I often find myself looking at other businesses and it turns me into a huge snoop. I look for markers in the business, some transparent and some hidden, that show the business’s online behaviors There are a few items I would like to touch on here to bring more insight to running or working with a socially aware business.
Sometimes a prospective client will go out of their way to find out everything from cost, referrals and other items that are tangible. For example, do they have a positive profile with the BBB? Is there someone out there to ask about the validity of business? Then the person looking for help wants to know if your business is too expensive. It’s just as important as traditional marketing.
Here are a few things to consider when hiring/running a business in today’s market:
1. Are they working in the community?
You can see this clearly. Too many times, a business may run on empty in the ‘profit zone’ and may not realize that they rely heavily on the community. A socially aware business reaches out into the community and provides help in many ways. Providing resources for any organization brings many bonuses that can not be valued.
At Stand And Stretch, we work with many local organizations to provide training and speaking opportunities to create more educated on online marketing. We also work with Columbus State University’s Career Center. Since 2010, I have conducted seminars for the students on professional online personas and job search.
2. Does the business offer numerous ways of contact?
I personally dislike talking on the phone. I understand it is necessary for business and I don’t want anyone to cut off the landline. But, I would recommend looking for a few key items for communication. Do they respond to email within your needs? Do they allow texting to the team or the main line? Are they listening in the social channels?
We use Google Voice for our main line. You can text our business line and if you leave us a message it is dictated and emailed to our business front line. We’ve had over 3000 texts in two years…it works. Our clients are usually asked to email, text, gchat, facebook, tweet, skype, google hangout and even call us…if absolutely necessary. 🙂
3. Is the business willing to trade services?
I believe there is a bond that is made when trade is an acceptable form of payment. When a business is brought in to bid on a clients request for proposal and the bid is expensive, most businesses hold back and begin decreasing their project’s work load ultimately decreasing the value.We take another approach. We often leverage client services, or trade, to achieve the goal and not de-value the project as a whole.
For example, we were given a budget from a local company and our services were more than their budget but we couldn’t bend the cost simply because there was a budget. After a quick compromise, we had a equitable trade and both sides were happy. Trade is something I feel gets left behind when companies look to team up on projects. We love a good trade.
As you can see, my ideas are simple. If you want to set your business up as an example of a socially aware organization then there are a few items to help. This is by no means the end all cure but I thought if I shed some light on a few ‘eye-opening’ procedural changes.
Most people layer their communication making it hard to get to the owner. Facebook Page messages and comments go un-heard. Helping businesses who can’t afford a valuable service you know will help their business will ultimately help your business. Each of these items are the equivalent to provide good services and work outcomes.
What are some things you do that makes your business more social?