Good relationships make life a little sweeter (OK, a LOT sweeter). My soon-to-be husband (!), my family and my closest friends, are all relationships I take very seriously and nurture every day... well most days.
So when people ask me how you build followers and engagement on Twitter, Facebook, blog, and so on, I tell them build it like you would your personal relationships. Be engaged, be interesting, be responsive and don't stop nurturing these relationship. And don't expect these relationships to happen overnight. The best relationships take time.
We discussed customer relationships in my Entrepreneurship class and how important they are for any business. The instructor, Keri Damen, spoke how about she switched salons after trying a new one, via a Groupon deal, because their service was much better than the other one. By service, she didn't mean she preferred the way they styled her hair, but when she arrived at the salon they offered her a selection of drinks (not just coffee and water) and popcorn (super fun and completely unexpected). Plus there's a sign in their bathroom that says 'Don't worry if you want to switch or try other stylists – we won't take it personally.'
Growing up, I worked at a gift store in my small hometown (if you're ever popping by Ingersoll make sure you stop at Patina's). They offer free, gorgeous gift wrapping and people came back to the store time-and-time again because it saves them money and the hassle of wrapping their own gifts.
These simple personal touches can create word-of-mouth that advertising can't give you. Keri has shared her story about this salon over-and-over again with her network, and a Patina's wrapped gift at a birthday party is always a topic of conversation!
So how do you create these kinds of relationships on social media?
Here's an example of a not-so-small gesture that happened to me last week: Chevrolet Canada gave me a Camaro Convertible to test drive for the weekend, all because I'm a 'social media influencer!'
Check out some of the conversations:
My weekend with my Chevrolet Camaro was awesome! And the service they provided was exceptional. They dropped the car off and picked it up (on an empty tank) right at my house and in preparation for the car's arrival, they sent me a 'goodie' bag full of fun things for my adventure - sunscreen, Apple Gift Card, Beach Ball, Cooler Bag, and the list goes on.
But in all honestly, this relationship felt like a one-night stand.
Obviously it was great to be part of this campaign. The car was fantastic and I will hold Chevrolet in higher regard than I did previously - though I didn't have much of an opinion before.
I was given a Camaro for a 4-day test drive because I have a high Klout score, which is a measure of your social media influence. It's kind of like being the popular girl in school, but on a much nerdier scale. They wanted me to share / brag about my experience with my followers and friends and, presumably, increase brand and product awareness.
While my experience with the Camaro was super fun, I don't know if I will continue my relationship with Chevrolet because, quite simply, I'm just not that into them. And by 'them,' I mean cars in general because I bike everywhere and only rent cars when needed.
For me, this relationship happened quickly and ended quickly. It was fun, sexy and glamorous while it lasted, but I don't know how much will come from it.
When building relationships online, I believe in the good old fashion 'courting' approach. In my opinion, Chevrolet would have been better off monitoring online conversations about people who are thinking about buying a new car, hated their current car or are looking for a car upgrade, and give them with a Camaro for a 4-day test drive.
What I found disappointing about the experience was that, similar to a one-night stand, there wasn't much of a two-way dialogue. Chevrolet tweeted at me twice during the whole experience and shockingly, they didn't retweet any of the pictures I posted to share with their own followers (a big miss - showing real people loving your product). If they wanted a long-lasting relationship, they should have tried to get to know me a little better - asked me what I liked about the car, what I didn't like, where I was going, etc.
Relationships are much more than a one-night stand!
For entrepreneurs, nurture and build your relationships on social media and 'surprise & delight' the right people, in the right way. When you deliver in a meaningful way, you'll reap the rewards in the long run. And remember, the best relationships take time.
And it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. As my instructor from the Certificate of Entrepreneurship class said, it can be as simple as a small gesture like giving popcorn when you'd never expect to receive popcorn!
What do you think about my one-night stand? Do you think there is a potential long-lasting relationship here, or do you think Chevrolet and I will part ways and move on?
This is a sponsored post on behalf of University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies Certificate in Entrepreneurship program; however, the opinions provided are my own.