Probably one of my most memorable experiences with the power of the “Interwebs” has been with the power of the search engine and how they have enabled commerce that would previously had been unthinkable.
Case in point, in 1996 I built a website for a local HVAC technician. One of the important characteristics he wanted to stress was that all of the part numbers were on his site. More specifically, each stocking unit was different so he wanted his customers to relay to him EXACTLY what they needed.
Three months after the site launch the HVAC technician called me and asked me to correct a part number on the site. He had a guy in Iowa (We are in Ohio) called him after visiting the site who wanted to buy a dozen of his high-end air conditioning units. Apparently the customer searched the web and found his website by way of the part numbers.
OK, I used that story to set the table for the idea that preparation for future business success can be almost as important as retention of current customers. This small-town HVAC technician was radically transformed by a simple introduction of new technology. He very quickly became one of the largest wholesalers of HVAC equipment in the area, mainly due to his ability to reach new customers with his product messaging.When the “local” HVAC guys were still scurrying around on repair jobs, this guy had semi-trucks backing up into his residential neighborhood to ship his goods. It transformed his business.
Social media allows a seller of a product or service to first build a close-knit “family” of followers, feed them with product giveaways, funny musings or powerful insights, and most importantly participate in a continued dialogue with them about their product or service. Imagine if the marketing team at Proctor and Gamble was able to poll facebook users on the new scent of Tide. No more closed studies or highly paid “scentologists”. Once the big companies catch on to Social Media uses, their cash investments can then help to guarantee tens of thousands of faithful “friends” and tens of millions more hits on their website.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be digging more into the topic of Social Media and its facility to transform business.