Archive for Online Communities

The wired water cooler is no substitute for face time

There is No Substitute for Face Time

You’ve noticed, of course, that many employees are working from home these days. These virtual employees avoid long commutes and the company saves money on office space. This trend accelerated over the past few years. It seems everybody wants to work from home.

As I wrote several years ago, companies are creating online communities where employees can pull in the information they need when they want it and engage in conversations with other employees.

But these communities are no longer working so well. The “wired” water cooler where employees gather for conference calls or video get-togethers isn’t the same as rubbing shoulders with someone at the actual office water cooler and popping into a colleague’s office to shoot the breeze. Read More→

Should I Sell my Services on Facebook and Twitter?

A row of shopping carts.

Image via Wikipedia

Maybe you can help me out with a bit of a dilemma. I’m ready to sell some of my services online and add a shopping cart to my site. There is nothing very new about this. Plenty of bloggers sell through their sites, most through affiliate links. But, no, I’d be selling directly. I’ve seen that it can be done professionally and successfully (for a great example, visit Become a Blogging Maniac).

What stopped me in my tracks was a provocative post I just read entitled Facebook and Twitter Will Soon Replace All Websites. Wow, that headline was a grabber. The author, Steve Olenski, was admittedly trying to stir up commentary, and he did. He summarized the findings of a National Retail Federation study revealing that about one-third of online shoppers are bypassing company websites for Facebook and Twitter, where they shop for deals — and buy. A lot of people commented on the post including me.

Is This the Way to Go?

As I’ve written on this blog before, I don’t think a company should require a customer to visit Facebook or Twitter in order to buy something, especially if they’ve sent an email directly to the customer. Why make someone go through a social network when s/he can click on the link and go directly to the company’s site? Ironically, companies are pushing customers away and into the arms of third parties. True, Facebook has a community of 600 million potential customers, but why not build a community of customers on your own website?

Facebook, Twitter or Me?

Image via CrunchBase

More companies, though, are selling through social networks, so maybe one day you won’t be seeing Write Speak Sell anymore. But I don’t think this will happen soon. Sales at shopping malls are down because of the economy and because customers are buying online, direct from those stores in the mall, hopefully. No, I’d rather have my store on the main drag with a welcome sign.

Not every company is embracing social media as another sales funnel. I was shocked to see that Apple has turned it’s nose up at social media and its only presence on Facebook is a single paragraph from Wikipedia that has 743,545 fans! Well, you know those avid Apple customers.

So back to where I should sell my services. Where do you shop online — at a company’s website, through third-party vendors like Amazon, or on social networks?