One Thing: Personal As I travel from my home-base in Northern California Wine Country, meeting up with online friends OFF line, I am reminded that we are all here to bring something special to the world, in our personal and business lives.
What do I know for sure? Each of us was put here on the planet to make a difference.
So, in a series of posts, I’m going to focus on simple elements of business which pave avenues through your business “doors” (whether you are brick and mortar, or online or both). I believe these elements turn prospects into customers, customers into friends, and friends into evangelists who will refer their family, friends, and associates.
One thing at a time. The foundation for my posts stems from my core belief that people come first in business. And, it is personal. These days, it’s becoming a cliché to recite that people do business with other people, not brands or logos. It’s a cliché because it’s true in this case. As Bryan Kramer points out in his blog, waning are the days of B2C (Business-to-Consumer) or B2B (Business-to-Business) as marketing jargon and strategy. Finally, as a culture, I think we are realizing that it’s more P2P (People-to-People) or H2H (Human-to-Human), as Bryan calls it.
Humanize Your Brand. I am not sure how business owners make it without bringing a personal / human element into the mix. I’ve had clients say they don’t understand how being “personal” on social media, for example, can help build their business. While I believe that humanizing your brand is crucial to success, I certainly don’t advocate sharing every daily detail of your personal life. There’s a balance, decorum, and a middle ground that many business owners don’t understand.
During my years at a Silicon Valley-based internet startup, interacting with C-level execs as well as across departments like Marketing, Creative, QA, Engineering, I realized the “nuances” inherent in building community around a brand. This is something you don’t pick up in school. However, fortunately for those who don’t come by this naturally, it’s something that can be learned, through experience, lots of listening, and being advised by those who are accomplished in the social arena.
Just Be Nice. Developing relationship and community around a brand through social media and any type of online interaction for that matter, is a mirror for who we are in the off-line world. Ted Rubin writes about this in his book (with co-author Kathryn Rose) Return on Relationship. Ted reminds us: Just Be Nice. If you search that by hashtag, you’ll find it. #JustBeNice and especially, Ted’s signature hashtag, #RonR.
Watching the replay of a Google Hangout on Air where the subject of authenticity was discussed by David Amerland (Author of Google Semantic Search), hosted by Stone Temple Consulting’s Eric Enge and Mark Traphagen, I was heartened to observe what I already know. Authenticity, although perhaps an overused term these days, counts in business, perhaps even more so in this digital age than ever.
I think more than anything, it comes down to being personable, rather than entirely personal. My friend (“SEO and Social Smarty Pants”) Craig Fifield recently stated said that he’d rather people overshare than undershare. For those who are naturally very guarded, this can be challenging. However, being guarded in business, you also run the risk of keeping future customers at arms length.
Please Share Your Thoughts. How do you distinguish being personable and personal? What types of things, other than what you ate for breakfast, or the fact that you love coffee, do you share that help people see you as approachable, trustworthy, professional, or any other attractive characteristics?