The cornerstone of marketing today is a relationship built on trust.
That trust can be based on incredible customer focus and strong partner relationships. The approach of building trust use to be different for larger companies than smaller ones. But social media and mobile connectivity has changed the playing field for everyone and now, building trusting relationship whether you are a B to C or B to B is based on connection with people on a personal level. I would like to share with you some key steps you can take to help build a trusting brand with any consumer.
Social media encourages us to amass the largest followings, but building a smart writing business isn’t about collecting the most people. It’s about connecting with the most.
Connecting with contacts turns you from simply a name on a friends list or mailing list, to a relationship. And it’s the relationship that actually makes things happen. Relationships mean help requests get answered, favors get performed, and partnerships come together.
It is important to incorporate writing, blogging, and other content production into your marketing portfolio to foster conversation which will help you grow your business. Relationships multiply your efforts because they mean you can enlist the help and support of others who also want to see you succeed.
So how do you turn contacts into connections that become relationships?
1. Be authentic
It’s tempting to try to hide who you really are in some vain attempt to pretend to be someone else or blend in so you don’t upset anyone. But hiding who you are doesn’t do much for making you stand out to your contacts, in the long run. Try this instead. Go for authenticity. Share who you really are in your social media updates, blog posts, and other marketing activities. This doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone about that embarrassing thing you did in grade school. But it does mean speaking in your voice when you communicate, and not in some watered down attempt at pretending to be someone else. Your company has a “voice” a “personality.” Use it – show it and allow people to connect with it.
Your authenticity will resonate with your contacts and make them remember you. And those who truly identify with your message — what you are actually saying, the story you are telling, and the way you tell it — will connect with you. They will respond to your emails, re-tweet your posts, visit your blog. They will come back again and again. Looking for you.
And brings us to …
2. Tell a story
What makes your business different from the next one?
It’s the story. What is your story? What’s the story of your business?
Examine your story and see how it can connect you to your audience. Did you start this business because of a particular cause or experience? Do you have a specific service or product that is very unique or that helps others?
Telling your story may be about sharing your hopes, goals, and dreams in the context of your business. Sometimes this can be shared in the About page of your company’s website. Sometimes it can be shared in a blog post. Oftentimes, it is shared in a variety of ways — your blog posts, your speaking, your creative projects and social media.
Make your business about more than the product or service. Make it about the story.
Tell a compelling story, and you’ll have clients and vendors who identify with what you say, maybe because they have had a similar experience or believe in your vision and approach to business. Your shared experience will be the basis of your relationship. In some instances, that connection can be so strong that your readers will seek to become ambassadors or advocates for you, telling their friends, family, and contacts about you and your company because they identify so strongly.
3. Help others before you need help
If you are a business looking to grow then why not help others do the same? Are there other businesses or vendors in your community, on your friends list, or on your mailing list who need help?
If you see someone tweet a question and you have the answer, then reply with the answer. Or if you see another business on social media working to promote their services, then why not lend a hand? Re-tweet the link to your followers or share a post on Facebook.
Your generosity will likely be noticed. This business will see the way you’ve extended yourself to help and may drop you a thank you note or re-tweet. This exchange can be the beginning of a new relationship. I’ve become friends with business owners that I’ve not actually met in person. All because one of us reached out to help the other.
Maybe you two decide to do cross promotion, where you each share with your customers or community news about the other. Or maybe you two decide to team up for some other effort that can help both of you. When you turn a person from a contact into a connection, you open the possibility of a relationship as you two get more familiar with and trusting of each other.
Whether you have a large social media following or a small one, you can use these tips to build a more intimate connection with those who follow you, or those you follow. A few, deep connections that turn into relationships can help you grow your business.