There is so much information floating that it’s hard to sift through. So it’s refreshing to find a source that’s succinct & offers a lot of value. Brian Solis of PR 2.0 provides that.
I regularly point people to his writing:
Social Media Manifesto by Brian Solis – is a must read!
Customer Service, The Art of Listening & Engagement Through Social Media by Brian Solis
And now he’s published an awesome e-book, The Essential Guide to Social Media.
What makes it so valuable for me is that it’s relevant & practical. Here are some of the highlights:
1. Marketing is changing. It’s no longer pushing messages out. Brian describes the two way dialogue best:
Engaging with and empowering your customers as an extension of your marketing efforts isn’t new. However, in the era of Social Media, there are new tools and philosophies to more effectively listen and engage with customers and in turn…
- Cultivate a more significant community
- Enhance your brand
- Build relationships
- And, create evangelists along the way.
- Participation is marketing.
- Intention is everything.
- And, actions speak louder than words.
2. Social media consists of tools – it’s not about the technology it’s about the interactions & relationships. Brian includes the analogy of a hardware store & using the correct tools for the job at hand.
3. He gives some very good advice & points out that many companies are focusing on the tools & explains why that doesn’t work:
Most Social Media Marketing initiatives have started with the tools first…
- Brands opt to engage using the most popular tools and networks to attract relationships instead of going to where their existing or prospective customers are congregated.
- They didn’t observe or listen prior to jumping in.
His advice is right on:
Conversational marketing requires observation, which will dictate your engagement strategies.
It starts with a combination of social and traditional tools to discover, listen, learn, and engage directly with customers.
- It helps us find where the conversations are truly taking place.
- The goal is to help them make decisions and also do things that they couldn’t, or didn’t know how to do, before.
- Build relationships through conversations without objectives.
4. Brian provides practical advice for getting started:
- Observing – Identify who your customers are & where they’re at
- Listening – What are they saying & what’s the sentiment?
- Immersion – Getting involved in the conversations (engaging)
- Become the customer – we are all customers but I think marketers often forget to think like a customer creating a disconnect in the message
5. Personnel & Budgets
- A Community Manager – I was so pleased to see that Brian agrees with me that this position is a requirement. He noted:
- a community manager is required at the very least.
- Resources – he provides some formulas for calculating the time required
6. Policies & Guidelines – this isn’t to be entered into lightly – it’s going to require a shift across the organization
7. Personal Brand – this is always a factor for everyone involved whether they want to increase their visibility or not.
My only comment is that it doesn’t address measurement & ROI. But that comes naturally after engaging with the customers (as a community manager – not just only with social media tools).
Kudos to Brian for another great resource. I’m adding it to my Resources tab.
What are your favorite community building resources that should be in my list?