In your quest to better market yourself or your business there are a few things that you can be sure of, whether offline or online, your success will in some part depend on your ability to develop a community around your offerings. Yes that is dangerously close to the mumbo jumbo that you read all the time, so I am going to get a lot more specific.
Stop and Listen
I am going to sound like your mother, but maybe you need to hear it. You want to build a community, not a shrine.
Don’t be Greedy, Selfish, or Short Sighted
All the attention will not be on you all the time, expecting it to be that way is foolish, operating like it is that way is stupid, and not realizing you are operating like that doesn’t mean that everyone else hasn’t already. Get over yourself, unless you shine the light on those in your group you will not be liked, rooted for, or part of the discussion. It is what it is. Sure we want to hear about what you are up to, we might even share it with our following, but if it is always that way, and you never interact with us, you never share what we are doing, you will never get to where you could go. Find people in your backyard or in a neighboring continent that you respect, believe in, and appreciate. Those people may very well become a part of your community, one that hovers however distant around your idea and refers to you every time it is appropriate, they may become customers or they may become your champions. You know what?
A Champion is Better than a Customer
What? Everyday we set out to introduce more customers to our businesses, true, but that may not be the best thing in the long run. Lets talk about dating for a minute. I lived in NYC for seven years after I graduated from Boston College. I was younger, was a quasi partner in several restaurants in the city and making really good money. I was single and looking for fun every chance I got. My best friend at the time was a gorgeous blond girl named Kirsten, we pretty much ran around together from NYC to Puerto Rico having a blast. It was strictly a friendship, and though I could not help but know she was super cool and hot, it was a friendship and never varied from that. People would ask me what was up with that, but in the long run, for a young man not looking for anything serious it was the best situation possible. Kirsten made magic happen for me, whether a beautiful party girl from her upstate hometown, a tall and aggressive cousin that others lusted after, or a co-worker who came out to after work drinks, there was always a new young lady that I was meeting through Kirsten. She was my Champion. I think that makes it clear.
A champion can introduce to you far more than they can give to you, in business that can be an exponential difference.
Tricks Don’t Make Champions, Generosity and Honesty Do
You don’t push any buttons to create a community of champions around you. You share with them your ideas, your help, and you do so honestly. When you do that they want to help you back, and if you are good at it they will begin to see new success and tie that success to the hand you gave them. This is not a get rich quick scheme, this is a building and nurturing relationship. One that is mutually beneficial and founded on the belief that when you do the right thing by people it will somehow lead to better things in your life. I believe that in personal and in business relations.
Share your help, don’t be afraid to show some caring, offer your time, be honest.
Like I said this applies to online and offline marketing efforts, it is online however when people feel the most anonymous and as though there is a trick in the machine that they need to figure out. I strongly urge you to ignore the tools and focus on the rules. Build human relationships, in every way you can, and you will experience more success than any gimmick could ever get you.
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