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Friday, September 11, 2009

Social Media - The Act of Being Sociable... Online

Social Media has now joined the ranks of a "must have" outlet for businesses in the past year. It used to be "just for fun" or an option, but as users increase, the dangers of not having a social presence can be very dramatic. For many businesses it has, or will become, the determining factor as to if your business will even survive. The reason being is that potential clients that already have a connection through social media and networking feels as if they "know" that business even if they have never met.

When I was in Vegas several months ago at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Party at the Luxor, Tony Hsieh - CEO of Zappos (@Zappos on Twitter) and Christa Foley - Zappos Recruiting Manager (@Electra on Twitter) both contacted me on the @AskAsheville Twitter handle ready to meet and connect with me at Zappos Corporate Headquarters and at the Revolution dance club for Twestival 2/09. From that moment on, everytime I think about buying shoes or sneakers online, or someone asks me about purchasing online; Zappos is the first thing that comes out of my mouth. They made a friend of me and built another fan. Why do I mention this? Because social media is making sociable connections online. They did not tweet me and say "Go to our site and BUY NOW!". They were more like "Hey, are you in Vegas? Let's get together and hang out!" I was busy that evening with John Legend, Danica Patrick, Bar Refaeli and the others, and had to fly out first thing in the morning; but the connection was made. I was attracted by the sociable vibe they exhibited and it made a permanent impression on me.

Being sociable is not that easy for many people. Who likes to walk in a crowded room, announce themselves, and sincerely connect with everyone there? Not many. Social media is a personality, a vibe, a way of life. Some businesses attempt this online when they are very unsociable in "real life". Sociable media works so much better when you are willing to work from the inside out, and improve the social skills in your life as a whole. Then, when you take it online, people will openly (and even gladly) connect with you. All of us have heard about people "being reserved" and not that social. That simply will not work, or it will at least leave you behind in Social Media and Networking. You are stuck with some options. Either fake your sociability, attempt to blend, or improve your social skills. I recommend the latter, while implementing the blending attempt.

In closing, social media is so much more than an online game, job or responsibility. It is something that can force you to become that connecting sociable person you may have been looking for your whole life. It may teach you how to be more social and how to connect with many different people, businesses, and walks of life. Step one of social media and networking is simple... BE SOCIABLE!

Love G

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