Increasing engagement, boosting conversions, gaining repeat customers for life…it all sounds too good to be true, right? Read on because I want to share my #1 secret to making this a reality.
The biggest problem faced by many budding entrepreneurs today is how to take an interest, passion or skill and monetize it. It's one thing to think you can build a business around your passion. It's another thing to develop a business model, figure out marketing, and, at the end of the day, sell enough of your product or service that you can make a profit – without losing important things like your family or your health in the process.
I remember it from my own early entrepreneur days, and I see it regularly in my Inner Circle (a private group for people interested in boosting their bottom line by using social media).
At the end of the day, no matter what it is that we are passionate about, we still want to build a business that makes money. I don't know about you, but I still have to pay the electricity bill, the internet bill, and all of the costs that come with owning a business.
Making money. It is part of the why of being in business.
But it's not the whole reason.
Prospering in a Digital World
A new report was released by a strategic consulting firm (Vivaldi Partners Group). The report is called Social Currency: How brands and businesses can prosper in a digitally connected world.
They explained in the introduction to the report that their purpose was to “understand how consumers and customers relate to (or in the words of Charles Darwin: “collaborate and improvise” with) brands in the new digital and social world. We felt that as social networks, social media, and technologies spread, the world of marketing and building of strong brands would change. Hence, the need for the study.”
In a nutshell, they thought there might be a difference in how social media helps people connect with brands and vice versa, so marketing might be changing. They wanted to understand exactly what that change might be.
Makes sense, right?
What do you think they discovered? (I feel like the Cheshire Cat right now…I've got the biggest grin because honestly, I could have told you the essence of what they discovered from my own experience!)
Here's their third conclusion:
We find that there is a breakdown in the traditional value chain. Social technologies now allow businesses and brands to put customers at the heart of every step in the chain. In the extreme, this leads to a reconfiguration of the entire value chain.
Social technologies now allow businesses and brands to put customers at the heart of every step in the chain.
The customer is at the heart of every step in the way that brands and businesses interact with their customers, as a result of social media. Social media isn't just about push marketing. It's about knowing your customers' needs, creating value, and being able to provide outstanding customer service – every facet of a company's operation.
A New Way to View Customers
It gets even better!
The report talks about the current trend of many brands, based on the marketing of the past, to see customers as targets to be acquired (and the intrusive kinds of push marketing that accompanies that mindset). It continues, talking about a common perception that the company is managing the relationship with the customer.
It talks about how outdated this view is – and how (based on their research) a shift needs to happen in the way that companies and brands approach their customers. That it needs to be from the outside in – trying to look from their customers' perspectives, not their own.
In short, it talks about developing a more authentic, value-centered relationship with customers.
I wanted to scream something really profound when I read this, like, “well, duh!” <grin> But in all honesty, from my experience, the #1 way to engage with your ideal audience, convert the members of your audience to paying clients, and then to keep their loyalty for life, is deceptively simple.
It's called being AUTHENTIC!
I've been preaching this for years, ever since I got involved with social media. And yes, there's a part of me that wants to say, “I told you so!” but the reality is that it's not important when you get it as long as you get it! I want everyone to know that this is the #1 BEST way to increase engagement, boost conversions and gain repeat customers for life!
I'd love to know – what do you think? Has social media changed the way you interact with your favorite brands? Has it changed your perception of your favorite brands, and if so, for better or worse? And why?
Let me know – leave a comment below!