Make no mistake the power no longer resides with the business or provider, it squarely belongs to the customer and the communities that they belong to. You can thank the emergence of social media outlets for bringing this new fact of business life into play.
Even more importantly, if you’re a content publisher (which is also the business or service provider), it’s very difficult to force your way into a community. In fact, this is often the quickest way to become alienated from your audience.
The truth is, it’s not about where the conversation is taking place. A group or “tribe” as Seth Godin refers to in his book “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us“, can be nomadic and connection with each other on a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn or even a privately hosted community. The “where” is not nearly as important as the “why”.
This is why it’s essential for any business, large or small, to above all be aware, respectful and humble any time you attempt to become a part of this tribe. Although they may be talking about you, it’s their house and their rules, so be respectful and look for their thoughts, questions and concerns. Listening is these forums is a great way to determine what you customers really want.