If you're active on social media, then you can't have missed the hoopla over Google Buzz, Google's foray into social networking.
Google gets it right so much of the time, that most of us were surprised when they messed up with Buzz. First off, after testing Buzz internally, Google made some assumptions about how customers would interact with Buzz. Those assumptions led them to integrate Buzz automatically with every Gmail account, instantly giving millions of Gmail users Buzz followers gleaned from their Gmail address books and linking private emails and chats with public social conversations. Whoa Nelly!! That's a major invasion of privacy!
In addition, Buzz links up blogs and social networking profiles, which is kind of a nice touch, but suddenly, millions of people realized that Google knows more about us than we thought and it apparently can't be trusted to use keep all that info private (see above). This prompted Karen Rubin of Hubspot, to comment that Google knows enough about her to build an exact clone. Eew.
Result? A lot of negative buzz on Buzz. And a mild sense of paranoia about what Google was really up to. Google has enjoyed a fantastic reputation for years and the Buzz snafu will hardly bring them down, but even big companies can spoil their success with too many missteps. (Re: Microsoft, AOL)
So what are the take-aways for coaches?
- All the data in the world doesn't mean you really know what your clients want. Nothing's better than asking and listening, no matter how smart and informed you are or how good you are at what you do.
- Just because your customers already love what you do, doesn't mean they'll love everything you do. You can build an awesome empire with one fantastic offering (like Google Search).
- Guard your contacts' identity info even more than you guard your own. People hate having their data spilled out where they don't want it and as a business owner, you are liable if someone's identity is stolen, because of your mistakes.
- Do Google potential clients and even connect with their social profiles. That's normal and expected these days, but don't collect so much info about them that you creep them out. Stalking is still extremely unattractive.
Bottom line? Be a coach in everything you do. Make it all about others and be sure to ask and listen. That's the foundation of great coaching and great coach marketing. It's why coaching is such a successful business (and why even Google's CEO says everyone needs a coach)
For more ideas on how to do it right: