I recently attended an internal conference with a brand at which I was a speaker representing blogging. It was a surprising day in many ways, not least because I had taken their description of the event as a ’round-table’ literally and imagined that there would be just a few of us, er, round a table.. so the stage and 200 strong audience was something of a shock!
However, it felt like a very positive event because the brand is clearly trying to approach social media in a well researched, knowledgeable way rather than just lurching in. What struck me, however, is that so-called social media experts who have access and ability to influence are very often not quite so expert in the intricacies of social media. One of my fellow guests was Brian Solis, who truly is an expert, an extraordinary man who I liked immediately, and he has the rarest of talents within the social media sphere – intuition and emotion. He understands the entire social media world in a very human way, unlike other experts who only understand it from a statistics and numbers point of view.
You can see why, thinking about the stats and numbers experts, campaigns that seem like an excellent idea on paper don’t touch the bases on the human and emotion scale. Without understanding people, without knowing how to communicate at an emotional level, how can you hope to ever be a guru? It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t have an ulterior motive when giving advice to brands – I think what I’m saying to brands is that finding people who understand the build of the bigger picture from fragments of the smaller ones is the key to successful outreach. Anyone can gather numbers, not everyone can gather people.