The BBC has put together Ten quick lessons from the US election. While I’ve not been following the various shades of potential first ladies’ lip glosses nor the shades of grey of their husbands’ dredged-up shady pasts too closely, I have been checking in now and then on the Twitter coverage of the campaigns. My honest analysis is that I’m not too interested. And, it seems I’m not the only one in NI.

My social networking antennae did prick up however when I read lesson number 5: Social promiscuity is really helpful. While I’m less than impressed by the tawdry title of this lesson, I appreciate the point. It seems Barack Obama (or perhaps his minions) employed social netowkring tools such as MySpace nad Facebook to great effect, both in raising his ‘profile’ (quite literally!) and in multiplying dollars to fund the campaign. More power to his elbow!

At a recent networking meeting, my harsh analysis was this. You may feel like you’re selling yourself, and you ARE. You may feel like some of the idealistic, artistic, creative soul is being kicked out of you as you create a profile on site after site. HOWEVER, my thesis is this: if your customers are there, you better be there too.

Barack Obama has hit the nail squarely on the head. His customers or potential voters, who will become customers come January 2009, are using these tools for personal and business use. It makes sense. Find the customer where they are. The same principle applies to the farmer who calls round in his mini-van to sell pesticide-free vegetables and free-range eggs to me and my neighbours. The customers/buyers are at home during the day (stay-at-home mums/dads) and therefore appreciate the product being brought to them. There would be little point him setting up a stall outside Asda.

Where are your customers? Have you embraced the new technologies available online? And, I’m not just talking about Facebook or Twitter. How are you making use of the tools now available to see who’s vistiting your site? Are you using blogs, or forums to connect with your customers? Better take a tour around then. See where your customers are, then connect with them in a way that suits. That might mean redeveloping your age-old strategies and a few barges around the conference table. ๐Ÿ™‚