Today’s guest post is from my friend Nean Burkholder. When I saw her discussing this on Twitter I knew it would make for a perfect post here. As much as many of us talk about social media, we need to remember that it does not exist in a vacuum, but is part of the overall branding and communications of your business. We should never forget the “in person” side of our business just because we are on social media.
Everyone who knows me is aware of my social media addiction. Those who know me well know I’m trying to cut back. I’ve seen a huge discrepancy between who people are online and who they are in real life – and while that’s not a universal statement, there is enough of it to frustrate me. I could go into all the social disorders that I struggle with that make this even more difficult for me, but this is neither the time nor the place.
- If I have the option, I’ll choose online communication over phone conversation every time, both professionally and personally. If I need to talk to someone, I will check my chat lists before picking up the phone to actually call someone. I will choose company A over company B – even if it might cost me a little more – if A allows me to complete all of my customer service transactions through its website or email.
- If I have the option, I’ll choose to shop online rather than go to a crowded store. I’ll shop from my comfy couch in my pjs and walk a few steps to my door to retrieve it, rather than get dressed, drive however far, wait in line to pay for it, and then have to haul it home on my own.
Jane: “So, I saw you’re starting your own business! That’s sounds exciting.”Anne: “Yep.”Me: “Wait, how’d I miss this all-important news?”Jane: “Well, don’t you read Facebook?”Me: “Uh…. not every word.”Jane: “Well, I can’t believe you missed it! I’ve already ‘liked’ it.”Me: “Okay, I’ll check it later, but what’s the deal, Anne? I want to hear all about it.”Anne: “Just check it out on Facebook; it’s all there.”Me: “You’re really not going to tell me? You’re sitting right here… like… in person.”Anne’s husband: “Isn’t that what you have your little electronics for? You can just go to Facebook.”
I sat in stunned silence for a moment, which is… unusual for me. The subject of the conversation shifted to other topics, but every once in a while I’d try to ask again. No, I was never actually told what the business was. I did eventually get a name out of her, and then the fact that it’s about “stuff [she] make[s],” but that’s it.
However, a business owner who doesn’t want to talk about his/her business makes me wonder if the service or product is faulty. Refusing to talk to me and sending me to Facebook… well, that’s just not entirely professional. You know what? Even though she’s very close to me and I’d like to support her business venture, I still haven’t gone to the page.
As the consumer, the choice should be mine: I like to have the option to do my business online, but I guess I expect business owners to be able to have a conversation with me personally and answer my individual questions as well. I’m more than just a number in your analytics; I’m an actual person, after all. At least, I thought so… After today, I’m not so sure.
- Change Your Culture to Invite Social Media Use (spinsucks.com)
- Are you on your customer’s A-List? (businessesgrow.com)
- Is Content More Important than Conversation? (spinsucks.com)
- Social Media and the Solution to Your Problems (spinsucks.com)