One of the books I got for Christmas was “Trust Agents” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered quite by chance that Julien Smith was speaking at the Third Tuesday Vancouver Meetup group in downtown Vancouver last night. On the spur of the moment I decided to go, and of course took my copy of ‘Trust Agents‘ to see if Julien would sign it. As you can see I wasn’t disappointed!

I had thought that perhaps Julian would be talking about the contents of the book however, it in addition to that, he presented some interesting thoughts and concepts about how communication has changed and the impact of those changes in the way businesses market and sell their products and services.

Some of the points he made of got me thinking about how I can apply them to my own business and also help my clients effectively transition into referral and relationship-based marketing rather than the familiar push marketing and advertising that businesses have traditionally used for decades.

Ever since the first voice was heard over the radio in 1904 we have become used to channels of one-way communication. As entertaining and informative as these channels can be, they communicate carefully crafted message with the intention of influencing the listeners. One-way communication is so limiting as there is no way of clarifying how the receiver of the message feels about the message and no way for the receiver to respond to the message. It is a one-way channel and now social media presents the opportunity for two-way conversation.

Some of the ways that Julien Smith talked about how to use two-way conversation effectively on social media channels I thought was very interesting and I want to share one or two thoughts that he presented.

Reginald Fessenden was that first voice heard over the radio in 1904. At that moment a new channel of communication was born .Reginald Fessenden’s voice was experimenting with that new channel. Julien Smith challenged us to experiment with the new radios of the future. He gave the example of a child. A child learns about the world by touching and trying new things, and in doing so expands the world that was previously known. Some experiences teach good things, other experiences can hurt. Even when the child touches the burner and gets hurt he has a great understanding of the world. Every experience teaches us more about the world if we’re willing to take the risk to touch something new.

There will be many new channels on social media that have not yet been invented. Our world will stay small if we are not willing to try and experiment with new things. Am I going to be a person who waits until a channel is proven before I experiment? Or am I going to be a pioneer who experiments and develops a voice in the new channels of the future.

When geese fly in V. formation, the goose at the head of the V is paving the way for the others. In taking the lead the head goose creates a channel and in doing so makes it easier for the other geese to follow by reduceing resistance. Does your business have the courage to take the lead using social media as a channel to communicate to your clients and potential clients leading the way?

What about the communication voice that is used in your channel in social media? There is a difference between hype and found a channel. Hype is like a 30 second commercial on TV, when it’s over the hype dies. A channel, however, can continue forever as it is where you build connections. To have control over the future of means taking control of your channel. If you own your channel you can communicate whatever you like in it. What is your unique communication voice that characterizes your channel?

Julien gave a church as an example of a channel for a community or tribe. The church represents a channel because people know where to go, what to do, and what to expect in a church. When your channel functions like church people want to come as it is reliable and people can be part of every conversation. Insider language breaks down walls. It creates a sense of being part of the community.

Social media is social; it is for breaking down walls in communication and building rapport and relationships. Julian showed a slide of a dog in a sweater with its head poking out of one of the sleeves. It was a ridiculous topic for a picture, and yet it made people laugh and broke the ice. He said it would be a talking point at the bar afterwards. Silly and ridiculous things break down walls in communication. This is an illustration of what it takes to build relationship and have your message spread virally. As silly as it may be, it creates a connection as people laugh or talk about it. Things that are different, things that make us laugh, things that we want to share, build rapport and a sense of belonging. Everyone has a need to belong. People are looking for their tribe, a place where they relate, and feel comfortable and fit in. They find this in a channel.

To become a channel in social media with a unique voice, one needs to be a human artist. When something is familiar people lose concentration and focus but when something is different it grabs their attention. A human artist breaks patterns and causes people to pay attention.

As I have reflected on these concepts today, I been asking myself questions that challenge me. There are people and businesses in social media that have gathered a significant tribe of followers. What is it that has made these people so popular online? What is unique about their channel of communication? What patterns did they break that caused people to sit up and take notice of what they have to communicate?

More importantly for me is the challenge to find my unique channel, my unique style and voice that is different and causes others to want to follow my channel and become part of my tribe. Once I have become a ‘human artist’ I can pass on those secrets to others.

Social media is changing dramatically since jobs start it being used as a means of reaching customers. But given the new, it’s also among the most useful business practices you are using. However, as streams evolve over time, it is necessary to stay up with each page as efficiently as possible.