By sschablow May 7, 2009
I think about Social Media a lot. All the time, in fact and I’m always observing online and offline behavior and trying to draw a correlation between the two.
This past weekend my two boys joined three other neighborhood kids in setting up and running a lemonade stand. I sat across the street watching the whole production; smiling each time they learned a new selling tactic. I also discovered something that I think demonstrates the value of social media to small business.
As I observed the kids efforts to attract the attention of the drivers rolling by, I noticed three basic types of driver behavior:
1. Some would glance and smile but kept right on going.
2. Some would slow down and wave or say hello but did not stop.
3. The rest would stop and actually make a purchase. They would pull up, interact with the kids and talk with the parents nearby.
If you overlay the observed behaviors with social attributes you see that generally the first group was either in hurry or did not know the children or families involved. The second group (based on my personal experience) ‘knew of’ the kids and parents but did not know them well. The group that actually became customers was comprised of people that had an actual relationship with the sellers. They had conversations on many previous occasions and wanted to support the kids’ entrepreneurial efforts.
How does that translate to social media? Well, social media is all about the conversation and building relationships with your customer. By using social media to reach out to your customer, by listening, conversing and providing value, your customers will be glad to stop by your lemonade stand. And the ones who wave and say hello are only a few conversations away from being customers as well.
So next time you’re apprehensive about where to start in social media, step away from the overwhelming flood of tools and tactics and remind yourself it’s about the people. Imagine a little lemonade stand in the Southern suburbs where friends stop by to share stories and sip on an ice-cold cup of hand-squeezed lemonade.