Social Business Sourcing: Get The Picture?

July 27, 2011

I was recently in the market for a photographer to take my daughter’s senior pictures. She wants her pictures taken by someone her friends have not used so that she can get a unique look for herself. She did a Google search for photographers in Reno and picked five she thought had potential. I picked up the phone and called three of the five photographers we found via Google.

Not a single one of them returned my call.

The basic fundamentals of good business are more critical today than ever.  The sale for most businesses is still always closed in real time, either in person or over the phone. Social media is simply a tool that can expose you to more people to show how impressive you and your employees are.  But if you are not impressive, it will expose you to more people that will talk about it in their increasingly connected social networks. Whatever they say about you – good or bad – you earned it.

The Google search did not help me find a good photographer, so I went to Facebook and asked my friends to recommend one. I got 14 recommendations by the end of the day, many with links to social objects for me to examine. Johnstone Studios responded promptly to my e-mails and set up a face-to-face meeting where they spent an hour describing to my daughter and I how we could make the photo shoot special for her. I was sold.

This process of asking trusted friends in social networks for recommendations is something I call social business sourcing. I’m finding that sourcing is almost as fast and much more effective than searching.

Is your business spending as much time and effort on mastering social business sourcing as you are on getting found via search? You need to be good at both, but the real prize – word-of-mouth marketing in increasingly connected social networks – is earned when you beat your competition at the social sourcing game.

Please watch this short video clip where I describe my experience social sourcing a photographer. It was part of my presentation on social business to the Reno-Tahoe American Marketing Association. After you watch the video, please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Comments (6)

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  1. wayne says:

    This is one of the reasons why I love the Yelp. In addition to allowing me to source from my own social network, Yelp offers the ability to source from previous customers (satisfied and unsatisfied).

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Wayne. I use Yelp that way also. If my friends recommend several different places, then I can do a very specific search on Yelp to vet the few places I’ve been told to check. Thanks! Bret

    Michelle Fox Reply:

    I’m glad you found the perfect photographer for your daughter. I always get word-of-mouth recommendations or read online reviews when trying a new business or service out. I think other customers are the only honest source of information you can get.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Sorry for the slow reply, Michelle! It’s never been easier to get good word of mouth recommendations quickly from a variety of trusted sources. Thanks! Bret

  2. Jessica says:

    I use my social network to answer many questions for me. Typically Twitter.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    You rock Twitter, Jessica. I find Twitter is great for general questions but for questions specific to Reno Facebook seems to be more effective for me. Thanks! Bret