Connected Economy Alignment is Value


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.

The Social Marketing Process ©Jeff Korhan

The Social Marketing Process ©Jeff Korhan


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:

2013-06-07 Collaboration

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?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Just Released April 2013 (Wiley)

Why Marketers are Now In the Answers Business

Google’s vision for search business is simple:  One has a thought and instantly gets an answer that is 100% relevant.

This means you as a marketer are in the answers business.

If you want to grow your business by extending its reach online, you have to get serious about providing answers that are most requested by those in your target audience – a community comprised of prospects, buyers, and influencers.

The Nuances of Answers and Content Marketing

To be the go-to source of relevant answers, you obviously need to understand the most common questions being asked, while also anticipating what is coming next.

This should not be difficult for most small businesses. You hear the same requests again and again. However, you probably also assume answers to frequently asked questions are equally common.

Guess what?  They aren’t.

People are hungry for data that helps them to solve problems. The problem with data is that it is not always readily available, is out-of-date, or comes from a source with little credibility.

Nevertheless, Google is determined to perfect search to accommodate virtually any request for information.

So, if you want to make your company more attractive to both Google and prospects searching for what you do well, you have to learn more about the game of search – one that is clearly trending towards social.

To be an effective marketer today, you have to understand online search – because that is where the action is.

Understanding Google Will Help Your Business

The evolution of search can be explained in the following 6 minute video.

It provides valuable insights into the Google mindset – starting with the foundation of the company in 1996 – and projecting into a future where we will all be doing most of our marketing.

Knowing that people are hungry for answers to their problems, it is essential to realize you are in the content marketing business – providing valuable information that solves problems, regardless of whether it is distributed online or offline.

How To Determine the Most Relevant Answers

As Google continues to adjust their algorithms to determine what is the best information to send to those conducting a search, there is one parameter that will always be relevant – and that is relevancy itself.

This is where things get a little complicated. Google has to comprehensively address the following to select the best content – and you should doing the same.

WhyWhy you? What is your basis of authority?

In practical terms, this is a sales job – no different than when you are selling to a prospective customer.

Accomplishments, associations, and credentials all weigh in on this. This is one reason for keeping your social media profiles current, and interacting with like-minded professionals. Of course, relevant links are the proof that Google values most.

WhatAre you addressing specific problems? 

Many consultants claim to help businesses grow, but fail to define that growth. Growth can be defined by market share, revenues, and profits. You have to be specific.

WhoHave you clearly defined your target audience?

The more clearly your solutions address the needs of specific communities, the more likely Google will highly rank your content. The common mistake is to take a general approach that claims to help everybody – which essentially means its value is low.

HowCan you communicate a viable solution?

Most companies fall short with this, because they do not have direct experience implementing their recommended solutions?  If you do, you will be smart to provide case studies or practical examples.

Videos (YouTube is a Google property), photos, and  step-by-step instructions are particularly relevant.

WhereWhere can one go to get the necessary materials or information to better implement your solution?

The video above from Google’s blog is just one example. When you take advantage of the work of other experts you increase the value of your solutions.

When Is your solution time-sensitive?

The most relevant solution are the ones that are fresh and timely – and available here and now. If you do your homework, you can add something extra that will make your answer to a particular problem the most relevant one.

The Magic of Google+

Google is integrating all of their properties, along with many other social media channels – and Google+ is the linchpin in that game.

The cornerstone of your presence on Google is your Google+ profile -with your Google profile being the conduit that brings together all of your online content and activity.

Step one for maximizing your relevance with Google is your personal Google profile.

Step two is establishing a personal Google+ profile, and then using that to start building your business page on Google+.

The simple fact is Google owns search on the open web – accounting for more than 60% of all search results. This means to ignore Google+ is to risk irrelevancy.

Granted, Google+ is still in its early stages – but its a powerful force, and most experts agree. There is no question your commentary and answers on Google+ will earn more weight than on other sites, such as Quora – a credible real-time question and answer site.

Google is a force that markers should not underestimate.

If you understand Google and help it by providing relevant answers that solve problems for your community, you will be on the right track for moving your business forward.

So, the question is simple. What do your prospects and customers really want to know – and what are you doing about it?

Leave a comment below or share this with your community with any of the share buttons below – or with those on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.  

Until tomorrow,  Jeff