At an unconference I went to a couple weeks ago, I sat in on a lightning talks session. Everyone would get 5 minutes to talk about whatever they wanted, whoever they wanted.
Understandably, most went up and talked about stuff they were working on and that they were passionate about: a homeschooling mom talked about education and the rise of homeschooling and the freedom it allowed, a female programmer went up to talk about women in high-tech, and I went up to talk about What’s Next, my latest social venture book project, the World Water Day activist blogging movement I was leading, and my pro-bono design projects.
But one woman went up to talk, she talked about her favorite new startup’s mobile application. She didn’t work for the company, didn’t know anyone who did, but just adored the concept and saw that it was really innovative.
Everyone wants to have his/her business be the one that’s always being talked about. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most valuable keys to business success, or, as some say, “viral videos gone old school”. Every entrepreneur dreams of herds of fans like that one woman.
So here’s how you can give everyone something to talk about
1. Be the Red Apple Amidst an Orchard Full of Green Ones
What makes a business successful is that it different from the pack. If your competitors crow about being the first or being the cheapest, focus on being better: faster customer service response, better quality, a more sleek design. You don’t have to be the first across the finish line to be the most talked about.
2. Be a Big Brother
No, not 1984’s Big Brother, think more Big Brother, Big Sister. Create mentorship, job shadow, or internship programs. It is one of the successful business tips to reach out to other young entrepreneurs, teach them a bit about your business.
Make them feel like they have a role in your company, and you’re paying it forward and getting another person out there who’s going to rave about your business and how awesome you are. Remember “The Johnson Treatment”? Charm your way with retail politics. Showing one person big business ain’t what makes a business successful.
3. Be the Cool Kid on the Block
Yes, the “just have fun” thing parents always say holds true. What did you like better doing as a kid, your chores or reenacting light saber battles? And what did you end up chattering about more? To get talked about, you need to be fun.
Are you a tech startup? Amp up the competition between users with virtual goods to create a game-like atmosphere. You’d be surprised how many people love to show off how much they rock at using your service.