Episode 210 - Brian Solis on the Un-LIKEing Movement, Magic Middle and FCommerce
Brian Solis, author of Engage and principal at Altimeter Group weighs in on:
- Syndication of Social Objects
- What to DO with Influencers vs. Press vs. Bloggers vs. Advocates
- Identifying the "Magic Middle"
- Using Social Media to generate FAST revenue
- Interest Graphs
- Brand Journalism
- Organizational Transformation via the C-Suite
Susan Bratton: Welcome to DishyMix. I’m your host, Susan Bratton, and on today’s show you’re going to get to meet Brian Solis. Brian is principal at Altimeter Group. And that’s a new gig for him, so we’ll find our more about that. We’re going to talk about his latest book, which is a revised and updated edition of Engaged: The Complete Guide For Brands and Businesses To Build, Cultivate and Measure Success In The New Web, with a forward by Ashton Kutcher. Had to get that in there. So lets get Brian on the show. We’ve got a lot of things to talk to him today about. Welcome Brian.
Brian Solis: Hello Susan. Thank you so much for having me on.
Susan Bratton: It’s my pleasure. So I gave you, before we started the show, we’ve been working on this for a little while, you know, getting just the right things to talk to each other about so that I leverage your genius as best I can in the next half hour. And we talked about a lot of different things and one of the things that I want to talk about is this idea of syndication, social objects and the syndication of social objects, and how you can create something that you create once and post to many places. What are some of the pieces of advice that you have, maybe some people you see doing it well? Anything that are your latest thoughts on this idea of syndicated social objects, ‘cause I know there’s a chapter in your book and it’s very interesting to me.
Brian Solis: Well, you know, the idea of social objects – and just for the audience, the idea of a social object is any form of media that can tell a story in social networks. So that could be a video, that could be a blog post, a podcast, that could be a tweet, it could be a comment, anything that can serve as a catalyst for conversation. And the idea of syndicating and social objects was you have this wonderful piece of content that you want to create and share with all of the potential stakeholders that it can affect. But they might not be reading your blog. They might not necessarily be visiting your site, so how do you distribute that object to the places where they’re inhabiting, where they’re engaging, where they’re communicating with one another.
And so the creation of channels, through distribution of objects through, say, influencers or passing them around through conversations, the idea is you want those social objects to permeate the social web, and that’s one wonderful way to have an object go from what we call a one to one to many distribution network as opposed to a one to many broadcast where you might say buy some air time or publish on your website and hope that you have visitors. This is really about a proactive way of getting your story out there.
Susan Bratton: So what are some syndication strategies that you’ve seen that are particularly clever? Or what advice would you give someone if they were starting from scratch with limited time and resources to focus on it?
Brian Solis: Ooh, that’s a good two questions right there. Okay, so here’s how I would start. There’s a new buzzword and Susan I’m sure you’re more than familiar with it. It’s not a new buzzword but it’s coming back around again, and that is transmedia. And this idea of transmedia is that you start with a story. What’s that common thread? What’s the brand story? What’s the mission? What’s the purpose? How do you want to enliven that story through whatever media it is you create? And then where transmedia comes in is that you develop a content strategy that brings that story to life in video, in audio, in text so that all of these different social objects work in conjunction with one another to bring that brand story to life.
And then what I would highly recommend business consider is to figure out who’s influencing their network, who’s influencing their customers. There are always tastemakers; there are always influencers who are bloggers. There are always other individuals who have amazing Twitter and Facebook and YouTube networks. And work with them to actually present that object to their audience. And so one of the things that I like to do is reverse engineer the entire process. Who am I trying to reach? Where do they go for information? And then work backwards from there, and design the social objects, bring them out through those channels, and then hopefully, if we did our job right, those objects are so meaningful and so culturally relevant that it is not a problem whatsoever to have those objects distributed across all of those networks because it just becomes a resource – something useful, something meaningful to those viewers, those consumers who are looking for great content.
