“New” Social Media Branding: Connecting in Real Time

While Aria has continued to back clients’ social media efforts, our own has remained mostly silent. The reason for this is not because there is nothing to say, it is because all the behind the scenes strategizing has left us with social media ennui.

I recently mentioned this malaise to some friends and was surprised to find that not only was I not alone, but that what I had chosen to do in an effort to combat it wasn’t all that unique either. You’d think that tech savvy people proven to be “good at” social media would simply push through the blahs by doing even more social media on our own behalf. Instead, each of us has pared back our exposure in favor of interacting with potential clients in real time. I want to reiterate this: we look for ways to interact with potential clients in real time.

Each of us have done this in different ways: by joining weekly networking groups, by holding open houses, by sponsoring youth little leagues, and one brave soul by signing up to give a presentation at a regional seminar. What was surprising was that each of us has come to the same conclusion: interacting with people face-to-face gives you immediate returns, a sense of truer connection, and means that the person will be more likely to remember you and refer someone they know to you in the future.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Yes, but social media can also allow you to facilitate introductions and meetings with other people. You can also use it to publicly acknowledge a person/company and hopefully engender some good feelings in the public arena. When done well, social media is an awesome tool.

True, it is an awesome tool, but not the best tool when trying to expand your reach. The best tool is using your savvy to provide a crystal clear in-person experience of your company’s promise on a moment’s notice. And it doesn’t have to happen on the web or in a meeting—you can successfully reach people at any time!

A few weeks ago I was on the beltway driving back from a client meeting when my car started making strange sounds. A quick peek out the window told me I had a flat tire, which I wasn’t thrilled about changing. Even so, I got the car up on the jack…and then couldn’t loosen the lug nuts. Unable to find an available tow company or friend to assist me, I was stranded just as rush hour started. Instead of getting angry I counted my blessings: it was a lovely warm summer day and I had a little more than an hour until I absolutely had to be somewhere again. Things could be much, much worse.

Just as I was embracing the positive, a man on a motorcycle pulled up and motioned to the tire. I said that if he’d simply help me loosen the nuts I wouldn’t trouble him to do the rest. He shook his head, gruffly motioned me aside and then set to work.

I thanked him profusely and said I hoped I wasn’t making him late. His body language immediately shifted, and he looked up at me to say, “You’re not making me late for anything because I’m the one who decided to stop. So many people are too busy to stop and help another human being. Even if I had some place to be, I’d get there late and just deal with the fall out. Besides, I own a landscaping business and work very hard. Helping you here is a break for me.”

There I was, on the side of a busy highway, having the best brand experience I have ever had: I asked for the thing I thought I needed, but Kevin went above and beyond by changing the tire for me. He wasn’t trying to sell me on anything, he just wanted to help me out because he is a decent human being. He talked about how he’s seen other companies run their businesses, and how upsetting it is to see people taken advantage of so often. He was courteous, conscientious, and what’s more, his sincerity was genuine.

And yes, I am going to have him come take a look at my sad yard.

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