In today’s digitally connected world, you can communicate with just about anyone. You can find them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and a number of other social platforms. This is a luxury. Do not take it for granted.
Now, two questions for you. Are you going to actively seek out those people that may be important to your career or your company? And if you do connect with them, how are you going to take advantage of having digital access?
I have seen most people leverage digital connection to advance their career. Many use LinkedIn to hunt for jobs and stay connected with past and present colleagues. On the other hand, most brands are not seeking out the appropriate connections. Only 35 percent of companies use social media to research and engage with customers. At the same time, consumers post comments directed at brands and expect a timely response – 32% expect a response within 30 minutes; 42% expect a response within 60 minutes; and 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.
So let’s assume individuals do use the digital world to connect and communicate with other people. Are they doing it right? In most cases, I would say no. Far too many aim at pushing their own agenda and selling something. How do you gain peoples’ trust and confidence? Not by saying, “Hi, I want to sell you something.” I cannot tell you how many people connect with others they have never met before and take this approach. I myself have no shortage of vendors contacting me on a weekly basis trying to sell me something before we have even started a conversation. Just this week someone found me on LinkedIn and sent me a message stating, “I’d really like to introduce our services to Hyper Marketing.” Never met the guy and this is the first sentence. What an immediate turn-off.
Are you approaching digital connections the same way? Digital connections should be valued as a wide breadth of technologies that allow relationship building. Brand marketing (whether it is for an individual, product, or service) is not a short term program. The goal is to build trust and preference and that does not happen with one or two communications.
I am most interested in learning about products and services that can help me. But how about starting the conversation by getting to know what I do, my needs, and then aligning that information with your offerings. Doesn’t everyone feel that way?
I think most consumers are interested in learning about things that they value. It is just a matter of where you start the relationship. The general rule to follow is that you should be a valued relationship (first) and when your audience is ready to make a purchase decision, you are their brand of choice. Use your digital connections to build relationships and leverage their connection this way.
So take the right steps and seek people out that matter to you and your company. Do this on a continuous basis, not just at the time of need. Don’t let the initial correspondence go right to selling. Strengthen your connections and deepen relationships over time.
Make It Happen!