Susan Bratton: When you think about syndication, the first that I think about is not just that I’m going to create an object and deliver it through multiple channels, but the actual tactical construct. It’s almost like a two dimensional construct. There’s the “what” tool or set of tools am I going to use to get this object from one location into many channels. And then, so that’s like, all right, you know, what kind of feed or whatever it might be am I going to use. And then the second thing is the frequency, because obviously frequency’s very different if you have different, if you have a video asset, you have a blog post, you might have an image, whatever it might be. How do you get those things to go to the right places? What technologies do you recommend? And then as far as timing, rules of thumb about frequency that you see work well in the marketplace today, because I think it’s an always-changing landscape of what consumers think feels right to them about the quantity and the timing of communication?
Brian Solis: Yeah. The way, I mean you know that’s exactly right. There’s a two dimensional construct that has to be created not just so, I love to activate what I call the human network as a distribution system, so that will be the influencers. And now when we’re talking about the pipes for distribution network, really what a lot of businesses started to do at the beginning was create feeds that would say syndicate a blog post to Facebook, to Twitter, to any other network [inaudible] tumbler that they had created other brand channels with, you know, assuming that there were consumers who wanted to get their information in different ways within different networks so that you could post in the one to many format, which is what a lot of brands to today.
However, as social media mature, as content production matures, in fact there’s this big movement right now that’s just getting started called brand journalism, and this is what brands are hiring editors, hiring reporters and they’re actually creating the content. They’re competing with the media that they used to rely upon to tell their story. And they’re creating these two dimensional information distribution networks that are all based on feeds, but now what they’re learning is that it’s becoming far too complex to act like a media company if you’re not truly a media company, and that is based on audience and reach. And that comes down to what we see now becoming an important landscape around social media marketing management or social media management systems. And those are the virtues, those are the other platforms that basically allow you to have a dashboard where you plug in all of your social presences where you can say, okay, this object is going to go to these networks in this package and here’s the text that goes along with it, and then we’ll manage the interaction around it, we’ll manage how they’re being viewed, how they’re being shared. This content goes to these networks, so here’s how they go, all from one dashboard.
So they can be easily managed, and there’s a whole budding landscape around this, budding media and many other companies are sort of leading the way for that, and so businesses are now starting to figure out an automated content management system that allows them to be far more effective with their social objects and social media. But you brought up a really good point, and that is timing. It is interesting that even as young as social media is, that there’s an art and a science to content distribution, meaning the time, the frequency, the day, and what never ceases to amaze me is just how accurate this science becomes. So for example, Facebook’s best day for sharing is Saturday. Twitter’s best day for sharing are Tuesdays’ and Thursday’s and there’s these interesting time windows that allow you to learn when your content should be published in each network independent of one another. There are tools that you can plug into on top of these content management systems for social network, such as social flow, which will actually do the work for you. Not only is it about timing or frequency or day, but it’s also about language.
So how do you package your social object with language that becomes not only, that doesn’t just trigger consumption but actually triggers sharing, which is what the social effect is all about. And so social flow will tell you for example, “All right, based on this content this is what we think it should be published but more important how you’ve worded it, we think you should reword it this way,” which is fascinating. And then there’s a gentleman that I’ve done a lot of work with over the years. His name is Dan Zarillo, and he’s also studied a lot of this, and I’ve published it under the art and science of re-tweets and how do you get people to share and how do you structure those tweets so that they’re sharable so that when you introduce a social object that the words around them invite more views, invite more re-tweets. And we did the same report again for YouTube, what makes a video viral, and then also for Facebook.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, Dan Zarillo’s stuff is really great ‘cause it’s so data driven. It’s really nice to see his work, isn’t it?
Brian Solis: Indeed. And I geek out on it, and so I’ll take that data and I’ll experiment and I’ll prove what works, what doesn’t work, and then we’ll fine tune the language and the timing around it so that you can see that within different types of business landscapes how that starts to come to life. So for example, business to consumer loves more text base interaction. They also love video, but they don’t take action around video. They just love to view it and then they’re done with it. But in business to business, they love video and they make decisions, long-term decisions, very expensive decisions based on the thought leadership that they come across in video.
Susan Bratton: Nice! I use Objective Marketer. They were actually acquired recently by Email Vision, but I use that and that’s how I schedule all of my different objects to go in different timeframes, at different frequencies across different channels, and that works really well for me.
