Jul 12

What’s better than 1,000 likes? Relational social media

phonesRelational social media is not a Chewbacca mask, cat video, inspirational quote or a sponsored post with 1,000 likes.

It’s when your customers comment to each other about your business on Facebook.

It’s when your employees post about one of their work accomplishments, in their own words.

It’s when an organization you work with tags you in a post about using your product or meeting with you.

It can be a post with 2 likes and 3 comments.

Relational social media is a phrase I use to describe the personalized connections on social media that add value to someone’s life.

Relational social media is defined as: making a personal connection with someone on social media. Relational social media is going to a store, buying a shirt and the clerk who sold it to you tweeting about it and tagging you in it. That customer is likely to retweet it, appreciates the feedback, is showing their friends where they shop and feels more connected to the business. That customer is likely to follow that company and feel more comfortable that they “know” the clerk.

Relational social media is posting about your company’s product often enough on your personal page – but not so often that it is a sales pitch– that friends and acquaintances build brand loyalty based on your testimony, not the company’s advertising. Relational social media is having your employees post personal testimonies about your product and their job on social media.

This gives people a human perspective and potentially an emotional connection that makes them want to use the product. Relational social media is not posting the latest social media promotional deal that next month’s dance, karate or computer classes are half off. It’s posting pictures of people in the class and congratulating each one, tagging them in it and giving them the opportunity to share the pictures and engage with each other. It’s having each dance instructor from every dance class congratulate the student from one class. It’s creating photo ops and planned social media connections to generate more relational social media posts. How can your organization put processes in place that includes a social media moment when bringing on a new customer or client?

Key points:

What people say about you can be more influential than what you say about you.

Emotional connections work.

People connect with people.

Social media doesn’t have to be a highly produced product, but it has to be high quality and intentional.

A lot of companies will struggle with this. Why? Old world marketing is still effective. It’s big time. It’s easier to calculate and quantify. Pay this amount for this many flyers or this many seconds of TV advertising. Even this: How many people liked our post? Easy. What’s a little more daunting to quantify, control and calculate is the way people talk about your company on social media. However, it has higher value to the consumers.

Consider this scenario: 10,000 people watch a commercial about a new phone service, and a few consider signing up. In another case, one person posts onto their personal social media that they did sign up for the service and they love it and 12 people see it.  The value of those 12 people is higher because they have an unbiased, positive review of a product from someone they trust. In the other situation, 10,000 people have no idea if the company does what it says it can do. In the second case, all 12 people are likely to place a higher value on the message. The same goes for karate, dance and computer classes. “Are they good? Are they my style? My friend goes there, I always see their pictures, so that’s where I’ll go.” This is more casual, non-scripted (but highly intentional) interaction. It’s not a tagline. It’s a personality.

It’s also daunting because it lacks control. Instead of promoting what you want to promote, you’re responding to what people want and providing your product as an option. It’s a form of indirect marketing.  In traditional social media, the harder you try, the more you post, the more you look like spam. Relational social media achieves the opposite point: the more you work, the more your connections are authentic. It’s the new social media.

Rochelle Gilken is a social media consultant, strategist, storyteller and wordsmith based in West Palm Beach FL. She is a regular contributor to this blog as our Social Media columnist. She can be reached at rochellegilken@icloud.com.


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