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Party Line: The Power of Social

 

This is our New Year’s issue, and even though the new year is still months away, that doesn’t mean you have to wait that long to make goals and resolutions for your business. A common goal is to increase your professional presence online, via websites and social media. By the way, have you “liked” Party & Paper on Facebook yet?

 

This is a very important factor in maintaining a successful business. Your customers are online, and you need to be, too. However, I don’t know about you, but I get a bit burned out at times. It can be hard to know where to put your energy and efforts when you’re pulled in so many ways — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest — not to mention actually being in and running the store itself.

 

And there’s certainly something to be said for actual interaction — out loud and not online — that endears me to stores that I shop.

 

Ed Keller and Brad Fay, principals of the Keller Fay Group, a market research and consulting firm, collected data via more than 2 million conversations and found that face-to-face conversations tend to be more positive and more likely to be perceived as credible in comparison with those online. What people talk about online differs dramatically from offline. The former tends to be driven by what is perceived as “cool,” while the latter tends to be about sharing real life experiences.

 

The whole party industry is about sharing and celebrating those real life experiences, so while it’s important to have that online presence, it’s even more important to maintain a balance and remember that all forms of communication work best when they lead to the sharing of ideas and recommendations, especially face to face.

 

“Social media has helped us rediscover the power of ‘social,’” Keller said. “But the richest social gold mine is literally right under our noses: in the word-of-mouth conversations that happen in our living rooms, at the store, next to the office water cooler and on the sidelines of youth sporting events. These are the places where we actually live our lives.”

 

Originally posted Monday, Jun. 18, 2012