Often the hardest part of starting any relationship is simply getting started. Most of us have been in the situation at some point where we are attracted to someone new and want to introduce ourselves. Since we don’t all have a friend like Barney, crossing a crowded room to make that introduction can scare us to death. After all…
- It’s nerve-wracking because you don’t know how receptive the audience is going to be.
- If your initial efforts aren’t received well, it’s a little embarrassing and can make you look bad in front of your peers.
- The fear of potential failure is enough to convince you not to even bother.
But ask anyone who’s been in a relationship how they met their significant other and they almost always have a great story to tell about how they met. There’s an element of magic, some spark, something that started things off on the right foot and lead to the long-term relationship they’re now in.
To massively paraphrase Lao Tzu: “A relationship of 100 years, starts with a simple introduction.”
As more and more organizations are starting to add social tools to their web sites and marketing mixes I find myself watching in dismay as the introduction is so poorly executed, if not flat out ignored. Imagine introducing yourself to that sexy co-ed by saying: “…. I have a new car!”. Sounds a lot like “We’ve launched a new widget on our Web site!”, doesn’t it?
Imagine if instead, the introduction to that sexy co-ed went something more like: “… I heard you talking about the environment. I’ve been thinking a lot about environmental issues after seeing Al Gore’s movie. In fact, I just bought a new hybrid I was so moved.”
That introduction is a bit more compelling, isn’t it? Which one do you think is more likely to actually land you a first date?
Social tools and programs are meant to help build a connection, a relationship between customer and company. In the development and implementation of new features, it’s easy to lose track of that fact social tools are powerful, especially when they are implemented in a way that your customers can rally behind.
Remember that as your organization moves into the world of social media and customer collaboration, don’t forget that the way you introduce your tools/services/programs is often as important as what you introduce. New product features are opening lines (or at least potential opening lines). The real question is how you’re going to turn the opening line into a positive, long-term relationship.