Sarah – Lead the way. Brian Solis
So reads the inscription in my copy of Engage by Brian Solis. I’m sure it’s just one of the many inspirational phrases he scribbles in everyone’s book but it truly speaks to me. How will I get them to understand unless I lead the way?
I’m eternally grateful to Ben Smith and Social:IRL for giving me the opportunity to attend Explore and Engage with Brian Solis and Jason Falls or #EEICT. You can read more about how I earned a complimentary registration here. This event could not have come at a better time, not only giving me a few days to escape but also allowing me to be amongst like minded people. The past few weeks have been a struggle to say the least; this conference reinforced what I believe in and gave me tools to adapt, move forward and share my knowledge with others.
I took ten (10!) pages of notes and even though I want to, I won’t bore you with everything. I will, however, share the highlights. As it’s late and I took a dose of NyQuil I will break this down into two parts. Part one is Brian Solis’s presentation, or the Engage portion of the conference. Part 2 will cover the monitoring and measuring tools Jason Falls shared, the Explore portion.
Social Media gives you a voice, a platform, but it is what you do with that platform that matters. We must engage or die thanks to digital Darwinism. For companies that don’t adapt, that don’t lead, they will die. We are no longer just competing for the future, we are now also competing for relevance.
If a conversation takes place online and you weren’t there to hear it, did it happen? Ignorance is bliss until it’s not.
Lack of engagement is the end of business as usual.
Businesses currently run from top down, Social Media strategies succeed with a bottom up mentality – or the inverted pyramid. If you don’t believe this is true, read any book by Ken Blanchard or try to argue with my former Manager Tiffany Cody. The CEO stands at the bottom of this pyramid, supporting the team on her shoulders. Your customers are at the top. As such, the people in the thick of things, in direct contact with your products/services and customers, must be the ones supporting your customers via social media. It’s the job of everyone in between to supply the content that speaks through your front line to your audience.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. #epicfail – Before you tweet or blog or update your facebook status you must outline the actual plan. What channels will you use? Who does what and when and how? How you experience these networks is how you understand these networks. How do you use twitter/facebook/blogs/etc? You are conditioned to continue sharing.
Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. This is about finding your own answers, what works best for your business. It’s hard to hear when you’re not listening. Monitoring serves as our window to relevance. We need a command center – a team watching not just keywords but actual conversations. Look for the context between those keywords. It’s about workflow, build an adaptive business. The difference between listening and monitoring is the difference between being in social media and steering customer experience. To steer your customers experience you must become an influencer, an epicenter for your brand. Be the authority and you grow your market share. Through thought leadership you grow. Go out, find like minded people, and build the bridge back to you.
Context, not content, is king. In the egosystem you are at the center of your experience. It is unique to each individual. You expect things to come to you; as a company, how do you get your story to them? You have an audience with audiences. You want your audience to share your story, you’re speaking through them. Plan how your story will be shared; short, sweet, easily retweetable. How do you make your story worth sharing? Attention becomes the major currency in content commerce. Only 6% of all tweets are retweeted, fewer will have multiple RTs. The lifespan of a tweet is about an hour. You have to compete for the moment to stay relevant. If you aren’t introducing ways to share experience you fall off the radar. Measure resonance, how long that ‘event’ stays alive in the stream, by numbers of RTs, likes, favorites, responses. The longer it stays alive, the greater its resonance.
Social media is not owned, it is shared.
Your customers are asking: Why should I care if you don’t? May I have your INTENTION please? I have the power to follow, what’s in it for me? How will you keep me coming back? How will you get me to share? It is an empathy driven landscape. Once we hear our customers we are inspired by why what we feel simply by being human. Customers = people. Make a human, emotional connection. How do you make that connection, an affinity for your community?
Entering the trust zone requires trust. Cut your message through your customers trust zone. The future of business isn’t created, it’s co-created. You aren’t letting go of your brand, you are figuring out how to steer customer experience. Predefine your goal. The distance between you and your customers is measured by shared experiences. Where were you found positive, what platforms? Brand equity is the culmination of the experiences we share. What you think your brand is and what people think your brand is are two very different things. If you are so concerned with your logo, why aren’t you being as passionate about who is controlling your brand online? Create it. Make the decision this is important to you before you ever jump in.
Influence…the ability to inspire desirable and measurable action and outcomes. Influence is how you build your bridges.
The one to one to many approach is much more influential than the one to many approach.
There has to be human emotion, a connection, to help your influencers gain influence. Influencers are influential because they create interesting content. Quality, not quantity of the network. It isn’t about your reach but about your ability to move action.
Social media should redefine your CSR. Social objects are the future of marketing.
More people read about your brand outside of your website than from you. You want to reach these people where they are. Engage where their attention is focused.
Increase your digital footprint through media franchises. Go to the outlet that reaches the most people that are affected by the thing you want to convey, and write a compelling story, with a bridge that leads back to you.
Don’t translate, localize. Communicate where your community is active, and participate in the community. Think of facebook as your homepage to the social web. People don’t search you out, they are in their own egosystem. Follow themes and conversations to keep it relevant. You have to constantly redefine and adapt to stay relevant. It’s about the customer’s experience. Create engagement strategies. Identify your audiences and define what keeps them engaged.
What’s the ROI? You can’t measure the ROI of anything that doesn’t have metrics built into it. Define what you want to get out of it – that’s your I. What do you want to happen?
I want to _____ something
Design your outcome and do what it takes to get that outcome. We earn the stature, relations and experiences we deserve. You are measured by your status and relationships. This is your time to lead, not follow #engage
Egosystems and dynamics vary by each company, you have to adapt. You have to research at the beginning to figure out your answers and your plan, and then outline what it will take to make that happen. Figure out what will have the most impact. Become the expert of your market. You know more than you think and you know more than anyone how it affects your world. This is my moment to help my business engage with their customers and grow in the process.
Ok, so I couldn’t cut it down more than that. Brian came with so much good stuff yesterday I even tweeted:
I feel like @briansolis is living in my brain. #EEICT
Stay tuned for part 2 of this post in the next few days!