Online Conversations: Time to Get Real

March 12th, 2010 by | No Comments

photo by Chinmong

I’ve been meeting with a lot of small business owners, non-profit organizations, and entrepreneurs over the last several months – talking to them about how they can soundly establish their web presence, monitor their brand awareness, and get involved in their customer’s conversations.

It sounds exciting – it sounds sexy – It pretty much sounds like a no brainer, right? Who wouldn’t want to climb aboard this bandwagon of Social Media? All the cool kids are doing it. And what better way to directly connect and talk to your clients and customers?

Yet – I see, and so do you – time and time again – businesses who get on board and don’t understand the core of what this space is all about. It’s not about selling – it’s not about pitching your product. It’s about getting real – showing some personality – humanizing your company “image” and connecting with your community on an intimate level. Here are three important things to remember about your business and the Social Media space.

Nobody wants to be sold to

Marketing on the web is MUCH different from your more traditional angles – TV, print, radio, outdoor – these mediums are all about hitting as many people as possible with a more general message. The web is different – Web 2.0 allows every single consumer out there the ability to carefully research and make their own buying decisions. Pushing a buying decision is dead – and rather, it’s about influencing the right people and having them spread your message for you. This involves research, it involves real time and effort – something that cannot be manufactured and something that you MUST understand on a 101 level when you step into the Social Media playing field.

Broad, non-direct messages will fail

Influencing others on the web into buying your product, reading your blog, or whatever it is your trying to to involves real strategy. The old days of sending your message out to as many people who will listen is dead – and with Social Media, finding out who those influencers are is easier than ever. A few searches, browsing some Twitter lists, digging through blog archives, and you can quickly determine who’s at the “top” of their respective market or demographic. Once you determine that – it’s about building trust and earning respect – and such as with any real life relationship – that takes time, and it demands that you be genuine and transparent in your approach and motives.

Social Media was made for small business owners and entrepreneurs

It’s a bold statement – sure – but this space was designed for small business owners and entrepreneurs to thrive. Before the web – competing with a brand message of the mega-corporations of the world was darn near impossible – but now – if you’re willing to invest the time – you can do something that the big-guys are failing to do. You can be YOU – in the truest sense of the form – you can connect with consumers not only as a respectable business, but as a human being, as a friend, as someone they can trust. When you approach the “game” from that angle, first and foremost, you can – over time – REALLY gain the upper hand on the huge companies out there spending millions of dollars on advertising that probably isn’t working. And better yet – you can compete – and do it well – without paying a dime.

How is YOUR business tapping into the power of Social Media?

Matt Cheuvront: Matt Cheuvront is the mastermind behind Life Without Pants. Take the next step by saying hello on Twitter and subscribing to his blog today!

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