Community Building Breakthroughs and Social Media: I asked 'Do I Really Value People?'

by Jill Foster on August 26, 2009

Imagine the scene: a cocktail party
You are at a cocktail party walking through a crowd of nicely dressed people. You take a seat at a table nearby. A cacophony of conversations surrounds you. You hear familiar voices and some new ones emerge. A question here, a response there, you listen as multiple streams of superficial chatter fill the air. No voice is more remarkable than the other. No conversation is really grabbing your attention. And all of a sudden, a gentleman approaches your table, and the conversation of the evening begins.

The conversation that matters
You are probably familiar with it – the conversation that makes putting on that little black dress worth the trouble. He talks. You talk. You begin a lengthy dialogue. There is chemistry, a lot of chemistry. This conversation is different than all the others. Somehow amidst the simultaneous chatter, this person captures your total attention. The background noise begins to slowly fade away.

The social media ‘cocktail party’ and wooing your prospects
The social media space is much like a cocktail party. But with over 250 million people on Facebook, 40 million users on LinkedIn, and 6 million unique monthly visitors on Twitter, the party is getting crowded. Social media has undoubtedly leveled the playing field for small businesses. Never before has there been an opportunity to build a community of enthusiasts around your brand, products and services. But how can you be the distinctive voice that knocks your prospects off their feet?

I was asked: ‘Do I really value people?’
The desire to have a meaningful conversation with people begins with believing they have something valuable to say. During my initial weeks of life coach training I was presented with the question “Do I value people?” Silly question, I thought! Of course I value people!

I am a wife, mother, sister, and someone’s child for goodness sakes. I worked with people in the health care setting for over 20 years. Of course I value people!

And then I was challenged by further questioning: Do I really value people? Do I value them enough to respect who they are, to put my agenda aside, to give up control?

Do I value them enough to give up my hang ups and habits? What would I sacrifice in service of valuing the human spirit? Needless to say, I had to think long and hard about those charges. My choice to value people involved seeing people in a different light (Image Light Within All Living Beings, Unitopia, Creative Commons). I had to believe that every individual, despite their humanness, had something valuable to bring to the table.

I believe if you value intellectual capital of your online prospects, you’ll watch your business grow.

What do you think?
What’s been your experience with community building for your business online? I look forward to continuing this conversation with you at Women Grow Business each month. And next up in September on Community Building Breakthroughs and Social Media: Are you really listening?


Guest contributor Terri Holley writes the Women Grow Business series ‘Community Building Breakthroughs and Social Media.’ She is the owner of Creative Blog Solutions and a social media strategist, plus a certified life/business coach. A forward-thinker and relationship-centric gal, Terri supports small businesses who understand the value of using social technologies to build deeper relationships with prospects and customers.

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