by Matthew Burns from fairmarketing … And Why You Should Put a Ring on it Instead Let me describe something, and tell me if this has ever happened to you. After cruising around a business website, seeing that they could potentially meet a need of yours now or in the near future behold – you find the sacred social media icons. Finally! A way to engage! When you click on them and head to a Facebook page for example, you see only 67 “likes” and think well, they are probably just getting started on these platforms and good for them. Then you begin scrolling down the page and see post after post, one or two likes and literally months if not years of article postings. Little to no words, just articles or products that the business wants you to buy. As the creeping horror begins to set in, you check their businesses Facebook wall – surely someone has commented there? Yes! People asked some questions – other people in the same position as you. A sense of crushing defeat washes over you as you see several questions asked in the past few months and 0 response from the business. Is this starting to sound familiar? Businesses today still think that we live in a “marketing push” kind of world, and that is no longer the case. They are acting like the 19-year-old guy who thinks he can score a kiss 17 minutes into the first date. Rushing your first date is not a good marketing tactic – the same is true in your social media conversations. Social media isn’t about pushing products and blasting company messages. It’s building relationships in a one on one way. The small town mentality will be the future of social marketing. Doesn’t it feel amazing when a brand reaches out to you specifically to address a need or problem you’re experiencing? You tweet about a meal at your favorite restaurant and the owner sends you a discount as thanks for increasing brand awareness. These things are happening every day and the relationship building will show who ends up a success and who will flounder. The industry coins it as “outbound vs. inbound” and as we grow more connected every year; the value of inbound (or pull) style marketing is coming out ahead in every aspect. As much as I’d like to take the credit for this idea, a gentleman by the name of Gary Vaynerchuk is the real proponent. You can see a short video of his presentation here: (http://www.inc.com/videos/201110/gary-vaynerchuk-earn-lifelong-customers-over-social-media.html). How then can we keep more businesses from using the terrible marketing tactics of young college students? The basic summary of Gary’s talk is this: the small town business mentality is coming back. What is old is new again, and with the maturity of the Internet we’re seeing everyone being connected in ways that were lost in the past 50 years. One of the best examples from Gary’s book “The Thank You Economy” (http://www.amazon.com/Thank-You-Economy-Gary-Vaynerchuk/dp/0061914185) was a thought experiment. What if you were sitting in a local coffee shop and sitting next to you were two people discussing a business – YOUR business? One loves what you’re doing and the other is throwing out harsh reactions to your service. Are you telling me that you wouldn’t want to want to walk over and try to help the person who had a bad experience, and thank the one who advocates for you? Things like this are happening all over the web – and it’s not hard to find. Twitter is a real time active conversational tool that unlike Facebook, has 90% of all conversations viewable by absolutely anyone. Even if you’re a brand new business, starting conversations like these are easy. You just need to be ready to listen and put a ring on it. The future is one to one marketing – your customers and clients need to see that you’re willing to interact and engage with them, because when people find you through your online marketing efforts the ball is in your court. People are walking in to your Internet storefront, how are you going to treat them?