Who hasn’t heard the saying “Nice guys finish last”? For the most part, every “nice guy” (and gal) out there has probably thought it at one point or other in the business world as some strange turn of events led them to finish last, and at the root of it, perceptibly because they were too nice.

I’ve had it happen to me: a client calls, I go above and beyond, I do all the work, and then after days of evaluation and proposals, they decide to stay where they are, take all the suggestions I have given them and just stay where they are. Maybe I wasn’t charming enough. Maybe they were too “nice” to leave the other guy, but it doesn’t matter, in a case like that, in the past I may have thought, “I was just too nice – I should have refused to help without a signed contract” – business – it doesn’t always pay to be nice.

These things happen in the offline world all the time…but wait…something has changed! That’s right, suddenly a new form of communication has opened up, a new way to deliver service, a new way to market, to inform, to do business –  social media, and the people in there are a little different and so are the rules of the game.

In Social Media, the Nice Guy Finishes First.

People everywhere on this planet are using social media. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest, you name it, we are all using social in one form or another. Because of this, (smart) corporations have had to respond.  As a business, you want to be where your clients are, you want to understand them, you want to be “friends” with them, and have them “like” you.

The Keys to succeeding online in social media are:

  • Listen
  • Be responsive
  • Be appropriate
  • Resolve the Issue
  • Be Interactive
  • Be Supportive
  • Be Appreciative
  • Be Interested in something other than yourself
  • Be real

Surprisingly many organizations fail to understand this. They don’t respond when their clients or fans talk to them, or they only talk about themselves, pushing numerous advertisements, or self promotions – never taking the time to recognize their followers, or clients. These people lose.

When you read the list above, all those qualities, they are pretty “nice” – it’s the business leader who has these values and who gets into social media who will successfully lead a strong social media approach. Social media is not about stomping on others to get to the top. To succeed in social media you need to work with others, listen, and find advocates who will work with you – this is not something anyone can buy. You can’t buy fans like you can buy a billboard.  The only way to get a fan is by being up front, providing a good product or service, by being a good “neighbor” and being responsible. It’s not unlike the idea of a friend – you get to know them, you like their values, you stick together. It’s not really like “business” – its social.

A Case Study: You won’t get away with the stuff you get away with in the real world on Social.

Earlier this month, some of you may have heard about the court battle between Olivia’s Oasis soap company and Oasis brand juices owner Lassonde Industries Inc. According to the National Post. Lassonde Industries went after Olivia’s Oasis over the trademarked name “Oasis”.  After several years in court, Lassonde’s trademark claim was dismissed as groundless, the company was ordered by the court to pay the defendants legal fees and damages. Lassonde did not accept the conditions and went to appeal. Guess what, they won their appeal. However the court victory  did not turn out as they might have imagined.  A popular Quebec TV host read about the decision of the court in the paper, and tweeted out to his followers that he would no longer drink Oasis juice. It took less than 48 hours after that for the company (to be forced) to resolve the issue, and make amends with the owner of Olivia’s Oasis. She may have lost in court, but she won through Social Media.

Naturally when Oasis saw what the public was saying and doing via social media, they responded and resolved it. All was well in the world again.

In Social Media, the Nice Guys will finish first. The world reborn.

I like to think of this as a little rebirth of the world. The social media world, where people having all the genuine nice qualities will prevail, and those who wish to take advantage of others, use them, or flex the muscle of big business to crush the little guy will have to stand on equal ground and succeed based on their humanity – not their muscle or money.

If Walmart and Your Small Town Business were on social media, would people really turn to Walmart over the little guy? Maybe…but overall, I believe those who try to use social media to advertise, self promote and step over people while they climb a corporate ladder will be in for a surprise, because in social media its genuine behavior, dedication to customer service and just being a “nice guy” that I think will really make you win.

What do you think?  Is this the rebirth of things as they should be? Has Social Media made business turn a new leaf?