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This chapter is from the book

Businesses Are Made of People

Chapter 3 includes some interviews with people actively using Google+ as representatives of business. In most cases, people are highlighted who represent larger companies, but a few small business owners are included as well.

Jennifer Cisney is Chief Blogger for Kodak, but she also represents herself on Google+. When she shares interesting posts about photography and video, we know she’s sharing something that Kodak will approve of as part of her role, but it also comes off as authentically sharing her interest in the subject matter of the films or photos.

Scott Monty is the head of social media for Ford, and as such, his stream has a lot of content about Detroit and surrounding cities (he lives there) and also talks about the automotive industry. However, just as with Jenny Cisney, there’s a lot of Scott in there, and these personalities matter.

Darren Rowse of Problogger is his business. When people connect to his stream on Google+, they see pictures of his family that give you a sense of him but that also promote his Digital Photography School. When you look at what he’s sharing, there’s a natural inclination to want to get involved in his business.

In all cases, these people are representative of their business. They are not the “official Kodak page” or the “official Ford page” or the “Problogger” page. These people represent a business that you can get to know, and that can lead us to helpful information that can improve your world. Businesses are made of people—you don’t need to talk to Ford. You can talk to Scott.

Connections Before the Sale

Google+ is a platform that can enable people to connect to people, and you, as a representative of a business, have some steps to take to build those relationships. One of the most important parts to get your best business value out of using Google+ comes from getting your profile put together, and building the other human elements that people will respond to upon seeing it.

If you look up Chris Zoller from PolarUSA (maker of fitness accessories and the like), his bio reads as follows:

  • “Customer experience thinker, community manager, content creator, father, triathlete. I like creating amazing consumer experiences by combining today’s tech with good old-fashioned local hardware store love.”

This is the kind of person you’d want to do business with. You might think, “Huh, maybe I should check out what Polar sells, because I’m sure Chris wouldn’t work for a company full of jerks.” Wouldn’t you want that kind of reaction for your business?

Chris is sharing stories and information of interest to the fitness community. If you’re interested in this, you can see something of interest through what Chris shares. But when you go to his profile and see his language, about hoping to give his community “good old-fashioned local hardware store love,” you have a strong sense of what kind of person Chris is, and by extension, you share those feelings with the brand Chris represents: Polar.

Mike Bowler is in the real estate business. He does training, consulting, and selling. When you visit his stream, you can find a mix of local Michigan interest items (which lets you know that he cares about his community and it gives you interesting items from the area he services), stories from the real estate community at large, praise to his colleagues and community members, videos from Mike about what interests him, and more. The humanity of Mike shines through and says to you, if you’re in the market to buy or sell a property in Michigan or if you want to train your team of real estate professionals, that Mike is the man for you. Business is made up of people.

If you’re Richard Binhammer at Dell, you’re part of a larger corporation, and you have a somewhat more defined role. It’s a lot easier to be personal and personable, and yet the company requires that Richard shows results that justify his time on various social networks such as Google+. To that end, Richard almost has it easier than if you represent a small business.

If you are president of a small design firm, you have a lot more of the burden to represent the company. And yet, if you don’t balance your personal self with your business self, you’ll miss the opportunity to build relationships before the sale.

Now let’s start on profiles, and then work from there.

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