Social Relationships Beyond Social Networks: Building and Expanding Networks, Not Break Them
For the past couple of days, I wake up to the sound of someone typing on her keyboard. It’s my flatmate, Michele. Perhaps she’s doing what we normally do on Facebook – sending messages to our friends, commenting on a high school friend’s photo, perhaps catching up with a grade school friend through Facebook chat.
Yet, there’s something more with what she’s doing that got me curious. She’s been sending rather lengthy messages to her friends for a couple of days now. When asked, she said that she’s promoting a friend’s product. Several days prior to that, she asked on how she could send messages to several people and I told her just how it’s done.
I told her she could just setup a Facebook page and have people like it or upload a photo of the product and tag those whom she targets to buy. Michele, my non-marketing (actually a nursing graduate) friend, taught me some of the greatest marketing lessons that I think we, marketers, could learn from.
1. Old School Marketing to Old School Mates
Even if my non-marketing friend was marketing a product through Facebook, she was doing it with old school approach. Instead of sending a single message to several people at once, she prefers to send them one by one. With a personal approach.
Through this method, she is able to choose which people on her network are recipients of her message. She’s able to target which among these people are more likely to respond to her message affirmatively. She also knew that massive messaging on Facebook may save some but not her effort as it will actually annoy people who didn’t want to receive the message in the first place. Banking on her existing networks in real life, she has taken marketing to a next level by crafting personal messages that would appeal to each and every individual she’s sending it to.
It’s surprising that a non-marketing friend actually understands the value of personal touch way more than my digital marketing friends who ruthlessly send a single message to several people at once – thinking it will save their time. Thus, risking the chance to reach out at on a personal level.
2. Know Where Your Targets Are and Connect With Them There
Marketers these days are so obsessed with the idea of increasing Facebook likes and Twitter followers as if it’s the only way to gauge success. Just because Facebook has over 900 million doesn’t mean it’s the only platform that could truly help you succeed in your marketing goals.
It’s important to understand and find out where your exact target market are spending most of their time, where they are likely to spend (normally people use Facebook for personal relationships – connecting with people they’ve previously connected with) while it’s interesting how women are actually likely to spend after visiting Pinterest.
Find out where your target is flocking, understand their buying behavior, add value to their situation and make sure your product or service is the kind of value they truly need and not just blindly thrust what you offer to their throats. Attending offline events still has magic too!
3. Personal Touch
Often we get caught up with the idea of making a sell, close a deal that we often forget building relationships and taking the approach to a much personal level. Working in Sales and Marketing for over 4 years and eventually shifting to Digital Marketing, I have learned that people are more likely to trust and value your opinion if they already know you. Don’t ruin your existing relationships by over-promoting.
My non-marketing friend did it best. Instead of massive Facebook mailing by sending a single message to several of her highschool friends all at once, she took the rather time consuming yet personal approach of sending customized messages to each of her recipient making her approach even more genuine, more likely to be read and more likely to get positive response.
Personal approach, no matter how time consuming it may be, goes a long way.
There are only 3 marketers which I really enjoy receiving newsletters from. They are Mari Smith, Ramit Sethi and Neal Rodriguez. These thought leaders do not bombard me with daily marketing newsletters. In fact, they probably send just one email in a month, unless they have a webinar or something really important. They send me valuable emails with an approach that if I don’t see the “Unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the email, I would be left thinking that they actually crafted the message specifically for me and send them one by one. I look forward to their newsletters that when I receive them, I completely stop what I’m doing and read them like a passage from the Bible.
4. Quantity vs/ Quality
Michele has a little over 1,000 friends on Facebook. These are the people she has met through school, when she served her mission for our Church and those she has met on a daily basis. In short, these people know her already as a nurse graduate. Thus, they would trust her judgment and recommendation when she promoted a beauty product.
On the other hand, a marketing friend, (who actually sent me a message as I type this post) wanted me to like their Facebook page. The marketing friend and me didn’t have any previous correspondence in the past yet there he is, asking me to like their page without even offering the slightest value that would trigger me to take his required action.
Another example is what I do for Saving is Sexy. It’s my personal finance blog where I advocate about the need to save money. While I have initially “invited” Facebook connections to like the page, I took a different strategy to make it grow. Sharing funny yet relevant photos on saving money has helped me grow the community in an organic way. Instead of bombarding my Facebook connections with links to the page, begging them to check out the page, I took control of the fact that images have higher engagement rate on Facebook. Since interesting photos have higher virality, my connections spread the photos for me which in turn gets spread by their connections. Thus, I am getting fans that actually like my Saving is Sexy page because they really like it and not just connections that I begged to like it.
My marketing friends, may we learn from my non-marketing friend. Let us not be too caught up with the end result of our marketing goals and focus on creating and providing value to all those we network with. Take personal approaches instead of just blindly marketing to just about anyone within our reach.