A SMB CEO Walks Into A Bar…

May 5, 2010

OK, it does not need to be a bar, it could also be a grocer, hardware store or gasoline station.

But whatever the location, you hear somebody viciously complain about shitty service,  lousy support or useless sales reps in your business.

You are completely shocked.

What do you do?

One obvious option is to make sure your security badge is off, and to turn the marketing brochure you are carrying upside down so they can’t see that you work for that firm and then sneak out.

If that is your choice, thanks for visiting, I wish you all the best.

If your choice was to immediately state; I couldn’t help overhearing you, my sincerest apologies about your incident, can you tell me what happened so we can resolve your issue?

Then you can look at this next stage.

As an executive in a small to medium business, you may not have consciously thought about it, but what you are doing is a person to person, one to one conversation about something that happened with your business.

You also know that if you can rectify the situation, that disgruntled person will tell at least two  friends how great it was – a word of mouth recommendation has started.

So where am I going with this?

I challenge you to turn on the television, read a paper, or flip through a magazine; And then tell me that you did not hear or read the terms social media, or social marketing. You have heard about them; Twitter, Facebook, blogs, you name it.

It seems to be the biggest buzzwords of our business generation.

As an executive, you are rightly wondering what benefit can be had, or maybe wondering if you should you bother, or perhaps just what the hell all the hype is about.

There are many people smarter that me that can tell you about actively working with these new tools, since I am not an expert, I will leave that to  them.

But consider passively listening to them.

Why?

For the same reason you spoke up in that situation I mentioned above.

In my example, you heard that conversation because you happened to be standing there. But I guarantee that those types of conversations are happening in other places too, you just aren’t standing there to hear them.

Did you know that a popular figure in your region wrote your company sucks! on his blog, his face book page and twitter?

The effect could be like Consumer Reports trumpeting don’t buy this product, or the popular restaurant guide saying don’t eat here.

Before you think those are to unlikely to happen, lets look at this little blog of mine. I don’t get the millions of people visiting that some of the big name writers do. But I do write for one particular niche, as it says in the header, about tech for non-tech manager in the small to medium business.

Even though this is no A list blog, It still gets a little less than 2000 people per month visiting its virtual digital doorway.

So what if I bitch about your product?

And what if only one of those 2000 people per month were negatively influenced about your product or service?

The SMB Takeaway

There are a myriad of tools from freebies like Google alerts to monitoring services.

Before you write off these new social tools, consider at least listening to what people are saying about you

Think about it.

Monitor The Conversation

Photo Credit leafar via flickr

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