With This Tweet, I Thee Wed
Ask any social media consultant the question that they hear most often, and they’ll undoubtedly respond with “How do I get more followers?” Second runner up is something usually akin to “How do I get my followers to tell their friends to buy from me? How do I get them to act?” Business owners are anxious to discover the answer to these two questions, ready to take their to-do list home, pop it in the microwave and watch their online reach swell magnificently. Unfortunately, social media operates more like a marriage than a bag of microwave popcorn. And I think we’d all agree…there’s no easy button when it comes to matrimony.
Ditch the Cheerleader for the Girl Next Door
We often hear brand advocates referred to as “cheerleaders,” and in many regards, that holds true. Admittedly, I’ve found myself using that very phrase once or twice. Cheerleaders wear your team colors, are committed to pushing you towards the finish line and scream you all the way to victory, complete with a gleaming smile, perfect pep and masterfully cute hair.
Here’s the rub with the cheerleader reference. They’re your biggest fans while the clock is running, but when the buzzer sounds at the end of the game…well…they go home with everyone else. Isn’t that a little simplistic when it comes to complex marketing strategies aiming for business longevity and financial success?
Marriage is a two-way street. It’s an open dialogue of teamwork, obstacles, vulnerability, emotional connections and devotion through tough times and the best of times. Like a tapestry, a good marriage consists of two lives intricately interwoven with each other, becoming one thing of greater beauty than the two individuals were apart. It’s the real deal, the girl next door. ‘Til death do us part. Isn’t that the kind of relationship we’d like to have with our brand advocates? Let’s pass on the follower who goes home at the end of the game and aim for the follower that is at home, feels like home, when they’re with us.
Effective Courtship is a Marathon, Not a Race
So, how do you stop “dating” your followers, “put a ring on it” and get them hooked up to the old ball and chain? Start thinking of your social media strategies like a courtship. I’m not talking about the fluff your feathers, strut your stuff and sing at the top of your lungs until some gal comes calling, kind of ritual. I’m talking about the authentic journey that a loving relationship takes from the moment two people meet and that first spark flies until they make it up to the altar and declare their undying devotion for each other to the world.
Technology has awarded us with crystal clear insight into the probability of success for shotgun weddings. Reality TV, hasty celebrities and general emotional chaos have people getting married and divorced faster than you can say “Mazel Tov!” Most successful relationships take time. No one should be sprinting to the altar. The journey towards your wedding day should take a few dips and turns, developing that tightly woven tapestry one strand at a time. Is a slower-paced courtship a guarantee for wedded bliss? No. But your chances of long-term happiness are exponentially higher when you let love run its proper course.
Which would you prefer for your business? The shotgun bride or the 5 year, 10 year, 50 year wife?
True Love: Markers of a Healthy Relationship
A healthy brand/follower relationship mimics most, if not all, of the markers of our own healthy relationships. Short-term strategies that invite deceit, callousness, lust, selfishness, manipulation, fear and abuse turn brands into monsters just like they do in their human counterparts. The give and take must be present in a healthy environment in order to enjoy a relationship that flourishes and takes your life, individually and collectively, to new heights.
What words come to mind when you think of a healthy relationship? Are you advocating for your customers like you want them to advocate for you?
- Trust – Do your followers trust your brand? Why or why not?
- Transparency – Are there corners of your business you’d rather your followers didn’t know about?
- Respect – Is the customer always right? How is your customer service?
- Honesty – Does your product really accomplish what you say it will?
- Loyalty – Have you entrenched yourself in your marketplace or are you just dabbling? Does your business have a long-term plan?
- Patience – Do you allow your followers to thoughtfully consider your business or are you pushing them towards hasty decisions?
- Vulnerability – Have you established a human connection with your followers?
- Genuine – Are you truly passionate about meeting your follower’s needs?
- Selflessness – Are you willing to make critical sacrifices to put your customers first?
- Empathy – Does seeing your followers “in pain” bother you? Or do you simply see it as an opportunity to make a sale?
- Listens – Do you really understand what your followers want/need? Are you asking the right follow up questions?
If you can answer these questions with clarity, pride and confidence in your business and your brand, then you’re probably already well on your way towards transforming your followers into dedicated brand advocates. You’re engaged and it’s only a matter of time before the “big day” comes! Congratulations!
The Golden Rule is 24-Carats
I read a book recently by author Michele PW that put a unique spin on effective communication with your customer base. The Love-Based Copywriting System addresses two different sales tactics that we see in today’s marketplace.
Fear-based copywriting magnifies the pain and suffering of the customer, scaring them into a purchase by laying out the terrifying consequences they’ll face for not purchasing (“If you don’t buy this book or attend this workshop, you’ll lose thousands of dollars in your business!”). Fear-based sales pander and play with our emotions and see a sale solely as an opportunity to cash in on someone else’s pain. It’s no surprise that this type of approach, while often successful in the short term, rarely converts followers into loyal advocates.
Love-based copywriting identifies and acknowledges a problem, but avoids magnifying the suffering, focusing on the solution instead. It reflects a genuine interest in meeting a tangible need, shows empathy and provides a clear path to resolution. (“Struggling to turn followers into brand advocates? Ask yourself these 15 questions and improve your relationship with your customers today!”) When your business is grounded in love, your bride wants to stick around for the long haul!
The Golden Rule reigns in social media. Looking for those special someones that will love you as deeply as you love them? Seeking life partners that are focused on a mutually beneficial relationship where everybody wins? Freshen up, straighten that tie, grab some flowers and go tell your customers they look beautiful tonight. Drop down on bended knee, flash that sparkle and declare your love. Will you marry me?
Image attribution: Lead Image edited from: Copyright: ‘http://www.123rf.com/profile_branche‘ / 123RF Stock Photo
Latest posts by Katy Blevins (see all)
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