20 April 2011

How is Social Media like a Farmer's Market: Pt. 2

I don't remember exactly how I got on Twitter.
I think I saw it on someone's contact options, or read a tech article about it, and tried it out.
I've never had a class to show me how to use it. Same with Facebook. I usually just ask a power-user if I ever have trouble using an app. Usually those power users are younger than me, but not always.

Old dogs are learning new tricks all the time,
working smarter rather than harder.

I've connected with some really nice people and have had heaps of questions answered and problems solved. Really! If I post something I need on Facebook or via a Tweet, people within my networks respond with possible answers or sources.

For example, I was looking everywhere for a pictorial timeline of history that included most of the vital interactive components of civilisation: science, arts, politics, religion, etc . . . What I found on-line looked good but I hated to spend a lot of money on something I hadn't actually seen. Timelines can be bulky with all their folding bits, so I was hesitant. Then a friend on Facebook, with whom I worship most Sundays, said she'd seen just the thing up the road in Browns Bay and it was on sale. It was just the thing I'd seen online for more money! I saved $20+, and the wait of it being delivered.

She and I would not have discussed my need for a timeline on a Sunday morning. She has small children and there's usually a buzz of conversation before and after the worship services. It just wouldn't have come up. But because she was trawling on Facebook after her kids were in bed, she connected my need with a possible source. Score!

Now imagine that on a bigger scale working for the benefit of your business.
Go ahead. Imagine it.

Imagine you could connect with your customers in an efficient way that really got to the core of what they needed or wanted. Imagine the potential if they then posted their satisfaction with your product or service and all of their network, because of their relationships, knew to call you, or refer others to you, when they had similar needs. That would sure beat the comment box on the end of your counter, wouldn't it? Who sees those comments? Who takes the time to write those? Usually only complainers.

I've got a core group of twitterers amongst whom I interact. Most of them are local, here in New Zealand, but others are in UK and USA. I've responded to tweets as to which restaurants in nearby neighbourhoods were good. That was to help out a man who wanted a nice anniversary dinner with his wife. I've had questions answered and even won a laptop stand via tweeting.
I've heard of one day specials and saved heaps of money. People find jobs, sell cars, give away surplus furniture or garden produce via social media.

You can be as local or as global as you need it to be. I guess it's like an electronic bulletin or notice board where people used to leave notices for puppies for sale and rummage sales this weekend.

With Facebook pages now serving as web presence for many businesses, it would be in your best interest to check out the possibilities. That is especially true when you calculate the cost of newspaper or TV/radio advertising and the cost of Twitter or Facebook. Social media does not replace advertising, but works together with it. Both need to be used well for maximum benefit.

Check out what Rob Crawford, a Twitterer whom I follow, has to say about all of this on his blog. It was from him that I made the connection between social media and a farmer's markets. He's also given me hotel tips and some fun conversations via Twitter.

Mashable has an article you might like too. Five Unique Ways to Use Twitter for Business.

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