When times are good, you’re glad you have them. When times are bad, you try and keep them. They are your customers. The truth be told, you really need to show them the love these days – but that doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money.
Yard sales and flea markets are great local events. All the things you never knew about and some you conveniently forgot from your childhood are all waiting for you at bargain prices. There are a variety of methods of getting you to stop in to a booth, but nothing is more powerful than catering to your interests.
First, let’s focus on your primal instincts. Getting the spot near the food stands is virtually always effective. The wafting aroma of kettle corn popping or sausage, peppers, and onions grilling on a sunny day is a pretty good draw. Next, notice the layered “storefronts” with items that cater to a variety of people and brings them in deeper. Finally, the maters engage visitors in conversation. New Englanders are at a disadvantage here. Just asking about the Red Sox or Patriots keeps people in the store and builds a common foundation – and some level of trust.
Sure, the foods and sport teams differ from place to place, but the ideas are the same: Build interest, build trust, match your needs with what they have, and sell what’s available today.
The “regulars” at the flea markets, the ones you see every time you visit, will try and know you and your preferences. They are doing what every good business owner does to keep their customers happy.
You have just learned the basics of social networking. That wasn’t hard, was it?
Now add the “The Awesome Power of the Internet” and this simple idea seems to scare people, and I mean REALLY scare them. It wasn’t scary before, but now it is.
The problem most people have with social networking is that their preconceived notions render the technology irrelevant. For example, if college kids use this to make their plans, why would I use Facebook, Twitter, or any of these other sites?
The answer is simple – to be where your customer is when they aren’t with you.
Take Comcast, Best Buy, and Ford for example. They know being more available to their customers gives them an advantage. Getting to the social networking party first becomes a distinct advantage. Besides, who would you rather buy from – someone who is available when you need them, or someone you have to drive to?
I recently showed a new business that people are already talking about them on Twitter and in blogs. In four days, Twitter chatter sent 25 prospects to their web site. Why would they NOT want to know about what these people are saying about them? Why would they NOT want to be available for conversations when these people have questions and do not want to call their toll-free numbers?
Face it, social media sites are the new toll-free number. For some people Twitter IS the new e-mail. Regardless of whose statistics you use, this number is growing for all ages and income brackets.
I can feel your blood pressure up just a little, so take a breath and relax.
Social media is made up of the conversations of your local flea market. It’s just a little bigger because of the Internet. Okay, it’s much, much, bigger–but so are your opportunities. Leaving them on the table is like leaving money on an open window sill.
Sure you have a web site, but people will go there when they want information. They will go to social networks when they have specific questions or want to learn what others are saying about you. And to be social, you need to have a seat at the same table. Don’t wildly communicate sales. That’s just giving up minor gains for long term relationships and referrals.
Social media is about conversations. Please remember that.
As for the wafting aromas of sausage, peppers, and onions on a sunny day, unfortunately, that’s now a Do It Yourself (D.I.Y) kit.