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.

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

11/16/2011

Brian Solis has earned a reputation as guy who digs deep and comes up with insights that result in head nodding. However, his analysis quite often takes our own thinking into directions that might not have been as obvious to us. 

Max Business As UsualFor me his new book, The End of Business As Usual, did both. I nodded and at the end of the read I thought just a little differently. Brian graciously agreed to share his thoughts about social media and the connected consumer. (Yes, Max liked The End of Business As Usual too!)

Brian's responses were so rich and deep that I've turned his interview into a two part series. Tune in tomorrow for part two! (Part Two Interview with Brian Solis)

Diva Marketing/Toby: The End of Business As Usual explores how the digital world, including social media, is impacting not only the way customers connect with companies but how companies interact with their customers and stakeholders.  At this point in the evolution of social media what does social media mean to you?

Brian Solis: Social media means a lot of different things to me and that’s why I’m inspired to invest as much possible to understand the impact on business, culture, consumers, and also individuals. At a minimum, social media is an opportunity for introspection. We have the ability to easily connect with one another.

We’re forming incredibly vibrant and extensive networks around relationships and interests.  We’re learning how to live life in a very public, and searchable, space. Just as individuals, businesses, organizations, governments, you name it, are equally given the gift of connections and the ability to interact with people directly.

Social media opens the door to empathy and influence. But as a result, the tenets required to thrive in social media require a different approach, a thoughtful strategy, and intentions designed to deliver value to all participants in engagement. 

I study social media programs by the thousands and I have to tell you, there are amazing examples and best practices out there. But, there are more examples of antisocial media then there are of social media…meaning, content, campaigns, contests, messages, are stuffed into new networks under the guise of social, when in fact, there’s very little social in the social media initiative.

Social media is in a state of rapid maturation and that’s why I wrote The End of Business as Usual. There are important lessons right now that are more important than social media. Understanding the bigger picture will only benefit how businesses use social media and how they grow as a company and a team of human beings united to accomplish something that’s bigger than any one individual.

Consumerism is changing. There is no longer one audience bound by demographics. In the book, I introduce the reader to the connected consumer. How they find information, how they make decisions, and how the influence and are influenced, is not at all like the previous generations of customers businesses are used to marketing and selling to, servicing, or tracking.

The book title says it all. This is about a fundamental change in behavior, which isn’t regressing, it’s actually spreading. Taking the same old strategies, programs, philosophies, and us vs. them culture into this next generation of connected consumerism is the surest way to digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than our ability to adapt.

  • No longer is it just about survival of the fittest, it’s now also about survival of the fitting.

Diva Marketing/Toby: You discuss the importance of creating and maintaining authentic exchanges which in turn, lead to building relationship with the connect customer. For every person who happens onto those interactions (random or deliberate) these exchanges become part of a shared brand experience.  People can see who the brand chooses to engage within the social web.

How do you ensure that connected customers who have reached out to the brand but are not included in, call them direct discussions with the brand, still feel special and not left out? I wonder .. are we creating an illusion of special?

Brian Solis: Interesting…I like the idea of the “illusion of special.” The same is true for social media and individuals. From Klout scores to Twitter followers, many people are struggling with the idea of importance. Whether or not connected consumers expect a company response or if an interaction actually occurred, people will freely share their experiences with companies.It is those published experiences in social networks that become not only searchable, but also impact the considerations and decisions of those who are either connected or those who find it in social search or simply by asking.

Many businesses see social media as a necessary evil and/or an opportunity to engage with customers who have negative experiences.  Doing so puts an organization at risk. By responding to negative experiences, companies get stuck in a move and react form of engagement.

The real opportunity is to learn from customer behavior to design better products, build an infrastructure that supports improved experiences, and continue to do so over time. It’s part leadership and part support. However, it’s never ending. What is the experience your customers have today? How do they find you? What shows up as someone is considering you now in social networks, not just Google, and what does their click path look like?

Once you understand the “day in the life” and what it is that people are expressing, you can begin to design a meaningful experience.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In Chapter 13 you said listening is “Not an administrative position left to a recent college graduate because they get social media. This is a senior function that reports to management that processes authority to make decisions …” (p160)

I’m curious to understand who you believe should participate in social conversations as the voice of the brand. Is it a job for an intern or junior staff member or is this also a senior or mid management responsibility and why?

