by Paula on April 7, 2011

One of the things I love most about my work is the excitement clients show as they start to learn about the opportunities that Social Media provides them. I like taking people through those first steps from confusion to realisation, and then helping them put those plans into practice.

Often one of the starting points of a new relationship is answering the question, “What is Social Media?”. I answer this on my Home page but it also goes a lot deeper than that.

I like to use examples to illustrate points and this image of the proud owners of a family butchers sums up to me why we need Social Media today.

Way back when this picture was taken, we consumers made our choices of where to shop by people. Maybe Fred the butcher gave us a friendly wink and a smile when we went in, or Jones the butcher always added a little something for the dog. We met these business owners, we grew to develop a rapport with them, and then we gave them our money.

Times have moved on. Big businesses, corporations, brands – we know of them, we recognise their logos but who’s behind the marketing? We often don’t know. It could be a team of people, ever-evolving as new people come in and out of the organisation. Does that matter? We hear of bankers getting huge bonuses, but who are these bankers? To whom do we ask questions and voice our displeasure? We love a new product we bought from a store, but who do we say thank you to and ask about where the idea came from…?

Social Media is helping to put that right. Take Amstrad – we all knew about Amstrad the brand and we knew that it was headed up by someone called Alan Sugar, but all we knew about him was what the press wanted us to know. Now we can read of his passion for football, laugh at his banter with his connections, and even talk to him if we want to (although with 421,000 followers and rising, don’t always expect a reply!)

This new media of bringing the faces out from behind the brands does so much to re-engage businesses with their customers. The ones who get what it’s all about and are managing it right, are getting a great return in advocacy, support and increased awareness.

After all, if you are faced with a sea of products all offering the same things, and all a similar price, but earlier that morning the owner of one of them shared a joke that made you laugh….where might your money and attention be directed?

It’s about standing out, connecting, and offering that personal touch. So businesses still hiding behind their brands and their marketing, STEP OUT! Whether you are business to consumer, or business to business. For us your buyers, it’s about people to people and we’d love to know a little more about who you are and what makes you tick :-)

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