People have become a little testy because Google finally clamped down hard on the “unofficial brand” pages popping up all over Google+. My response, originally posted there, was this:
Lament Not, Brands
It’s funny how many people are lamenting the temporary shutdown of brands on Google+. Meanwhile, I’m seeing lots of smart business people connecting with people, making relationships, sharing a mix of personal and business materials, and building relationships that will transcend the vagueness of following an official stream.
Business is about humans connecting with humans. This new platform is the top shelf of potential for doing a great job of doing that. Keep doing what you’re doing as a brand of one, and just be sure your ABOUT page represents your organization well.
Go forth. Be the brand. Just be you as the brand.
Be The Brand
When Julien Smith and I wrote Trust Agents, this was exactly the point we were making to bigger corporations and smaller businesses alike. These new tools allow us to connect as humans to humans and build relationships that transcend transactional customer bases. For instance, on that post in Google+, I heard from Dan from Sonos, Tristan from Symantec, Toni from Raytheon, and lots of other people who I take to be the brand more than their CEO or official spokespeople. To me, that’s the magic of this.
So What Should One Do?
Social networks are often a kind of loosely joined cocktail party, where you can’t just run up, stuff a business card in someone’s hand and start selling them things. (Well, you CAN do that, but it rarely works.) Instead, you get to know the person, you learn whether there’s something you can do for them, you see what they are interested in outside of just work stuff, and you determine if there’s business there. If not, you might still keep the relationship, but it’s a much more organic play. If you want inorganic, there are plenty of media that let you do that better: TV, radio, etc.
What to do? Share. Curate. Comment. Make connections. Make introductions. Point out the good stuff that’s not yours. Talk about things that aren’t 100% business. And then? Things go a lot better.
Of the almost-500 big business people I follow on Google+, about 30 are people I’ve done some kind of financial transaction with (bought their product or whatever). The rest? The more I get to know them, the more I refer them to others, and the more I consider their solutions when I’m thinking of a purchase. That’s the magic, friends.
Isn’t that what YOU are doing with social networks and social media?