What? Social media ain’t for building relationships! Those so-called conversations are just a tweet or two or maybe three and then nothing! How can you build a relationship on that?
First, let’s define relationship in terms of what it means in social media. Here’s what it is NOT: a date, a lover, your mother, your best friend or a co-worked. Those are all relationships that are done face-to-face. And they’re all different.
Creating a relationship with someone online is different. It’s about finding someone that is like-minded in at least a few ways and supporting them in their endeavors. Beyond that, your online social media relationships can be spread far and wide. You may be able to connect with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or your favorite rock star. Okay, that’s not a real relationship, but consider that you may be able to make a valuable connection with some one that’s higher up in a company that can open doors for you.
So, to keep these online relationships on the positive side, here are the things to remember.
Honesty is still the best policy. You may not be a 75-year old guy in a trailer impersonating a 22-year old model, but there are levels of deception that some people still feel are okay. I disagree. There’s no level that’s acceptable. If you represent yourself as someone you’re not, it will eventually catch up to you.
Be authentic. Slightly different than honesty, authenticity has to do with sharing thoughts online that you truly believe and support. Are you being true to your vision with your postings, or are you just being irreverent, short-sighted and snarky at times?
Be real to create trust. Now that you’ve committed to being honest and authentic, this ‘real-ness’ leads to building trust. The acts that build trust over time contribute to your overall online reputation, which helps you build your business.
Advocates are an incredible asset, so pay attention and nurture them. In the social media world, an advocate is someone who will stand up and defend your company and your products, and go to great lengths to stand in on your behalf in situations where you would otherwise have to go on the offensive to clear up misinformation or deal with a situation that could create negative press. When you identify a true advocate, do a little research and find out who they are (easy to do if they’re on Facebook or Twitter), and if appropriate, gift ‘em now and then, so they’ll continue to be an asset.
Really connect. When you find someone online that resonates with you in some noticeable way, reach out to him or her. Look up their business. Pick up the phone. Send a personal email. I’ve made terrific friends a few times by just picking up the phone. It helps put a personality to the online presence, and next time you’re in their city, make a point of trying to schedule a lunch or coffee. You’ll be glad you did.
- Honesty is the best policy
- Be authentic
- Be real to create trust
- Advocates are an incredible asset
- Really connect!