Before I give you The Three Digital Mindset Tips on how to create a digital mindset for your business, a story to get you in the mood:

At a local car dealership, there were two couples trying to navigate the car-buying process. The one couple was approached by Rick, a nice salesman who started to tell them all about the car they were standing next to. There is an immediate distrust of the “sales guy” from both of them but then, as if thinking out loud, the Manager walks out of his office and stands next to Rick for a moment, and says to the couple: “You two are going to love working with Rick, he is a great guy!”

The couple next to them was approached by Jim. Jim starts asking them questions and just as he finishes shaking their hands a woman walks into the showroom with her son. She walks over to the couple and says: “I just want to say, you are going to love working with Jim. He helped us find the perfect car for our son last week!”

Who is more trustworthy? Rick or Jim?
That choice between Rick or Jim is the foundation of the digital economy we live in today. Not just that we need reviews and recommendations to make our buying decisions, but that we have expanded our perspective on how we trust businesses. The authority, the Manager, should certainly know who is the best guy on the floor, right? Then why don’t we trust him as much as a total stranger?

With all the information that fills our day, the most authentic piece of information usually comes from the most unreliable of sources: unknown people. Of course, the information they provide is mainly transferred digitally, but the foundation of how we thrive today is a combination of Human + Digital.

DIGITAL MINDSET #1: Recommendations Not only Matter, but They Are also A Critical Component of Trust
The days of listening to the advice of parents and dear friends for recommendations are far from over, but the changes in the digital age are profound.

84 percent of consumers today trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (bright local)

As savvy consumers, today we understand that marketing departments and advertising agencies are working behind the scenes to figure out how best to “sell us” their products. They target Moms, Dads, Retirees, Christians, Farmers, Red Heads—all demographics that hold a set of criteria to better convince.

So to the reviews, we go to help us figure out what is real and what is a finely tuned “campaign.” We are a smart bunch in the 21st Century. We know, we see, and we listen, but it is our own digital process of the “search” that ultimately determines what we buy.

So just how often do people take action on those reviews?

You must consider how reviews impact your business. Everything from toothpaste to tourism, consumers are looking for verification that this is the right product or experience for them. And getting those reviews isn’t so easy, but it is a part of the process today. It is the Number One Digital Mindset Process. If you are interested, here is a short video that can help you ask for more reviews.

DIGITAL MINDSET #2: Community. Community. Community.
Just because we all walk around with our smartphones googling every question imaginable does not mean that we do not hunger for a community. In fact, the digital sphere has to lead us to the idea that communities matter. So do not continue to operate your business on the Solopreneur model. Your Business needs a community to thrive.

This falls into two paths:
First, you cannot operate your business on the top floor anymore. If you want to grow your business, hire qualified people who stay with you, then you must collaborate with them. They know things you do not and if your employees think you trust their insights, creativity, and talents–they will reward with you good work and loyalty beyond anything the “good old days” offered. So move your desk alongside your team.

Second, is the actual community you operate in that matters. If your area local business, in a local town, with other businesses nearby, then you must create a community together. Main street businesses are struggling to survive because they look at each other as competitors. You have to band together and focus on the real joy and value of working with local small businesses. Events should be shared, brochures combined, and if you have a merchants association, stop missing the meetings and get involved with each other. It WILL pay off.

WE may operate on a digital plane, but we are still humans who need connectivity. It is a much better experience for consumers if they think that all of your support and trust each other. Remember that we are all experiencing the digital benefits of apps, emails, and virtual reality, but we crave connectivity. Authentic relationships between businesses are a huge plus and a critical Digital Mindset for Success.

DIGITAL MINDSET #3: Digital Skills Are An Ongoing Learning Experience.

Your digital literacy will determine your business success. Even if you are hiring out all those social media gurus, if you do not understand what is happening, how it happens, or why it is changed, then your growth is not going to sustain you to your true potential.

As the visionary business owner, with a passion for education, or antiques, or art, or clean teeth, you must be a part of the process in the digital economy. Knowing how to open a spreadsheet and add content, being able to respond to yelp review alerts, and basically following and understanding your social media fan base is critical to your growth. Participate in it, but learn the essential digital skills necessary to operate at the level everyone else is operating….and that may mean training for everyone including you!

It seems simplistic to have just three components of digital success, but all three of these tips are the future of your business. Join me on Thursdays for free digital marketing training. 30 minutes tops. It may offer something critical for your business. Register here.

#SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #SocialMedia #DigitalMindset

Originally published on LinkedIn

Maria Bereket is a Digital Marketing Consultant and Trainer whose passion is bridging the digital divide.