Brian Solis: Yeah. Objective Marketer is a wonderful tool and I was very excited to see that they got acquired. What were they, only a year or so out of the gate?
Susan Bratton: Yeah.
Brian Solis: It’s an amazing tool.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, she did a good job with that. So lets talk a little bit about influencers because I want to move to using social media to generate revenue. So with influencers one of the things that I worry is identifying your influencers is not that difficult, but knowing what to do with them, how to leverage them well when you may not have the luxury of having a dedicated social media manager or team. Instead you’re trying to do this as a part of your marketing with the existing team that you have, which I still think is the majority of people in the universe. They’re trying to integrate social and the opportunity for social into their existing programs, maybe letting other things go and trying this now.
If you’re going to create a relationship with an influencer, you can’t really just go to them when you need something. They are like the press and often are the press in some cases. People who need care and feeding, lets call it that. So what have you seen or what recommendations would you make to marketers who want to have some kind of a lightweight highly effective influencer program? What’s the bare minimum of effort that gets the maximum result for various types of opportunities?
Brian Solis: Yeah, this is a big one. And a lot of companies struggle with this because a lot of it has to do with, “Well okay, we know who our A-listers are because they just show up everywhere.” But they seem to be, like you said, the ones that are treated most like press, and that becomes a problem because if we just use the quote, you know, “influencers”, I mean these are individuals who have most likely not come up with the traditional background in journalism, so they’re probably an expert, an authority, an enthusiast on a particular subject and they’ve just become the authority based on their contribution to the marketplace. They’re not used to how public relations engages with them, and that is, you know, press releases, pitches, emails. They want, like you said, care and feeding. They want to be acknowledged for their influence. They need to feel like they’re part of the fold. They want to know about things before they happen. They want to visit. They want to have, they want to meet the executives. They want to have a say potentially in how some of these products or services are developed.
And so it really requires sort of almost like an advisory board of influencers to come in and develop a program specifically for them so that they are at the ready as you need them, but don’t feel like you’re using them just when you need them. And I’ve worked with a lot of companies over the years where we had to break out the role of influence engagement into its own division within the marketing communications department – so you would have marketing, advertising, public relations and then influence, and this becomes a very effective means for reallocating existing resources to be more effective.
The other thing that we should also talk about is the B-list or the magic middle as it’s called, which are the people who are also influential, just not necessarily when they publish a blog post or they release a video that it has millions of views, but in aggregate they actually move the market. In fact, this might be more aligned with what we call the interest graph, which is sort of you take the social graph and you just start to divide it by people who are connected to one another based on interests or passions or subject matter. And the magic middle is really, that really comes alive there in the interest graph. And so tools like mPACT, which is by mBLAST, where you have peer index, or Tracker, you have these tools that can identify who the magic middle is so that you can also develop a program around them so that as your story is being told that these influencers are feeling part of the fold as well, and that they’re vested or that they’re stakeholders in the success of your stories.
And the last thing that I just wanted to touch upon is that their critical to any business, and any business that is not looking at engaging influencers is missing a real big opportunity because it is these influencers that are becoming, lets just say that the decision resources for people in the social web, which is different than those who just go to the regular web. Meaning that if you looked at Edeleman’s trust barometer, for the first year in ten years individuals were saying that they are now starting to align more or trust more with these experts in order to make a decision than they are with their own friends or against their own friends insights, and that’s huge. It’s a huge shift. So then that means that there’s a play for influence and then there’s a play for advocacy, which is a very different ballgame whatsoever. The influencer will say, “What’s in it for me,” and the advocate will say, “Wow, I’m recognized and I’m officially part of an ambassador program.” Both reach different people in different ways and both are equally important.
Susan Bratton: Thank you. If you want to launch a product – lets just say you have a new product. Lets just say it’s an online product so we can make it really simple. You know, maybe you have a new software service or whatever it might be. What are two or three things that you would do if you were going to do an outreach program to influencers and advocates and bloggers and the press, how would you treat them, the same or differently? What is it that they want from you to do their job? What do you need to do to empower them to essentially talk about you, tweet about you, blog about you, whatever, so that they feel like there’s a benefit for them and they’re happy you contacted them, you’re not just one more person trying to get them to do something?
