Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Social Media: How To Destroy A Relationship In Less Than 24 Hours.

Are we building or destroying them?
Social networks are a very powerful vehicle to get in touch with potential customers for your business or company. Social networks can even offer you the opportunity to reach out for specific industries or influential people within the industry of your interest.

All you need to do is to properly search and be patient enough to initiate and develop truly effective contacts.

Amongst the most popular networks, Twitter is the easiest one to use to get connections because people’s profiles are open and you only need to write the twitter handler of the person you are interested in, tweet him/her and thereafter establish the connection.

There is very little patience to do it right.

However, because it is so simple, you can make the mistake of starting to aggressively search for new prospects or influential people who can provide your product with an extraordinary visibility.

Before using social networks to find new prospects or influential people, you must make sure all your sales representatives, including yourself, have things clear and you have established with them a concrete strategy to carry out the task of prospecting, in order not to go out and start destroying relationships rather than building them.

First of all, have the patience to get it done right.

A clear example of HOW NOT TO do things.

"Social Selling On Twitter Blackout."

The picture I included above shows you as the representative of company "X", burned a possible relationship with a very influential person within their industry, virtually overnight. The exchange goes as follows:
  • The representative retweeted content posted by Robert Trenson, a very influential person within their business.
  • As usual Trenson thanked them for the retweet and cordially offered himself to provide help if needed.
  • The representative immediately replied Robert, offering a demonstration of their product.
  • Robert very kindly encouraged the representative to get to know him first at least a little, spend some more time developing the relationship before attempting to sell their product.
And in just two interactions, a relationship that might have started from a very good initial point, in a friendly and easy going way, by the impatience of the company’s representative, is going down the drain.

How could this situation be handled better?

Robert himself gives all of us the answer. If the representative from company "X" had taken the time to tell Robert the reason why they had retweeted his post, or the reason for their interaction or simply expressing their intention of opening up a relationship and getting to know each other, perhaps the story would have had a happy ending, or perhaps less embarrassing at least.

A small exchange, perhaps something like the following:
  • "You're welcome, Robert. We love the content you post because it provides great value to the industry in which our company moves ", or perhaps something like ...
  • "You're welcome, Robert. At our company we are very interested in the topic you posted. Maybe we can talk a little bit further about it "
Something that had simply shown an interest in developing the relationship a little more, in getting to know the other person a bit more, would have sufficed.

However, given the urgent desire to promote a product or service, companies usually forget the fact social networks have different dynamics, and that the important thing is the relationship. Yes, you can get to sell your products but that the strategy should be a little different.

Don’t you think it would have been much smarter to use a different approach? Surely it would have been more effective!

This post was inpired by Jonathan Catley's "An Example of Social Prospecting Gone Wrong"
You would also like to read Relationship value: What can you expect from social media?

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