One of the reasons social networking has exploded in the last couple of years is people’s desire to connect personally with others that share similar interests or pursuits.  As life gets more and more hectic, the comfort of personal contact gets greatly reduced, either in frequency or in quality.

Small businesses have gradually improved in this area by adopting social media as part of an effective marketing strategy to develop personal relationships with other businesses, colleagues and customers.  When your business competes with one or more nationally recognized corporations, trying to outspend your way to your customer is a losing proposition.

The need to generate revenue, however, makes the idea of trying to ‘connect socially’ with your next customer a tactic that many small business owners struggle to embrace.  Developing relationships via the internet takes time, not unlike relationships in the physical world.  For many, it may seem more inviting to pay for ads, media time or have flyers distributed than to methodically search for people who would choose to do business with you after they get to know you.  In my current work as a small business coach, I find this shift in thinking to be one of the most challenging for small business owners.

In reality, consumers or business clients want to know who they are dealing with.  They want to know that they can trust you and that what you offer is legitimate or right for their needs.  They will settle for a one-time transaction that offers them a ‘good deal’ but what they really want is a relationship that gives them peace of mind about the purchase they just made.  A good small business advisor can help you determine what constitutes a relationship of this sort so your efforts in the area of social media will gradually build relationships with customers who value what you do.

In the late 90’s, purchasing done on the internet grew so fast that the popular wisdom was making predictions about retailing going away entirely in favor of on-line merchants.  Brick and mortar businesses were viewed as becoming obsolete.  As a result, thousands of entrepreneurs and business types transitioned their businesses to the internet.  A decade later, physical establishments are still the dominant source of commerce.  The internet has become a mainstay in the world of buying and selling but people still want to make contact with businesses they patronize.

Likewise, networking groups have surged over the last 3 years as business owners attempt to make new connections in order to form relationships that might positively affect the growth of their businesses.  Today, the choice of whom to do business with is endless.  With the internet, you can do business in your local community, across the country or around the world.  Still, the dominant factor in deciding who to partner with or patronize comes down to who you know and what you know about them.

If you haven’t stepped into the pool of social networking or social media marketing, you should first consider why?  If  it’s a lack of understanding, seek out a small business advisor to help you get started.  If it’s a lack of relavence, you should get reconnected with the reason why you started your business.  Whatever caused you to embrace the business you now spend all of your time and resources on has a story behind it.  It’s your belief in what you do and your desire to serve customers who want what you sell, that people want to know about.

Get really clear about why you do what you have choosen to do and make sure the people you connect with know it.  Eventually, you will have given them a reason to select you over the other business choices they have- big or small.

Originally posted 2015-08-16 12:17:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter