Building Relationships

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Social Media Blogs
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As with anything else, being successful in Social Media comes down to how much you are willing to put into it. It has been awhile since my last writing, but it is not because I haven’t wanted to. For the first time I can say I was at a loss for words. Anyone who knows me would find that hard to believe. There are so many topics that can be covered related to social media that you would think I would never have a problem finding a topic to write about. There are lots of people covering the many realms of social media and lots of VERY good posts about it…trust me I read many of them. I learn so much from other’s perspectives on this business. But my blog this week is more about functioning in the real world. Translating everything you do behind the computer or smart phone and actually living the social aspect of social media. Which is why I have not had time to blog lately!

Who Are You?

Have you ever wondered who is behind the Facebook posts or tweets for a company that you read every day? How many of the local people you follow have you ever gotten to meet?  If you are the person doing the posts or tweets, have you ever wanted to meet the people you interact with?  Have you ever thought about it?  The other week, I made the ‘mistake’ of changing my profile picture on my personal twitter account. I was excited about my new branding and wanted a cohesive look to all my accounts. I had created an avatar using my new business cards and from my perspective I thought it looked professional. Within the hour, I heard from my friends@NancyCawleyJean and @MichelleQuillin(@NEMultimedia) telling me to put the personal picture back. I was shocked as I thought I had done such as great job and was brimming with pride at my creativeness. Well the quote was, ‘I miss seeing your pic in those cool shades.’, ”I’m sad. Professional Schmofessional.’ and ‘I miss the personal picture, too! Put you’re smiling face back up there so we know who we’re talkin’ to!’. The message had come through loud and clear and my personal picture went back up. (I am still working on a new picture but that’s another story.) My friends gave me some very wise advice and a gentle nudge that people feel talking to a brand is impersonal and it’s a matter of trust when they can see the person. Now I must admit, I manage two twitter accounts, one for my company and one for myself. On both accounts, I am the sole tweeter. But does this mean I can put my personal picture on the company account?

Being the sole tweep for the company account puts me in a situation where I feel putting my personal picture on that account is not right based on the way my company’s social media is set up. If we had a master account and people in the company posted tweets, then we would set up a company system, like email, where people had unique names and could be identified with the company. We would probably use a twibbon on the avatar to show we are with the company. In other words my username could be kathie_ribc and I would wear the blood drop or logo twibbon on my picture. The way it is now set up, it is not a necessity and could give the impression it is a personal account. So to prevent confusion, it is cleaner in this situation to have the company logo as the avatar. This works the same for Facebook and Twitter for us.

So How Do I Build Personal Relationships from Behind a Logo Avatar?

Living in Rhode Island, our social media market consists of local fans and followers. (We do have some national accounts but the majority are local.)  They are the market we are trying to reach with our messaging (most of the time). I like to get to meet the people I talk with! I don’t like just being the logo because I truly believe social media is about being social and putting a human face on the brand. So how do I build these relationships and make it so people get to know the person?

Our followers and fans like to let us know when they are coming in to the company. When they come in to our main facility, and tell ‘us’ through twitter they are there, I make it a point to go and meet them and say hi while they are there. I thank them personally for their donation. These people are taking time out of their busy lives to give the gift of life…it seems the least I can do. It gives me the perfect opportunity to put their face with the twitter avatar!

I’ve made it a point to get out from behind the desk, get off the smart phone, go out and get involved in my community! I attend educational networking events, join social media clubs, and have even made new friends. I am constantly on the look out for new opportunities to create and/or attend events. I create social media events for both our customers and for my community. Yes all these things take a lot of personal time…but you are a professional working in a social realm…how serious are you about the people part of this work? To me they are not just customers, these are people who live and work in my community and I really enjoy getting to meet them. So now you know why I have been remiss in my blog posts! I have just been SO busy living in the real world!

So What Can You Do?

Get involved… Get Involved… Get Involved

Are you using linkedIn? Write articles for the groups you belong to.

Attend educational seminars and networking events. These are perfect opportunities to get to know the local people you interact with every day. I don’t think there are any cities anymore that do not have some sort of social media events. Can’t find one? Make one…they are so easy to get started!

If you enjoy public speaking, then offer to speak at these events. It is a great way to build your professional reputation! Do you enjoy charity work? Use the power of social media to get involved in causes you believe in. People will start to put the name with the brand and once they know who you are, will interact even more with you on social networks and at your own events.

If speaking is not your thing, that’s fine, meetings need attendees too! And being out, attending events is just as important as it shows interest in what those around you have to say. Remember, they are taking their personal time to meet and talk with you too! And they love to share what they have learned with you and learn from you! There are so many social events these days, I am sure you can find ones that interest you. If you don’t know where to start, check out web sites for local magazines, as they often are in social media too and have calendars of events on-line. Phone a friend and sign up for one today!

But the most important piece of advice I can give you is this…. in all things you choose to do, in all aspects of your life…Be genuine.

Tell me how you put the personal into social media and define the people behind the brand. I am always looking to learn more.

  1. Brian La Tour says:

    Another well written and very informative Blog Kathie, I really look forward to reading these and learning what is new and on the cutting edge. Please keep up the good work and look forward to attending a social event and meeting up with you.

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