Baby It Was Born This Way

The Internet began inherently as a social creature.

The Internet’s original purpose was to link military computers together in case of catastrophe, which began in earnest in the 1960s and ’70s. It didn’t take long for educators and the universities to adopt the technology to share knowledge, which began in the 1970s.

Fast forward to the early 1990s and the original explosion among the rest of us was around forums, chat rooms and similar “inter-relational” and sharing capabilities.

Big company employees needed their own voice 20 years ago and the birth of forums gave birth to blogs as the proliferation of user-friendly web authoring tools flooded the market. Whether companies liked it or not, employees took to the web to either complain or testify about their jobs or employers.

The web gave everyone a voice, everyone a publishing platform. Social networks like MySpace and Facebook made it easier.

It should be no surprise that nearly 1 billion people globally have a Facebook account. Hundreds of millions use Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare, Google+. These companies have forever altered the human experience because everyone and anyone, across economic levels and geographic boundaries can engage them.

The Internet has completely changed the voice of business globally.

Among the most profound shifts in business culture is how quickly the web has forced businesses to be more open about who they are and how they operate.

20 years later, the companies receiving the most praise and reaping the greatest economic benefits of online social marketing are those that are open about who they are as a company. They encourage their employees, with guidance (and a well-written corporate social marketing policy that embraces, not limits it) and allow employees to write formally or informally for the business about the business, the good and the not so great.

We live in an era on the Internet with a strong expectation for authenticity, truth, trust, and transparency. Your web marketing can break down barriers to sales faster than anything short of an in-person meeting with you so long as your social content is written well and is visually effective.

I encourage you to trust yourself, trust your employees and trust social media marketing experts in guiding you. Allow an open conversation about the business (within reason of course) and new prospects will embrace you and send you Christmas cards before they ever meet you in person.

People are looking for brands, products, companies and especially real people behind those companies that they can trust to solve their problems. Your web site and your social media marketing efforts can either keep you a stranger or make you a best friend. And frankly, best friends make more money.

What are your thoughts on this?

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