Monday, December 3, 2012

From Digital to Real Life: An Amazing Experience.

In case you're wondering about what it can mean for your business to get into this issue of social networks and all these stories, I'll share with you from my own experience, last weekend when I attended the "Social Media Marathon", organized by Juan Merodio at the Convention hotel in Madrid.

It started well before the event.

Days before the event, the nerves began to be felt. It was a strange feeling: to finally meet all those people with whom I have been in touch for months, by phone, chat, email, facebook, sharing, tweeting, retwitting, commenting our publications, in brief... it was a weird feeling.

We started to share, like old friends. Messages coming in and going out. Counting the hours. As two people who are meeting for their very first time, but this time it was not two but thirty people, maybe more, getting together.

Some came from far away, others not that much. I drove all the way up from Alicante, a four-and-a-little-more hours ride, to meet with my friends, who had been just "virtual" until that night.

We created a group on "Whatsapp" and made each other company during the trip.

I left Alicante at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and took the highway. I was expecting to arrive in Madrid around 8 pm. Not a big deal.

To my surprise, at 4:30, I got a message on my mobile: My friends had created a group on Whatsapp to keep us all in touch and coordinate our arrival in Madrid along with our meeting for dinner!

Every so often, we did check in, indicated our position and estimated time of arrival at Madrid, and among jokes and stories we made our ride lighter while we’re getting to know each other a little bit better.

And finally our first meeting: The digital friends become offline pals!

The big moment came. ¡The meeting! The faces we had previously only seen on social networks profiles, became flesh and bones, real people, my friends.

It didn’t pose any major effort for us to continue with the conversations we were having through social networks for such a long time, we laughed, joked, and we showed our human face which, until then, no one had seen.

Think for a moment those girls you see in the picture above are meeting for the first time!

And how all this applies to your business, and how can you take advantage of it?

It is very simple! Would you like to interact with your customers in the same way?, Would you like to have a channel that allowed you to establish authentic, lively, relationships with them, one on one?, Would you like your customers come to your store and feel like they are at their home, relaxed and confident?

Well that's the greatest benefit you can get for your business by building a social networks presence: It will assist you in generating an enthusiastic community around your company, brand and product, one that will be committed, interested, and will happily receive what you have to offer, buy your products and recommend them to their friends. A community that will stand next to you when you have problems with other customers, because they believe you're doing your best.

Of course your next question is: How do I accomplish that?

You must start by understanding that selling in social networks should be taken as a consequence of your job being properly done rather than your primary goal. Follow these tips:
  • Find where your audience is, connect with it and get off the “I’m the big company promoting my products” pedestal.
  • Take a real interest in what they do, try to find out what triggers their interest, what doesn’t, show yourself as a social enterprise, non-commercial, share topics of interest, be as authentic and genuine as you can.
  • Get involved and bring your community alive.
  • Create opportunities to meet with them. Don’t get so worried about selling, and concentrate on developing long-term relationships.
  • Show them what you offer, your product, your services. Open your doors for people to search for what they need, allow them to buy without having you on their neck selling them stuff. 
If you do things right, your customers will liaise with you, they same way me and my new friends have kept in contact since we met over the last weekend, and... go figure!: We've even talked about doing business together!

How about that? Would you like to join us in this ride?

Related post: Relationship Value: What can you expect from social media?

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