The internet removes many of the hierarchies involved in social interactions.
Hierarchies come with a degree of stress; the lower down you are, the more vulnerable and stressed you are. This is why people are inhibited by social situations, and sometimes afraid of them. They’re afraid of being prey to people who are more powerful than they are, on however small a scale.
The internet removes such constraints. It provides a degree of anonymity that allows people to express themselves more accurately, and even project aspects of their personalities that they would otherwise have repressed. Not only does it remove this layer of insecurity from interactions, but it also makes them happen a lot quicker. A brief search on Twitter for the phrase #obama is a testament to how powerful the combination of these two things is.
This is also the reason social media has been so popular online. It finds the safest medium between anonymity and personal expression, making it incredibly simple (and addictive) to express yourself online. It has established a hyper-personal way for people to interact with one another.
The internet has also majorly increased the speed and ease with which people shop. It has removed many of the psychological barriers here, as well: the browsing, the queuing, the swiping of the credit card—all of these things can keep consumers from spending what they’d like to. The internet makes the process much easier, as they can get to the checkout in a couple of clicks.
A major way that people express their personality online, other than social media, is how they spend money, and what they spend it on.
This is where small businesses come in. Between the worlds of social media and online commerce lies an opportunity for small businesses to combine the two. And it’s a potent combination.
Big businesses aren’t so good at this, as they tend to iron out the personality of their brands. Small businesses have a much stronger sense of identity and personality. Whether it’s to do with the uniqueness of their niche product or the wonderful story that led the CEO to start the business, a story makes the business more personable. If consumers can relate to your business in the way they’ve become accustomed to in social media, they’ll choose your products over your less interesting competitors.
Write your personality into your online presence, interact with your customers using social media, and take your business leagues ahead of the competition.
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- 2010 Energise Enterprise
- 2010 National Small Business Summit
- How to: Promote your business with social media
- Improve your position on the social media ladder
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- Which social media tools are your best bet?