People do business with people they know, like and trust.
This phrase has long been a staple in business networking and business growth. What you might not know is that with the advent of social business and the ability to build strong business relationships without the confines of the physical meeting, there's been an addition or change to that phrase. It now goes a little something like this, "people do business with people they like who like them".
While it's not a big shift, and there's no change to the requirement that you be a likable and trustworthy individual, there is a large change in the way that you must show appreciation and "like" for the person with whom you are trying to conduct business. It's no longer enough for a prospect to know that you're a good fit for them. They also want to know how they're a good fit for you.
The best and most timely examples of this shift in mindset can be viewed without leaving your office. Do a keyword or hashtag search on Twitter. Notice something interesting? The accounts that have the most followers show an equality in the number of follows and followers. Open a new browser window and log into Facebook. The brands with the largest numbers of fans or "likes" are generally the brands who like a variety of other brands, both within the same industry and reaching out to potential partner brands and gate openers. These well liked pages also evidence the most back and forth between fan and brand. Conversations rather then lonely links. Replies to comments and answers to questions.
Look over to Linkedin for a minute and you'll note that while people who have been in a certain industry for years certainly have a lot of contacts, another group of well connected individuals is emerging. It's the socially savvy group that takes part in the interactive and participatory Linkedin group discussions. This group of people build solid connections with others in their field and their level of participation also helps their overall Google ranking and SEO if they are linking back to their site as they participate.
It's easy to believe that automating your social media with links back to your web site is the way to go. But that doesn't embrace the idea of social business and participatory marketing and engagement. That's simply deep linking. The real challenge isn't producing the content or finding the link, it's building the relationship and building that like and trust. The only way to do so is to dive in and participate. Comment. Follow. Connect. Like.