Jessica cuts my hair. She’s been doing it for about four years now. I used to go to her particular shop because it was close to my house and reasonably priced. When I first started going there I would let the first available person cut my hair but Jessica was better than the rest. After a few good cuts I started requesting her. Now, four years later, she’s the only one who cuts it. I adjust my schedule to hers.
I was getting my haircut with Jessica the other day and thought about the nature of my haircutting history with her and the implications for businesses with social media. I think Jessica can teach us a few things about business to connect with social media. Here are three lessons to apply:
- Be consistently excellent. I wasn’t too picky about the haircuts I got before Jessica. I just knew it was always a gamble about how good they would be. Jessica consistently provided a good haircut and it made me begin to request her. Social media can allow you to show how you do excellent work. You can also use social media to listen to people telling you that your services or products are less than excellent. Don’t ignore them.
- Build relationships with those who want one. When I started requesting Jessica and getting her to cut my hair regularly, she knew the kind of haircut I wanted. I didn’t have to explain anything to her. Each new haircut was taking the business relationship a step further. With social media you can do this so easily. You may just observe and comment on the Twitter status of client or remember to say happy birthday to a customer you’re friends with on Facebook. There are numerous opportunities to build relationships with the tools available today. Don’t neglect the relational benefits for your business.
- Cash in on your equity. Jessica charges a little more for haircuts now than she used to but since she’s consistently excellent and we have a working relationship I’m happy to pay more. She earned the right to charge more and I’d rather pay more with someone I know and trust than someone I don’t know, don’t trust, and would have to start over with. She also gets bigger tips now than she used to because I appreciate her work more than ever. With social media, you certainly don’t want to be selling all the time, but you shouldn’t overlook the key opportunities to cash in on your relational equity. Do it in a way that is consistent with what who you are and the types of things people expect from you. Just keep a proper balance and you’ll do well with this.
So learn from Jessica as you move forward with your work. Be excellent and let social media help you become more excellent. Build relationships with all the right people and then (and only then) get focused on cashing in on your equity.
*Photo credit: "Barber Shop" by Robert Cottingham, 1988.