“So, Who Are You Exactly?”

Social occasions are plentiful at this time of year: gatherings with family and members of the workplace, reunions, reflections on the year gone by, all culminating in a late-night countdown as we sail into 2015. I’ve attended my fair share of these holiday events lately, and there’s always a sense of urgency and  a little awkwardness as people filter in and hang up their coats, not quite sure what to say or how to interact. Eventually, though, someone starts telling someone else an engrossing tale: people who may not have spoken all year find themselves engaged in conversations that tumble from topic to topic. Momentum builds, and a gathering starts feeling less like a room full of people and more like a small community.

Join the Conversation

The above scenario isn’t just interpersonal. Small businesses can benefit from joining conversations with each other both online and through collaboration and real-world contact. The recent Snapshot Contest that we ran here at Merchant Advance Capital provided some great examples of this. Many of our entrants hailed from different parts of the country and participated in entirely different industry specializations. Seeing them interact, compliment, share, and engage with one another via Twitter as the contest progressed was truly exciting. Now, a group of small business owners that may never have given each other the time of day in other circumstances are able to self-identify more strongly as part of a larger Canadian business community.

The Perks of (Not Being) a Wallflower

So, how do you start creating and participating in meaningful conversations?

  • First off, think about how you would do so in real life. Ask a question! Contribute a point of view that derives from your specific expertise! And be a receptive listener to the viewpoints that surround you.
  • Social media is certainly a factor in how both people and businesses interact with each other. Take a look at the strategy you are using: do you use social channels solely to broadcast and promote, or are you integrating posts that are designed more to create interactivity? Could you tag or mention someone, open the floor to a discussion, or incentivize participation from your customers?
  • Participate in local small business events! Your blogger is a fan of Fall in Love With Local.