There is one golden rule to success. It's one many talk about. It's one few remember. It's one that makes these digital social channels even that much more powerful. Before taking anything. Before asking for business. Before pushing your links and sales pitches on anybody. Do this one thing:
One of the main reasons Marketers and Entrepreneurs grapple with the online social spaces is that they look at them and ask, "where's the money?" or "where's the ROI?" Both questions have an underlying sentiment to them: "how can these channels help grow my business and increase my sales?"
All fair questions. All the wrong questions to ask when getting started.
What if we switched the questions to be based on the notion of adding and giving value before taking anything? "where can my company share our knowledge?", "how can we provide information that is valuable to our consumers and business partners?" and "how can we help these channels to grow?"
Would clients and potential customers be more inclined to work with you if you were constantly and consistently adding value to your community?
On the way to the airport today, the taxi driver was listening to talk radio. An Economist was being interviewed and the reporter asked, "what can businesses do to stay alive and make it through this economic crisis?" HIs answer was simply, "add value. Do more and give more than your competitors." You could take that to mean that adding value will be a huge cost. Discounts cost money, and so does adding more to something that you were previously able to sell without any value-add. But, that's just skimming the surface. The truth is you can give many things that cost nothing and by using many of the digital channels, you can even spread the value far and wide.
The trick is in doing it first. And doing it not because you're desperate and sales are slagging, but because your company believes that by opening up, sharing and becoming a little more transparent, people will see who you really are. They will like it. They will buy from you. They will tell others to buy from you. They will become a part of your community.
The problem is, people see giving first as a sign of weakness.
They see giving first as a sign of desperation. They believe that a successful business is not about giving, but about taking.
Why not discover which works best for you before jumping to any conclusions? Why not give first - without any expectations - just to see how it works out for you?