Last summer, I was fortunate to attend a Socialmedia.org conference in Chicago. It’s is an exclusive community of social media thought leaders who are enthusiastic about sharing their own experiences and best practices with members of the organization. I love any opportunity for a conference in Chicago — home to amazing hot dogs, pizza, Navy Pier, pizza, the Cubs, pizza, museums, pizza and more. See where this is going? Fortunately, I was traveling with a colleague who was smart enough to suggest that we consult Yelp to make our culinary decision. It led us to Pizano’s and the rest is eat-until-you’re-miserable history. I still dream about that pie.
If you travel, Yelp is a necessity. Last year I used it in Salt Lake City, Chicago, Princeton, Indianapolis, San Francisco and Miami. So, when I arrived at this month’s Social Media Breakfast (SMB) Madison meeting with speaker Corey Dane of Yelp Madison, I was expecting to hear what I already knew about one of my favorite apps. Boy, was I wrong!
Corey reminded me that Yelp is not merely an app for travel and it’s much more than a means to quiet my growling belly. Yelp is a fantastic way to support your local fare by finding that lesser-known cafe or dive bar and then writing a review about the best burger to ever cross your lips. Or to inform fellow hotel guests that they can exchange their floral scented hotel shampoo for an unscented version. Maybe you want to rave about the spa that offers wine with your pedicure. Yelp sponsors offline events for its most loyal contributors and grants them with “elite” status. It encourages you to stand behind your reviews with accurate profiles and personal photos. Yelp builds communities.
While Corey highlighted three main keys to success in building a loyal community for your business, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels to success in building your own personal and/or professional success. These notions to 1) Get Personal, 2) Forge Connections and 3) Embrace Fun are undoubtedly why companies like Starbucks have built strong communities while spending little money on advertising. They seem so simple and yet the impact of applying them can be tremendous.
What do you think might happen if you tried applying those same notions in other areas of your life? Where do you begin? For starters, you need to work hard, cultivate relationships, surround yourself with positive people, celebrate people from all walks of life, don’t be afraid to laugh out loud. According to Corey, “Success = Time + Passion.” Great tips from a guy who knows a lot of about building communities…and the best places to eat in Madison.