Engagement – Why Bother With Social Media?

A huge problem with the attitudes of many small business people I meet on a day-to-day basis, particularly those who have been in business for a long time, is their unwillingness to change. Just because your efforts in 1985 helped your company to experience growth, doesn’t mean that the same things are going to help you now. Change is inevitable. Markets shift, currencies fluctuate, and technology advances. If you are not willing to change, don’t be surprised when you find yourself left behind.
Although harder to find, I do encounter those who are intensely passionate about their businesses and driven to succeed. I love the energy and electricity that is generated by passionate business people! And passionate leaders are likely to guide their companies to greatness.
It is time to adapt your Business Management School to what works today. New media has so invaded society that it is impossible to ignore.
Social media has become a very broad term that covers may different sorts of online interaction. The array of available channels can be dizzying. So where do you start? Which services and platforms are the best fit for your business? What is the point of Social Media anyhow?
Actually, that is the first hurdle we need to jump. Why bother with Social Media? What can it do for your company anyway? The answer is engagement.
Already engaged or married? That’s OK, because that is not the kind of engagement I am talking about. If you have a brick-and-mortar Indian Economy Today store, what is the first thing you are doing when a potential customer walks through your door? I hope you are engaging them.
If you were to walk up to a prospect and try to shove your latest, greatest product down their throat; you would probably not be surprised to see that person running out the door, frantic to escape from you. If you are taking the time to greet them, engage (there’s that word again) them in conversation, then asses their needs and fill them; then you are successfully accomplishing engagement.
The same concept applies to your website and to social media. When building an online presence, it is easy to mess up because we lack the immediacy of direct human interaction and feedback such as conversation, the nuances of body language and facial expressions. It is too easy to treat our website and social media like a computer and forget about the real people on the other end. So when a person walks into your business in a virtual way, what are they finding? A website or Facebook Page or Twitter stream that is doing nothing but trying to pump them full of products without even qualifying their needs?
People are people too. They have feelings. If you treat them like a machine or try to force feed them, you will lose their business. In this lies the huge advantage of online galaxies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linked-in; and the same principles apply to your website. You have the opportunity to reach out, touch and interact with people outside the four walls of your business. You can start engaging them before ever meeting them personally. Once the opportunity arises for face to face interaction, trust has already begun to be built and the sales process in in motion.

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