Brian Solis: This section refers to importance of the role of intelligence. It extends the thoughts shared in the last question. Often we get caught up in monitoring for mentions, sentiment, share of voice, and we miss the insights that can guide our engagement strategies and internal processes. Brian Solis

But to specifically answer your question, it’s not the role of just any one person to become the voice of the company. The needs of customers is far greater than any one person can or should manage.  At any one moment, your consumer can be an advocate expecting rewards, a customer needing help, a prospect requiring information or guidance, a partner wishing to express ideas to improve experiences, a potential employee needing HR attention, etc. The point is that every division affected by the activity within social media or any new media for that matter, must include an extension to 1) listen, 2) learn, 3) engage, and 4) adapt.

This is a major transformation and not something to be taken lightly. It starts with a mission, purpose, and vision. It requires a thoughtful plan. It requires training, governance, and compliance.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Throughout the book and in particular, Chapter 13 Brands Are No Longer Created, They’re Co-Created, you discuss the responsibilities of the organization to embrace the connected customer in developing the brand.  With the connected customer now involved with developing the brand, the CC must also share in the responsibility. What is the accountability of the connected customer to the brand?

Brian Solis: At the end of the day, connected customers will share their experience with or without you. That’s the power and freedom of new media and self expression is the ante to buy into any social network. The question is, without your involvement, without design, with trying to shape experiences proactively, what will your customers say and what will they do?

To truly create and steer experiences, businesses must design programs that seek their involvement. For example, Dell’s IdeaStorm and MyStarbucksIdea are proactive forms of communities dedicated to rallying customer feedback, recognizing and rewarding their input, and designing new experiences as a result. It puts customer ideas to work and they can see the progress of their input. Programs like this convert a connected customer into a stakeholder. Dell has gone even further by opening up an inward-facing community where employees can contribute and engage around their ideas as well.

Communities such as this are designed to channel self-expression into forms of collaboration. American Express recently launched its Link.Like.Love program that ties together the company’s rewards program with social activity. Beyond contests, general conversations, reactive customer support, smart businesses are thinking ahead to deliver value while steering and shaping desirable “shared” experiences.

As they say .. Tune in tomorrow for part two of Brian Solis' interview. In the mean time continue the conversation with Brian on Twitter or Facebook

Update: Part II Interview with Brian Solis where Brian shares insights about new values, responsibilities and how we are on the cross roads of marketing. 

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

Interview with Becky Carroll Author of The Hidden Power of Your Customers

09/07/2011

Becky Carroll_2 Traditionally customer service has been perceived as a necessary business function whose purpose is to appease unhappy customers.

Becky Carroll believes differently. She thinks customers rock and caring for your customer is one of the joys of doing businss. 

With the onset of social media, savvy companies like Dell, Zappos and your neighborhood food truck are learning servicing the customer can be a critical strategy; and sets you apart from your competiton.

That's what Becky's new book, The Hidden Power of Your Customers, is all about. 

In Brian Solis’ foreword to The Hidden Power of Your Customers, there is one line that especially resonated with me. “With the emergence of social media, we are given not just a right to engage but a rite of passage to earn relevance.” Relvancy and customer service .. a novel idea!

Becky Carroll kindly shares her innovative, but it makes sense, approach to building a “Customers Rock” focused company. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: I would imagine a Customer Rocks company takes coordination, alignment and team work that many organizations may not have in place. What would you tell those companies where departments are silo-ed or where employees may never have thought of their role as being part of customer service?

Becky Carroll: You are right, Toby, it does take quite a bit of coordination inside an organization to create an integrated approach to customers – whether that’s in customer service, marketing, sales, or any other customer-facing function. Company silos can create inconsistent messaging and treatment for and of customers.

To answer your question, I often recommend those companies create a customer experience map of their interactions with customers. Described in my book, this mapping of company transactions helps to do two things. 

First, since the map takes the customer’s perspective, it reveals how different internal organizations come together (or not) to impact the customer experience.

When cross-functional teams sit down and analyze this map, they usually find opportunities for process improvements, as well as areas of best practice, that will ultimately make the business more efficient, as well as more effective for the customer.

