Going “Old School” With Social Media
It seems that customers want the best of yesterday and today. They are already using the social web to do business – to do research, share ideas, experiences and opinions -to interact with thousands of people at the click of a mouse. Businesses wanting to stay on the profitable side of this trend need to follow suit by combining new and old-school approaches to their business strategy through social media.
One of the most interesting revelations in this process is the almost ironic juxtaposition of new-school vs old-school marketing and customer service approaches that are made possible (and even required for success) in social media. Said another way, social marketers are finding that to be successful on the social web, business leaders would be well-served to pay as much attention to the best business practices of Main Street as they do to Madison Avenue.
Relationships are a traditional anchor of commerce. Open communication and trust-fostering personal relationships have been at the core of doing business since the first coins changed hands. This is because business has always involved risk. And the tried and true human approach to mitigating this risk has been to do business, where possible, with people they trust.
Mass marketing channels of the last century (television, radio, print media, direct-mail and even web 1.0) didn’t support the development of personal relationships very well. In fact, one could argue that the whole concept of modern brand marketing is designed to overcome this very inconvenience. Over a period of decades, consumers have been taught to trust brand names (instead of people), which is a far more practical proposition for a national company seeking to sell products to millions of buyers.
Humans still prefer relationships when they can have them. Historically, it was common to have a relationship with providers of goods and services, e.g., hardware stores, grocers, personal insurance agents. Studies clearly show that people still desire and value such relationships. The social web makes all this possible again, albeit with significant differences that need to be considered.
Take the time to consider your business; your customers, and your competition. Then gather your team and ask yourselves some fundamental questions:
- What are our customer most interested in?
- What would our customers really like to hear from us?
- What would they most like to be able to ask us about?
- What could we do for our customers on the web that would really set us apart in this industry?
- What could we do to inspire their loyalty and advocacy?
Bring some old-school thinking to your next strategic marketing conversation.
|Dana M. Bacciocco
Nickel River Partners, LLC