Tips from Brian Solis By Way of SXSW

I’ve read a lot of South By Southwest reviews since returning from Austin, and rather than try to talk about the event in general, I thought I would share a few key learnings I took away from the interactive sessions, led by some of the industry’s heaviest hitters and most brilliant minds.

One of my favorite sessions was led by Brian Solis. If you’ve even started to look into social media adoption for your business, you’ve likely heard of Brian Solis. He is globally recognized as one of the most brilliant thought leaders in the new media world.

Soon after Brian kicked things off, I knew we were in for a good session. Here’s proof:

His featured a few surprise guest panelists, including Comcast’s Frank Eliason, Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley and Altimeter Group’s Jeremiah Owyang. All were included in his new book creating lots of genuine buzz called “Engage!” I’d offer to loan you my copy, but it’s so good you’ll want to go back to it over and over again. It just hit the shelves last week.

That said, I’d like to share a few of the highlights from that particular session:

Best Tips

  • There’s been so much talk about scalability and social media. Essentially, we need to start showing some ROI that justifies the time investment demanded by truly engaging social media. There is no golden rule to social media measurement though. Define what it is that you want to measure (whatever makes the most sense for your unique business) and start measuring it. Check out any of these free tools to get started:
  • He went on to say that before we can measure, though, we have to listen. Everything starts with listening and research. Take a look at this really cool graph he partnered with JESS3 to create. It’s called the conversation prism and encapsulates most of what’s happening online…socially at least.

Best Soundbites

  • “Become the brand you want to inspire” (Said in the context of having a presence online and engaging with others. We earn our reputation based on how we engage and bring value to the community.)
  • “When it comes to CRM (Customer Relationship Management), drop the ‘C.’ It’s about Relationships above all else, whether you’re interacting with a customer or not.” (Brought up in a discussion with Frank Eliason dealing with social media as a customer service vehicle)
  • “We report to people who don’t care about transparency. Return on Investment is really Return on Ignorance. Figure out what you want to measure and measure it.” (Said when discussing the challenges of getting buy-in from leadership. As mentioned, figure out what you’d like to measure and measure it.)
  • “While establishing a presence is elementary, captivating audiences is artful.” (He said this shortly after indicating that brands need to become the CNN’s of their industry. More on this later…)

Given that Solis is an authority on social engagement, he has a lot to say about a lot that happens in the space. I’ve shared the nuggets of wisdom that really stood out to me, but I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of his book. (No, I’m not tied in any way to the success of his book, though I wish I was…) At the very least, add him to your bookmarks bar, if only to get some tips on how to better listen to what people are saying about you in the social sphere, and hopefully you’ll be ready to engage online if you’re not already.

So for those of you already elbow-deep into a social media plan, who are your social media heroes? Who do you follow willingly? Let us know in the comments below. Engage for crying out loud. It’s fun.

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