Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

This is the time to go your own way

I was recently asked to write the foreword for Social Media Geek-to-Geek by Rick & Kathy Schmidt Jamison. I was delighted to help and as always, I requested to publish the foreword here when the book was released. Now that the book is available on Amazon, I’m excited to share the foreword with you here…

When I’m asked to research and present success stories and best practices in social media, I often ask a bit more about what it is they’re specifically seeking. After a bit of interaction, it usually comes down to two words, creative inspiration.

At the moment, social media represent something new, something we understand personally buy have yet to comprehend professionally. The unknown is just that, it’s undefined. And as such, the paths for exploring new media are uncharted. Rather than find our own way based on the unique needs of our markets, we seek direction from those who have ventured forth on the roads most traveled. Eventually these expeditions require cartographers to map them, creating a series of charts to “what we know” versus “where we should be.”

Social Media represent change. Change evokes fear and sometimes that fear can paralyze us. Yet, all we need is a better understanding of how we got here in order to plan for where we need to go.

As much as I would love to tell you otherwise, there is no social media playbook for guaranteed success. There is no template to consistently satisfy customers. There isn’t a common recipe for delivering ROI.  The only set of instructions that matter are those that you write based on the reality of your business, the needs of your customers, and the state of the market.

Everyday people, not businesses, embraced social networks. Champions and innovators introduced social media into the organization, from the outside in, because they believed in its ability to reach customers…to reach real people. Through experimentation in day-to-day listening and engagement, social media gained momentum from the bottom-up until it reached a boiling point. The reality is that there is no IT department for social media. Most of the time, there isn’t a Chief Social Officer residing in executive row to help execute against your vision. And, the leadership of the organization is not touting the vision for a more people-focused mission.

Social is either a playground for the young and restless or it’s cost center. Either way, it’s up to us to intimately understand how social media impact the bottom line and how we can steer experiences, conversations, and action in our direction, while delivering value. Without engagement, we can not compete for relevance. Without relevance, we can not compete.

This is your time to find the answers to your questions. This is your time to become the experts you once sought. This is your time to lead the way.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+

15 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “This is the time to go your own way”

  1. I finally started doing my own thing for the last year instead on working on other peoples stuff and have seen a dramatic impact on my income

  2. sociologistfromwayback says:

    Brian, a really great observation. You know data-mining tweet data for words that are emotionally charged like  dogs, family, picnics and starbucks? Crafting cool phrases to including such concepts and emotional retransmitting them back on folks to build some kind of fuzzy brand loyalty seems a little dishonest. You know baseball, hot dogs and Chevrolet lasted a long time way before twitter came on the scene. Obviously in Egypt “snipers,molotovs and hand grenades” is a lot different in use of SM.

    Anyhoo -back to the 80 -20 rule right. Using 80 % emotional types of the words/images – craft a message – deliver and cool socially content to a community and folks knowing that eliciting emotion with be taken in as actual knowledge is bs. You must know  Frank Luntz. I think he is is really hurting a lot of people/institutions. Disguise your message with cool. people-warm words – or scare folks with words…if politicians are buying this and I’m sure they are –  not good. Corp. types have already hijacked words like imagine, inspire, and create. Just a few years back, I sat around an  “imagination table” for a Fortune 10 type company and the budding young MBA’s were busy ‘imagining.” Scary.   

     “go your own way for sure” i’m hopeful that some folks social message creators – motivations -will be a bit more honest and transparent…truth may set us free and even grow a revenue stream! the U.S. based consumer

    cynicismand lack of trust has evolved greatly since the late 60’s. I live near big a river,whose pollution is better today lot – btw..the tag line of the original polluters “we bring good things to life”! Although, one honest man, his sailboat and music rallied the east coast group of millions into doing the right thing.  I’m hoping that while your busy branding yourself you will sit round the tables of some good men/women as well – or at least seek them out.
    Finally, I was disappointed to find the executive career shift of some fairly well known ad execs are now heading up social media type depts./intitatives. In the case of teaching old dogs new tricks yes, it can be done  – but in the case of these ad types it’s they’re just new tricks. I’ve seen a lot of new tech trends come and go…your early views are a nice piece of fresh air. As a Socioligist

    and abnormal psych student in the late 70’s who later evolved in the biz dev.  direction for emerging tech stuff….I’ve found the first marketing heads that surface from under the rubble of new cool tech usually get it wrong – good intentions just immature experience and a  cock-sure sense of immediacy – it’s bad a combo.  Take it from someone who still get’s it only – almost right. Thank goodness 4 your non-corp – non mba insight….plain communal speak. It’s is hard to come by. Many roads diverge in the cyber woods and most of the corp decision takers are non-risk takers and so dig that one road’s rut deeper …I do really believe that genuine honesty in telling the story will work.Consumer’s are starved for real info. soon they will find that although they trust their neighbors – the neighbors can only help a little as they are deep in the games of Zynga growing crops or playing fantasy sports. Folks are bored,  big time 800 channels 3-4 they actually watch – maybe one they learn from. As a parent of 3 guys- two are tech types,and one a psych type – i watch and they show me how they get their info… it’s nothing like they way corp.SM people think.  In the words of a guy (corp. buyer) I met years ago – “a non-risk-taker”.  He said, “the earliest Christians get the hungriest lions” and he was not gonna be one. He retired one year later and his predecessor bought into our offering! This stuff moves fast. Thank goodness.

    BTW -your right bout foursquare – “we don’t ned no stinking badges”

  3. I agree, with the unemployment rate for people in their twenties now around 25% in US, the only other option would be to go off and find your own way.  Social Media jobs have just began popping up around the country ( Social Media Specialist, Social Media Strategist, Social Media Managers).  There is still resistance from many companies regarding these positions, so the only other option is to go off on your own

    • Doug Ridley says:

      Yes, I’m finding that even media and marketing agencies aren’t ready to have a full-time social media position. Most companies have their team do the social media part along with everything else. I would though like to see more understanding that a strategy for social media does warrant a position, especially for monitoring 24/7 and focusing on building engagement.

    • sociologistfromwayback says:

      i agree too. don’t let the grey hairs tell you the way…look where we are?

  4. Guest43 says:

    Another vague foreword by “social media expert” Solis. We all get it, you have to engage with Social Media. Did you figure that one out all on your own?  You and Vaynerchuk are generic social media salesmen. Lots of chatter, but little content.

  5. Guest43 says:

    Another vague foreword by “social media expert” Solis. We all get it, you have to engage with Social Media. Did you figure that one out all on your own?  You and Vaynerchuk are generic social media salesmen. Lots of chatter, but little content.

    • briansolis says:

      Hello Guest43, I’m sure you’ve followed my research since the 90s and have come to this informed assessment. Thank you for clarifying.

  6. Adminitrack says:

    A hired social media expert defeats the purpose of a company engaging in social media.  It is an outsider acting as a buffer between the company and the clientele.

  7. Mauricio says:

    Thanks for sharing the info. Very Useful. thanks for sharing this..i was really inspired from you.

  8. Social Media is changing  & is evolving day by day. There can be many changes in this medium & they are not constant, varying according to the situations arising. This media will explore in many ways. It really brings sometimes, unexpected changes. I am agree with this full article. Interesting one….

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