Archive | June, 2012

Relationship Building in the Digital Age

18 Jun

Monday, June 18, 2012

To follow up with the series “It’s All About Relationships”, I wanted to offer some tips on forming relationships in the digital age. As you know, networking is vastly different than it was even 5 years ago. With the explosion in popularity and efficiency of social media, most networking is done via these platforms. You have the opportunity to build relationships every day on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Are you taking advantage of these interactions? What follows are a few tips for each of the popular social media platforms to making connections and building relationships that last. 

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful networking tools online. It has a more professional environment than Facebook and Twitter.

  • Join groups that are applicable to your industry and/or interests.
  • Within those groups, post relevant and original content.
  • See who is connected to your the people in your network and ask for an introduction if you think it would benefit both of you.
  • Comment regularly on articles with intelligent responses or arguments.

Facebook
Though you can be more relaxed on Facebook than on LinkedIn, it’s still an opportunity to impress. 

  • Post regularly. That means something different to every company or individual so research the best days and times to do so.
  • Photos and videos draw people in more than words.
  • Dare to have a little fun by offering anecdotes, polls, trivia, etc.
  • Don’t oversell. Use it as a platform for a message.

Twitter

  • If you’re not using @ in your tweets, you’re probably missing opportunities to connect. Even just a ‘thank you for following, @…’ can go a long way.
  • Consistency is the key. Create a queue with tools like Tweue or Timely to make your program more efficient.

Pinterest

  • Post pictures that stir an emotional response.
  • Categorize pictures so they’re easier to look through and repin.

Blogging

  • Consider asking a guest blogger to write an article or series. You’ll automatically have a wider network.
  • A good headline to a post will get 5 times more readership than the article itself!
  • Comment regularly — and strategically — on other blog’s posts. (Follow the link for some really great tips.)

The Bottom Line:[Relationships are]… a collaborative bond, fostered via meaningful and well-timed communications and recognition.” 

Your turn: How do you network online? Which platform do you find most effective?

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It’s All About Relationships Part 4 – Marriage

4 Jun

Monday, June 4, 2012

You’ve met Mr. right. You’ve dated. You’ve proposed. Now, how do you sustain the relationship through til the ‘Golden Years’? In the same way a marriage takes a lot of work, so does a business relationship. It requires patience, understanding and compassion. (For this, I can claim extensive experience! Though I’ve only been married 6 years, I’ve learned a lot.)

Numerous external influences (i.e. children, in-laws, friends, etc. = competitors) will be at work throughout the lifetime of the relationship. So how do you ensure that you’lk keep your constituency? It comes down to maintaining customer loyalty.

Maintaining Customer Loyalty Through Customer Experience Management
One of my favorite college professors used to talk incessantly about what is now called Customer Experience Management or CEM. He totally believed in the power that relationships provide to the success of any enterprise. The more time I spend in public relations, I absolutely agree.

Non-profits especially carry a large burden because of their very nature. They survive on the generosity of individuals, charitable businesses and philanthropic organizations. Ensuring that their experiences at every touch point are positive — and rewarding — should be THE top priority.

Today’s business experiences happen not only in the office or storefront, but in the virtual world. According to Bain & Company’s report ‘Putting social media to work’, “customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20 percent to 40 percent more money with those companies than other customers.”


What does that mean for a non-profit organization? It means that to meet and interact with potential donors you have to have a presence in the social media-sphere. Not just a presence, but a personality, a purpose and a plan. According to the research, your donor are going to meet you online. So…

  • Create fangelists
  • Make social media platforms places where people feel comfortable coming and sharing
  • Run exciting campaigns to attract to constituents – contests, initiatives for donations, fundraising competitions
Customer Experience Management Also Means Customer Service
Also included in Customer Experience Management is customer service. It is 5 times more expensive to attract new clients than it is to retain the ones you already have. I know that in the non-profit world things don’t work the same as for-profit business, but the same principles apply. Every person who walks through your door or comes to an event or visits your website should receive the utmost customer service. If they feel unimpressed in the least, that’s it – you’ve probably lost them forever. People may approach you with an interest in the organization and not necessarily want to give yet. Have patience and offer them the same service you would a business sponsor or major gifts donor. I talk about customer service all the time with my clients because I realize its benefits on a regular basis.
 
***How do you know if you’re being successful? By completing regular SWOT analyses of touch points to see where you’ve excelled and what aspects you might have to re-evaluate. Always make sure what you’re doing is measurable so you can look back at trends and missed opportunities.***
Tracking Customer Experience Through Customer Relationships Management
It’s not only important to be on social media recruiting, but you have to track customer touch points through a Customer Relationship Management system. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a method of tracking customers and interactions with them for future reference. CRM systems for marketing purposes are used for things like:
  • Identify potential donors or influential fundraisers
  • Segmenting mailing lists by demographics, giving history, etc.
  • Recording all interactions whether phone calls, face-to-face meetings, social media, etc.
  • Analyzing customer data like giving history, fundraising dollars, participation, etc.
CRM platforms can be anything from Excel spreadsheets, databases, existing CRM platforms and any proprietary systems. By tracking the data, you sill be able to see and analyze trends.

Your turn: Do you use a CRM system to track interactions? If so, what do you use? What successful campaigns have you run on social media?

More from this series:

It’s All About Relationships – Meeting Mr./Miss Right
It’s All About Relationships – Courtship
It’s All About Relationships – The Proposal

Other related posts:

Customer Service and Its Place in the Public Relations Mix
Good Customer Service = Customer Loyalty

Follow Delaney Marketing & Communications on these social media platforms:       

If you enjoyed this article, Subscribe using your favorite method. And don’t forget to  Share it!

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