Cheers to Building REAL relationships!

We live in a world of texting, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and many more platforms that make it easier and faster for us to communicate with our friends, neighbors and customers; and, it allows us to keep up to date with activities at our kids’ schools, clubs, and our greater communities. But just because we're keeping up with “happenings” through social media (SM) I often wonder from a marketing perspective -- are we truly making life long connections with people, products and brands? Or are we building superficial relationships and fleeting customer loyalty? 

Because let's face it, it's much easier to check in on someone through SM versus picking up the phone or spending physical time with them and having an uninterrupted conversation.  Or, for that matter, even “chatting” with a customer service representative online is much different than standing face-to-face with that same person in a brick and mortar store.  I’m sure we have all had experiences where both situations have been good and bad.  But, I would suspect that most of us would prefer the non-intrusive way to communicate (which is sharing what we want/when we want to). 

In so many ways, SM can be the Holy Grail of marketing if managed and balanced. The problem, it’s difficult to find the right balance because the “mark” keeps changing.  Timing, moods, life situations, you name it impacts the consumer responses when companies are marketing through SM.  And, I believe that marketing communication can make the introduction and keep in touch but when it borders on actually making a strong life-lasting and changing connection it becomes a challenge. There is only so deep you can go with a relationship via SM because most relationships are complex. 

That’s why I strongly believe in an integrated approach to marketing and building relationships with our best customers, prospects, and; yes, even our kid’s school and our communities.  Staying in touch and sharing on and/or with SM is important; but, so is having meaningful conversations.  Showing up and investing face-to-face time (and that goes for products and brands too) helps build those long-lasting sustainable relationships that are based on loyalty.  By spending time together you learn more, contribute more and hopefully gain more. 

You might not remember the television sitcom from the 1980’s (unless you’ve caught the repeats on cable) but when I hear the CHEERS theme song it always makes me feel good.  It’s the epitome of building relationships face-to-face.  So please, go ahead and order from your favorite store online, but make sure you stop in and check out their brick and mortar too (if they have one); tweet and post Facebook updates but also make sure you show up at industry events to see your customers; or even produce an event to spend time with your customers.  And, yes share life changing updates through SM for our personal relationships; but, please show up for weddings, birthday parties, and picnics.  It will make a world a difference because REAL relationships matter; and like the CHEERS lyrics say “sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came”.  Cheers!