Business in “The Good Ol’ Days”
To understand the role of social media in business today, you need to understand how it plays in to the big picture of things.
For example, in our grandparents’ time, or in my case my grandparents, great grandparents, or maybe even earlier, everyone had a local butcher that they went to.
This butcher had to be very friendly and very personable. He often knew his customers by name, he knew their kids’ names, he knew if anyone in their family was sick or just passed away.
His business was built on relationships. It was built on word-of-mouth marketing and of course, proximity.
Technology Distances the Relationship
As time went on and people evolved, we invented new things that business owners and marketers use for their benefit.
The inventions of the printing press and newspapers allowed businesses to spread their message and brand to a wider audience, and as their circle of influence grew, the customer relationship ultimately suffered.
Companies just couldn’t develop the one-on-one relationship that they used to have due to the lack of proximity.
The Digital Divide
Then came what I called the “digital divide” where the inventions of radio, television, internet allowed even small companies to develop a global presence.
Now, you have huge corporate conglomerates that started viewing people as numbers or dollar figures more than a person.
By the time that this happened, the personal customer relationships like our local butcher had, had become close to non-existent. Business got to a point where it became so impersonal that we as consumers began talking to machines and robots rather than people, myself included.
Social Media Brings Business “Back to the Butcher”
Enter “social media” as we know it.
Social media has forced companies and business owners to come back down to the customers’ level, and interact with them as our grandparents’ local butcher did back then.
The difference is now is with social media, we can create intimate relationships with customers from all over the globe, and not just within a 5-mile radius.
Moral of the Story
In essence, social media has brought the power of relationships and word of mouth back into the marketing mix.
And we as marketers have realized we can’t ignore that.