Have you seen that commercial where a small business owner’s daughter’s boyfriend is looking for the company on the Web – and not finding it at all?
You often hear that the Internet is the future. Not to be argumentative, but the reality is the Internet is now. If you don’t have a presence online, and if you aren’t engaging your customers through the Web, you’re missing out on some great opportunities.
So the question is: What is the future?
The future, according to author and business technology expert Scott Klososky, is in social technologies. Klososky spoke at the National Electrical Leadership Summit, sponsored by the National Association of Electrical Distributors, earlier this month.
“Never before in history could one person connect with 2 billion other people around the world unfiltered and in an instant,” Klososky said. It’s free, instant, global marketing. But it’s also a tool that can help you manage your internal operations better.
Consumers and, in turn, business-to-consumer (B2C) companies have already embraced the opportunities available through social technologies – which include social media sites like Flickr and YouTube, social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn and reputation-measuring sites like Social Mention.
But it also works in the business-to-business (B2B) world, as well, Klososky says, through “socially facilitated selling.” Socially enabled tasks allow for online recruitment – something distributor Anixter International already uses Twitter for – and customer relationship management.
Social technologies from smartphones to iPads can help keep your sales team and office support connected and provide answers to customer questions more quickly – leading to quicker sales closings.
Think posting your products online would be ineffective because it won’t reach the right audience? A video for a self-cleaning commercial toilet that CWS-boco International, a European manufacturer, posted to YouTube has been viewed more than 2.75 million times. And while all 2.75 million of those viewers are probably not the target audience, chances are that many will be. As with other social technologies, that video on YouTube could be accessed by your salespeople in the field to use in face-to-face calls with your customers.
The Internet is now; the future, according to Klososky, is taking what we know of the technology and turning that knowledge into wisdom and innovation … and business success.