Brian Solis: Yeah, well I guess simply coming at it from asking that question that way, I mean that’s going to automatically generate a refreshing approach. And that’s really, one of the things that you talked about there is the biggest complaint that advocates and influencers have. Also traditional media as well. They just feel like they’re constantly bombarded with pitches, and most of those pitches are irrelevant and that’s a problem. So any recommendation would start with this: knowing who those people are, the right people. Not going to some database and typing in a bunch of topics and seeing who comes back, but looking, “Who are my reporters? Who are my analysts? Who are my bloggers? Who are my influencers?” and then divide them by tiers and then who are my advocates?
And then each one requires a different activation strategy so you have your media and you’re A-list bloggers who will most likely need to understand what you’re releasing before you release it. And you’ve got to get them under embargo and you have to have a less is more approach here because one of those people, the bigger it gets, is going to break that embargo. And you want them all aligned. You want them to understand the story, why it’s relevant to them so that they are doing a good job to their audience because you’ve done their work for them by showing not only what your leasing but how it’s important to the people reading those blogs or those media outlets.
And then I would divide that strategy right there. So you just say, “We decided, okay, Tuesday morning at 8:00 pacific time is when we’re going to release that embargo,” and you work with your initial group to release them. Then you go to the rest of your A-list, you go to the rest of your B-list and you work with them to present the story using social objects that you created specifically for them. So it’s videos, it’s maybe a contributed blog post, maybe it’s an exclusive interview, but it’s all designed specifically for them so that they don’t feel like they’re just getting, for example, the same press release that everybody’s getting but something that’s unique to their audience. And then third and fourth, I would look at them, what are we going to activate in terms of an influencer and advocacy program.
So advocacy would probably require someone to have hands on access to that product, fall in love with it and then find someway somehow to allow their community to also share the experience. Is it a discount? Is it a special offer, buy one get one? Whatever it is that that community has special access to the product, but also special access to an offer or promotion. And then the influencers, well those individuals, in order to keep telling that story, are going to have to have something that continues to feed the “What’s in it for me” and that’s different for everybody and it’s also different across every market. So if it’s a new software, if it’s a new online product, a lot of times what companies will do is before they release in commercial they’ll release in sort of private beta so that way the communities of influencers have access to something that’s hot but it’s exclusive access right now before they take it to the masses through the advocacy program.
Susan Bratton: Nice! That was very well done. Thank you for that. I think it gives you a good sense of the different ways that you treat those different constituencies. Very well done! We’ve never talked at that level on this show before about that, so that was good. Social media to generate instant revenue – you have a gun to your head, you’ve got to bring in another $50,000, $500,000, $5,000. It doesn’t matter what it is, you’re short this month on your revenue number, and you think social is an untapped potential audience. Is there a way to use some social media to get people to take action against an opportunity?
Brian Solis: I have a saying, and it is that constraint forces creativity and so in a moment like that I like to pretend that there’s always a gun to my head and that fuels some very interesting approaches. So the answer is this: yes, but it has to be designed and it has to be designed very carefully. So that means that you have to have the outcome that you need – so lets just say it’s a sale – how we’re going to facilitate that transaction. So in the social web that transaction most likely should take place on Facebook for f-commerce. And a lot of people will argue, “Well f-commerce is, you know, debatable whether or not it works or not.” Well the only reason it’s debatable is because people are putting full blown storefronts on Facebook and not offering an exclusive offer and experience, and that’s what Facebook users are saying they want.
So we design it for one particular series of special offers that we’re going to do around this gun to our head moment. We take Twitter and we have special landing page from Twitter to the website that’s going to cater to the Twitter user that has an instant outcome when they land upon that page. Now how are we going to drive them to want to click though that? Well a couple of clever ways to do this are creating some very interesting social objects. So lets look at the Old Spice guy for example. That Old Spice guy was a brilliant series of social objects that got people watching and sharing but it didn’t have a click to action. And not that it was supposed to, but imagine if it did, right, and it went to Facebook and you got a buy one get one or half off or a free trial version of the body – what was it – a body cleanser, and the same with Twitter. And then combine that with the discussion that we just had around influencers and advocates, and then you’ve got something. You give them these objects, you give them this special opportunity to promote, and then I’d also throw in a little affiliate marketing there in the mix just because I know that that works so well.
