A Modern Slant on Old Traditions

Remember the warm feeling you got when you walked into a store, bank, or restaurant and they remembered your name. If they were really good they also remembered the last thing you bought from them, or the house you just purchased, or your favorite item on the menu. And if they were really really good, they remembered to ask about your family members, or how your recent vacation went, or if you had a full house for Thanksgiving. You went back time and time again. You knew the people that worked there by name and what their hours were. Visiting the establishment was about more than making a transaction; it was an experience. You created friends and memories there. These were the places that you talked about and shared stories about. You helped them grow through your word of mouth advertising.

Over time, businesses became larger and larger. They evolved into chains, corporations, and conglomerates. More and more they were about competing for sales numbers, and less and less about building relationships, trust, and conversations. They no longer knew your name, and barely glanced at you as you walked in the door. You became a number, a dollar sign. Your transactions were quick. There were no memories. With few exceptions, businesses lost their personal touch.

Now, the Internet and social media are changing the way businesses interact with consumers once again. Businesses are getting back to building relationships, trust, and conversations. They are interacting directly with consumers in a personal, genuine, and authentic way. Social media is like word of mouth advertising on steroids. Now, instead of a couple of people talking about a business or a product in the cafeteria or by the water cooler, there may be thousands or millions talking about it. A business that is not participating in social media is not participating in the world. Just as the telephone, email, and mobility could not be ignored by businesses reluctant to accept change, social media cannot be ignored either (Blanchard, 2011). Businesses always need to be asking, “How can I get my information out there? How can I make my story heard?”

What is your favorite business? And how have they succeeded in building a relationship with you?

References

Blanchard, O. (2011). Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. Que Pub.

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