The face of business has lost something over the years. As the world became more corporate, the big picture took over and much of the personal touch was lost. This effect can be seen beyond business and even into our personal lives. I call this “The Front Porch Theory.” The front porch has disappeared from many houses and thus so has the interaction with our neighbors. People have substituted this direct relationship with TV and the internet. I believe the basic longing for the one-on-one personal interactive social relationship is there, but today’s society doesn’t allow “front porches.” It’s not an Andy Griffith world anymore.

Your business may also be suffering from “The Front Porch Theory.” Is your business simply fulfilling a need, or are you actually working to create a relationship with your customers. Today’s budget conscious consumer (and that is a good thing) is not simply swayed by “a brand” or “how slick and shiny” something is… it comes down to value and trust. Trust is what we will be focusing on in today’s blog.

Trust is a great thing to have in your business, it builds relationships, it creates a loyal customer, and it helps you find out exactly what your customer wants. But without a “connection” to your consumers…how do you build trust?

I spent many years interviewing hundreds of people and they all shared the need for relationship…they wanted, not they needed to connect. Most did not realize their front porch had been moved… yes, I said moved. The old timers longed for the days of the front porch and just thought it was gone, the younger generation never had a real front porch. Just like society, the front porch has changed…evolved, if you will. The front porch became virtual.

Twitter, facebook, and Foursquare have all begun to “fill the void” of this lack of front porches and are to creating a very large virtual porch that everyone can hang out on. This larger porch gives you the opportunity to connect with more faces, but it also makes you have to work harder to earn trust…there is a lot of garbage to sift through out there.

If you own a business, then I know you have a passion inside. This passion is something many of your clients (or potential clients) may never have seen or tapped into! Social media and especially video in social media can bring back the personal “face” to your business.

Your marketing efforts may be fun, they may be factual, they may be over the top, but they won’t last if they are not sincere. Trying to make a video go viral is not an easy task…most of the time it is just “luck.”…but if you think about it… a viral video will give you a momentary shot and then the fuel dies out. You need to create content that will steadily make an audience grow. Today people just need useful tips, sites and content that will provide them help with no strings attached (after all, that is what a friend does…right?) Everything does not have to be monetized, but it should be measured.

Make sure you are using all of the analytics tools that the various social media and video sites are offering these days. You can see where your customers are, their demographics, what type of computer they use, even when they lose interest or get excited about one of your videos.

The bottom line is that you need to share your passion (that’s why you started your business anyway… right?) Connect to your customers, become a face (not a logo), be a friend (not just a service.) And listen to your customers like a true friend would.

Remember when I said it all comes down to value and trust? Well a value is not always the lowest priced product, but it is usually the most trusted one. Care for your consumers…reach out to them and they will reach back.