Social Media’s Real Power

I was browsing some websites during lunch today, and I happened across Chris Brogan‘s newest blog post called: Soul of a New Business. Of course, Chris had some great incite on building new business. He has become quite the success story because of tools like social media and then writing an inspiring book about it called “Trust Agents” along with his partner in crime, Julien Smith.

It never ceases to amaze me how social networking really can make or break a business! These days, it’s all about reputation. So, if you are a new business, how do you compete? I found Chris’s business soul is a set of questions to ask yourself important to share. And I will at the bottom of this post. However, before that, I want to share a simple, yet most profound statement, from one of his commenters, Natalie of Stark Media. She said,

Social media has done a great job of revealing which businesses prove helpful.

Simple right? Well, sometimes you “know” something without every really communicating it effectively. And you know what? I can’t think of a better way to say this. In a nutshell, this is what makes social media really powerful. Even if you are a brand new business with no reputation, social media will give you the opportunity to actually be helpful. It’s the best way of advertisement there is!

Anyone can buy air time or ads in the yellow pages and say: “Hey! I can make your life better!” Right? Social media, when used correctly, will PROVE you are awesome.

Now, for Chris’s List of Business Soul Set of Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Would I want my mother or spouse to be marketed to the way I am marketing my business?
  • Are the products I am selling something I’d give to my family?
  • Are better/easier/more helpful ways of doing what I’m doing?
  • Am I approaching my business relationships in a balanced way, or am I just sitting here chomping at the bit to sell ? (People can tell the difference.)
  • At what price are my products and services worth?
  • Am I giving real value? or am I  just selling?

I changed this list into first person and put it in a bullet list, but you will find them and thousands of helpful tips for social networking and “how this human business” at ChrisBrogan.com.

Build Up or Tear Down

A post in response to: With Great Power by Chris Brogan

It’s true that there are bloggers who are esteemed highly and can really have serious influence when writing about other businesses. People need outspoken and confident bloggers like Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki to spark ideas and share experiences. The thing is, we are all here to share “a piece of our mind” with the world. We like to have someone to look up to, for guidance, if you will. I agree that everyone has the right to an opinion, even when they don’t agree with your own. However, when you are in the spotlight, you both directly and indirectly have an effect on the person, or business you post about. Chris Brogan learned this out loud today when posting a complaint about a certain retailer and as a result received a very real look at how he could have a negative influence on that business. You see, because Google loves Chris’s site, (the guy gets tons of traffic and linkbacks) almost immediately after he posted the post you could do a Google search on the retailer and one of the very top results was Chris Brogan’s blog post titled:

Dear (Business)- You Stink and So Does Retail

He had the business name where I typed “business”. However, his next post was almost an apology so I won’t repeat it. Of course, if did, I might not be on the front page of Google that same day! LOL, now that is power! Never-the-less, many of his regular and new commenters pointed out that he was too quick to judge the whole chain because of a bad experience. As a result, this reminded me of some very important principles about human business:

1. Customer service is a big part of customer satisfaction. (Doesn’t matter how great your product is, consumers still need courtesy and respect.)

2. If you can’t meet your customers needs, don’t just say “sorry” and forget about it. The franchises need to all have the option to order a product for you. Especially the attendant (who may have just been having an off day?) at Timberland could have probably said, “We don’t have any in stock, but let me pull up our website and we can have a pair here for you to try on in a few days” instead of: “Sorry, we don’t have any of those in yet, try Macy’s.” (Though, I’m sure Macy’s appreciated that.)

and

3. Even when blogging “we catch a lot more flies with honey that with vinegar.” (My mom used to say that all the time!) I have to always re-read my posts and comments, because sometimes I get into a train of thought and inadvertently sound too “bubbly” (even about new techie information – can’t help but be kinda geeky and excited sometimes, :) or maybe like a “know-it-all”.

Oh well,live and learn, right? We have the right to share experiences with the world, but don’t overlook the fact that we have the “power” to build up or tear down with our writing. Kind of a big responsibility huh?

Anyways to new and veteran bloggers alike, whether you are building up or tearing down, when you are in a way wrong: It’s cool to own it.