My post Is it really all about relationships? Yes it is, was recently featured on my friend and fellow relationship marketer, Ted Rubin’s site. Blogger Bruce Sallan made a very interesting comment on the post. He pointed out the principles of the business relationships I outlined were the same for any kind of relationship. He was very much correct of course and that got me to thinking about the one day dedicated to all things relationships, Valentine’s Day, and what it could teach us about social media marketing and the Return on Relationship™ philosophy, my friend Ted Rubin and I espouse.
For example, today my husband told me that he was going to be on a business trip this week and won’t be here for Valentine’s Day. At first I was disappointed but then I got to thinking about all of those long ago boyfriends who would always complain about Valentine’s Day. They would say things like “It’s a Hallmark holiday” or “Why should I show you once a year how much I love you, when I show you all the time,” things like that. The difference between all of those guys (who we used to call Mr. Right Nows because we knew they weren’t Mr. Right but they were fine for right now) was that Valentine’s Day was really the only day they DID show up! So now that I have my Mr. Right, I decided that it Valentine’s Day in and of itself really wasn’t so important after all. I thanked him for thinking about it and told him it didn’t matter because it IS just a day, he always shows up for me and our family and consistently so.
How can brands apply this type of thinking to their online and social media marketing strategies? Simple: do you or your Brand want to be Brand Right or Brand Right Now? Do you want to have long term relationships with your clients or short term transactional ones?
Here are some lessons from personal relationships and Valentine’s Day I believe all brands should think about when building a social media marketing strategy
- Show up consistently — Don’t show up once a year, once a week or once a day for that matter, social media is about conversations and engagement so you need to be consistently active on your chosen networks or you will not develop the trust and loyalty factor on which long term relationships are based.
- Roses by any other name to do not smell as sweet –- if you build a consistent following and conversation your followers and loyal brand ambassadors will forgive you more readily for when your brand makes missteps. Take the Jet Blue response to a difficult situation; when the flight attendant blew his cool on the tarmac at JFK the company went silent for a couple of days, but then smartly posted a short blog about the incident which was shared on all of their social sites. Because Jet Blue is consistently engaged and shows up for their customers, people were more patient with them when they fell silent realizing they needed all the facts before responding.
- Give Christmas presents in July and take December off — I heard Brian Kurtz, direct mail guru for boardroom.com say this at a seminar last year. In other words, give when it’s not expected. I would rather get a rose or a special gift on a random day then on a day that is designed for it. Give a coupon for being a loyal customer, fan, follower, when they least expect it.
- Loyalty and trust take time and effort. Of course people and companies want loyal and attentive communities around them but are they willing to put in the time it takes to foster it? It’s easy to buy a dozen roses and get some chocolates for your loved one once a year but does that really make someone loyal? What have your actions demonstrated the rest of the year? Have you asked them how they were and really cared about the answer? Brands who demonstrate true caring and enjoy an authentic sense of community with their clients or constituency will be the ones who have the loyal customers in the long run.
Return on Relationship is something we can apply to all aspects of our lives. But brands in particular need to embrace and use this philosophy in their online interactions. Please comment and let me know your thoughts around building loyalty and Return on Relationship #RonR.