It’s Not Business, It’s Personal
That’s right, it isn’t business as usual anymore, and it hasn’t been for a few years now. Rating sites and social media—the internet—has changed things forever. Yelp, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter and now Google+—this is the new frontier and these sites require attention and demand relationships with others. Yes, relationships. That means listening and chatting. If you are a B2B business, this means you, too.
To that point, my company doesn’t provide web design and marketing services to other companies. I, together with my team, design and build web sites and provide marketing services to the people at other companies. People are always involved in making the decision and people are always involved throughout the project and beyond. So it is not about business—it is personal because if those folks didn’t think we could do the job, didn’t know what we were talking about or didn’t trust us, it is doubtful we would have gotten the contract.
The entire meaning and process of selling, marketing, and branding has changed. Personally, I think for the better. Glaring, blaring, and pumping sales messages are being ignored and branding and engaging is now front and center.
Branding is an experience and social media is an experience. Doing business with you is an experience and today that experience is often shared either through ratings or online conversations. You are hereby officially notified and warned—things are out in the open.
1. You say you don’t have time. Everyone has 10 to15 minutes here or there throughout most any day. Find the time.
2. You don’t know what to say. Fine, then ask some questions or share someone else’s comments and material. It’s a start.
3. You think it is a waste of time. It is a waste of time if you don’t engage with the right people in a caring and helpful way.
4. You can’t measure the results. Well, you might have a point, but I challenge you to measure any of your branding efforts. How long does it take to build a relationship? New business won might just be the result of someone seeing your brand and you online over a period of time. The real treat is moving a contact online to a relationship offline. I shout out every time I’m asked to speak publicly on the topic “the goal is to move the relationship from the digital world to the real world.” I have gotten new business as a result of people reading my blog posts over a period of time and then following and engaging with me on Twitter. So have my clients, and so I challenge you to do the same.
5. You are worried someone might say something bad about you or your company. Okay, that might happen. And what’s the problem? You have never handled a complaint before? Any negative comment should be looked at as an opportunity to demonstrate how much you care and how willing you are to make good—that is the best PR any company can hope for. And just as a PS here—if they were going to say something bad about you or your company they would if you were there or not. At least if you are there, they can say it to your ‘face’ rather than behind your back where you can’t respond.
6. You don’t think your customers are using social media. Wrong again. I guarantee that some among their staff, advisors, and influencers are there. Wouldn’t it be great to have one of them refer you?
Now, there are no more excuses, so I look forward to meeting and connecting with you online. Pick your space, I am around and visible. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogging… and others to be sure.
Mardy Sitzer is a Certified Inbound Marketing Professional, and President of Bumblebee Design & Marketing. Since 1993, Mardy has been delivering creative and innovative marketing solutions. An avid reader of all things internet and marketing, she also writes blogs, articles and web content for industry magazines as well as for Bumblebee’s clients. Follow her on Twitter (twitter.com/MardySitzer) or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.