Relationships were a topic of discussion on this weeks #solopr chat. From how we define friends and vet subcontractors to determining the right circles on Google Plus, there is clearly a need for constant evaluation and clarity about our online interactions. At the core of any discussion about relationships is trust. How much I trust you will not only determine the breadth of our relationship but what and how much I share with you. I may “like” you but not “friend” you, and I may +1 you but not add you to a trusted list of people I refer to clients.
Trust is not freely given but earned. In our fast moving world of tweets and shares, many have fallen into the trap of believing that this path has a shortcut in a digitally connected world. Let me assure you that there is no shortcut to earning trust and building real relationships. To earn trust you have to show yourself trustworthy and that is not accomplished in a single 140 character missive or Facebook update.
As professionals, we should work to earn trust and guard it passionately once earned. After all, trust directly impacts our credibility, reputation and influence, and that ultimately impacts the trajectory of our businesses and careers. Trust can earn you a seat at the table and treating it lightly can lose it just as quickly. So, it’s puzzling to me why many are squandering the opportunity to earn trust and build sustainable relationships.
The seeds of a relationship are planted from the very first impression. Online we don’t have the benefit of a full presentation of body language to aid a first impression so we are left with our words and actions. Consider then how critical it is that we are mindful and purposeful with both, especially in the course of doing business.
There are those who dismiss the “small talk” that perpetuates social media preferring to get to the point and short circuit the unessential. Yet it is often the small talk that holds clues that allow you to thoughtfully develop relationships. Admittedly, it may not be sexy or fast paced but human relationships cannot be automated.
You want to get your news covered or your expert client quoted? Pay attention to the details and don’t treat the people who can get you to your goal like interchangeable tokens on a monopoly board. Put the work in to discover who they are, what they cover and how YOU can help them. Spend the time to craft a personalized, targeted pitch rather than resorting to a “quantity” mentality that has you blasting out your news to a random list.
Earning trust is well worth the effort and will reward you with richer personal and professional relationships that will yield bountiful results. Isn’t it worth it to take time to show and prove that you are a professional?
Related articles and Resources
- Either they trust you or they don’t (drewsmarketingminute.com)
- Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust
Andrew Heaton says
No problem at all, Karen – I haven’t been anywhere near as good as I should have been at keeping in touch with people since I stopped blogging (I hope to resume one day, but other things have taken priority for now).
Sorry to take so long to respond to your question. I would certainly agree that if we don’t have time to develop relationships on any given social media platform, then we do have to question why we are there.
Naturally, for some, social media remains purely a promotional medium. But for others, it offers the opportunity to develop personal and professional relationships that would not have otherwise been possible.
Karen Swim says
Hi Andrew, my apologies for not keeping in better touch! It is always a pleasure to have you visit and comment here. Good point about the pace of our lives impacting our desire to engage in chit-chat. That of course raises the question of how and where we are investing our time. If we’re too busy to build relationships on any forum, online or off then we should evaluate why we are there. Would you agree?
Andrew Heaton says
Hi Karen, Sorry it’s been so long since I commented here.
Given how time consuming social media can be, I can certainly understand why people who use social media for work or business may feel they want to keep ‘small talk’ to a minimum, or at least to put limits on how much social interaction they engage in.
That said, there can be no questioning the value that good friendships and/or commercial and professional relationships developed on social media can be if one takes the time to truly invest in them.