On occasion people ask me why I don’t post more here. It isn’t that I don’t have valuable information to share with you, I do. In fact, I have so many post ideas and things I want to share with you in my head it gets a bit crowded sometimes. I tend to wander around muttering to myself or jotting things in my HTC Mogul using Evernote‘s Voice Note, Ink Note or Photo Note features so I don’t forget, which can get me more than a few funny looks until people figure out I’m just making mental notes.
I don’t post more often because I like to put most of my ideas into action instead. I am a woman of big ideas, a connector, and I try to enact as many as possible, as quickly and as well as I can. I don’t like a good idea to die on the vine. A lot of these big ideas involve connecting the real world with the online world. The value of social media to people and businesses is in the connectivity it brings, and the doors that opens. This means I believe just as much in the value of face time as I do in the value of online time, and I try to instill that belief in others by building powerful real life networks.
I’ve been putting these thoughts into practice with Social Media Breakfast NH, Podcamp NH, in-person relationship building, client coaching and strategizing, writing books to make the concept easier for others like Twitter for Dummies (co-author with Laura Fitton and Michael Gruen), investigating co-working spaces like the upcoming Port Forward, real life networking whenever possible at events like NH and Boston Media Makers, local off-web events like Chamber meetings or last night’s Extreme Website Makeover event, one-on-one time with my colleagues and friends whose minds inspire me, and more. There is something about translating connections between the tangible and the intangible that makes the ideas much more vibrant and that makes the connection adhere more fully.
How is face time important for your business? Simple: it brings the human element into your brand. You can attempt to engage people online until you are blue in the face. You can throw money and resources at social media until you go broke. But if you can’t translate that rapport and effort into time off the screen somehow, you’re missing a key component to your overall social media and business development strategy. It’s not your 100 or 100,000 or more followers on various platforms that counts, it’s the number that come to your movie, attend your event, support your cause in person, talk about you to their friends, go to your concert, use your service in their homes or businesses, drink your wine in real life… you get the idea.
Never underestimate the value of face time. How do you employ face time in your business or life?
We all love to talk about the national and global reach of social media, and that is a very cool thing. But it is also very intimidating to an often overlooked segment of the population: your local businesses. My goal in 2009, in addition to bringing more of the global business like wineries and musicians that we already service to the web, is to bring every single person and business in my immediate area to the web as well. After all, what good is going national if the smaller businesses and solo-preneurs back home get left behind?
I’m talking local here – hyper local. Super small, super localized, one-town-at-a-time growth. I’ve started with a local contractor, a local bar and grill, a local clothing consignment shop, a local craft maker and an artist collective, all right here where I live. It feels almost easy to sell a global business like a winery, brewery, distillery, distributorship, entertainment business in comparison to other, smaller businesses – it’s what we’ve been doing all along and what we will still be doing. It’s quite a bit harder to teach a small business how to be heard and how to be relevant in the vast stream of big fish online. If I can do that, and make my community successful in 2009 and beyond, I’ll have reached one of my goals.
In the coming weeks on Twitter I’ll be introducing these small businesses as they come on board. Some have opted not to use Twitter, but to concentrate on other online avenues for their social presence – just like I tell all of my clients, choosing what works for you is always the right choice. That may not be Twitter. The clothing store is leaning toward YouTube as their primary vehicle for social marketing, for example, so that they can tell you the story behind each item they showcase. If that works for them – more power to them – I’m happy to give them the right social blueprint for their needs and comfort levels. Social media is very a la carte, after all. How will you be reaching out to your hyper local network to join it with the global network this year?