Second, a customer experience map can also help employees who are not “customer facing” to understand how their roles ultimately impact the customer experience. The map includes data and process inputs and outputs from different organizations, so employees can visually see where their outputs feed into customer interactions.

This understanding, along with cross-organizational metrics that help drive customer focus across all employees, can help everyone understand how they are a part of “taking care of customers”.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Becky, including multiple departments or business units in supporting customer service begs the question, “Who owns the service to the customer?”

Becky Carroll: As you can see from my answer above, I firmly believe that every employee participates and ultimately owns the service of the customer. Some employees interact directly with the customer to provide this service; others are serving fellow employees across departments, which empowers them to perform their customer-facing roles effectively – from the customer’s perspective.

Employee metrics focused on customer service will help make drive employee behaviors to support customer-focused initiatives.

Diva Marketing/Toby: The irony of social media is that we began this journey with a focus on bringing people together .. customers and the staff behind the brand.  However, frequently it seems the objective is not building relationships but in how many friends, likes, followers and now 1+ a brand can accumulate.

You turn the tables and advise us to be your customer’s fan (love it!). How do we get out of the "collecting numbers mindset?" 

Becky Carroll: Social media practitioners get into the habit of collecting numbers when they view social media as another place to run campaigns.

Social media is not a campaign – it is a strategy to build relationships.

When a company creates a social media strategy that is based on business goals, such as increasing customer share of wallet, as well as based on improving customer relationships (which can include prospects, too), rather then simply tracking “traffic” to social media properties (likes, followers, etc), we begin to move out of the campaign-mindset.

It also helps executives to better understand what we are doing with social media when we talk to them in terms of business goals and metrics as opposed to the much-touted social media “numbers”.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  I’ve used social media to call companies out and also to tell companies their service or product rocks. Sometimes I’ve been acknowledged and sometimes I have not. I must admit that when I don’t get a response, but notice that other people are getting special treatment I feel slighted. How does a company scale Customers Rock service?

Becky Carroll: Customer service via social media scales best when it is part of a customer-focused culture. This type of culture is created by company management as they model servant leadership towards their employees.

When employees, all employees, see how it looks to serve others in the organization, they learn how to serve customers.  Once everyone at the company understands how customer service is everyone’s job, and this is supported by management and metrics, employees will be empowered to treat all customers well – both in social media as well as in other customer-facing channels.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  I agree with you .. at the end of the day it is all about the people on both side of the equation: customers and employees. As our friend Sybil Stershic reminds us although most product and services can easily become commoditized relationships built on caring service are more difficult to duplicate. 

After you’ve listened (Chapter 1) and understand your customers’ need what is the first step to take in becoming a Customers Rock company?

Becky Carroll: The first step in becoming a Customers Rock company is to create a customer strategy. Companies have marketing strategies, social media strategies, and product strategies – but how many of them have a strategy for how they will treat their customers? This strategy needs to be thought-through carefully and embraced at all levels of the organization.

It should incorporate all four keys described in the book – Relevant Marketing, Orchestrated Customer Experience, Customer-Focused Culture, and Killer Customer Service – in order to create a strategy that can unlock the hidden power of your existing customers.

 Diva Marketing/Toby:  Becky, the Diva Marketing virtual stage is yours. Wrap it up any way you like.

Becky Carroll: I would just encourage organizations not to take their current customers for granted. They have more power than you think to help grow your business. And it’s not really hard – start with a thank you for being our customer!

Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of Diva Marketing, Toby. You rock! Becky Carroll Hidden-Power2

Becky totally rocks too .. in fact she gave me a copy of The Hidden Power of Your Customer to give away.

If you want the book drop a comment and let me know why.

Becky will choose the comment that she thinks rocks it out!

Update: Contest deadline is midnight Friday 9 Sept 2011.

Continue the conversation with Becky!

Customers Rock

Twitter 

Facebook

The Hidden Power of Your Customers

Amazon.com

Update: Becky Carroll chose Aimee's comment as the winner. As an extra bonus for us ~ Aimee graciously agreed to tell us her 3 top customer rock tips .. skip over to this post! Thanks to everyone who participated!

