Social media is changing the way small business works. Now word-of-mouth can be amplified to a cacophonous roar, and spread across the masses like a virus – and this is both good and bad. To the unscrupulous business owner that cuts corners, treats your staff and customers like crap, thinks service with a smile is old-fashioned, take note: your days are numbered. The open marketplace is being flooded by eager young professionals and entrepreneurs who “get it.” Conversely, your target customer, your audience, your livelihood is also increasingly more connected, tech-savvy, and wary of old-school advertising and promotion methods. These new customers know when you’re paying for advertising, and see through the bullshit you spout about yourself. Your new audience doesn’t trust the advertising of yesteryear – the print ads in glossy magazines, the flashy banner ads, the commercials – nor should they! The power has shifted to the average joe-schmo, and collectively all these joes communicate their endless devotion to, or dire revulsion for the established and new business community alike. They trust the word of a random online stranger over your own propaganda (as long as enough other random strangers concur with their opinion!).
Scary. Yet exciting.
Scary for the business owners who have lost their entrepreneurial enthusiasm and love for the customer. Exciting for those who haven’t, because this will help bring that slow-swinging pendulum back towards a priority of service and quality first, and away from cheapest deal at any cost. The crowdsourced masses of Facebook, Yelp, et al highlight and therefore bring more business to those that offer the best value – which is essentially an ideal combination of price, service and quality. Even though we’re in the midst of the worst recession in almost a century, I believe Americans still crave and value quality goods and services – just look at Apple, Inc. – they’ve always made quality products, but only recently has the world waken up and realized this (including myself!). I see this as evidence of the pendulum swinging back to where it belongs.
I’m thinking of these things because I’m a small business owner, striving to figure out how to make this whole photography thing work. I believe simple, strong principals provide the answer. Follow the Golden Rule, treat every client like a million bucks and good things will come. I read on Mashable recently (and paraphrase) that if you want a $2,000 gig, but only get $200 for it – give it a $2,000 effort and eventually the client with that budget will find you. I couldn’t agree more. I treat every assignment, and I mean every assignment like it’s going to end up in my portfolio. I see this blog as a chronological portfolio, so I want to make sure I have something I feel is worth sharing with the world every time I step out the door.
This effort, this attitude, is resulting in positive growth for my business. My web traffic on my proofing/printing site, www.GoodEyePhotography.com, recently broke the 100,000 page views/month mark, this blog is taking off and my new portfolio site, www.GoodEye.co is bringing in business on a weekly basis. Add my strong placement with Yelp (without advertising, mind you!), and things are looking on the up-and-up. Wish me luck, guys – I look forward to working with you, even if you’re “simply” a $200 client. I still love you, and you know I’ll do you proud.