Making the Most of Digital Connections

connections and networkingIn 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!
Social Steve

8 Comments

Filed under brand communication, brand marketing, brands, LinkedIn, marketing, social marketing, social media, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

8 responses to “Making the Most of Digital Connections

  1. Steve, do you think there is an argument for us to suggest to the brands we work with that they ignore the sales route entirely? If they are going to maximise the potential of their social offerings, maybe it’s better that they are set Up with the conversation and relationship foremost in the mind?
    Any bottom line benefits that accrue are then a bonus?
    Is it possible to sell social in with a relatively non return focus, at least an initial one?

    • I think “some” sales is OK, but it has to be very limited and it cannot be the first conversation. Yes the conversation and relationship must be foremost in the mind. The approach I take to sell social with a no return focus is that social is excellent for awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy. All of these attributes tee up sales.

  2. Makes sense to build confidence rather than just take the money, after all the confidence one person has in our product or service is going to be shared. If all we consider is ‘the sale’ we will have to exhaust ourselves making the next and the next and the next. Instead being the resource with knowledge, skills and experience builds foundations for people to return and feel they can find stable secure advice from you. Then as suggested the sales will come through referral, which so many businesses aspire to but never reach as they become desperate searchers of sales.

    I wouldn’t personally drop selling Tony, simply see the social aspect as an integrated part of everything we do, it works with everything like marketing and sales not as a replacement in my eyes. People have always bought and sold, all we need them to do is believe in what we are offering not just to buy but to share this with their connected communities and networks and therefore becoming our sales force.

  3. Jim Matorin

    You make a good point Steve, but unfortunately the collaborative tools of Web 2.0 has produced a whole bunch of situational broadcasters, poor listeners.

    • Jim – Marketing practice needs to take the lead, not technologies. There are many technologies out there, but marketers need to sent the methodology of their practice. Marketers need to take lead and leverage technologies as opposed to the opposite.

  4. Hi Steve, I’d say this is an issue for those marketing/sales professionals who view every social media platform as just another channel to push their message down someone else’s throat (that’s what it feels like in a ‘personal’ notification in your mailbox anyway). But some professionals do ‘get’ that you need to see why you’d want them in your network at all. They’re the ones I connect with. I refuse to pad my number of connections with the noisy and irrelevant bunch.

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