Permission marketing guru Seth Godin spoke out recently on social networking and businesses interest in it. The video is linked here.
Godin echo’s a sentiment I often tell those I connect with on LinkedIn: “This LinkedIn thing is like most things in life. It’s more about what you put in it vs. expecting something back”. If you go into a social network (as a business or a person) expecting to benefit without putting anything of value into it, you’ll be disappointed.
Invest more in your social media network than you hope to get in return and you won’t be disappointed. The same goes for business. Add value not available to the general public: Special tips, advice, access to experts, discounts, unique experiences, focus groups for new product ideas, whatever makes it special. Make this an extension of your CRM strategy and follow the Golden Rule. JetBlue did this by helping passengers using Twitter. Serve the customer in the way they want to be served.
If businesses follow the Golden Rule, online social networks can be a great benefit. Unlike expensive proprietary systems, online social networks are free. For SMB’s this could be a ready-made infrastructure for their loyalty network. As this unfolds, we’ll see firms experiment – some succeed and fail — but if you’re smart and mindful of what is valuable and relevant to your customers you’ll win.