Can’t See the Trees for the Forest?

I don’t think I have to make any apologies for this article. Anyone who knows me or follows Innovaision’s weblog, or Twitter Feed, or LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+ pages knows that we think Social Media is awesome! Any business that is not taking deliberate steps to craft and execute a smart Social Media policy is at high risk for failure, and probably sooner rather than later.

Still, it would pay to take a moment to reflect on the value of plain old-fashioned relationship building – the pre-Internet variety. Unless you are a truly global business, chances are your marketplace is a lot closer to home than the reach you can achieve through technology warrants. Even if you are a really big business, with a true universal market, if you have competitors it is likely that you fare better close to the location(s) where your office/plant/outlet is located. If only for the fact that potential customers are more likely to see your building on their way to work, or have a friend or relative who works for you, people are comfortable doing business with those they feel connected to (isn’t that one of the big draws of Social Media after all).

While you are working on your master plan to dominate the world, it pays to attend to the market that is right under our noses. The people we can drop in on, or invite to coffee or lunch, or who we see at the PTA meetings or at church or when we are out to dinner with our families. In other words, when looking at the big forest, pay attention to the nearby trees as well.

Don’t each lunch alone, when you could be treating someone to a meal and talking about your business at the same time. Take an afternoon once a week or once a month and just drive around your community and drop in on people who might be helpful to your business pursuits. Join the local Chamber of Commerce, participate in community initiatives, make sure your face is familiar to the people who live and work in your neighborhood. You may be astounded to find that your greatest business successes will come from local connections. After all, someone out there is spending a lot of time on their Social Media plan trying to reach people you can shake hands with ten minutes from now!