In this connected economy, the challenge is not connectivity – but alignment.
If you look for differences you will find them; and if you seek alignment, cooperation, and collaboration, you will find that too. This is why learning to effectively manage your business networks is without question the key to your business success.
Alignment is the result of taking connectivity to the next level. This is often accomplished by partnering or collaborating to progressively achieve mutually beneficial objectives.
Who are these partners?
These are logically team members, friends, and influencers, but could also be what you to be competitors.
Alignment Builds Value
When a company gives freely, it earns the respect of the community, and that creates alignment. When a business is creating and sharing solutions that are relevant to their communities, alignment is naturally achieved.
This is why businesses need to start thinking of being problem solvers, what I like to think of as being in the answers business.
In addition to the content solutions that your business shares online, your products and services are also tangible and desirable solutions.
However, it is vital to first share free content in the form of tips and advice. That is what attracts buyers to what your business is selling. It’s a process of attraction that leads to engagement to build relationships and trust that ultimately lead to profitable outcomes.
Business in The Trust Economy
Like it or not, our business environment is being profoundly shaped by the influences of social media, and smart businesses are learning they can prosper if they seek to understand and embrace it.
Many of us are competitive by nature. Yet, when we channel those energies toward increasing value for the communities we serve, we can not only achieve our goals, but help others do the same.
Being a team player is a skill that ranks above technical talents. This is why nearly anyone will choose to to align their business with partners they trust, and therefore enjoy working with.
Communities are the New Markets
Traditional marketing speaks to markets, which are an abstract construct created by businesses that want to sell to buyers.
That’s a model that has become irrelevant in this connected and socially influenced economy. Consumer now have a voice, and every business should be finding new ways to engage customers with your brand.
We all live and work in local communities. So, respecting their dynamics is essential for succeeding in a trust economy.
It has taken me some time to learn this, but the feedback I am consistently receiving these days underscores its value.
This recent quote from Twitter is an example:
Truth be told, that tweet was the inspiration for this post.
So, look no further than the comments of your community friends and followers for what matters most.
Pretty simple, huh?
Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Just Released April 2013 (Wiley)