But I would then use all of those strategies, giving them content to share and activate an action and then have some sort of click to outcome based on Facebook and Twitter that we can then measure. And then with a little bit of conversion science, we can see what’s working in real time and what’s not working. Do we change the day? Do we change the language? Do we change the object? Do we change the influencers to see who’s performing better than others? And this I have done in the past and have over the course of a week changed what ended up, lets just say what started on Monday and what ended up on Friday, radically different things based on this entire process, but at the end it performed so well that we got to put the gun away from our head.
Susan Bratton: Nice! I want to go back to one of the things that you said. You said that affiliate marketing can work very well in this medium, especially for generating short-term revenue. How do you see that manifesting? What’s worked that you’ve seen?
Brian Solis: Well I’ve done some interesting experiments around, I’ve worked with certain authors to test affiliate marketing around their books on sort of quick sales, as well as events to experiment where affiliate marketing can work very well selling seats or selling tickets. And the one thing that I have learned is that I don’t want to say that this is traditional affiliate marketing, but lets just say general affiliate marketing where you get a bunch of affiliates who can then feed links to everyone and just hope for the best in terms of traffic and click-throughs and conversions.
But I found that if you take the interest graph, you know, the people who would most likely be interested in what it is that you’re selling or offering, and then you find the affiliates around that interest graph and then you design the programs around their affiliate strengths, that had a much better outcome than just a general have at it strategy, which – not that everybody does – but I can tell you that most of the, it happens more often than not and it’s not just in affiliate marketing, it’s true for social marketing. Part of the problem is that everybody just tries a one to many type of approach assuming that it’s audience when in fact it’s just a series of connected interest graphs.
Susan Bratton: How do you figure out what an interest graph is?
Brian Solis: Well first it starts with, just like a mindset. For example, you look at how brands or business are using social media monitoring today, and you’re tracking references to their brand, their company, their competitors and they’re then tracking the number of mentions and they’re comparing that against competitors and then they’re tracking sentiment and they’re looking at all the people that talk about them, and that is essentially nothing more than just maybe a social graph lightly linked together around interests in the marketplace. But to demonstrate this – and it’s a real complicated subject, but I’ll try to explain it in English.
There’s a company called Researchly that’s started by a company called People Browser, and over the years I’ve worked with these guys to develop that Researchly engine so that I could do just that, find the interest graph. And the dashboard that they developed is so wonderful. It’s almost like Inception, you know, how you keep diving into these deeper levels and levels and levels, where you start to reveal who these individuals are, who they’re connected to, who they’re connected to, they’re connected to around these particular interest groups. Who’s the viral maker within those groups? And it’s an amazing tool that, to prove how to really find the interest graph and the value of the interest graph I ran a report as if I were Starbucks, and I was able to connect, I was able to reveal who the interest graph was. We looked at a million of their top followers, found the top 100 of the most connected around Starbucks. They would be probably more advocates and influencers combined, but you can see how they were networked to one another. And then more important, what were the things that they loved around not just Starbucks, but just loved as human beings, so that you could design more effective engagement programs around it, and the things that we revealed, the first thing that Starbucks said after reading that report was, “Wow, you can do that by just searching Twitter?”
Susan Bratton: And then that feeds into your content curation and all of the other things that you’re talking about and the kinds of social objects that you create that are customized for the interest groups of the clusters of people that follow your brand.
Brian Solis: Oh yeah, yeah, and if you think about it, I mean how huge is that? It’s the one thing that consumers have been complaining about forever, is that they’re just getting marketed to like they’re everybody else, but when you actually have the ability to look at who they are and then find all of the people around them, you’re creating content not just for one person but for a bunch of people just like that one person. You know where they go, you know what they’re sharing, you know what they’re looking for, so you’re able to feed these objects to them, build a better relationship for them because they feel that they’re being recognized, and then it becomes a form of marketing through un-marketing. I mean people just actually start to appreciate the approach.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, exactly. I understand that. All right, so Facebook pages, at this point in time it’s May, June, it’s June 2011, close to that. We’re recruiting early here. What is the current state of the latest in brands using Facebook to drive more business that you see working well?
