Craig: All right, Les Adkins. How we doing today, buddy?
Les: Doing good, man. How are you?
Craig: Outstanding. Outstanding. Got some beautiful weather. I know you’ve been traveling a lot. I’d just like to speak a little bit about one of the most recent conferences that you spoke at, which was, I got to catch the video of that, but very relevant to the day and age that we’re in.
I’d like to start off first getting an understanding of Orange SMS. I know the back-story of why you went with “Orange” and not just the color but the background as far as industry-wide and the brand but the “SMS.” Break that down for me.
Les: SMS, we started out doing business as Social Media Solutions. “SMS” stands for “Social Media Solutions.”
An interesting little story; my mother was trying to figure out “Orange SMS” and she came up with a very unique way of logically understanding why we named the company “Orange SMS” about asking me, and that “Orange” is a very unique word meaning that it doesn’t rhyme with anything. It doesn’t rhyme with another word. She came to the conclusion that, well, my company is unique; therefore I named it “Orange SMS,” which you know the back-story; that wasn’t the case, but it does ring true to how we portray ourselves in the marketplace.
Craig: Got you. Since you have the “SM” in there, which most modern-day business folk understand “SM” as “Social Media.” Tell me a little bit about what you see as trends in social media now as compared to in the past. Then I’d like to hear what you think what some of the projections of what it’s going to look like in the future.
Les: Well, I think social media began with “Let’s see how many connections I can get,” so the game of “I have more connections than you so I’m doing better at social media.” Then businesses starting getting involved in it, and they decided that they were … They immediately tried to sell their products and services on this thing called “Social Media.”
Now what people are finding is what’s trending now is more about “How do we develop through loyal customers on social media, true people that actually want to buy our services that are interested in our company to do business with them.”
One of the big things we’re finding, or from an individual standpoint, the people that are looking for influence if they’re trying to get a job or if they’re trying to leverage their position and move up in either their business or start doing speaking roles and things of that nature. What we found here at Orange was that the thing that’s been missing is how to develop influence within your digital world.
We say “Digital World.” That’s all your social media combined with your website and anything digital that you actually are out there doing from a digital standpoint. Digital usually equates to mobile, not necessarily your laptop or an iPad or things of that nature, but iPad could be considered more a mobile device.
Craig: Social media is available on desktops. It’s virtually everywhere; correct?
Les: Correct. That is correct. Here’s the interesting thing. There’s a lot of social media sites that are brand new that not so much are available on desktops. Look at Instagram. Instagram is not available on desktops. You have to download their app to make it function, to make it work for you, and there’s some new ones out there as well that aren’t going the desktop route, so there are some social media platforms out there that are no longer available to you or never were available to you through your desktop. They’re only available through a mobile device.
Craig: Wow. When you start talking about that vast social approach or that vast social network, what’s more relevant of course is that mobile platform.
Craig: It’s still vast, including the web, your desktop access to it, but it’s really … When you’re talking about social media, you’re really talking about all the mini-devices that they have out there more than they have people out there; correct?
Les: Right, exactly. There was a quote that came out that said that there are, at the end of 2014, there are more mobile devices in the world than there are people. That includes your Smartphone. That includes your pads, things of that nature. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t even equate to the laptops and desktops that are out there.
Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on what side of the coin you’re on, we’re seeing a big change in how we do things. If you look at a lot of the big companies like Microsoft, they’ve even come out with the mobile apps lately that will allow them to do the things they need to do from a mobile application standpoint.
Craig: Wow. Well, speaking of change, outside of the devices that are being used in the industry, what would you say are some of the biggest and more substantial changes in social media since you began?
Les: Well, I think the biggest changes I’ve seen is how people are using social media. We have a news journalist who’s telling you news as it happens. You’ve got not necessarily a good mark about social media, but during the hostage situations over in both France and in … I think they both were in France … You had people taking pictures, that they were there and people taking pictures at the time.
Information is a lot more available now, and people are using their aspect of the Smartphones and getting that information out more quickly, even before the news stations get it, and a lot of those news stations are getting it secondhand from these individual people who just happen to take a really good picture because they’re there.
The other thing is we’re seeing too is how you take this vast network and this vast group of people that you have and make it work for you. That’s the big thing that I see changing is most every business has some type of social media presence, and if they don’t, that’s a problem that they need to address quickly. The ones that are major do have some type … You’ll have Facebook or YouTube or Pinterest or something that … Google Plus … something that they’re have a presence on.
