For me I have always found the successful business is all about creating connections. And creating the right connections can last a lifetime. Creating connections pre Internet boom took time, sometimes weeks, months or even years but once created they became a valuable link in the success of a business. In our current business climate there is a too strong a focus on the numbers within social media. Number of Fans, Number of Followers, Number of Likes but in the context of valued connections what do these numbers really mean? Do they mean anything at all?
In traditional media context it was all about circulation; the numbers mattered. Or did they? For many, traditional media and particularly print offered the tangible approach. You could look, touch and feel your marketing efforts. This was seen as a way a business could reach out and build that valued connection. There is a great emphasis for many with traditional media on tangible elements. As a customer we could touch the advert in the newspaper or printed media.
When it comes to social media it could be argued that the non tangible aspects are the crucial elements. Within online engagement many businesses are not allowing the penny to drop and when it does drop will it be just too late? Will they have missed a fundamental opportunity to engage and build a relationship with their customer online? Of course it’s one thing to be talking about building the relationship but sustaining it long term online and ensuring it blossoms into a valued connection could be perhaps the biggest bridge to cross. It’s in our human DNA. Let’s face it we’re social people, and we need to have a connection with other people. It’s this social aspect which those businesses & brands need to be seeking ways to build a connections with customers and stop using and seeing the online experience as a faceless transaction. Those businesses that give the transaction a personality are on the first step to building the connection.
Building a connection takes time, building a valued connection takes even longer, but it’s the valued connection which will benefit both the consumer and the business the most.
As a business, if we consider Social Media as a low cost, quick marketing ploy to drive new sales for our businesses we are almost certainly going to fail. Building a relationship online has no real difference to building a relationship offline.
Now I know there will be people reading this blog who don’t agree with this statement. But what we do need to remember is that we now live in a environment where each and every one of us communicates differently than our parents did. As business owners we need to find ways to actively engage in this new form of connection, which will ultimately result in helping our business to succeed and build out online customer base.
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