What follows is the complete version of my recent post on Mashable, “Why Brands are Becoming Media.“
One of the greatest challenges I encounter today is not the willingness of a brand to engage, but its ability to create. When blueprinting social architecture and the engineering that connects people to other people strategically, enthusiasm and support typically derail when examining the resources and the commitment required to rhythmically produce, distribute, and support content.
Perhaps the most difficult aspects of Social Media to embrace are the changes in our behavior and overall philosophy it necessitates in order to earn relevance and ultimately prominence in consumer hearts, minds, and markets.
Simply put, Social Media makes us vulnerable and officially ends an era of perceived control threaded by the illusion of invincibility.
I can’t believe the day is finally here. In fact, it’s here earlier than planned.
Please join me in celebrating the official release of Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web
Social media has democratized influence, forever changing the way businesses communicate with customers and the way customers affect the decisions of their peers. With platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, anyone can now find and connect with others who share similar interests, challenges, and beliefs—creating communities that shape and steer the perception of brands. Without engagement in these communities, we miss major opportunities to shape our stories.
Social Media is as revolutionary as it is evolutionary. It represents an important chapter in the ongoing saga and transformation of new media.
Over the years, we’ve witnessed that the 10 stages of social media integration in business are almost always set in motion by an internal champion who is determined and impassioned to engender change from the inside out. These champions emerge from different disciplines and departments and are typically role agnostic. Depending on the organization, champions exist in customer service, communications, marketing, interactive, as well as executive management. The change that these champions engender will ultimately represent a revolution in the spirit, philosophy, vision, and framework for organizations, one that increases market relevance and dramatically enhances the opportunity for affinity and fidelity.
In the era of the real-time Web, information travels at a greater velocity than the infrastructure of mainstream media can support as it exists today. As events materialize, the access to social publishing and syndication platforms propels information across attentive and connected nodes that link social graphs all over the world. Current events are now at the epicenter of global attention as social media makes the world a much smaller place.
If you were to look at Social Media the United States and many other parts of the world, you would believe that the world of Social Media was flat, dominated by social continents including Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, and Flickr. As we zoom in, we visualize other established and emerging social services that depict provinces and outlying settlements of our social atlas.
Social Media marketing is rapidly earning a role in the integrated marketing mix of small and enterprise businesses and as such, it’s transforming every division from the inside out. What starts with one champion in any given division, be it customer service, marketing, public relations, advertising, interactive, et al, eventually inspires an entire organization to socialize. What starts with one, a domino effect usually ensues toppling each department, gaining momentum, and triggering a sense of urgency through its path. And, it also marks the beginning of our journey through the ten stages of social media integration.
I’m truly excited to share a bit of news with you…
While this isn’t the formal launch of my new book, today represents a significant milestone for me.
As of today, Engage is available for pre-order on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, and Borders, with shipments expected to arrive sometime in mid-to-late February. Other sites will go live soon.
One of the most common fears I focus on defeating among executives and brand managers is that in new media brands lose control by publishing content and engaging in social networks. The general sentiment is that by sharing information and creating presences within public communities that they, by the nature of democratized participation, invite negative responses in addition to potentially positive and neutral interaction. By not fully embracing the social Web, many believe that they retain a semblance of control. The idea is that if brands abstain from providing a forum for hosting potentially disparaging commentary, it will prevent it from earning an audience – in this case, an audience that can impact the business and the reputation of the brand.
Every year closes with summaries of the top stories as well the predictions for the year ahead. Heading into Twenty-Ten, I contributed to several prediction roundups including Junta42, ContactCenterWorld, ZDNet, among others. What I didn’t do however, is write about the endless predictions for the future of marketing, media, business, et al. While there were many excellent contributions, I focused on other writing priorities.
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research firm focused on disruptive technology. A digital analyst, anthropologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture. Solis is also globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. His new book, What's the Future of Business (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. Prior to End of Business, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.