Now it’s a matter of, “Okay, we’ve done this because everybody told us we had to, but now how do we make that equate to dollars, equate to people, equate to innovation within our organization?” I think the biggest changes come where people are now looking to “How do we make this all work” as opposed to, “Let’s hurry up and make sure that we have a presence on all these social media platforms.”
Craig: Awesome. It also seems like that society has turned the tables on who controls the media as opposed to the other way around, how we grew up, the media pretty much dictated to us what we ate, where we went, how we did things, the lifestyle kind of determined it a lot. Now that’s become a little bit more of a Wild Wild West so to speak in some areas, but at the same time we have the opportunity to control the media that’s out there.
Les: Right. I agree. One of the things too that’s changed, where big business could blindly tell their customers and tell their employees what they wanted them to know and everything else was kept in the backroom. Now that backroom is wide open, and the biggest thing is about transparency, both to your customers, to your employees, to your investors, to your partners. There aren’t that many more secrets. Now, there are still secrets, but they’re a lot easier to find nowadays than they used to be, when you and I were in that media age.
The media is one of those things where you can seen it in the media formats where one media won’t report on something and then are finally forced to due to the social media trending and the social media news that goes out there, they’re forced to report on a story where historically in the past they may not even have touched because it’s so prevalent now that if they don’t, they look like a bad news media station.
Craig: Okay. Outside of just pushing out information, in the business world, or as individuals, how do you suggest we make social media work for us, to benefit us?
Les: Again, it’s all about creating influence. There’s a couple ways that in the last event that you just were speaking of where I spoke with Les Brown and Sharon Lechter and Doug Grady and David Alexander and Erik Swanson, they were, one of the things that I spoke about was how do you develop influence in this digital world. I came up with two different ingredients that are already out there, and I just moved them from a book format of how they’re normally used and put them in the digital world.
Those are the Cialdini principles that I’ll briefly just go through them, just say the name; I won’t explain each one of them. They’re the influence principles. There are six of them. There’s social proof, commitment and consistency, reciprocity, liking and trust and authority and scarcity. It was written by Dr. Robert Cialdini.
Another one that is being used or that I use on a daily basis and my clients is Ned Herrmann’s Whole Brain Model. There’s four distinct thinking preferences, and in order to influence someone to do something that would benefit them or also benefit you as an organization, you need to speak to them in their thinking preference, in their language.
Most people don’t use just one or two or three; they might have a mixture of all three or all two or maybe even all four, and so you really have to start developing your message around those thinking preferences and understanding how those influence principles can get you an immediate loyalty factor or an immediate positive outcome to whatever it is you’re trying to achieve.
Craig: Wow. Wow. I like that social proof. In my industry, in the media side, social proof, it speaks to that. It speaks to pretty much, “What have you done lately?” or “What significance have you made?” and “Why should we recognize you?” That reciprocity piece, there’s give and take in business and relationship, but that authority … Speak a little bit more to that authority and how authority could help …
There’s a lot of noise out there, as we talk about all the time. There’s a lot of noise out there. I think influence is huge. Like you said, the influence tends to help break away from that noise, but how does that help in the area of authority, and why is authority so important in social media?
Les: I think authority is so important in social media and in life in general because it gives you that credibility. I’ll give you a great example. Working with you and your organization, I had some articles and several videos and put together some YouTube videos of my own and put them out there, and people started calling me, based on a quote in the article, “The Zig Ziglar of social media.”
After that happened, one of the things that I was able to do based on a friendship that I had, I was introduced to Tom Ziglar, who I had a phone call conversation with, and got to know and was introduced, and that relationship alone is going to do wonders for me and my credibility and also in the future for hopefully both of our organizations.
I think without those types of things there’s so many people out there touting themselves, that without true authority, from a perspective of understanding who you are, what you are and that you’re knowledgeable or an expert in your field is vital to get the word out there.
If you look at things like Coca Cola, in the south we say, “What do you want to drink?” We say, “A Coke.” It doesn’t necessarily mean that we want a Coke. That means that Coca Cola has authority. Kleenex is the same way. I might buy Puffs, but I say, “Hand me a Kleenex,” even though you’re pulling it from a Puffs box.
Same type of thing. There’s a zillion people that have been in social media forever and they have that credibility because they wrote the books, the Social Media Bible, they wrote books and books in the beginning.
Then I think that the credibility standpoint is continuously making sure that you’re relevant, that the information that you have is out there, and that you have others noticing that and speaking about that as well. There’s only really two things that allow that to happen. You can buy the best PR money can buy, but if at the end of the day you can’t deliver what they’re presenting you as, then it falls very, very short.
Les: I think there’s a two-step process there.
