“Relationships?! How do you do that when your business is all about selling boxes of widgets? Folks come to my site, order them and I ship them out…”
…or are they?…
…or are they?…
How you interact with your customers and prospects can show you (and them…) how you think of them. Without resorting to standard definitions, I visualize the difference this way:
Community is harder…is it worth it?
I belong to a few business and networking groups, as well as a service organization. Only at one of them do I have the luxury of spending time with the members (about 25) on a weekly basis and the ongoing encouragement to get together with a couple of them every week to really get to know them, their businesses and their lives. I am able to connect and as a result I feel almost as invested in their work as they are (I’m still working on birthdays and favorite foods, but, hey, we’ll get there!). I am fans of them and their work and actively seek out ways to promote and assist each one, if I can.
Do you remember “The Silent Majority”? While the phrase has been around for a very long time, it was popularized by Richard Nixon in 1969 in a speech, and also referred to by journalist Theodore White as the “mute masses.” In a different context, this phrase also represents the voices you hear (or don’t…) on social media. Research shows that almost 90% of what you hear there comes from less than 30% of the most vocal users….and they are different from the the quieter folks that make up the bulk of your online audience.
I read an article recently by Laura Cioca, Director of Media & Engagement at W2O, about something she calls ‘Fauxthenticity’. She defines this as ‘the tendency some brands have towards assuming we’re all complete idiots.’
She goes on to describe it as a kind of creative laziness that ‘pretends that a brand’s participation in community has anything to do with people.’ She then lists a number of examples, all of which I have seen before and recently. It’s sad really….
Trust (Photo credit: vagawi )
Trust is a treasure that is hard-won and very easy to lose. This goes double for relationships online. One of the foundations of trust is doing what you say you will do. A classic test of trust is the answer of “I’ll get back to you…” to almost any question.