Brian Solis: Prominence is Earned Through Attentiveness and Corresponding Actions

Brian SolisBrian Solis needs no introduction if you follow what is going on in social media marketing and new marketing and customer behavior trends. Earlier this year, Brian published his latest book Engage! which aims to “help businesses build, cultivate and measure success in the new Web”.

In this interview, Brian shares his thoughts on the social evolutions, the role of content and the importance of listening and taking action to engage and interact.

First, I shared a thought with Brian and wanted to know what his reaction was. This was the thought: “social networks are merely a technological extension of our human nature to connect, be part of something and communicate, and ultimately people are the social networks”.

Brian: “social networks are hubs for the contextual connection of people around ideas, interests, and passions. But at the same time, while social networks serve as the enabling technology to communicate, the relationships that people forge within these networks are more reminiscent of relations rather than relationships”.

The creation of a human network, a grid of relationships

He continued: “These short-form engagements actually strengthen connections with each exchange. And it’s the act of causing or earning responses that seduces users toward a bottomless cycle of acting and inciting reactions”.

For Brian, people seem to be key in social networking, which was clearly reflected when he said that “over time, what’s truly fascinating about social networking, is the creation of a human network, a grid of relationships that link social graphs from network to network. One day soon, we’ll have the ability to effectively engage and interact with our contacts from one dashboard across multiple networks”. Looks like cross-channel.

One-way communication is an oxymoron

Next I asked another question to Brian that (shortened) boils down to this: “The days of broadcasting are over in marketing communication. I never understood the one-way communication mentality in businesses. Why do you think it has taken businesses so long to understand that it’s about relationships, according to you? Good sales people always understood… And has this mentality really changed?”

Brian agreed, saying that “one-way communication is an oxymoron’.

“However”, he continued, “some businesses believe that when they speak at audiences and markets that they are communicating. Others believe that one-to-many transmissions offered some semblance of control and falsely assumed or underestimated that any potential dissent would rarely earn the public spotlight”.

You already know it: speaking is not enough, listening is also key but listening is not enough either.

Brian: “Now with the socialization of media and the rise of new influencers, prominence is earned through not only listening, but established through attentiveness and the corresponding actions that inspire connection and adaptation”.

Content and the findability of the value proposition

Finally, I asked Brian, what, according to him, is the role of content in social media marketing?

Brian: “content speaks to the mission and purpose of a business optimized for the framework of the medium and always with the unique and varying audiences in mind. Content is critical towards establishing an effective inbound marketing initiative as it represents the brand when the brand representative is not present. Strategically placing content in the networks where stakeholders, customers, and prospects are actively seeking information amplifies the findability of our value proposition, differentiation, and intentions. This is why possessing a genuine understanding of the wants, needs, challenges, and options of our markets and also where, when, and how they seek direction proves effectual”.

Brian also looked at content from the social media optimization (SMO) viewpoint: “when combined with SMO, our content rises to the top of keyword searches within social networks, addressing the specific needs of consumers based on how and where they search”.

Brian concludes: “Content is easy to commoditize. Meaningful content rooted in empathy and value is precious and as such, dramatically increases the promise of connecting to those they’re intended to affect”.

You can follow his posts here and take a look at the books he wrote, including his latest one, Engage!, here.

(Images: Brian’s Flickr page)

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  • Peter Barton

    Someone told me this post was about Mr. Solis:

    http://dannybrown.me/2010/11/25/the-problem-with-influence/

    If that’s true, I don’t want to be part of the type of “new influencers” that he gives such prominence to.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Peter, lately there is a lot of debate on what people who have made name in the social media world, are saying and there are several rants about social media marketing experts in general. I have chose not to participate in them.

      One: because I don’t consider myself an expert in any kind of media, I think cross-channel.
      Two: because no single person holds the truth.
      Three: because these rants are part of a broader phenomenon that shows to me that people are not that social.
      Four: because I value freedom of speech and thoughts.
      Five: because people have to decide for themselves what they believe or not.
      Six: because I prefer to provide tips, including the thoughts of others, to help businesses improve their marketing and the value they deliver to their customers.
      Seven: because these rants, little fights etc. are typical in a maturing marketing and I saw them before the dot com bubble as well so they can be a sign.
      Eight: I believe in the debate culture.
      Nine: I prefer people to think for themselves.
      Ten: no one has forced anyone to follow or like any person.
      Eleven: you can’t judge people on a few lines or words.
      Twelve: I’m too old for it ;)

      The influence debate is too much about the influencers we all see and know. In Belgium we have a saying: “large trees catch a lot of wind”. Basing ourselves on the thoughts of a few people is, according to me, not a good way of finding our own wisdom and experience.

      Just to say: no one holds the eternal truth on influencers, their importance etc. People should think for themselves and I hope that the readers of this blog will do that.

      Brian Solis is not God, he is a human being with thoughts and opinions, some brilliant, some obvious and some we may judge wrong. I mention Brian because you do but the same goes for all people who have a name in the social media “world” and for all the experts that have been around long before social media even existed.

      I have a saying: “the pope lives in Rome”. I hope you get the meaning of it :)

      Let’s all think for ourselves, doubt what we think, question what others think, share what we think, be brave enough to review it, see the mistakes we make and make up our own minds. It’s an advice I give to businesses but in a way it’s also and advice to everyone. It would even make the world a better place I think ;)

    • Anonymous

      Would like to add something else: the world hasn’t changed that much. It’s still business as usual. People still have ego’s. There is still personal branding (more than ever before). And some people are strong brands. In the social media hype, a lot of people have sold a lot. But people can only sell if others buy. Influence has become some kind of currency, whether we want it or not. It’s up to the wisdom of each and every individual to see what he or she “buys”.

      I can share some stories about “famous people” and “big media” as well, I can even quote their names. But what’s the value for my goal which is trying to give people and businesses different views on marketing and trying to cool down some hypes and get people to think about, what according to me (I’m not in Rome either) truly matters to create value for their business and customers?

      The good old saying “I scratch your back, you’ll scratch mine” still goes and some people have more healthy ego’s than other. It’s not about social media, nor about social media experts. It’s about people and results.

      It seems to me that, now that we talk a bit less about the social media, we start talking more about the social media “experts”. I hope one day we will finally all stop talking about this and focus on the relevance for the customer and the bottom-line, basically what business is about :)

      Cheers