Craig: That’s interesting you bring up PR. In media of course we speak to public relations, how you’re relating to the public and how they relate with you, but I think also that could stand for “Perception and Reality,” and I think from where you’re coming from, where you talk about influence, true influence comes from having the reality really supersede the perception, and you really want to be able to deliver that truth or that reality so when people perceive you in a way and they’re attracted to you by their perception, then you could deliver on that reality and make that value greater and truly influence people for the long haul and sustain that loyalty, so to speak.
Les: True. True. I think that those, Cialdini’s principles, and also using the Whole Brain approach are two things that will allow you to do that. There’s lots of other things out there that will allow you to do that.
Like everything else, you can use it for good or bad. If you use it for bad, it’s only going to last for a short while. If you use it for good, it will have that longevity and you’ll be able to continue using it and then you’ll get other people talking about, “Hey, this company … or this organization … really helped me in this, this and this.” I think social media and just a digital presence helps you with building that authority and credibility as long as you have something to back it.
Craig: Awesome. It’s really possible for one to build that digital environment or that authority and allow that to impact their business growth?
Les: Yes, 100%. I think that that’s a big, key factor that a lot of organizations are missing. I think I said it before in another place, but I’ll say it again, you’re seeing a lot of large organizations scratching their head wondering why they’re losing sales, and I think the reason why they’re losing sales is they’re not meeting their people where they are. They’re not influencing in a positive way the people that have done business with them in the past, and you’ve got new companies popping up that are really into things like customer service, things like going the extra mile. Also creating that world for them in understanding how this whole new business …
You had a 100-year-old model that some businesses are just not willing to give up. You’ve got startups and people coming right out of college, some even out of high school, that didn’t grow up with that 100-year model and they’re doing phenomenal. People are scratching their head going, “What’s going on?”
I think the biggest thing going on is the people that understand how to create that influence within a digital world. I’ve said this a hundred times, if you don’t have a mobile presence then you’re missing a lot of people, because no longer will they go to the phone book or the website to find you. If they can’t find you on their phone or other people aren’t talking positively about you, they won’t do business with you.
Craig: Wow. Interesting. Tell me, do you have any upcoming projects or events on the horizon where someone could learn a lot more about building their social proof or maximizing social media in their business?
Les: Yeah, we do. Actually, right now we’re revamping our website. That should have been done. Like everything else, it takes a lot longer than what the reality you think it’s going to take.
Craig: By the time this rolls out, maybe it will be there. By the time this rolls out, it will be there.
Craig: Let’s assume that it’s already … you’ve got your new website, so they’ll go to … What’s that address?
Les: “Orange-SMS.com.” That’s “www.Orange-SMS.com.”
Les: Then the other thing that we’re doing is on another project, we’re putting together a mobile app called “APocket,” which you’re going to start hearing a lot more about. It basically helps you to, and I hate that word “basically.” It actually helps you to create a digital community with your top 50 people, to deepen those relationships, those top 50 people who add value to your life or business.
We also have a patent pending digital gift solution that’s going to be mobile-to-mobile, so those types of things are going to help you influence and see your influence score and measurement, and I really think that’s where social media is headed. How do you measure your influence within your community, within your digital community?
The last thing is we’re putting together … We actually have put together a workshop seminar that we’re trying to put together something in early spring or late spring, around April, to have an event. Those details are very vague at this point, but those are the three big things that we’re focusing on.
Craig: Well, that’s awesome. It sounds like Mr. Les Adkins, the Zig Ziglar of social media, and founder of Orange SMS is definitely making his mark and building his influence, and he’s practicing what he preaches in the social media world.
Any last words that you’d like to share with the audience going forward?
Les: Yeah. One of the things that we talked about, and there’s a lot of people within my industry that are telling people that if you’re not in it by now you’ve pretty much lost it and are behind in this whole digital world. I agree with them to a certain extent, although I don’t think anyone’s completely behind where they can’t get up to speed and start gaining the influence and gaining the customers and gaining the value of social media and digital.
The other thing is, one of the big things that we’re going to talk about in 2015 is a new hashtag that we came up with, Hashtag Orange Social, and it’s going to talk about everything you and I just discussed but it’s going to be hopefully trending to become … People will say “Orange Social” and doing the digital a new way, a new way for a new customer, a new way for the new way of doing business and a new way for the future of not only business but how this whole world is moving forward.
Craig: Awesome. Thank you so much, and we’ll see you next time.
Les: All right. Thanks, Craig, I appreciate it.
Craig: All right, Les Adkins. How we doing today, buddy?