How to “hang out” and talk biz in the virtual world

I’ve argued for some time now the job force, as we know it, is changing. Corporate and blue collar jobs just aren’t there for the taking anymore. It is not the fault of politics or the economy – well, not totally. This world is just changing – the way we interact with each other and the skills we seek in others is different then it was 20 years ago.  I strongly believe it is the entrepreneur that looks outside the proverbial “box”, embraces the virtual world and figures out what skill they possess and can make profitable, will be the people that come out of this economic downturn in tact. This re-design of the business world is reliant on an online community. You must learn to meet new people virtually, and “work” social networks.

Today’s virtual business is built upon the principle of connectedness. Every second of every day, some network is being used, formed or redefined by this principle. Somewhere out there, you can bet thousands are using Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, or pinning things on Pinterest.

For entrepreneurs, small business and large companies, this represents a new paradigm in the way business needs to be done. The age of the corporate mass message is over, now replaced by a model of specificity and targeting.

Gone are the days when a company would buy as much ad space as possible, in the hope of having it seen by the maximum number of people. Today, the name of the game is to “hang out” where the customers hang out, and then to bring the targeted message to them. Look into the Phorm CrunchBase company profile for a little more light on how this actually works.

That said, how do you make the said targeted message in the first place? Secondly, how do you know where your customers hang out, so you can make a sale? 

Before you discover where they hang out, know who they are first. Clearly, the need to know your customer is vital. You must understand their needs and habits, behaviors and preferred networks. Knowing who to market to is a crucial first step you need to take.

Once you know who they are, tailor the message. People are incredibly complex, with a large variety of habits, motivations, and personalities. However, since you know your customer profile, it will be easier to craft a message that resonates with them. Don’t forget, no one likes a recycled broadcast, so take the time to customize! 

Leverage what you know, and head over to the hangouts. Let’s say you’ve identified your ideal customer. She’s 27 and happens to be really artsy. In that case, the best network to use would likely be Pinterest, Instagram or possibly Twitter.

You know the hangout, so go hang out. And by hang out, I mean interact meaningfully. As a company, you can use social media in a myriad of ways. You may choose to do it for lead generation, closing sales, increasing website visits or brand monitoring.

As you can see, the world’s love for connectedness does have business value. However, the duty falls to you to take advantage.