I went to nyXpo yesterday and besides getting to meet a lot of great people I got to see Gary Vaynerchuk and Robert Scoble speak to a large room full of people about social media. One thing from their talk that really stuck with me was their emphasis on telling your story.
The gist of their story was that too many entrepreneurs and small business owners spend too much time trying to figure out how to make their story work around social media rather than the other way around. Every single one of us has a story to tell, whether you own a business or not, but if you’re a small business owner and you are looking to engage potential clients, getting your business’ story across is one of the most important things you can do.
Don’t spend so much time focusing on which tools you use, spend more time figuring out how best to tell your story. Sure, Foursquare is huge right now, but if you don’t have a business with a brick and mortar location it’s obviously not a tool you need to be focusing on. Sounds simple, but it’s a question a lot of small business owners ask.
Facebook has over a half a billion users but if you set up a Facebook page for your business and no one sees it who cares? By it’s very nature Twitter is one of the easiest ways to engage clients/potential clients. It’s stream of conscious and open streams provide a lot more for business owners to use. According to Gary, “if you own a business and you’re not on Twitter, ‘You’re an asshole.'” No, really, he said that.
Once you find a way to make contact with people interested in buying what you you’re selling, picking up what you’re putting down, make sure you do it right. Play it smooth. Don’t go in for the hard sell every time, just making contact of any sort turns them from a complete stranger to an almost acquaintance. Once you find someone who is interested and knows you exist, someone who has heard or is willing to tell “your story” then you’ve gone from a complete stranger to someone who has some semblance of a real, vested interest in whether or not you succeed.
The bottom line is, if you start using any social media tool solely to sell your product you’re going to be disregarded almost instantly. Fifteen years of the internet has given people really good bullshit detectors. I don’t want to buy my windows from some slick asshole trying to sell me his windows, I want to buy windows from some guy that busts his ass but is also interested in other shit and doesn’t just look at me as a lead.
That’s where you can become a social media success story. Skip the bullshit marketing routine that everybody does and use it to follow up with people whom you’ve already serviced. The only way you’re going to be able to compete with the “big guys” is to out care them. That’s the key. Once people see that you really, truly care about satisfaction, or practically anything else, and not just selling, the sky’s the limit.