The words you hear in Austin during SXSW Interactive start to sound similar after awhile: Community. Open. Sharing. Frictionless. Connecting.
These are the warm, fuzzy words freely used at all social media and marketing conferences and discussions.
But the real big word here this year, the subtext, the one that is the carrot attached to the stick, is selling.
Very few people at the SXSW Interactive conference this year mentioned a recession in their panel, but the real message is that it is time to start selling and to start serving your customers.
“You can’t scale caring,” Gary Vaynerchuk told a Monday keynote audience. “It’s not authentic.”
It’s no longer just about social media for the sake of social media, to qualm fears that your brand is unconnected. These tools need to be used to connect your services not only to the masses but also to individuals. Too many companies are taking false security in collecting thousands of followers but doing very little to engage their audience and even less to truly serve them.
In a downturned economy, spending money on online tools and strategies is truly wasteful without considering specifically how you will use them to speak not just to people, but to your customers.
Before you do or say anything online, ask yourself this: How will it serve your customers? If you don’t, be assured your competition will.