In Social Media, Your Return Represents Your Investment by briansolis


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									In Social Media, Your Return Represents Your
By Brian Solis, industry-leading blogger at and principal of research firm
Altimeter Group, Author of the highly acclaimed book on social business Engage!

Sometimes the path of least resistance unwinds into a far more complicated and arduous journey
than we anticipated. In times of change, taking the path less traveled, although initially daunting,
proves easier and far more rewarding in the long run. Such is true for social media.

I read a review about Engage once that read, “Brian Solis takes the fun out of social media.” The
author’s point was that the book took an academic approach when the industry could benefit from a
simplified focus on best practices, case studies, and actionable takeaways.

Shortly thereafter, I participated in a day-long event at a leading global consumer brand. Following
my presentation, the person, a representative from a leading social network, took the stage and
started her presentation by slighting the general theme of my discussion. She simply said, “Don’t
over think social media. It’s supposed to be fun!”

Between the review, others like it and that on-stage remark, I was starting to think that maybe I was
beating the wrong drum. While I appreciate their perspective and their ideas, there are those of us
who must march to the beat of our own drummer. This is why my work focuses on how to bridge the
gap between customers and businesses, nothing less, nothing more. I focus on
accountability, change, innovation and co-creation. It is not easy nor is it supposed to be when your
mission is value, starting with the end in mind and working backwards from there.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
The truth is that the customer gap existed prior to social media and successfully closing it takes
more than basic conversational or content-driven strategies in Twitter, Facebook and other social
networks. The path to engagement is strenuous, uncharted, and anything but easy. Everything
begins with understanding the magnitude of the gap and what it is that people want, are missing or
could benefit from in order to bring both ends toward the middle.

No matter how hard we try, we just can’t build a customer-centric organization if we do not know
what it is people value. Social media are your keys to unlocking the 5I’s of engagement to develop
more informed and meaningful programs:

1. Intelligence – Learn about needs, wants, values, challenges
2. Insight – Find the “aha’s” to identify gaps
3. Ideation – Inspire new ideas for engagement, communication, new products/services, change
4. Interaction – Engage…don’t just publish, bring your mission to life
5. Influence – Influence behavior and in the process, become an influencer

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Social media is as effective as its design. The ability to deliver against brand lift, ROI, or an
established set of business and operational metrics and KPIs is all in the design. I believe you can
not measure what it is you do not, or do not know, to value. As part of a recent study sponsored by
Vocus, MarketingSherpa discovered that a majority of social media programs focused on programs
that were deemed “fast and easy.” Sound familiar? Indeed, those programs that focus on social
media programs that are easy are less effective than those that require a deeper investment of time,
understanding and resources.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
MarketingSherpa combined three questions about social marketing tactics: The effectiveness to
achieve objectives, the degree of difficulty to implement each tactic, and the percentage of
organizations using them. Their findings across the board were that “fast and easy” trumps

The tactics with the lowest degree of difficulty and corresponding level of effectiveness include…

- Social sharing buttons in email

- Social sharing buttons on web sites

- Tweeting

- Multimedia creation

- Social advertising

The balance shifts however toward potency as the degree of difficulty escalates. Here we see the
following programs carry greater reward for consumers and businesses alike, but as such, you get
what you pay for.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
- Blogging

- Engagement in social networks

- SMO (Social Media Optimization)

- Blogger and influencer relations

Social media doesn’t have to be void of “fun.” It must offer value and usefulness to be successful.

In the end, the reality is that you get out of social media what you invest in it. But at the same time,
experimenting with social media is not anything to discredit. The difference between today’s media
and the networks of yore is nothing less than the democratization of information, from creation to
consumption to sharing and the equalization of influence. The marketing landscape has been reset
and thus requires a shift from a casual approach to genuine leadership.

1. Start by understanding who you’re trying to reach and what it is they value

2. Design programs that meet the needs of each segment

3. Dissect the keywords and clickpaths of your desirable segments and develop a thoughtful SMO

4. SMO is only as effective as the content and destinations it’s meant to enhance.
Develop content and click paths that
matter and deliver value on both sides of the transaction.

5. Identify the individuals and organizations that influence your markets. Learn what it is they value
and develop engagement programs that offer tangible value (what’s in it for them and their

6. #Engage

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(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is
globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published
authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and
influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and
culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for
businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
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(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis

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