The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

Small Businesses Should Try to “Date” Their Clients

Date Your Clients
Imagine You are at a Business Conference in Vegas

A smart, attractive looking fella is checking you out.
Wearing Khakis, a confidently silly Hawaiian print polo, and Jordan
1 Retro Off-White University Blues

“Now it’s a party,” you think to yourself, clutching a Moscow Mule as the dolphins swim about below the bridge where you stand. The Beatles stare down at you from atop the Mirage’s gigantic “Love” advertisement that wraps the top quarter of the building as you begin to approach him. You just finished the Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden tour of amazing White Lions and Tigers. It has been magical.

You effortlessly gravitate to him, you got this. Confidently you reach out for his hand. And you say, “I’m reaching out to you because I think you might find value in our upcoming webinar that explores the value of a new breed of system integrator – the super solution integrator and how this is changing the game of digital transformation for businesses.” 

You wouldn’t introduce yourself like this, a dolphin might slap you (DeathToStock)

A dolphin jumps out of the pool and slaps you before landing on a table of crackers, meats, and a giant cheese ball shaped into a Cheese Christmas Tree. The guy runs away, screaming. It’s a disaster.

My metaphorical Holiday Vegas small business pickup line, dolphin disaster, came directly from a recent sponsored Linkedin message. Ok, maybe the dolphin attack portion is a bridge too far. But the pitch itself is verbatim. How am I supposed to respond to that word salad? What even is a system integrator? If the person behind the message had taken a moment to get to know me, they would have realized relatively quickly that I am not in the market for system integrators.

Do Small Business Like a Party

You would never attend a party “filled with a few acquaintances and tons of people you don’t know and [basically] shout, ‘BUY MY PRODUCT!'” Says David Meerman Scott, author of the book The New Rules of Marketing & PR. Yet this is how your business messaging is coming across when you break the ice with a business proposition. Treating everyone you meet as a potential sales lead will not make you very popular at any imagined soirees, and you need to be popular. Popular people make friends fast, and “people like to do business with people they like.” 

Do you go into a large gathering filled with a few acquaintances and tons of people you do not know and shout, “BUY MY PRODUCT!”? Do you go into a cocktail party and ask every single person you meet for a business card before you agree to speak with them?

David Meerman Scott
The New Rules of Marketing and PR

So, cast aside the thinking that all you need to do is
just create a graphic and add some caption text — and then sit back and watch
your post succeed. It probably won’t, and worst of all, “if
a business posts something [and] no one responds,”
 in places like Facebook, Zuckerberg won’t show
it to anyone. It is the holidays, so imagine instead you are at a stylish
party, you’re not going to hand someone a graphic flyer at a stylish party,

The one way marketing messages from broadcast sources are practically antique. Companies cannot afford to decide who they are anymore. Today your brand is defined by consumers who have more control over the message, they can “contact brands directly and drive conversation”

How the 60s probably made their meat trees (
This Holiday Season use Social Media as a Convo with Meat Trees

Social media is a giant worldwide conversation, after all. Social media is also the space for occasional bizarre recipes for holiday meat trees.

Ahhhh, meat trees…Where was I? Oh — the digital and social media world is a formidable space “for building brands and strengthening relationships” because it is a space where entire communities can be engaged. A place where audiences are “more likely to listen, learn, believe, comment, and recommend.” 

As well as send followers terrible pics of Meat Trees.

The Web is ALSO a Conversations with even more Meat Trees

And it’s not just your social media that you should be
treating as a conversational vehicle, you need to be applying it to your
webpages. Scott warns us against using the “old rules…for offline

Don’t require a user’s personal information in return for
marketing reports or force users to fill out “inane
‘contact us’ forms

just for the opportunity of speaking to a real person. Scott suggests that when
designing a marketing strategy, “think about how you would approach it if
you were trying to date the buyer.”

For instance, check out the website for shoe e-tailer Zappos. In the upper left-hand corner is a customer service tab that unfolds for a link to a live online conversation. If you want to speak to a human, they have a phone number to call right next to it. Zappos is welcoming conversations. Unlike the gobs of sites that practically hide their phone number like, “It’s not me; it’s you, sweetie.”  

The web is also unfortunately filled with Christmas meat trees… Is that a Tuna Christmas Tree with Parsley Tinsel?! If you ever get a time machine, don’t accept any 1960 era Christmas Party invitations.

Yes that is a Tuna Meat Tree (Composite/ Better Homes and Gardens®)

In the present, as you break out your trusty ugly-holiday sweater this holiday season, make a conscious effort to pay attention as you kick your game to the beautiful people IRL. And then use what you learn online to make some conversational business relationships happen.

How do you feel about building customer relationships in the same way you try to make a love connection? Am I completely off base? Let me know in the comments!

Category: Advanced Tactics