Business is business, right? And while Whoopi Goldberg’s character found herself in trouble for exchanging dating advice and recipes with customers from other countries in “Jumping Jack Flash,” she did embrace the human element long before the internet and social media became what it is today. Why is this important? Because the folks who buy your services are people, too.

Is a corporate buyer going to feel good about coming to you for something if it’s a business-as-usual attitude? Are they going to suggest their company keep coming back to you if they’re made to feel like an automaton with no real connection to you or your business? Probably not. Enter social media where companies have an opportunity to present a much friendlier side of themselves for the world to see, both internally and externally.

Along with the great power of social media comes…great tips. You thought I was going to say “great responsibility,” didn’t you?

  1. Get motivated! Your counterparts are just as savvy as you are about the online world, how to find what they need and what about a vendor catches their eye. They use social media at home just like you do, so why not get creative and create an online community for your company and your customers?
  2. Et tu, Brute? Don’t make your customers have to wonder if your products or services are any good. If they have to wonder too much, they’ll just go elsewhere and find a company that gives them that warm and fuzzy feeling. So once you have that online community, let your customers do the talking for you. If they like you, they’ll tell you. If they have suggestions for improvements, they’ll tell you that, too. Best of all, they might just help each other find new and innovative ways to utilize what you’re offering. It’s all about the interaction since customer service is marketing in itself.
  3. Doctor, heal thyself. The flow of information inside a company tends to move at a somewhat sluggish pace. Why not incorporate some internal social tools similar to Twitter that allow folks working for you a consistent and speedy way of communicating and collaborating? Some tools even allow you to post blogs and videos, which can help demonstrate best practices and new training. Active, connected employees are happier than discombobulated ones waiting around for that e-mail response to arrive.
  4. Rock them like a hurricane! Anybody can write a blog, many of them do and they tend to sound very similar; lots of blah blah blah. Engage your readers. Find out what they want to know. Give it to them. Include some of your customers in the blogs themselves. Some businesses are even posting webcasts featuring success story interviews with their customers.

Remember, business doesn’t have to be boring. It just has to look that way to the average non-business person to maintain the façade.

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