sharing is a cornerstone for the social web and at the heart of it all. People share things all the time. Sit on a long bus ride and the guy next to you may talk about his recent work trip experience, what he thought about last nights basketball game or what he thought about the mid-term election polls.
That’s how you get to know people. That’s how you start relating to people. That is how relationships are built! They share. The ones you don’t know much about and can’t connect with are the ones who won’t or don’t share.
It’s easier with people. Perhaps that’s why so many people have successfully tied into the social web, strike conversations with others, interact with others and find it easy to carry their offline personalities with them to their online persona and interactions with others. Not all companies and businesses on the other hand carry their personalities as well to the online world as they do in the offline world.
Let me tell you what I mean by that. Just the other day I walked into the office of a prospective customer and had a discussion with a bunch of people from their office who were extremely personable, like-able and easy to relate to. I learnt about their interests, how they got started with their business, what they’ve been up to in recent days and it turns out they were a great bunch of people. Definitely a company I would love to work with. Truth be told, that’s not the impression I had going in that day.
My first impression was formed by their website. I checked the ‘about’ section and most of the standard information you would when you go to a website. I then looked at the blog and press releases. Both were not updated often and had some content loosely related to the industry but from what I read, they were a very serious company, stated facts needed and quite “dry” or plain vanilla was my guess. The people who made up the company were however, anything but plain vanilla or dry….they exuded passion for what they did. They celebrated small victories and took challenges seriously. They had opinions on a lot of different issues within their sector and often brainstormed on how to offer something better and stand apart. Yet, none of that was reflected on their website, blog, Twitter account or Facebook page. If you have never met them personally, you would never really know them for what they are…a great business that you or I would enjoy engaging with.
Businesses need to humanize when they decide to go social. They need to reflect a personality that people can relate to. On the social web, people like interacting with other people. Not with inanimate entities like a corporation or a limited liability firm or whatever the legal entity is. A number of businesses owners and managers we’ve spoken to over the last few months have registered or sign-up accounts on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress blogs, Flickr, YouTube and other social sites. They have remained inactive since the first sign in because they couldn’t figure out what “The Company” wanted to say everyday.
Sharing is the key to humanizing a business to fit in with the social web. Share experiences, share interesting things the business has learnt, share photos of last nights team dinner at the steak house, share updates on little victories, share what happened at the office today, share challenges and upsets the business faced, share what the business is excited about, share opinions your people have on something current….keep sharing. Thats when you come across as more than just a company name and develop a personality that other people can relate to. Let people know and relate to the emotions and personality of your business. Thats how relationships will be built and that’s how a businesses social online persona can start reflecting it’s real world persona.