I ran across an older article by Jennifer Laycock. She’s suggesting that Social Media is technologically new, but its not a new concept – its a fantastic point – Much like her grandfather, whom she discusses in her article, I look back on my own family.
The Polish community on the south side of Chicago is very tightly knit. My father, a real estate agent, was very active in that community. He was a member of the local social club (kind of like an Elks Club but all about being Polish). Because he was a fluent English reader/writer/speaker, he translated for the club and handled a lot of the administrative paper work for people – helping people with licenses, visas, permits that kind of thing – He didn’t ask for a return on this, he was happy to help his community. He did get a return, though.
My father was a real estate agent, and his largest client base were the Polish community members whom he had helped in other ways. They trusted him because he gave to the community. He didn’t broker deals without a commission, that was business, but he brought his knowledge and commitment to the community in his off time, and people trusted him. That’s why they chose to do business with him, that’s why they recommended him to friends and family.
This is something to remember about trying to use social media to market yourself. Walking into a community and trying to solicit business is obvious. Showing up with an agenda and posting off topic info about yourself, or your business, is a perfect way called out for trolling. It’s all about fostering trust and respect. It’s about bringing something to the community whether or not people buy from you. The first question you should ask yourself when trying to tackle social media for your business is whether or not there is a community out there that could benefit from doing business with you. Next ask yourself if you have the commitment to want to be involved in the community or do you just want show them your billboard.