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How to avoid making those ‘internet dating’ mistakes in your business

We’ve all heard the stories. Girl meets boy on the internet. Boy looks at Girl’s profile which shows she’s young, pretty and slim. Girl looks at boy’s profile and sees he’s tall, dark and handsome. It’s a match made in heaven.

Then they decide to meet and when they get to the café, never has that red carnation been so important. Because without it, they’d never recognise each other. Turns out the photos on their internet profiles are either 10 years out of date, air brushed or sometimes, they’re of someone else entirely!

Let’s say they get past that bit, they’ve both been a bit liberal with the truth as far as looks go but it’s not all about appearance, it’s what’s inside that counts. But it turns out that while the boy said he was into reading, eating out and culture, what the girl soon finds out is that he reads the Beano, MacDonalds is his favourite restaurant and the word culture isn’t even in his day to day vocabulary!

But how does this have anything to do with your business, and social media in particular?

Well, when we use these sites we are putting ourselves out there for everyone to see. Sometimes, with certain sites, there’s even an actual picture! And, while there may be a temptation to adjust certain things in order to get “the perfect date”, if we as business owners want to build good, strong relationships with those we want to work with, what we actually need to do is be open, honest and upfront about what we look like.

And, just like the dating, it’s not just about the pictures we use. It’s about the words we use, the information we put out there and the overall image we portray.

For example, I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I should use the word ‘we’ on my website, rather than ‘me’ or ‘I’. Or that I should use an answering service to take my calls. All so I can create the impression of a larger business to give me more credibility.

Really? How is it credible to pretend to be something I’m not? As it turns out, I’m very proud of the fact my business is just me and one of the thing’s my clients appreciate most is that they deal direct with me. They don’t have to go through some elaborate answering machine process or get past 3 different members of staff to be able to talk to me.

What would potential clients think if I made out I was a huge company and then, when they do get to know me, they find out it’s just little old me? I suspect they’d be just a tiny bit annoyed, and even if they were once quite happy to deal with a just the one person, that person certainly isn’t going to be me as they no longer trust a word I say.

Times have changed. You don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not anymore. People and businesses are searching for individual, unique solutions and no longer want to deal with a faceless corporation.

If you have a personality, show it. If you are passionate about something, talk about it. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd.

There is 1 comment .

Tony Nicholls

Great post Lucy. Having met my partner through an internet dating site, some of what you have said rings true. I found honesty was the best practice and I was attracted to Jane primarily because she wasn’t pretending to be anything she wasn’t. Her beauty shone through without the need for smoke and mirrors.

On the business front, I also agree with honesty. If it is little old you then don’t pretend otherwise. Everyone knows its only you anyway! Don’t treat potential customers like idiots.

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