Brian Solis: Well, so I’ll first answer this question with a very interesting observation. It’s June 2011 and one of the most interesting things that’s about to really start taking place is this big un-liking movement. And that is individuals who love their brands, connect with their brands on Facebook but are realizing that their news feeds are just completely innovated with their favorite brands updates rather than their friends updates, and without relevant updates it’s easier to unlike than it is to just put up with it. And how brands are doing things today and how they’re going to have to do things tomorrow are very different. I believe that those brands that are experimenting well – so Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, American Express, Intel – they’re designing landing pages specifically for the different types of consumers that they’ve identified.
So kind of coming back to the other discussion, they realize that Facebook shouldn’t serve just one type of persona, that there’s several different key persona that they’re trying to reach, so they design pages and experiences and campaigns and programs dedicated to those different types of individuals, which is wonderful because Facebook allows you to design different pages, and it almost becomes like a, well basically like a website for the social web because those are the individuals who through surveys will say they don’t want to click out of Facebook to go to your website. They don’t want to click out of Facebook to buy something. Just let them do it all right there, so some brands are actually successfully recreating the key pages from their website within Facebook. And that’s only going to become more sophisticated over time, but essentially what you’re doing is you’re catering to the different types of customers. And then those businesses that combine something like Get Satisfaction, for example, where they can also take care of customers who are having problems all within the one Facebook page, really start to develop not only a successful brand page but the foundation for a great community.
Susan Bratton: How long do you think it’s going to be until Facebook goes through what Google’s been going through the last couple months? What I noticed with Google was that they made it very, very difficult for a large majority of their pay per click customers to continue to work with them. They cracked down on their customer base, they focused on their big brands and they shut down a lot of accounts that they didn’t think were creating, you know, enough value for the click. And then they did the Panda algorithm and that broke everybody’s pages, and so people de-flocked from Google, you know.
Marketers, a lot, a lot, a lot of marketers just gave up and said, “Google’s making it too hard for me to do business with them. I’m going somewhere else.” And I think the same thing is going to happen with Facebook. We’re going to build all these pages. We’re going to put all this investment in. And then we’re going to realize that, hey, we can’t get our data out or, you know, Facebook’s going to change their policies or whatever, and now we’ve got all our traffic and all our customers flowing through Facebook instead of through our websites. We’ve gone to this mentality where we need to fish where the fish are instead of expecting the fish to flop over into our website. But Facebook is going to get bigger, mightier and they’re going to get that same mentality that Google does. They’re going to decide they don’t like things people are doing, and then they’re going to make changes and make it difficult for marketers and break all our stuff and we’re going to be miserable again. How long do you think that’s going to take?
Brian Solis: I don’t know, but I was really enjoying that whole setup there.
Susan Bratton: And you can disagree with me of course. You don’t have to agree, but I think it’s kind of inevitable. It happens, you know, all the time, right. But you tell me.
Brian Solis: Yeah, I don’t know that I can disagree with you. I can say this though. I am paying really close attention to it because they are making some interesting mistakes in their evolution that does hint that this is a very real possibility. The other side of me is looking at Twitter at the moment. For example, what they’re doing to the developer segment where one can say that what we’re talking about in terms of marketers Twitter’s doing right now with their developer community. And yet, developers are still frenzied in terms of developing Twitter applications, and if I were a developer I’d have to rethink that strategy, but you know, I don’t know. Did people really leave Google enough to where they just didn’t come back at all or that they…
Susan Bratton: Oh yeah. They banned so many marketers, especially direct marketers, have abandoned Google to the point that Google is now turning back on their accounts, calling them, up, welcoming them back, sending them credits, like, “Here’s $300 credit to get started on the account that we’ve turned back on for you again that we just turned off because we felt like it,” right.
