Organized non-profits provide reach, leverage and consistency that can’t be matched by the millenia-old model of individuals helping those they encounter in the community. It’s one of the extraordinary success stories of the industrial age that they’ve been able to have such a worldwide impact with relatively few resources. As our choices continue to increase (yes, there’s now a long tail of philanthropy), it gets ever more important that we make conscious choices about what to support and how.
Being the pop culture savant I am – as witnessed by my recent article 2014 Marketing Predictions With A Twist (click on the link, you’ll see what I mean) – when I first heard the term “deep linking” I immediately thought of the 1970s flick The Deep starring Robert Shaw and Nick Nolte. I then had visions of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine dancing in my head.
Of course neither of these have anything to do with “deep linking” – a subject which many have wondered aloud as to it possibly being the future of mobile marketing and mobile advertising.
Over the years I’ve been asked by a lot of people how they can be more successful in building relationships on social channels. And the one thing that keeps coming to the surface is the importance of being “present” when you’re talking to someone.
You know how it is when you meet someone at a conference or in a networking situation and they’re constantly looking around the room to see who else is there, or they’re looking at their watch, or anywhere except at you? Those signals mean they aren’t really “present” in the conversation, so there is no true connection.
The same principles apply to online relationships, so I’m a big proponent of doing what I call… Looking People in the Eye Digitally, as well as personally. Introductions and ongoing relationships in social platforms require the same personal attention as the human touch and eye contact in a physical relationship, so here are 12 tips for making that happen:
1. Always address them by name (even if you have to dig a little).
Sometimes it can be hard to figure out a person’s first name by their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram handle. However, the human need to be addressed by their given name is still important. When you’re thanking someone for a re-tweet or a share, make sure you mention them by name. You might have to look at their profile to find it, but do it!
2. Find something in their bio and make mention of it.
The need for recognition goes beyond just names. When someone takes the time to look at your bio, picks up on something there and mentions it to you or asks you about it, you can’t help but respond favorably. Make a habit of looking at other people’s bios when you’re opening up conversation.
3. Show them that you’re listening to what they’re saying (reference conversations, etc.).
Listening is every bit as important digitally as it is personally. Stop thinking about what you’re going to say next and REALLY listen to what the other person is saying. Reference something they said in an online conversation and ask them about it. Read their blog—take a look at their website, and look for ways you can connect based on what you’ve learned.
4. Make it personal and authentic.
Look for possible connections to what you like, places you’ve been–would like to go–kids, etc. When you’re looking at a person’s bio (or Blog or About Page on their website), look for inter-personal connection points where your lives might intersect. “Oh, I see you live in Park City, Utah—I love to take my kids skiing…” Make sure it’s an authentic connection. If you’re not a skier, don’t say you are.
5. Find them on all possible channels and link up–not just one.
If you meet someone on Twitter, look for other platforms they frequent. You might have to dig a little and go to their website or do a search for them on Facebook or LinkedIn, but make the effort to connect with them on different channels. You never know where the next conversation might crop up that will spark an opportunity.
6. Give them an online recommendation (such as LinkedIn).
Giving a recommendation or testimonial spontaneously demonstrates thoughtfulness. People get notifications via email or on the platform that you’ve reached out, and this effort won’t go unnoticed. However, recommendations should be authentic and based on your knowledge of their business or interactions with them—not empty platitudes. And don’t do this with the intention of getting a recommendation in return. Give it as a genuine gift without expectation.
7. Send a note with a helpful link or photo “just because”.
Before the Internet, a common practice in business networking was to clip out a 3rd-party article (not your own stuff), put a note on it and mail it to someone you thought could benefit (Amy, I thought of you when I saw this!). Do the same thing via social messaging, but it should be on an individual basis. Reference an article link, a video or send a photo—use their name and tell them why you sent it!
8. Put them in a list or a circle so their social interactions don’t get lost in the stream.
Most platforms have list options, so use them wisely to keep track of those you want to interact with regularly. As social streams get crowded, it becomes more important to segment your feeds and keep track of people. The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” really is true, both online and off.
9. As a question to get their opinion (not a poll).
Asking someone for their individual opinion shows them that you care about what they have to say. Look for those opportunities to deepen conversation.
10. Pick them out in a crowd.
Do you participate in Google Hangouts or Twitter Chats? Look for familiar handles/names and make a point to say hi individually. Here again, personal recognition is a key in keeping those relationship fires burning.
11. Wish them a happy birthday and make it unique.
When you get an opportunity to wish someone a Happy Birthday, as with Facebook’s birthday reminder, make it a point to make it personal rather than just a generic wish. Find a good birthday quote—add a picture—mention something unique about them… and use their name.
12. Take it off-line.
Make it regular practice to offer yourself publically for a short telephone one-on-one to find out more about someone or just catch up. Ask how you can network or refer them business. Most importantly, make it about THEM. Asking “How can I help you?” builds great rapport.
What are some of the ways you’ve found to look people in the eye on digital channels?
December is now upon us and before we know it we’ll be starting off 2014 right, which means it won’t be long until we’re all gathering in San Diego Feb 23rd to 26th for RILA Supply Chain 2014.
Last year in Florida at RILA Logistics 2013, the topic of multi-channel was discussed with 5 related presentations delivered where the challenges of the coming omni-channel revolution were laid down.
RILA Supply Chain 2014 will highlight this ongoing evolution from a discrete multi-channel stream to a full track entitled Omni-channel which includes the 4 interesting presentations identified below:
The evolution of technology within the retail and e-commerce space is shaping how consumers behave and interact with brands and savvy, smart retailers know that understanding shoppers’ behavior is key for success. These retailers realize they can utilize technology to capitalize on consumer needs and customize offerings to help significantly increase their bottom lines.
Here’s how companies are using technology to provide added value to consumers.
A parade of tourists is going to walk past your store today. Each is a separate opportunity for you to tell a story, to engage, to make a sale.
A connected community of readers is going to read what you wrote today. A cultural shift will occur among a small group of people because they will share, discuss and engage with each other about what you wrote.
Here’s the key question: are you trying to change an individual or are you trying to incite/inspire/redirect the tribe?
Direct marketers traditionally deal with separate events. Each catalog, each clickable ad is a unique transaction. In the world of separates, the simple test makes sense. You don’t pollute the pool when you try different transactions or different products with different people.
THEME #3 FROM 7 PART POST SERIES EXPLORING THE EVOLUTION OF BRAND STORIES & THEMES
Great brand stories, not unlike human stories, can inspire vibrant conversation, sustained interest and engagement – especially within social communities. But only to the degree to which there is meaningful and mutual interest. Think about the ways we come to understand a person? Our innate social instincts strive to find common points of connection, understand context, and interpret their behavior. In other words, we synthesize what we learn and observe in order to better understand and connect. Contrast this approach to what happens in business when a brand attempts to connect with people. Ironically, the default response is to break down through analysis. Strip down into simplistic demographic terms, and segment in order to shape what is known. This process of re-interpretation is meant to simplify information – but in the long run it produces a distant and simplistic understanding of the customer. The difference of generalizing insight/information vs. pursuing meaningful customer “intelligence,” is not only a difference in philosophy and methodology. More importantly it is proving to be a significant business disadvantage.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Einstein