Monday, June 15, 2009

A Business Bite: Translating Your Personality and Values into an Online Presence - Part II

Something that helps me to make decisions regarding my online interaction is by trying to correlate my online presence as to what it would be like if I had a little boutique store in an adorable town like McKinney, Texas.
  • My blog is the conversation I have with customers
  • Flickr is the eye-candy and window-dressing
  • Artfire is the functional shop
  • My website is the historical store of conversations and information

There are constantly new activities and things to do on the web (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace). When evaluating a new "thing to do", I use two basic questions to guide me:

  • What is the IRL equivalent of this online activity?
  • How would I behave IRL (in real life)?

Personality-wise, I'm introverted, so I evaluate a scenario or situation from all angles before making a decision. In a nutshell, I don't jump on every online bandwagon that is happening. For example: I'm still trying to figure out whether Twitter has value for me. My initial thoughts were, "what's the point?" However, I said that about phone texts a few years ago. Why would you ever text when you can just call them? Now I rarely call and almost exclusively text. Regarding Twitter, I don't have a lot of time for extras or time to figure out whether it works for me. I'll let the kinks get worked out of the format and let the dust settle before I decided whether or not to participate. Right now, Twitter doesn't fit into my online presence. However, it may have a place in the future.

The other part of doing business that can have a potentially discouraging or downer effect on your business and online presence: negative feedback or complaints. My goal is to be a good business citizen and do whatever is within my power to create a positive satisfied customer through honesty, integrity, quality, and genuine concern for my customer's happiness. However, at a certain point, you do have to realize you can't be everything to everyone. It helps to plan to be accommodating yet firm. Small businesses who exemplify this are the small businesses I mentioned in the opening. I've watched their blogs, their public interactions and they consistently convey a kind, respectful, yet firm, attitude toward the public.

Another consideration: I have made a conscious decision to NOT participate in areas that can breed negativity. Etsy forums are touted as a good way to bring in new customers. Unfortunately, I find the minimal moderation a breeding ground for negative situations and train wrecks. Just as I don't put myself in a situation where a barfight might break out, I don't participate in unmoderated or poorly moderated forums.

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