August 5, 2010
Guest Post by Fredrick Nijm, Co-founder & CEO of Addoway.com
According to a recent Harris Interactive study, when asked what sources influence your decision to use or not use a particular company, brand or product, “71% claim reviews from family members or friends exert a great deal or fair amount of influence.”
Statistics like these continue to amaze me, because they can only be possible through some level of trust. I have constant thoughts about how social media is not only changing the way we connect with one another, but more importantly how we utilize our connections to help influence the way we do business online.
I just finished reading another great article by Brian Solis: Once more, with Feeling: Making Sense of Social Media, and like most of his articles I find myself thinking a lot afterward. Well this time, I was left with two simple, yet daunting questions: Who is the “Me” in Social Media? How can I relate this to what we are trying to do at Addoway?
Over the last year on Twitter alone, I have met some extraordinary people that have impacted me both personally and professionally (and yes I have met some spammers too). As we connected, Retweets turned into more Retweets, which developed into consideration for one other, which in turn developed into discussions, which progressed into meetings (meetups), which created connections, and then those developed into relationships. Through all of that we developed one very important thing together: trust for one other.
There is no denying that trust is the #1 factor in all relationships. If you don’t have trust, then what do you have? You can’t really connect with someone if you don’t have trust and it’s very difficult to connect anymore once you lose trust for someone.
Well in eCommerce it is all too common to not have trust for the person you are doing business with. The seller doesn’t really know the buyer, and the buyer doesn’t know much about the seller. Can this work? Well it has worked hasn’t it? People continue to conduct transactions online not really knowing who they are conducting them with at all. They remain skeptical at best, but have hopes of everything working out. This is just not an optimal way of running your business.
It can work better and be more efficient for buyers and sellers. You can build relationships and trust in eCommerce with social media and utilize this to effectively run your business and drive more business. This is not about just tweeting or sharing your deals of the day. This is about connecting to your audience just like you would connect with your friends. Think about your best friend right now. What makes you friends? You shared your experiences with them and over time formed a relationship based on mutually associated factors that you both share.
And why did this work? Because meaningful relationships are built through shared bonds and connections that are fortified by trust and credibility over time.
I am not saying you are going to make your next best friend online, but you possibly could. I am only emphasizing that merchants who have relationships with their clients tend to sell more, because that experience is going to be shared with another.
Utilize your social connections to better connect with your existing clients and foster credible relationships that will lead to future leads from your network. And at the same time buyers will be able to develop a level of security and trust with you. This interaction will inevitably lead to better and safer buying decisions and referral business for you in the future.
Relationship selling works! Try it next time.
About the Author:
Addoway is an online marketplace where people buy and sell with their friends and the merchants they trust. The site integrates with Facebook’s social graph and recommends merchants their friends have purchased from in the past, merchants their friends know personally and others who are upfront about their identity and reputation.