This is a guest post by Barry Moltz, author of Bounce!: Failure, Resiliency, and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success
Capital One Takes Aim With Slingshot
What does social media mean to big business trying to connect with small business? A lot – since the statistics that I see are that billions of people are doing this social media thing daily. But what has major corporations taking notice is that what people learn and the opinions they find online are being given ever increasing credibility. Most importantly for corporate America, we are making purchasing decisions based on the opinions people express online.
Enter Capital One, who launched Slingshot in February to bridge the gap between small businesses. Capital One is not a pioneer in this area of course. American Express has OPEN and UPS has Pegboard. But what makes Slingshot different is that its not just about reading articles. Itâ€™s about connecting with other small business owners to create a community. Capital One decided to focus in two cities, Raleigh, NC and Denver, CO so they could truly get local critical mass. I was the key note speaker at both events (full disclosure- as a professional speaker, I was paid) so I was able to see the launch upfront and in person.
What I liked about the Slingshot network is that it does not have all the distractions for business people that other networks have. I am constantly inundated with people that have posted things on my wall in Facebook, or they â€œpokeâ€ me in Facebook, or people that are looking for jobs in Linkedin. All this becomes a huge waste of time to answer and maintain. Slingshot is just for small business people where you can find customers and suppliers through their network connections.
And this makes a lot of sense for Capital One who is one of the largest issuers of credit cards for small businesses. This is a good way to connect with them and sell to them just in case there are any business people out there that do not get Capital Oneâ€™s direct mail!
Do large corporations have a role in setting up social media networks? Is it good that they use the power of their brand to bring people together? I believe this is exactly what big companies should be doing in the classy way Capital One has- what do you think?
Barry Moltz is a nationally recognized expert on entrepreneurship who has given over 100 speeches to audiences ranging from 20 to 20,000. He was appointed by the Illinois Governor in 2005 to serve on the board of the Institute for Entrepreneurship Education (IIEE). As a member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, he also has taught entrepreneurship as an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology.