Short story: Social media is not and cannot be treated like a one night stand. It requires the attention, the commitment and the sacrifice of a relationship.

Long story: I literally have just jumped off the phone to my travel blogging, content creator friend and fellow aussie Dan Moore, and one of the big themes of our conversation was, wait for it — relationship.

We both make our way around the social space but we are in different industries and yet relationship is still a key factor for us both.

While talking to Dan it became clear that, for the most part, our biggest and/or best contracts and clients have come through relationships that we have worked on over a period of time.

Maintaining and investing into relationships, strategically, transactionally and personally have all been valid and necessary parts of winning work and growing our businesses.

It’s not a new idea and it’s not an uncommon one either, however, why is it that a lot of people are preaching quality vs. quantity and then focussing on vanity metrics and quick ‘results’ with minimal ongoing investment?

True Scalability Involves 1:1
‘Gurus’ *insert eye roll* will have you believe that you can effectively scale your business to dizzying heights without having 1:1 interaction with the clients/customers.

I know some of them. And I have zero loyalty to them because of it.

Don’t be fooled. That guru bubble is about to burst. Mark my words.

Not only that, anyone can make a buck over night, but if in the morning that client wants their dollar back — you‘ve lost out bigger long term than you won short term.

Word of mouth, baby.

You cannot continue to treat social media like a one night stand. 

In an age where it’s so easy to reach so many people, we still need to be mindful of building relationship at an unscalable level — 1:1. Customer service teams make this easier and more realistic however, even for the mum and pop shop a relationship based approach needs to be established.

The One Night Stand vs. The Relationship
Think about the one night stand for a minute.

You go out looking your best, you meet someone, you put on your best front to win them over, you do the deed, you don’t call and you don’t see them again. That is not what we want for our social media or in our businesses.

Allow me to explain what this means in your business for a second — You put on an attractive offer, you broadcast to the customer, they buy in with their hard earned cash, you don’t follow up (ie you don’t establish any ongoing relationship) and you don’t see them again.

Why wouldn’t you want a repeat customer? Why wouldn’t you want someone who advocates for your brand and your product or services?

Now think about the relationship.

How do you meet someone? Sometimes it’s because a mutual friend introduces you or perhaps you are actually looking for someone specific (we all have criteria right? subconscious at the very least) so you go to your local bar or coffee shop or wherever people congregate en masse, although let’s be honest, these days you’re probably just on Tinder.

The point is that you’re looking for something more than just a momentary exchange or experience.

This is how it plays out. You meet and you spend time flirting, dating, getting to know one another and after a certain amount of time you consumate that (with different details in between for different people).

What I’m trying to get at is that social media is very much the relationship — not the one night stand.

This is where you flirt, date and get to know your customers and clients. Ofcourse I’m speaking metaphorically for the most part (you do get to know them). But you establish, maintain and invest into those ongoing relationships through social media.

It’s not about quantity but rather quality.

In fact, you will find that as a result of quality, you will naturally see incremental growth.

Have I mentioned word of mouth?

If social is only about quantity for you then sure, go ahead and have one night stands. Get quick results. But don’t expect to have any longevity about your business. Don’t expect repeat business or brand advocacy.

Social media is a long term game.
It’s a commitment.

A commitment to consistency, customer service, engagement, results and empathy.

It’s a long term investment for brand longevity.

Once you understand this you can begin to ideate, strategise and put procedure in place to effectively create, maintain and nurture relationship.

Don’t expect to do the bare minimum and get a good return from social. Nobody wants a ‘surviving’ relationship, they want a flourishing one. This is down to you as the business.

I will say this as well, social media is not the only part of the marketing pie but it IS where your people are — so go to them, armed with the desire to provide value and engage. At times it will even require you to go above and beyond but that is relationship.

Attention, commitment and ultimately at times, sacrifice.

Welcome to social media.