Venturing Into Their World

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by Steve Holt on June 21, 2012

Several weeks ago we had a get-together over at my house for many of our friends. It was a great night of visiting with friends, laughing, eating, and socializing. I think we need that every once in awhile because it seems the more technology we have that ‘connects’ us, the more we disconnect from opportunities to actually have face time with those we care about. So the party was a good thing, and it reminded me of something that you as a small business need to keep in mind as you strive to develop deeper relationships with your customers and constituents.

When you visit someone in their home, like that social get-together at my house, social norms dictate the types of things you do. You ask the host for permission to do this or that. You causally chit-chat about things going on in your life. You show interest in others in the room and talk about them. You laugh. You share. You talk about what’s going on in the world around you. You help others out, like when it’s time to close the party down and clean up. These are common things that you do. And when it comes to social media, you need to do these things.

Let me explain.

People use their social media accounts, for the most part, for connecting with friends and family. Doing any sort of business in those accounts is completely secondary for most folks, and for some it’s completely foreign. When those people visit those places, they are going into their personal space. That is where they go to escape and many times, have fun. So when you (representing your business) venture into those worlds you have to keep those things in mind. If you walked into my house that night and started to tell everyone about your great specials in your business, and how you’ll give folks 15% off if they pat you on the back and tell you how much they like you, well… you know what would happen. Most people in the party would start to avoid you and you probably wouldn’t get invited back. Yes so many of you are doing just that when you get on your Facebook page or your Twitter account.

When you venture into your customers’ world, you need to understand that to be successful you need to do the things that you would do if they let you come into their living room for a dinner party. Be kind. Be helpful. Be witty. Be engaging. Share. Be respectful. Talk about them. And don’t try to do business. Eventually, just like a dinner party, the conversation will turn to business and that’s the appropriate time to talk about your business. Not before. If you have done a good job of showing genuine interest in others and developing a trust relationship with them, they won’t mind when you talk about business. In fact, eventually they will seek you out when they want to do business because they trust you.

Next week I will be sharing what you need to do when your customers venture into your world, so don’t forget to come back here next week. Better yet, subscribe to my blog and get notified every time I post. I would love to hear your stories about businesses on social media that you think are doing it right. Hit the comment box below to let me know.

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