Virtual relationship marketing

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It’s long been known as a key ingredient in traditional marketing, so it’s surprising that it’s taken so long to become ‘the done thing’ in internet marketing.

In traditional marketing, we know that we need to cultivate relationships with the market and this is achieved in a number of ways – you’ll see plenty about this in previous posts so I won’t go into detail on that issue now.  In internet marketing, relationships have been spoken about at length, but so far, no one has really captured the essence of what this means and how to achieve it.  That is, until Perry Belcher who talks extensively about this subject.

The key lessons are:

  • use social media to make friends
  • increase your social media circle to include not only the 3 main venues (Facebook, Twitter and You Tube) but also secondary venues such as Squidoo, MySpace, LinkedIn and hundreds more
  • use your social media accounts for just that: social interaction
  • never hard sell from a social media account
  • drive traffic to other selling venues in a low key manner
  • then make an offer they can’t refuse

Makes a lot of sense to me.  In fact, it’s really similar to the old networking concept where you pick up useful business contacts / customers from your involvement in both social and business organizations.

The trouble with the old way was that it takes a lot of time and effort. And what if you’re not really good with people?  What if you look funny, sound funny or simply lack social graces.  Didn’t matter how good your product or service was, you’d find it difficult to monetize those activities.

The advantage of social media is that you can take the time to present who you are on the inside, rather than having people judge who you look like on the outside.  You can connect with people – a lot more people – a lot quicker.  And, you can keep that connection within boundaries that protect your privacy while allowing a certain amount of intimacy.

In other words, you might happily share with people what you had for breakfast, but you might not want to share the fact that you’re having a really bad hair day, or you just lost your temper with your nearest and dearest.

So, while people feel that they ‘know’ you and can form a trust relationship with you, eventually resulting in sales, they don’t necessarily need to know too many personal details.  As Belcher points out, it’s  the same situation as it is with celebrities.  You know all kinds of things about them, and see candid pictures of them at the grocery store or on vacation, all of which adds up to a feeling of familiarity and ‘knowing’ without knowing information that would compromise their privacy.  And as he also points out, once we’re on social media, each of us is a belebrity to those who follow us.

It doesn’t take long to build a relationship this way and once that’s built, a low key referral to your monetization venue will be accepted rather than viewed with suspicion.  That’s when you have the opportunity to really begin making money – even though you’ve been marketing from your very first tweet.

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