Several of my friends have met, dated and married men they met online. In speaking with them on this topic, it became clear how similar dating relationships are with effective business relationships online.
Therefore, if you want to take your business to the next level using social media, you need to imagine your business is like a single person, and the customer like a prospective mate. If you aren’t seeing business relationships like this, you’ll never capture her heart let alone ever make a sale.
Online dating affords an opportunity to find a potential audience of like-minded individuals that you can interact with. Using social networking sites like Twitter, you can do the same with identifying and targeting the exact audience you want to communicate with. If you’re business sells kitchen supplies to restaurants, you can easily find restaurants and chef’s online. The process makes it easier to remove the unnecessary clutter around you and focus on the prospects that you have something in common with.
If you imagine that you’re dating these connections, it might help you to edit what you type in such a way that won’t scare anyone away. For example, if you were developing a new relationship with a potential partner, do you think constant communication about how fabulous you are, how pretty or how much you paid for a suit would be appealing?
Probably not a good conversation starter.
On the other hand, if you find potential dates and ask or answer questions, to truly get to know the person, you’ll likely develop a deeper connection which may or may not result in a match…but it’s a good start.
If however the match seems like a good fit, you’ll probably next want to call the person, chat on Skype or meet for a drink. This is the same with non-romantic online relationships. I can tell you from experience that many of the guys (and gals) I communicate in the #usguys Twitter stream have turned into friends. I can’t wait to connect with them in person and meet them. We’ve Skyped and exchanged texts and phone calls. When I need a service one of them offers or has expertise on – I will contact them first.
In business, once you develop a relationship with someone online, you’ll likely think about stopping by to introduce yourself and say hello when you’re nearby. Or, you’ll remember them the next time you need the service they provide.
Imagine your online dating relationship started out great, you made a nice connection and even spoke on the phone a few times but then somehow the comments started to change. They turned from someone who wanted to get to know you to someone who wants to get you in bed and unless that’s what you want too, it would likely feel like it’s moving too fast or that it’s not genuine. Your reaction, assuming you weren’t interested in this pace, would be to either confront or ignore the person.
In business when you develop a relationship online it’s not any different. If suddenly you start sending updates on promotions or new products, the relationship may begin to take a turn. If you start pushing your goods and services to someone who was supposed to be a genuine friend and every post turns into something about your business…your posts will provide less and less value – ultimately just getting ignored.
In the case of one friend who’s now engaged to a guy she met online, the first time they met in person was charged with a physical connection. The time they spent online enabled them to develop a richer, deeper connection that made it seem like they’d known one another for ages. Isn’t this the type of relationship you want with your customers? Someone who comes to working with you feeling completely confident that you’re the right person for the job, so much so that they wouldn’t need to go elsewhere.