Humans like to connect, we’re social animals (Well, most of us at least!). And we’ve found ways to connect over distance. That started with elaborate message systems used by ancient armies and continues today with the internet. The ancient systems each had a specific purpose and so too do the networks on the internet.
Some are designed for personal connection, some are designed to connect business. Your job is to use the right kind of network.
Why would you need to use the right kind of network? Customers have always wanted to know you as well as your business. In the old days they simply spent time in or near your premises and they found out about both. Now you have to tell them because many live too far away to loiter near your place of business, many don’t have the time to do that even if they were close, and the rest don’t think they should chase you anyway. So you have to be proactive, and tell them.
People want to know that you are good at what you do – whether you sell quality products or provide excellence in service, and they want to know about you: are you trustworthy? The good news is there are places on the internet that are designed to deliver business or personal information. You use the business networks to educate your target market about your business, and the personal areas to introduce them to you: your ethics, values and the fact that you care.
Why? People prefer to do business with those they know, like and trust. You have to arrange things so your market believes it knows you, it likes you and can trust you.
In principle then you use the personal networks — also known as social networks – to make an initial connection, to establish your credentials, and to introduce people to your income-producing sites. That said – some networks are trying to monetise and that means they try to be all things to all people. YOu just need to utilise the internet sites of your choice, those best suited to your needs, to deliver your message.
Examples of personal connection sites are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more are being added every week it seems. LinkedIn is aimed at business, as are Government sites (Local, State and Federal Governments do what they can to promote business), and again more are regularly being announced.
Personal sites allow you to demonstrate your values, business sites allow you to demonstrate your knowledge. Together they present a whole picture of you, and that is what it takes today to succeed.
One word of warning before I go: How long can you pretend to be someone else? For most people I know the answer is “Not very long”, so present your real values and knowledge, otherwise your new customers will form a queue at the door – on the way out.