Summer time was the when I was a kid

Not because school was out, though it helped, but because I got to roam free with my friends. Growing up in a fairly large city with a decent sized population meant we had a lot of schools…a lot. This meant that my friends from the neighborhood and I weren’t at the same school. We hung out after school, but it wasn’t the same.

Then summer time…where we could run amuck together and share in each other’s experiences. That was the key… sharing in the experience. Telling someone about the fun you had is one thing… but sharing the experience with them is another.

Understanding Sharing

Back in 2010, Russell Davies broke sharing down into three categories – sharing goods, sharing services, and sharing information. While goods and services tend to exist in the physical world, information made the jump to the digital world. What started as music files and peer to peer messages has blossomed into the crazy world of social media where we, literally, deal and trade in information on a daily basis. Why?

It’s just human nature. It’s how communities grow. If we go back to Psych 101 and look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, sharing is what we do. By sharing… we can move our community and selves higher. Goods and services cover the bottom three. Sharing food and shelter has been evident throughout all of history. As we feel more secure and safe, we share more.

If we place information at the esteem level, we can see that the idea that what we share online helps shows the world who we are. That helps to build our esteem and we can see how sharing is tied into who we are.

So what about experiences?

Creativity, spontaneity, morality… until late we could only share information about these things… but the world has changed. Social media has changed and it has changed how we share. No longer do I have to tell you how my trip went, I can show by posting to Facebook and Instagram. I can live tweet my responses to a show that I’m watching and everyone can follow or talk back, even if they aren’t in the same time zone. We can all share in other experiences… nearly. It’s still really just information, texts, pictures, emoticons, about someone’s experience.

Until now. There are two very big changes taking over. Virtual Reality and Live (reality?). Yeah…live tweeting is live, but it’s only text. It’s still detached and only after I’ve synthesized my thoughts and written something. But Snapchat, Blab, Periscope and Facebook can give us real-time experiences.While you are immersed in something, I can experience it along with you. Imagine walking through a haunted house with Facebook live on. Even though I’m not there, when that clown pops out, I’ll probably still jump. (partially because clowns are just creepy!). The viewer gets unfiltered access to your experiences.

Want proof, look at Snapchat and Facebook

And while Facebook and Snapchat are probably the polar ends age wise of users, grandma can now be live at Megan’s birthday party or see her graduate. Yeah, older audiences will eat this alive as well.

Virtual Reality or 360 videos and photos are now popping up as well and give you the ability to see the world around the shooter. No longer just the shooter’s perspective, but also what’s happening around them. Safari, train rides, concerts, sky diving… you name it and we can insert ourselves into it. And share in the experience.

So how does this all help your business?

This means it’s time for you to make a shift. It’s time for you to start engaging and interacting with your clients. It’s time for you to build a relationship based on experiences with your audience. Not for sales, but for reputation, brand recognition and top of mind placement. You need to shift from sharing information to sharing experiences. Tech Crunch has a great piece on the dawn of the sharing age.

What do I mean? Are you Coke or Pepsi? Miller or Bud? (Star Wars or Star Trek???) Major brands like Coke and Pepsi don’t advertise to sway people…you’re one or the other. It’s for brand reputation and recognition. They already know you drink Coke. The formula isn’t changing, they aren’t adding a new product, there’s nothing to advertise. But they do it, because it makes Coke drinkers feel good about their choice. It helps to keep them top of mind, so when they get thirsty it’s not even a choice, it’s a reflex.

This is what sharing your experiences can do for your company, especially small businesses. What may seem like the mundane to you, helps to build a connection with clients and helps make new ones. Get a new shipment of something you sell, Snapchat opening it. If you create the products in-house, do it on Facebook Live. Going to a conference based on your industry, Snapchat or Periscope your time there so your clients can see that you really know your stuff.

Don’t feel that live experiences are the only way, Instagram and Facebook are still great places to post video that show your companies personality. But the key is to show. To stay competitive and stand out among the competition, SHOW clients who you are.

The silly ritual the kitchen staff has when opening restaurant.
The process of screen printing a shirt.
How you freehand a tattoo design
A time-lapse of setting up your venue for a wedding.
A 360 image of your banquet hall.

Whatever it is you do, show us. Bring viewers in as part of the experience and use that as a way to build trust and a relationship. You have a website that has ‘Information, Goods and Services’, don’t just use your social media to replicating it. Use your social media to also be social, tell stories and share experiences.

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