 Bloggy disclaimer: Becky kindly comped me a copy of her book. 

Interview with Alex Brown Author Great and Goodness Barbaro And His Legacy - Part 2

07/22/2011

Part 2 of my interview with Alex Brown explores how he incorporated social media to create awareness for his book, the Barbao community, horse slaughter and Laminitis the disease that killed Barbaro. (Part 1 tells the back-story of why Alex wrote the book and how he created an engaged community of thousands.) 

Alex Brown_book jacket Greatness and Goodness Barbaro and his Legacy Diva Marketing/Toby:  Let’s talk about the book, which by the way, I loved! Greatness and Goodness Barbaro And His Legacy may be an extension of the digital world that Fans of Barbaro built, however, it is still an entity on to itself. 

How is your approach towards marketing/creating awareness different with the book versus the site?

Alex Brown: This is something I am learning as I am going along.  With the book I had an initial advantage, I already had a large community.  Many of those within the community were waiting to buy the book as it was launched. And I added a facebook fan page for the book to keep people updated with its progress.

I also created an extensive schedule for book signings, visiting many racetracks and timing the launch around the excitement of this year's Triple Crown.  So there was a traditional component to the marketing campaign.  This year marks the five year anniversary since Barbaro's great win, so that timing helped also. 

I was able to get some pretty good media exposure.  I also had a few reviews of the book done, which helped.  Each time there was a review, or article about the book, or a book signing event to talk about, I would update the facebook fan page, my own profile page, the main AlexBrownRacing.com site and so forth. I was busy, getting good coverage, and also able to use the social media tools to make it all look busy and successful. 

The major downside is I self published (great advantages to doing that) which means I really don't have access to the major retail stores. The book is on Amazon, we recently eclipsed 500 sales on Amazon.  Alex Brown_book signing Barbaro

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In terms of general marketing, and of course social media, what tactics/tools are giving you the biggest impact for time you invest?

Alex Brown: I don't think there is one tactic which has proven most successful.  The key has been to keep the community constantly updated with progress with the book, keep the interest front and center.  Going quiet about the book would potentially be fatal. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: Let’s talk the “C” words .. content creation. Are you leveraging the content from the book, social platforms, and even online media, to support the book promotion (and feed your social networks)? If so how?

Alex Brown: I have a book excerpt that I have made available on the internet. I think that has helped.  I have promoted its availability through the many channels I use.  As I noted earlier, anytime there is a review, or feedback on the book, I push that out through the channels.

It is funny though, as hard as I try, and as deliberate as I am about push all the content back out, there are many in the community who do not see the content. I guess it is like traditional marketing, your customer has to see something multiple times before it truly registers. 

I am also exploring e-version ideas for the book, and hoping they help cross-sell the hard cover book.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Your own story is fascinating and inspirational. The digital platforms you created, as well as your book, have turned into catalysts for several “for the greater good” purposes: the legacy of Barbaro, dreaded Laminitis disease and education about horse slaughter. 

What extent did the internet and social media play .. wondering if this could have been accomplished without a digital presence?

Alex Brown: Its role has been fundamental.  This could never have happened otherwise.  That's the short and long answer.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Alex, you get the last word .. wrap it up any way you’d like my friend.

Alex Brown: Thanks for all your support. I cannot remember how long ago it was when you started speaking to my class at Udel (over the internet), it would be fun to revisit what we talked about then. 

The fascinating aspect of social media it is keeps evolving and improving.  Now I have to figure out this Google+ thingy!

Continue the Conversation with Alex!

Even if you are not a horseman (or horsediva) Great and Goodness Barbaro and Legacy is an inspirational from the heart read.

Great and Goodness Barbaro and His Legacy

Alexbrownracing.com

@Alexbrownracing

Disclaimer: I recevied a complementary copy of Greatness and Goodness Barbaro And His Legacy. There are no affinity links in this post.

eBook - Social Media Marketing GPS: A New Media Roadmap For Creating A Social Media Strategy

05/17/2010

Cover  Sometimes you just have to color outside the lines. Sometimes you stumble. Sometimes you soar. Sometimes people wrapped in the status quo just don't get your ideas. Sometimes you find people who believe in your vision.

