agree w/ Solis that "people are becoming full-fledged media networks." And that's pretty scary, considering that anyone can have a bad day, post messages that trash a brand or product on its public Facebook page, and forget about it 10 minutes later.

With new social media scams appearing almost daily, it's naive to think that guerilla marketers won't adopt methods to sabotage competitors...

Bottom line: social media offers lots of pitfalls along with opportunities.

Posted by: John Gillett on Nov 17, 2011 6:38:43 PM

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