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The one-and-only fireplace conference room at HMA World Headquarters

Or, as I have subtitled it: My Social Media-Marilyn Monroe Epiphany

Each month, Team HMA gathers round the fireplace (seriously, we have one in our office) while one of our team members gives book report. Each book must be focused on or about our industry, and each report is then offered to the community-at-large via our many social media portals (HMATime - our blog - being the first touch point).

My problem?

My favorite "easy read" of all time from Ms. Collins, Lady Boss

Unless the words "seduction," "murder" or "web of deception" are on the back-cover synopsis – or unless the author is Jackie Collins or Candace Bushnell - I sometimes have a problem focusing.

Which makes me the perfect person to read and report (in my own special way) on Engage! by Brian Solis.

Here’s why:

My book report focus - Engage!

Like most of us (admit it!), I waited until the very last possible moment to read my book report book – Sunday night well after midnight.

I also waited until the last possible moment to work out.

I also waited until the last possible moment to watch this week's episode of Forensic Files and my DVRed movie of the week, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn Monroe and the underrated Jane Russell.

Like most of us, I decided I could easily do all three things at once.

And then, just as Jane Russell was about to sing “Ain’t There Anyone” on the fictional movie cruise ship, and I passed the eight-mile mark on the stationary bike, there it was…the link.

Solis’ book spoke to me right then – it talked about many generations, but mostly my generation’s compulsion to multi-task. And then how the compulsion is compounded exponentially if you are in the communications industry.

We try so hard to do so much at once – and so hard to keep up with the evolving world of social media – that we are even getting social media fatigue, and I would guess several other kinds of fatigue (I sure was trying to sing along to my movie, pedal, read and take notes!).

After that, Solis had my attention. I even paused the movie.

Once he had my attention, he made one of the best observations about WHY social media is so successful, and why it is here to stay.

Because we all love ourselves and think we are brilliant.

He asserts in the book that the world of social media is called many things – blogosphere, Twitterverse, Web 2.0 and so on. However, what it should be called, is the STATUSphere. And it revolves around our EGOsystem. Mine, apparently, is HUGE.

Yep, social media did NOT re-invent the wheel. Instead, it is simply the most effective way for us to talk about us (or extensions of us including our businesses, brands, events, products, friends, family, etc…).

Monroe CLASSIC - and a Bailin family favorite film selection

After that, I needed a brain break and started the movie back up. It was during one of the final scenes when Gold Digger Marilyn Monroe is confronted by her soon-to-be father-in-law (a millionaire, natch). He criticizes her for simply going after his son, Gus, for his money.

Au contraire, daddy.

Marilyn explains: “I don’t want to marry him for his money, silly. I want to marry him for YOUR money!”

And I kid you not, a moment later I picked up my book again just as Solis was explaining that while we want OUR friends to pay attention to our tweets, blogs and other social media brilliance, what we really want is for THEIR FRIENDS to pay attention. Our goal is to reach “Friends of Friends” to increase our own EGOsphere!

Just like Marilyn with the fortune!!

From that moment on, he had me focused on how I could most effectively keep my EGOsystem revolving – and evolving.

Some things, in my own words, that I learned (and even got off the bike to jot down):

  • Messages are not conversations so stop talking about crafting them all the time (I love using the word craft though!). Write and communicate the way you talk (like my EGOsystem did above with the biking/movie/procrastination introduction).
  • Communicate with PEOPLE, not targets or target audiences – hmmm, perhaps we will have to eventually change the “target audience” portion of the Copper Anvils?
  • Make a connection – or ENGAGE.

    Brian Solis' Brilliance - in a nutshell (or nut circle)

  • There is more out there than Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, You Tube, Twitter, PitchEngine and Foursquare – and my goal is to start adding to my social media arsenal each month, starting now by Digging things each day, letting people know what’s Delicious, and copying all of my fabulous photos from Kodak Gallery to PhotoBucket. I’ll let you all know how it goes and what’s on tap for August (hint – Flickr and Reddit will be on the list).
  • Be believable rather than “transparent.”
  • My social media strategy needs to focus on authenticity, wisdom (or at least sharing others’ wisdom!), engagement, participation and reflection so I can reach my new goal of trust, loyalty and authority.
  • It’s okay to consider paying to increase fans in the social space – this is a hard one to swallow but in moderation I will look into it.
  • While I will never know how to do SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, without outside help, I can become a resource for SMO, or Social Media Optimization with tags, titles, descriptions, links, photos, enhanced distribution channels and more.
  • The “Seven C’s” of communication should still be used – clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete and courteous.
  • I want to be “Middle Magic” – or at least engage in a meaningful way with those who are.
  • I still have a lot to learn – case in point – the last 80 or so pages were above my head for now, but will be reexamined for a second post.

Oh, and My Space is getting less and less of a “Place for Friends” and more a place for music when folks need a short break from Facebook.

Please feel free to give us comments on your thoughts about the book or how your businesses is using what it learned from the book. We’d love to hear from you below!

Oh, and apparently, we are all a little like Marilyn – we are social media gold diggers.

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

1 Comment

  1. […] a few months back I did a book report on Brian Solis’ digital communications book Engage, which focused on how to be successful in the social media world by connecting with those who […]

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