My story. Last summer I invited social media marketing pros to explore with me a new book genre. I wondered if a real business book could be written using Twitter as the major content platform and distribution channel. 

  • I am excited to launch Social Media Marketing GPS, as free eBook, in celebration of Diva Marketing's 6th blog birthday! My mom's birthday! and Shel Israel, who wrote the Forward and is recovering from heart surgery! Social Media Marketing GPS is the first business book based on Twitter interviews.

What is it about? Social Media Marketing GPS is based on Twitter interviews with 40 of the smartest people working in social media. The book begins with an explanation of why include social media and moves on to cover ethics, tactics, research, metric, branding, sponsored conversations, blogger relations and even a few case studies. Additional content wraps around each of the 12 chapters creating a process for you to use to develop your social media marketing plan. 

Table of Contents

Foreward: Shel Israel

Introduction: Toby Bloomberg

Chapter 1: Why Social Media?
Interviews with
Paul Chaney, Ann Handley

Chapter 2: The New Enterprise Direction
Interviews with
Geoff Livingston, Marc Meyer

Chapter 3: Social Media Research: The 1st Listening
Interviews with C.B. Whittemore, Joel Rubinson

Chapter 4: Social Media Ethics
Interviews with
Wayne Hurlbert, Mack Collier

Chapter 5: Strategy First
Interviews with
BL Ochman, Rajesh Lalwani

Chapter 6: Tactics Second:
Blogs, Twitter, Social Networks, Podcasts, Vlogs,
RSS, Widgets

Interviews with
Julie Squires, Yvonne DiVita, Connie Reece
AV Flox,
Nancy White, Neville Hobson, Jim Turner, Roxanne Darling,
Bill Flitter,
Nick Burcher, Marianne Richmond

Chapter 7: Social Media & Branding
Interviews with
Dana VanDen Heuvel, Beth Harte

Chapter 8: Blogger Relations
Interviews with
Susan Getgood, Elisa Camahort

Chapter 9: Sponsored Conversations
Interviews with
Scott Monty, Melanie Notkin

Chapter 10: Metrics That Make Sense
Interviews with
Peter Kim, Kate Niederhoffer

Chapter 11: Solving Business Challenges
Interviews with
Lionel Menchaca, Frank Eliason,
Donna Lynes Miller,
John Maley

Chapter 12: Relationships 1st, 2nd & Last
Interviews with
Tim Jackson, Liz Strauss, Lucretia M Pruitt,
Kimberly Coleman

After Foreward: David Meerman Scott

 

Who is it for? It's a genre for the 24/7 marketers who don't have time to read a tome but must understand social media in order to do their jobs. It's for people who want insights and information bite-size and actionable. It's for business professionals who want a quick refresher and innovative ideas to take their current strategy to the next level.

I invite you to download the eBook; and if you find value please pass the link to people in your network and in your social networks. I'd love your thoughts on the genre, the book, social media and how to promote the it. If you tweet the hash tag is #smgps.

Please enjoy the companion podcast series sponsored by the American Marketing Association, Social Media GPS, where I interview many of the contributors from the book. In keeping with Twitter's 140 character format, interviews are about 14 minutes long .. because 140 minutes is way too long and 140 seconds much too short. As a special treat each interview begins with the marketers reading some of their tweets. So here we have another new genre .. tweets on tape!

Facebook

Media Release

Age of Conversation 3: Time To Get Busy!

05/14/2010

AOC3books  Social media is all about the stories. This tale could never have happened without the technology of the Internet, the culture of social media and the generosity of over 100 people from all over the globe. 

It is also a case study that reinforces that social media does create real and sustaining relationships. It begins with two guys from opposite ends of the world. One was from the middle of America and the other from down under in Australia. 

Dew and gavin_3  Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan had a wild idea to crowd source a book about the new conversations that were changing the fabric of marketing. No one would make a penny .. all of the profits would be donated to charity. In 2007, they asked people active in social media to write 1 page. Hence was born the Age of Conversation 1. 2008 brought Age of Conversation 2 with over 200 contributing authors. 

