Three or four years ago, after hearing so much about social networking and it’s potential impact on small business marketing, I needed to find out what the buzz was all about.
So, I did what many others have done… I ‘browsed’ myspace.com…
There were thousands… no, tens… hundreds of thousands…; there were MILLIONS of kids ranging
in age from 16 to 109, engaged in conversations like “…thanks for the add”, “what up girl”, “sooooo tru”, or “lol miss u”.
“Pretty weird,” I thought. “Why don’t they just talk to their ‘friends’ on the phone… or shoot an email… anything?”
Needing answers, I spoke with a twenty-something who said he was on myspace ‘constantly’, and had 585 friends.
My response was, “585 friends?!! Good grief… I only know one guy on myspace… named Tom!!!” Anyway, I digress…
So, I asked him how many of his friends he could call at 2am if he were in a real jam.
“Three… maybe four.” So, there it was…
Now please understand, at this point I was not skeptical… I was just completely disinterested.
I saw no business purpose whatsoever.
Next, Facebook came along. Since I wasn’t enrolled at an Ivy League College (which was a requisite for membership at the time), I gave it no further consideration. “Business people will never use this…!” I said.
And then, I made an error that I shouldn’t have made. I combined ‘social networking’ and ‘social media’ and ‘blogging’ and other emerging technologies together, and put them all into one folder called “Kid Stuff.”
In lumping the technology together… I looked past the other networks and communities that were developing. I didn’t see the application because I was looking in the wrong place. My market wasn’t all of the 16-109 year old kids on myspace… but what if it were? Gee… then it would be a fantastic place to build a community and connect with a handful of influencers. Hmm…
The light bulb went on. “I wonder… where is my market engaging online?”
Once this question was answered… why, I could begin to engage with them. When appropriate, valuable thoughts and ideas could be exchanged, and added to the conversation. And if it turns out that it makes sense to work together, we’ll both know.
And the beauty of meeting in an online or social networking environment is that it makes it very easy to connect with many others who have shared interests, needs, or solutions. Real people who have products and services that we need, and who in turn need us… in other words, ideal relationships.
Which brought up another question… “When my ideal customers go to look for answers online, do I want them to find me there…, or just my competition?” That one was simple.
I look forward to hearing from you.