We’ve again entered an era in which relationships are key to the success of a business.
Back before Walmart took over local shopping and Amazon rocked the world of online commerce, our grandparents used to shop at the local corner store. Partially this was because there were few options, but the stores that made it past opening stuck around because they were good. They knew people, they knew their products, and they worked to solve problems for folks. And if the modern business world has taught us anything, it’s that you get paid in proportion to the problems you solve for people.
Common courtesy and good customer service took a dive for a while. Businesses moved towards appeasing the mass of people and cutting corners in a way that alienated a few people here and there, but hey, quarterly profits were up, right? Minimum wage generally equates to minimum effort, and corporations cutting costs for a few decades means that most large businesses now offer good prices, but no soul.
People use social media today because communication is natural: it makes us happy. And when given a choice, people like to spend time with people they like. The same is true of businesses. Lucky for you and your customers, the narrative is moving away from decent products at decent prices with crap customer service, and moving back towards the ethics and qualities of old. Why?
God brands are built on caring about people and your legacy, not selling a product. If people connect with you, they talk, listen, like, and eventually do business with you. Social media lets us do this on a scale that has never before been seen. The anonymity of the early internet is giving way to connection. Nowadays, we can see the progress our friends are making on their house remodel in real time, and hear about the companies and brands they’re working with. And we’re listening to those opinions.
We talk most about the things we hate, then about what we love. We rarely talk about a product that’s just “okay”, so even a bit of bad or just average customer service causes significantly more problems than a bit of positive customer service causes good. On top of that, our opinions now reach more people than ever before. Even complete strangers can be affected by our opinions today.
If you were looking for a place to eat while traveling to a different city, you wouldn’t even look twice at a restaurant that only had two out of five stars on google or yelp. But what if that business wasn’t tech savvy, and that rating came from one one review made by a disgruntled ex-employee? People listen, which means you need to be talking. otherwise someone else will set the narrative for your brand.
Social media is a great way to help put out fires or cover up problems that happen, but better than that is building brand equity before problems ever even happen. That means the ethics and good manners our grandparents used to chide us about are now more important than ever, because our actions can literally have consequences on a world-wide scale.
Remember that everyone has more than one place to buy what you’re selling. Give us a reason to shop with you, and we’ll be loyal. Don’t, and you’re likely to fall behind.