Age of Conversation 3 launched this week. It's available in Kindle, hard copy and soft copy at amazon.com and other digital book stores. Subtitled, It’s time to get busy!,it focuses on action versus theory. This social media book is divided into 10 sections:

1. Conversational Branding

2. Influence

3. Getting To Work

4. Corporate Conversations

5. Measurements

6. In The Boardroom

7. Pitching Social Media

8. Identities, Friends and Trusted Friends

9. Conversations At The Coalface

10. Innovation and Execution

I'm proud to have participated in all 3 Age of Conversation books. Thanks to Channel V Books for their help in publishing and distribution. Toss of a pink boa Pink boato the awesome authors, and of course, Drew and Gavin. Would love to know your thoughts about any part of the book, the concept, where you see new media heading. 

Part of the author agreement is not to publish our pages until 6-months after publication .. but sshhh .. here's a sneak peek of my page for you! Of course it's told in story format (smile). 

  • Once upon a time there was a CEO who worked diligently for many years building a successful company. One day she (or perhaps it was a he) realized the business model she had carefully crafted was no longer valid. She found her customers and prospects were not waiting for her website to be updated, new ads to launch, sales calls returned, or direct mail pieces received in order to make purchase decisions. She discovered customers were not in company service queues waiting for answers to their questions. [Continued in Age of Conversation 3 - Chapter Corporate Conversations: Building The Social Enterprise]

Age of Conversation 1, 2 And Get Ready For 3!

12/07/2009

Age of Conversation _Talk Bubble I'd like to tell you a story. Social media is all about the stories. This tale begins with two friends from opposite ends of the world who met in the virtual world of blogs. One was from the middle of America and the other from down under in Australia.

Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton had a wild idea to crowd source author a book about the new conversations that were changing the fabric of marketing. In 2007, they asked bloggers and people active in the new media space (social networks were on the distant horizon back in 2007!). Each author would have one page in the book - a max of 400 words. About 100 people joined Drew and Gavin on their adventure .. and hence was born the Age of Conversation

2008 brought Age of Conversation 2 with over 200 contributing authors. Age of Conversation 3 is in the works with about 300 authors with a publishing date in 2010. Age of Conversation 3 is subtitled - It’s time to get busy! The direction focused on action versus theory. This social media book is divided into 10 sections:

1. Conversational Branding

2. Influence

3. Getting To Work

4. Corporate Conversations

5. Measurements

6. In The Boardroom

7. Pitching Social Media

8. Identities, Friends and Trusted Friends

9. Conversations At The Coalface

10. Innovation and Execution

I'm proud to have participated in all 3 Age of Conversation books. Part of the authors' agreement is to wait at least 6-months after the book is printed and available for purchase (all of the profits are donated to charity) to publish our pages. Now that 6-months has come and gone I'm happy to share my pages from AoC 1 and AoC2 with you.

Age of Conversation 1 - Technologies is Recreating Business Intimacies

Age of Conversation 2 - Answers to the Questions You Didn't Ask Download AoG%202TobyBloomberg%20AnswersToTheQuestionsYouDidntAsk2b

.. and a preview of my page in Age of Conversation 3 - Chapter Corporate Conversations: Building The Social Enterprise

Once upon a time there was a CEO who worked diligently for many years building a successful company. One day she (or perhaps it was a he) realized the business model she had carefully crafted was no longer valid.

She found her customers and prospects were not waiting for her website to be updated, new ads to launch, sales calls returned, or direct mail pieces received in order to make purchase decisions. She discovered customers were not in company service queues waiting for answers to their questions. [To be continued in AoC 3 publish date 2010]

Idea! Age of Conversation 1 & 2 wGift boxould make great holiday gifts!

Traditonal Publishing & Social Media New BBF?

06/28/2009

Book and mouse This morning, after I washed the news print off of my fingers from the Sunday New York Times, I downloaded some sample chapters on to my Kindle. Several of those books were recommended to me by my dear friends at amazon.com. Others I found on blogs and through Twitter. The world of publishing is not simply changing .. it is colliding with technology and the world of social media.

Don't just take the word of a digital author but people in traditional publishing are taking out their red pens and looking at their current models with a critical eye. If the publishing business is to stay in business I would encourage publishers and editors to take a cue from the lessons that marketers have learned over the past few years. What is important to understand is that these changes come with options for the reader/customer. The "delivery channel" choice may be as important as the content. Do your readers want digital or traditional or an integration of both?

