Brian Solis needs no introduction. Solis just published a new book, Engage!, that aims to help businesses build, cultivate and measure success in the new Web. I interviewed Brian about the book. A talk about social media, the creation of a human network, influencers and content.

I started by sharing a thought with Brian and wanted to know what his reaction was. This was the thought: “social networks are merely a technological extension of our human nature to connect, be part of something and communicate, and ultimately, people are the social networks”.

Brian Solis: Social networks are hubs for the contextual connection of people around ideas, interests, and passions. However, at the same time, while social networks serve as the enabling technology to communicate, the relationships that people forge within these networks are more reminiscent of relations rather than relationships.

A grid of relationships that link social graphs from network to network

Brian Solis continues: These short-form engagements actually strengthen connections with each exchange. And it’s the act of causing or earning responses that seduces users toward a bottomless cycle of acting and inciting reactions.

Over time, what’s truly fascinating about social networking, is the creation of a human network, a grid of relationships that link social graphs from network to network. One day soon, we’ll have the ability to effectively engage and interact with our contacts from one dashboard across multiple networks.

The days of broadcasting are – or should be – over in marketing communication. Why do you think it has taken businesses so long to understand that it’s about relationships instead of one-way communication but most of all about what consumers want and voice, according to you? Good sales people always understood. And has the broadcasting mentality really changed?

Brian Solis: One-way communication is an oxymoron. However, some businesses believe that when they speak at audiences and markets that they are communicating. Others believe that one-to-many transmissions offered some semblance of control and falsely assumed or underestimated that any potential dissent would rarely earn the public spotlight. Now with the socialization of media and the rise of new influencers, prominence is earned through not only listening, but established through attentiveness and the corresponding actions that inspire connection and adaptation.

Meaningful content rooted in empathy and value is precious

A lot is being said about the increasing role of relevant content in the right context these days. How do you see the role of content in general and in social?

Engage by Brian Solis
Engage! by Brian Solis

Brian Solis: Content speaks to the mission and purpose of a business optimized for the framework of the medium and always with the unique and varying audiences in mind. Content is critical towards establishing an effective inbound marketing initiative as it represents the brand when the brand representative is not present. Strategically placing content in the networks where stakeholders, customers, and prospects are actively seeking information amplifies the findability of our value proposition, differentiation, and intentions. This is why possessing a genuine understanding of the wants, needs, challenges, and options of our markets and also where, when, and how they seek direction proves effectual.

When combined with SMO (Social Media Optimization), our content rises to the top of keyword searches within social networks, addressing the specific needs of consumers based on how and where they search. Content is easy to commoditize. Meaningful content rooted in empathy and value is precious and as such, dramatically increases the promise of connecting to those they’re intended to affect.

You can follow Brian Solis on his blog and get his new book, Engage!, here.

Brian Solis was a keynote at i-SCOOP’s Social Business Sessions in 2012. Watch the video and full event overview.