It seems that spring may be with us at last. Crawling out of my hibernation, I've been feeling more sociable, re-connecting with the people around me, and that got me thinking about how being social impacts on business - and I'm not just talking about Social Media! 

A simple google search on the adjective "social" brings up the following definition: "Needing companionship and therefore best suited to living in communities - we are social beings as well as individuals." 

In an age where we rely on email and social media to communicate, it’s easy to stay comfortably glued to our laptops and smart phones, creating sales funnels remotely and communicating through social media.  It's a great way to save time and connect directly from wherever we want to be….. but let's not forget the power of human contact. 

Models such as Professor Mehrabian’s show the importance of face to face contact when communicating with others, as it is the non-verbal aspects of communication that convey emotion best and that's how we connect.  It’s difficult to build rapport without human touch and it’s difficult to build trust without rapport. We buy from people and businesses we trust, so once you’ve got your leads from your digital campaigns, make sure you are also connecting with people in person. 

At the end of the day there is no magic formula. To do business you need a compelling idea.  But people buy people, so the more people you meet and speak with, the more likely you are to find customers.   Here are a few reminders for getting social with your business:

1. NETWORK: There's no better way of getting in front of people than through your local networking groups.  Aim to "make friends" with as many people as possible. Even if they don't buy from you, the more people you know, the more people you will have to give you feedback or advice and to recommend you to others. And don't just think about formal networking groups, also look at other "gatherings" that your ideal client might attend - get in front of them to speak, showcase your products, or simply to strike up a conversation. 

2. FOLLOW-UP: So you have your automated campaigns and processes in place, but as obvious as it sounds, don't forget to follow-up your leads. I once responded to one such automated campaign and never heard anything back. I was a warm lead and also ready to specifically refer, but that company has lost me now. Make sure you don't accidentally snub your potential leads just because they are not buying right now. 

3. GET PERSONAL: We all have enough emotional intelligence to spot an automated campaign however cleverly it has been articulated, so try to bring in a personal aspect to your processes.  That might involve putting in the time to segment your data to adapt your communications to keep them relevant  or, if your data is small enough,  mean literally picking up the phone or sending a very personalised email. And don't forget to communicate with your customers after they have paid you.  How did they find the specific service / product they bought?  Find out if there is anything else you can do to help, or offer them a discount for something else in future as a thank you.  Show you care and value their custom. It's all about building relationships with them. 

4. CONNECT: When dealing directly with people, 1st impressions are key. Make sure you are open, warm and smile. And when asked what your business does, be ready with a clear, concise and compelling explanation that will have them wanting to know more about you and your business.

Enjoy the spring and happy socialising!