 This month Debbie Stier @debbiestier - SVP, Associate Publisher, Harper Studio, Kaylie Jones @KaylieJones - best selling novelist ("Lies My Mother Never Told Me." "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries"), Kevin Heisler (@KevinHeisler - literary executor and Ron Hogan @RonHogan - curator, Beatrice.com gave their insights about the future of publishing at the 140 Character Conference. The video  is well worth a view.   

Then there is the other Big Question: How are readers finding books in the new world of tweets, Facebook, blogs? Is the library still important? How has the promotion and building a readership community changed? Publishers and agents tell me not to even consider submitting a proposal without a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes social media tactics. The rules of engaging with editors are in flux also. If you follow me on Twitter or you Friend me on Facebook does that mean it's okay to send you a proposal without an agent?

Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent recently asked his readers- "Where did you hear about the book you're reading?" Over 300 people responded. I was curious about the break down and did a very informal tally. What is probably valid is not the count but the weight of each category.

  • Friends (including book clubs) - 78
    Blogs (including author blogs) - 62
    Bookstores - 45
    Websites/reviews sites - 33
    Library - 22
    Amazon recommendation/reviews - 22
    Twitter - 19
    Book tours/met the author - 11
    Blog promotion/contests - 5
    Read other books by author - 4
    Other (ezines, book fairs, TV, Radio, book reviews, podcasts, cover/jacket - 29

It will be interesting to see how social media impacts traditional publishing, what emerges as new publishing model/s, who will lead the innovation and who will close their doors. In the mean time I'm curious .. "Where did you hear about the book you're reading?"

44 Social Media Books for 2009-2010 Plus One

05/09/2009

Books old Ta da .. for your reading pleasure here's a list of titles of social media books scheduled to be release 2009 – 2010.

1. The Digital Handshake: Seven Proven Strategies to Grow Your Business Using Social Media by Paul Chaney - Sept 22,2009

2. Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods by Shel Israel - Sep 3, 2009

3. Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod - June 11, 2009

4. The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business by Tara Hunt - April 21, 2009

5. Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business by Larry Weber - Mar 3, 2009

6. The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success by Lon Safko and David Brake - May 4, 2009

7. Public Relations and the Social Web: How to Use Social Media and Web 2.0 in Communications by Rob Brown - May 28, 2009

8. Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Engaging the Digital Generation by Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones - Feb 28, 2009

9. Social Media Marketing: How Data Analytics helps to monetize the User Base in Telecoms, Social Networks, Media and Advertising in a Converged Ecosystem by Ajit V Jaokar, Brian Jacobs, Alan Moore, and Jouko Ahvenainen - Feb 15, 2009

10. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah, and David Meerman Scott - Oct 19, 2009

11. The New Influencers: A Marketer's Guide to the New Social Media by Paul Gillin and Geoffrey A. Moore - May 1, 2009

12. Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand (Voices That Matter) by Rahaf Harfoush - Jun 1, 2009

13. Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge - Mar 1, 2009

14. The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web by Tamar Weinberg - Jun 15, 2009

15. Mastering Web 2.0: Transform Your Business Using Key Website and Social Media Tools by Susan Rice Lincoln - Jul 28, 2009

16. Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman - Aug 24, 2009

17. Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time by Joel Comm, Anthony Robbins, and Ken Burge - Feb 17, 2009

18. Online Public Relations: A Practical Guide to Developing an Online Strategy in the World of Social Media by David Phillips and Philip Young - Jun 28, 2009

19. International Communications Strategy: Developments in Cross-Cultural Communications, PR and Social Media by Silvia Cambie and Yang-May Ooi - Aug 28, 2009

20. The Social Network Business Plan: 18 Strategies That Will Create Great Wealth by David Silver - Feb 24, 2009

21. The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff by Clara Shih - Mar 22, 2009

22. MediaMasters: Insider Secrets from the big names of broadcast, print and social media by Alan Stevens, Jeremy Nicholas, and Debbie Jenkins - April 3, 2009

23. Friends with Benefits: Online Marketing with Blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and More by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo - Aug 15, 2009

