Social Networking Makes it Too Easy to Avoid Human Interaction. Never Stop Humanizing Your Brand.
Everyone talks about the importance of social media networking, and although this is true, you should not forget to reach out to your connections in a traditional way. The amount of personal and professional information that individuals post on the various social media platforms is vast. This information provides you with data that can take your business to the next level if used wisely.
Use Social Media Updates with CRM database
Regardless of the client management database you use, there are numerous fields available that allow you to enter additional information about each person. Go beyond the basic inputs of contact information and client history by entering the data you collect from social media posts.
Did someone recently have a baby, celebrate a birthday, or move into a new home? Odds are that your connection has shared personal information like this, allowing you to enter the details into his or her CRM profile for your benefit. Rather than responding via social media, imagine the impact you would make if you were to send a handwritten card congratulating them?
If they are connected to you on social media, and they share this information, why not use it as an opportunity to stay in contact with him or her? You want to increase the likelihood of repeat and long-term customers, and this gives you the perfect opportunity to develop your relationship beyond a one-time transaction.
Traditional Ideas for Relationship Building
Sending traditional cards to clients during the holidays is a common practice, but you should also consider reaching out to your clients on their “purchase-anniversary;” annually for a review if applicable like with the insurance industry; and a couple of times a year with an article, or a simple note, letting them know you are still there to assist them at any time.
Sending out Thanksgiving cards would get you noticed more than during the Christmas holiday. How many Christmas cards do we all receive during the month of December? Toward the end of the season, we are so inundated with cards that they no longer stand out from the rest. Thanksgiving cards, however, get you noticed because they are rarely received.
Pick Up the Phone. Meet Face-to-Face.
The Internet is a huge influence in our daily lives. Unfortunately, online platforms have also created an environment that has decreased the amount of time spent on human interaction. Turn your online connections into professional relationships by picking up the phone.
For example, after connecting with someone from LinkedIn, look for his or her phone number and give them a call. Explain to them that you appreciate them reaching out to you to connect (or thank them for accepting your invitation), and ask for more information about what they do and how you can effectively network with eachother. If a phone number is not available, look for an address and mail them a letter of introduction with more information.
It is not beneficial to either of you if you only accept an invitation and do not try to build some kind of relationship. This should be a practice for all of your social networking sites. The “wave” procedure I train all of my clients is:
- Call your new connection on the telephone. If one is not provided, a simple Internet search should help you locate that information.
- Follow up with an email reminding them how you are connected, and reiterate your phone conversation (or message if you could not get them on the phone.)
- Send a letter with marketing collateral that you believe would benefit them as a potential client, a referral source, or to educate them so that your networking efforts are maximized.
- Invite them to meet in person for a meal or drink to discuss how you can help eachother in any form with your businesses. Again, people refer people we “like,” not a brand.
What I meant by a “wave” procedure is the use of networking methods disseminated over a period of time. Depending on your audience, once a month may be suitable or maybe every quarter. Do not inundate your new connection, but make them aware that you are serious about networking.
Take Your Offline Contacts and Connect Online
We all collect business cards from numerous people we meet. What do you do with those cards? I always remind my clients to keep a pen handy when they attend networking events. I tell them this so that after meeting someone and exchanging business cards, they can immediately write down something about the conversation they would like to reference.
Once back at your office you should search each new contact on your social networking sites. LinkedIn, that is used primarily for business, should probably be your first search. When requesting to be connected with a person, you should never use the standard template that is pre-populated. Instead, write where you met them, reiterate any pieces of the conversation you believe would be helpful for them to remember who you are, and then ask to connect.
Remember to Humanize
I cannot stress this enough; do NOT get away from traditional networking. Search your local papers, online classifieds, and ask your COI’s (center of influences) to find the many events near you. Building relationships is vital for businesses to grow and to gain trust. We all refer people we trust, like, and can identify with. An online relationship is not enough for your marketing plan to be successful. Social network the right away and stay ahead of your competition.
Marketing and public relations consultant assisting businesses by filling the marketing and public relations gap. Want to learn more about how we can help you grow your business? Learn More about AGM
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