How to Be Yourself in Business

bonkedproducerOne of the many challenges entrepreneurs and small businesses face is figuring out how to balance the personal and impersonal.

Your small business depends on your personal self-confidence and on sharing your individual talents, skills, and personality. People do business with you because you are you; you have earned their Like for whatever reason. Look around at the successful entrepreneurs you know: most have noticeable personalities; at least, they are not shrinking wallflowers. To work independently, you need a good measure of chutzpah and style.

On the other hand, too much personality can work against your best efforts in business relations. Management and customer service always require a certain equanimity, an easygoing attitude in terms of relationships. And if you want to find customers, you’re careful to be as unoffensive as possible. Most of us have had that desire to be all things to all people, even though we know it’s impossible. We want everyone to like us, and that often translates into stifling our personality more than sharing it. [Read more…]

Build Your Small Business List with Know-Like-Trust

pizzaSocial media is so fun and distracting that much of the time we forget that we’re using it for a purpose. But if you’re using social media for business, you want to base your activity on expected outcomes. If you’re doing it right, you’ve defined those outcomes in advance of your first social interactions.

So if you own a pizza delivery restaurant, you know what to do. Instead of vaguely wishing for more business, you set a number on it: increase sales by 10% next month. Instead of haphazardly posting whatever tickles your fancy, you devise a contest to increase your followers, post a sequence of pizza-making tips, show a string of images of gorgeous Italian villages and ask people to post their own, plan a special night or two when some exotic pizza or amazing discount will be offered, et cetera.

Social media is based on first attracting a large following of people who are willing to opt-in, Like, follow, comment, share or otherwise voluntarily interact with you. While some may be drawn in by your charisma, the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) factor is really what wins most fans. Meeting that demand is no small challenge for many of us!

The process of winning friendships digitally is the same as any social media process: listen, plan, (listen more), respond, share, (listen some more), offer, slowly and organically build. As on any kids’ playground, as in any group of people, once we know someone, we may then come to like them, and after time and experience build our confidence, we may even begin to trust them.

Once trust is established, the bond matures from tentative to super-powerful. If I trust that your pizza tips are awesome, not only am I likely to become a long term customer, but I’m also going to opt-in with you, interact with your social media updates, and recommend your pizza to all my friends.

Notice that it’s not enough to get people to like you; it’s when they trust you that you’re finally doing business. However, all three parts of the formula are essential.

  1. Post the kind of content in your social channels that communicates your passions, so people can get to know you.
  2. Be extremely attentive to others, responding helpfully and consistently, making it easy for people to like you.
  3. Work every day to do the best job possible in service to your market, providing relevant and sensitive content, so people will trust you.

It’s a slow process but one that can be highly enjoyable. If you haven’t started yet, there’s no time like the present!

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Need help with setting up your social profiles or maintaining a strong social media presence? SBOB can help!

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