Brian Solis: Yeah.
Susan Bratton: So they’ve got to overcome a tremendous amount of bad will in the second and third tier marketing community.
Brian Solis: Well to some extent then that’s going to happen to Facebook within the next six months to a year. And, you know, what’s going to happen just like with Google, then they’re going to realize it’s a mistake and they’re going to have to ask for everybody to come back. And, you know, there’s some really interesting signs of this right now in terms of, for example, what happened to Adley and Facebook.
Susan Bratton: I don’t know about that. I’m sure not everyone does. Tell us.
Brian Solis: So Adley is a, it’s a advertising syndication network that uses human beings as sort of the distribution platform. So if you have a Twitter account and you’re a brand, lets say a brand can come to Adley and say, “Look, I need the most influential voices on Twitter who like to talk about, I don’t know, lets just say detergent. Who are those individuals? Here’s our budget. Lets put together a campaign.” And basically what they do is they tweet on the brands behalf certain scripts that are basically paid tweets. Adley is very much all over the marketplace right now because most of the people in their network are celebrities and their most famous celebrity did a paid promotion around internship.com and that person was Charlie Sheen.
They decided to take that same mechanism and apply it to Facebook, so paid Facebook status updates, and Facebook shut them off. And that became a big issue, and basically that was in stream advertising that was against their terms of service. Now obviously that was breaking the rules, but if you look at all eyeball behavior, which I know you know, but just for the sake of the audience, all eyeball behavior in social network marketing has to happen in stream because they’re not looking around as much as they used to on a traditional website. So there is going to be some interesting revolution or experiments that are going to become public fallouts around how can we get advertising in the stream, like what Twitter’s doing with promoted tweets for example. So it’ll happen where Facebook will probably just get fed up and start shutting off brand pages because of the way that they’re trying to market outside of that brand page.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of changes. I’ll tell you that as a marketer I would never give up doing everything on my own website. I would only use Facebook as another beachhead.
Brian Solis: Yes.
Susan Bratton: You know, not the beachhead. I hear so many people saying, “Well we’re just going to put it on Facebook now ‘cause that’s where all of the action is,” and I just, I wouldn’t do it, you know. It’s just not a smart idea.
Brian Solis: Not at all. Not at all.
Susan Bratton: All right, so couple of other things. For your book, Engage – and I’m going to give away a copy of Engage on my DishyMix fan page on Facebook, so if you would like a copy of Brian’s book Engage, you probably know the drill by now. You just go to the DishyMix fan page on Facebook and post your desire, and I’ll pick one and I’ll send it to you. Brian, who did you write this for? Who is this really for?
Brian Solis: You know, long story short, the first book was written for, I wanted to just write it to the expert and the publisher asked if I could write to the beginner. And we met in the middle, and you get a 400 page book that the first half is written for individuals who are either new to social media or individuals who have experimented with social media over the years and they’re trying to reset their understanding and what its potential is. The latter half of the book is designed for people who have been engaged in social media already and are looking to drive bottom line business actions and then also realize that social media’s true potential lies beyond just marketing, but it actually touches almost every aspect of business from service to HR to finance to legal, you name it, and then how do you design an efficient organization where each now has an extension that includes social in addition to their other outbound outlets.
So it’s really written for a very broad audience. And also at the same time it was written to help teachers and professors teach new media to their students. So it has sort of like an academic flavor to it. The new, new Engage, which is the revised and updated version, is written for the latter half of our discussion there, so people who are new to it but familiar with it. And it reads not so academically and it’s a much faster read, still as valuable, new data, new information, new ways of positioning as far as for that individual who needs to get to work right now.
Susan Bratton: That sounds good. Yeah, it’s a very well written book with a lot of great information, and I would typify it as less like step by step what you should do, and more like the analytical guide to understanding where to get traction for your business. I think you have an analytical frame of mind that a lot of the other books I see don’t have.
