Category: Online Marketing

People Want a Relationship Online

A trend I have been happily reading about is the growing expectation of a relationship online. People are savvy enough about social media that it is not enough for you to push content at them. They expect you to interact, engage, and be about them as much as you are about you.

Yup, relationship building. It is the approach that always wins.

Your online strategy needs to be far less about follower count and much more about how you interact and engage with your online tribe. Social media must be about building relationships. A healthy relationship means give and take. It means that both parties have equal footing.

Here are five ways you can show appreciation, connection and concern online. Doing these things will help you build a tribe that matters.

Share their content.

Take time to see what your active followers are posting on their channels. Share the things that represent a good intersection of their interests and yours. In a relationship, both parties should have the opportunity to initiate discussion.

Say thanks.

Appreciate your network by taking time to say thanks. Thanking your network for input, or simply for being connected, is easy to do and can help strengthen connection.

Acknowledge that your followers have lots of choices and limited time. Thank them for making you part of their online engagement.

Make comments into content.

Getting comments and feedback? Use them on your social channels as content! Make a post about a review or comment. Create a meme that uses a follower’s quote.

Sharing feedback is a great way to showcase social proof. This also highlights that you do read and care about comments and other input from followers.

Let followers set the agenda.

Get your followers by giving them a vote in what you do. Be sure to ask people what they want from you online. Point out what you do to deliver.

This also helps with specific business needs. Considering a new logo or tag line? Get input from your tribe. Need to name something? Give them options to choose.

Offer exclusives.

One of the best parts of a relationship is knowing more than people that don’t take time to be connected. Share thoughts and inside information with your followers that add benefits to their relationship with you.

Tell them about your plans. Share the back story on a product or service. Share personal stories about the people behind the brand.

None of these relationship-building tactics needs to be difficult. Develop relationships in a way that is natural for you and your brand. Those connections will really help you tap into the value of social media in creating connections for your brand, now and in the future.

Interactive and Visual Content Grabs Attention

Research by the Content Marketing Institute consistently shows that visual and interactive, non-static content grabs attention. Content that moves beyond static words is effective at getting the attention of people at all stages – from those just getting to know you to those who love you best.

It’s often easiest to create content in article form: a headline, a few subheads and a couple of paragraphs of text and you are done! The problem is that this is boring and won’t gain the engagement you need to effectively market online.

Video, infographics, polls and podcasts are all ways to move beyond words with your online content.

Create Short Videos

More than 100 million hours of video are watched daily on Facebook alone. Most people recall content from video more readily than content they have read.

The popularity of video content has lead most social channels to add support for video. And, they give more play to video-based posts.

The ideal is about 30 seconds. All you need to do is grab your smartphone, record something interesting, and post. Post directly to the platform rather than to YouTube or another service.

If you create long-form videos such as webinars, you can snip smaller segments to use on social media. Dividing longer videos into short, shareable clips is an effective way to generate a library of content.

Illustrate Your Point

Infographics and illustrations can be great ways to make a point visually. The human brain processes images much faster than text. Retention of visual information is better than text-based.

Poll the Audience

Quizzes, calculators, assessments and contests all consistently attract attention. I know my Facebook feed is filled with results of quizzes and assessments that my connections have taken. People can’t seem to get enough!

Think about ways to present your content in these interactive formats. Pose a question and let people pick the best answer. Set up a quiz that lets them test their knowledge or find out something about their own interests.

Talk About It

Consider adding podcasts to your content mix. Talk about a topic, either as the sole expert or bring one or more guests into the conversation. There is no better way to inject personality into your content marketing than to let people listen to what’s on your mind.

Moving from Target Audience to Customer


Every business needs to understand its target customer. The best businesses invest time and energy into developing a deep, granular understanding of that target.

They move beyond “middle aged women” to “married women in their 50’s with no children living at home who live along the East Coast and have a strong interest in gardening, health, and leisure travel.” Etc. They get as detailed as possible.

Define the Groups Within Your Target Audience

With an understanding of the target customer in hand, it is time to start thinking about the many stages that these people can be at in their relationship with you:

  • Unaware
  • Newly aware
  • New customer
  • Seasonal customer
  • Active/engaged customer
  • Best customer
  • Inactive customer

There may be more or fewer categories that are relevant to the relationship you want to build with your target audience. The important thing is to define the various relationship stages that can exist. Then, you can develop targeted communication to engage with people at each stage.

Target Communication Based on the Current Relationship

For each stage, you will want to consider:

  • Are there any characteristics common to people at this stage?
  • What does this person want to know?
  • What motivates this person to move to a more active relationship with me?
  • What information or resources will help this person move to the next stage of a relationship with me?
  • Where does this person get information about me? (Website, social media, email, events, print material, networking, etc.)

After all this research, you are now well positioned to develop messaging for your target audience at every stage. You will know what key points to target, and where and how to share the information.