This Social Thing Has Been Around for a While
We act like social networking is a new thing or that social media hasn’t been around since the first cave paintings. Who are we convincing? We learn the rules of relationships before we learn to read. Then we get into business and progressively learn how to undo them.
The part that is new thing was separating the “personal” from the “business.”
If you think about it, it’s … um … inhuman.
How can you give personal service when you leave relationships at the door?
Now we’re talking about social networking and social media marketing. Social business is not a new thing.
What Every Small Town Always Knew About Social Business
Step into any small town — say a town of 2000. Visit the general store and watch the owner go through a day of business. It may strike you that it’s a little like watching a Twitterstream.
- Connecting conversation: The owner will have a short chat with customers about their families or their businesses.
- Extending Relationships: Hang around and you’ll probably see the owner head off with a vendor to have lunch at a local diner — a “meetup” to “eat-up.”
- Social Networking: The store owner will introduce the diner folks to the vendor. And they all know the lawyer and the banker.
- Reciprocity: The diner owner will probably stop by the store later to pick what she needs for dinner.
- Co-opetition: The store owner will probably leave huge tip because he knows that business is slow at the diner.
- Multiplicity of Contexts: The store owner will see the diner owner and the vendor at the ball field when their kids’ teams play each other.
- Mutual History and Values: Some customers and owners went to the same schools together. A few of them might even remember who wet his pants in first grade and who has a criminal record for staying out past curfew — when they still had one.
In small towns, businesses build a history together that is linked and interconnected. To try to check the social at the door would be ridiculous. Relationships and conversation are the currency that builds the ecosystem. Authenticity, trust, and reputation pile on the transactions that have been made on handshakes and over conversations at weddings.
People invest in each other. The resulting business has the same quality as the relationships.
Have you ever seen a real-life social business ecosystem?
Think we have a chance of building that on the Internet?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!