What makes a good lover? Books have been written on that topic, but here we are not concerned with personal romance. Instead let us ask how love can help us build relationships, because relationships are at the heart of a successful social media strategy.
Here are five lessons from personal relationships that we can apply to social media relationships.
The first step in building a good relationship is to listen. In social media, this means knowing what your audience (customers, resellers, employees, competitors) is saying about you. Is the discussion good or bad? By listening you get a feel for the conversations that are going on. You can make a start simply by searching on Google with your organization name plus positive or negative keywords (e.g., “company x is great” or “Company x sucks”). Do the same on Google Blog Search to see what bloggers are saying and BoardReader to check activity on forums. by setting up a few Google Alerts to monitor the conversations. Check your analytics to see if there are any positive or negative keywords driving traffic to your site. Join social networks such as Facebook and see if there are pages or groups related to your product or company (or at least your field of business).
Once you are listening, try to understand the conversation, it’s context and the reasons things are being said. If people hate your product or service, it’s a waste of resources to try to counter that. Instead, empathize with the audience and figure out why they feel the way they do. Look at what is wrong with the product or service. Then you can engage with the audience from a positive position. Use visual tools to get a feel for the conversation. For example, you can copy and paste text from a forum or social network page into TagCrowd to get a general feel for important themes.
3. Be honest, open and transparent
Strong relationships are built on trust. And trust grows out of interactionsthat are honest and open. Trying to hide a truth or distort facts is the surest way to create distrust. If there is something wrong, be upfront and proactive. Say you’re sorry. Find ways to make amends.
4. Show the love
Part of openness is to be forthcoming about your thoughts and opinions. This is okay in social media, even for a company. It’s not necessary, it’s impossible in fact, to please all the people all the time. But you can show that you care, even if you disagree. The idea is to engage your audience and to interact in meaningful ways that are straight interactions. Simply sharing information can be disarming, when it is done in the spirit of caring.
5. Be passionate
As we know, the most famous (if not longest lasting) relationships are filled with passion. Dedication, hard work and a single-minded devotion to what you are doing, underpinned by an unshakeable faith that it is the right thing for you, in the right place, at the right time will carry you through the darkest, dreariest hours. With passion we live life, and our efforts, struggles and relationships become significant and meaningful.