Brian Solis: Yeah, there’s a lot of great books out there that give you the top tips to take, they take you takeaways to go put into action. But really what’s going on right now is we’re in a market in transition. This emergence of the social consumer is far more connected and probably far more influential than the online consumer of previous years. And it requires nothing less than a complete re-visitation of your business methodology, your frameworks, your systems, your processes, and more important business philosophy. So the book really walks through how do you change the business to engage the social consumer.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, that’s just an exhausting and daunting task for us marketers. Last question Brian. You’re a principal analyst now at Altimeter. That’s a new thing. You joined Jeremiah and Charlene recently. What is it that you’re doing at Altimeter and how can a person, if they’re interested in leveraging your genius, what’s the engagement like to work with you? Do you work with clients or are you only doing the reporting? Or like what is it that you do there?
Brian Solis: Well a little bit of everything. So I’m studying the market. I focus at the management to C-Suite level for how the social or what I’ll call the connected customer. So whether it’s B2B, C2C, government, what have you, how it’s affecting the needs for business in the form of change management, organizational transformation, etcetera. So I’ll be writing reports on that, and at the same time I’m already working with management of large organizations to start to implement that change. So assessing where the organization is, where the opportunities are, who are the resources, how is the business structure, and then really starting to redesign the business to what I call an adapted business so that they can start to move and eventually need instead of react to all of this.
Susan Bratton: Nice! I don’t know if you’ve read that book by David Shaner. I had him on DishyMix a month or two ago, The 7 Arts Of Change: Leading Business Transformation That Lasts?
Brian Solis: I did not read it, but I have that book on order.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, it’s a good book and you can just listen to the DishyMix interview too if you want to get a head start. What I liked about David is that he takes a very, he uses a lot of his background as being an Olympic Gold Medal downhill skier on a team with a lot of his martial arts. I don’t remember if he was karate, kung fu, hapkido, jiu jitsu, whatever, but he uses a lot of his eastern philosophy for martial arts to help organizations change from the bottom up rather than the top down. It’s like accountability throughout the organization rather than top down then change. So I really like it. He’s a super, super cool guy, so I’m glad you ordered that book.
Brian Solis: Yeah. No, absolutely because that’s really what it’s about is how, I mean there’s a groundswell and I mean Charlene, you know, is probably the one who knows best in the business infrastructure around that, but I will say that at some point, right, that groundswell has to get executives to feel it, to breathe it and then start to implement the change back from the top down. So it’s a bottom up, top down inspired process, and that’s what this is really all about. And so in my role over there at Altimeter, I’ll be sort of doing that from data because at least the people I’m working with need to see the business case for it.
Susan Bratton: So if you’re a CEO of an enterprise level company and you’re interested in making sure that you react to this connected consumer opportunity, they would call you and you would help them understand. You’d assess their existing organization and help them come up with a plan for making sure that their customers don’t womp them in the marketplace now with social.
Brian Solis: Yeah, absolutely. And then also for them, I guess in a lot of executives that I’ve worked with over the years, you know, there’s some sayings that seem to be the common thread, and that is if you come to me – and not me, but just say anybody within the organizations – if you come to me trying to make social media a priority for a business you’re going to lose. If you come to me and you align social media with business objectives, which in many ways are getting closer to the customer, and you can show us that social media becomes an enabler for that, then you become a winner every time, and that really is sort of my job is to look at the market opportunity, demonstrate a business case for it, and then show what they’re doing today, what they’re not doing today, how it all comes together, and then how it actually just impacts the business overall, and then redesign the organization around it.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, just that. That’s all. That’s all you have to do.
Brian Solis: Exactly.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, it’s a lot of work. But it has to be, it’s the work that has to be done, right?
Brian Solis: Yes.
Susan Bratton: Yeah.
Brian Solis: Yes, indeed.
Susan Bratton: Excellent! Well, listen, I’ve really enjoyed having you on the show. I’ve had a good conversation and anyone who wants to connect with Brian you can do it at briansolis.com. That’s b-r-i-a-n, s-o-l-i-s, two S’s. And I’m your host, Susan Bratton. I hope you had a great time learning more about Brian, and if you’d like his book Engage buy it or go to the DishyMix fan page and ask me to give it to you. I’ll give it to you, but only one of you. I’m your host, Susan Bratton. Have a great day and we’ll connect next week. Take great care.