Getting into the weeds of a business is part of being an entrepreneur, but it can quickly push you off track from seeing how you need to drive the business forward, and where the opportunities are. Creating one-on-one relationships with customers have always been and will continue to be the #1 way to succeed in business.
Most of you know I’m a huge Garyvee fan and about this time last year I went to one of his book signings. Getting a pep talk from the wine and social guru did it for me then (see my video and blog post from Mar 2011) and then the other day I found his CNN segment taped last Dec, with the same topic. Gary uses social media to do what he calls “humanize the business” and “scaling caring” – he seeks out relationships, listens and contributes to conversations. He says he understands his customers to a level that he knows what their emotional hooks are, beyond their purchases. Thank you Gary for spelling out how to use social media to everyone once again.
If you need another reminder on how to use social media and why, here is Gary’s clip as seen on Piers Morgan:
This is what I used to tell brands when I was consulting but now that I’m thick in the weeds of building a business it doesn’t come as naturally as there are about a million other things to do. Gary’s CNN clip came at a good time. Last week I had another breakthrough. I called 30 top customers and spent a lot of time listening and asking questions. What I thought people wanted, why they wanted it and what they really thought were quite different things. I also learned about two very different customer profiles and how we needed to talk to them differently. Why did it take this long for me to wake up and do this? I have done calls, surveys and focus groups many times before in other companies, but when you’re busy it is easy to get sidetracked and forget the basics.
Giving customers the chance to tell me about their experience with the brand not only helps them feel more connected to the brand, but it creates a relationship that will ultimately pay off down the line. It is stuff like this that will get people even more tuned in to what we are doing, encourage them to tell their friends and feel like they can reach out to “a real person” as opposed to a brand. It says “we care”. Personalization of brands, in my opinion, is absolutely crucial in today’s competitive marketplace – and the insights I learned were so valuable. Sitting around conference rooms discussing “what people want to see” is a waste of time unless you have actual customer insights to discuss.
So what does social media and calling customers have in common? Actually, the goal is exactly the same – to develop one-on-one relationships with customers and build your brand. It gives you the chance to learn what people have to say about you, learn about what they like about you, and what they don’t, where they shop, how they see your competitors – and gives you the chance to start talking to them. The problem is that many brands don’t use social media in the right way and only use it to push out content.
Staying in tune on a day to day basis is important, but you can’t always be on the phone with customers. It’s the reason why tools like Twitter, Quora, Facebook etc are so powerful. Gary is right this is 100% worth dedicating time and resources to. It really is a matter of priorities – and using these tools to help you in the right way. Start listening and caring about what your customers say and you will quickly be a step ahead. Creating one-on-one relationships have always been and will continue to be the #1 way to market your business.
What do you think? Please post below or find me on Twitter @mindyjoyce