24. A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization: Strategies, Tactics, and Tools for Succeeding in the Social Web by Deltina Hay - Mar 1, 2009

25. Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Engaging the Digital Generation by Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones - Feb 28, 2009

26. How to REALLY use LinkedIn by Jan Vermeiren - Mar 4, 2009

27. The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick - Jan 7, 2010

28. The Internet: An Introduction to New Media by Lelia Green - Jan 1, 2010

29. You Need More Than a Website: Promote Your Professional Services Firm Using Social Media by Jan Davis - Dec 16, 2009

30. Social Media at Work: How Networking Tools Can Help Employees Work Better and Faster by Arthur L. Jue, Jackie Alcalde-Marr, and Mary E. Kassotakis - Nov 2, 2009

31. This is Social Media - Tweet, Blog, Post and Link Your Way to Business Success by Clapperton - Oct 15, 2009

32. Social Influence Marketing For Dummies by Shiv Singh - Oct 12, 2009

33. The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future by S. Craig Watkins - Oct 1, 2009

34. Designing Social Interfaces: Principles, Patterns, and Practices for Improving the User Experience by Christian Crumlish and Erin Malone - Sep 15, 2009

35. Friends with Benefits: Online Marketing with Blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and More by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo - Aug 15, 2009

36. PR Strategy and Application: Managing Influence by W.Timothy Coombs and Sherry J. Holladay - Aug 14, 2009

37. Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time by Joel Comm, Anthony Robbins, and Ken Burge - Feb 17, 2009

38. The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein - May 26, 2009

39. The Social Network Business Plan: 18 Strategies That Will Create Great Wealth by David Silver - Feb 24, 2009

40. All a Twitter: A Personal and Professional Guide to Social Networking with Twitter by Tee Morris - Jul 23, 2009

41. Everything twitter - From Novice to Expert: The Unofficial Guide to Everything Twitter - THE BLUE BOOK 2009 by Steve Soho and Monica Jones - 2009

42. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan, Julien Smith - August 24, 2009

43. Social Media is a Cocktail Party: Why You Already Know the Rules of Social Media Marketing by Jim Tobin, Lisa Braziel - Nov 5, 2008

44. 33 Million People in the Room: How to Create, Influence, and Run a Successful Business with Social Networking by Juliette Powell -Feb 10, 2009

Plus One - Social Media Marketing GPS #smgps .. the first business book written using Twitter as the major content platform and distribution channel. I've been working on the all-tweet SM book for about a month and it's nearing completion. More soon.

Update! I forgot my dear friend Tris Hussey book - Create Your Own Blog: 6 Easy Projects to Start Blogging Like a Pro by Tris Hussey - Sep 3, 2009

A Twitter-book .. No April Fools Joke

04/01/2009

Forthsia The first day of April maybe April "Fools Day" but to me it marks the start of spring and new beginnings. The world seems to call out .. take a chance .. throw off your winter jacket and dance in the rain or watch as the yellow Forsythia bush blooms bright yellow flowers.

So I listened to the Spring Sirens and took a leap into something new. I'm writing a book. On social media marketing. But not just a 'regular' book. A book written on Twitter. This book will be built on using 140 characters per line. It will be quick ideas but woven together that flows in a consistent book "read.".

However, it will be "traditionally" formatted with a Foreword, written by Shel Israel @sheliisrael, and chapters. Each chapter will include a one question interview with industry experts who will tag their tweets - #smgps The # allows for easy search for tweet inTwitter search.

If that's too confusing or if you want to go back and read it at your own pace I've created a dedicated blog.  Social Media Marketing - A Twitter-book . #smgps.

My goal is to create a resource for marketers where the social media marketing community can contribute their insights as well. Call it an experiment in crowd sourcing. Can it work?  Wil it work? I don't know. Some Tweeters have said it will fail in less than 140 seconds; others think it's cool and has value; others have a wait and show me stance. For me, social media is all about trying new ideas. So I thought why not? 

This quote by Erica Jong was part of the Introduction and captures what it's all about. On a fool's spring day or with a carefully structured marketing strategy. - "The trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more." I extend an invitation to join me on this adventure.