An Evening With Brian Solis in Minneapolis

I attended an event Tuesday evening sponsored by the smartly run Kane Consulting team. Brian Solis came to speak about his book, Engage.

The word that came to mind as I left the event was ‘refreshing‘. Brian Solis is smart in understanding what he knows and that it’s a constant to continue to learn. He is also humble in proposing that we all need to be our own experts.

I haven’t seen much modesty out there around this topic. Mr. Solis came to teach us. That’s what attracted me to this kind of engagement when I started participating years ago. The chance to share with others, learn from them and grow together.

I first got actively involved in the participation age when I worked at Sun Microsystems and became an internal advocate for blogging at Sun. It was hard to quantify the benefits, but it felt like the future to me. I participated and saw the things that came back to me through reaching out to others in this way. So much potential!

A couple of insights that struck me from the presentation:

Introverts are the new extroverts.

Mr. Solis discussed the fact that this way of engaging is the future. It shifts the power structures that are currently in play. This is a different way of reaching out than what we are normally faced with in today’s meatspace. Extroverts most definitely rule traditional networking but there is subtlety and longevity to the way a person needs to interact and exist in a virtual space. I think this gives introverts an advantage.

You have an audience.

If you are out there engaging, it’s likely someone is listening. What are you saying to them? He challenged us to give this some more thought.

Curation, curation, curation

Packaged experiences are coming to save us from the firehose that is twitter, facebook, the internet and more. If you are able to cull through information and put it together in a way that helps people understand it, you can find success in this new world.

If it can’t be found it does not exist

People don’t spend time digging for content. You need to do everything you can to make if findable. Tag it, add meta data, put it in multiple places, tell your audience about it and ask them to tell others too. If nobody sees your brilliant content and engages with it, is it really there?

The web was only the beginning

I’ve been around awhile. I’ve worked on creating online experiences going on 14 years. One of the key things I’ve seen from marketing teams is that they are used to the way they’ve been trained. ‘Launch and Leave’ is something I’ve heard before. But this kind of marketing is getting less effective. The onset of the internet started this evolution and this need. The rise of the participation age is forcing an evolution from campaigns to a continuum. You need to KEEP engaging. You also need to provide a place for your audience to go once you get them. Is your web site ready to take on the interested parties you are culling for your business or your art? We have to think about the ways in which customers want to engage and support those models.

Your Business Models and Structures May Need to Change

Customers are evolving and requiring completely different ways of interacting with your company. The picture below shows how a very hierarchical company has shifted and evolved their structure in order to be successful in responding to customers. According to Mr. Solis, it’s been 2 years in the making and it’s still in progress. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary to be successful into the future. As the saying goes, business must evolve or die.

Thanks to Jen Kane and Kary Delaria for a great evening. I enjoyed listening to Brian Solis share his knowledge and encourage everyone in the room to get as good at this as him and to keep learning and keep engaging.

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