A social revolution is under way, and it’s having a transformative impact on business and customer interactions. One of the most influential proponents of social business and its associated cultural and economic benefits is Brian Solis.
Solis is a prolific thinker, blogger, speaker and author of several best-selling books such as ‘The End of Business as Usual’ and ‘Engage!’. His latest book is ‘What’s the Future of Business.’
We caught up with him recently and asked a few questions to help kick start your social media success in 2013:
Q. What’s your number one tip for businesses looking to develop a social media strategy in 2013?
Believe it or not, I often ask businesses to not think about social media and first consider what it is that they’re hoping to accomplish, thinking through what online relationships look like, and what the desired outcome could and should be.
Q. How can businesses get the balance right between automated monitoring tools and human intervention in the social listening process?
The question I have is what is the difference between monitoring and listening? Monitoring implies tracking mentions, sentiment, share of voice, and also any potential rises of problems or full blown crises. Listening to me suggests that someone is hearing what people are saying and looking for ways to learn, engage, or shape positive experiences. So, tools aside, it starts with intentions. I refer to this aspect as the human algorithm. It’s the human element that defines how these tools will be used, what reporting looks like to not only capture activity, but real world experiences, and then the ability to do something about those experiences now and over time.
Q. Should companies divide their time equally between monitoring their own brand mentions and those of the competition? Do you have a professional ‘rule of thumb’?
One should always be aware of competitive activity. But at the same time, if the intention is to listen, to hear people, to improve experiences, it is the competition that will need to watch you.
Q. You spend a lot of time travelling, speaking at different events and listening to people talk about their experiences of grappling with social media. What is the most common feedback you get at these events?
I hear questions everywhere I go. And these questions range all over the map. They range from why social media to what does a digital strategy need to include to what’s the ROI to how do we get executives to buy in? I spend my time studying technology’s impact on society and behavior. I then focus on the problems, challenges and opportunities facing organizations today. There’s always a gap between customers (constituents), stakeholders or shareholders and decision makers. Social media isn’t the answer to these questions. It’s part of an overhaul that requires information, insight, and direction to shift perspective and bring about meaningful (and inspired) change from within.
You can follow Brian Solis at BrianSolis.com, on Facebook and Twitter @BrianSolis. His latest book ‘What’s the Future of Business?’ is available to pre-order here and will be available in all good bookshops shortly. It’s an essential guide for anyone who wants to position their business to survive today and thrive tomorrow.