This question was asked via Twitter a week or so ago and then it was asked of me again at an event a couple of days ago so I thought it would be worth blogging about since ICreating social media relationships have a nearly 30 year perspective on this topic.

In the 1980’s when I started in marketing, those of us with small budgets created relationships a few different ways:

1. We ran ourselves ragged (although it was very fun at the time) creating relationships via face-to-face events.  We tried to never miss a chance to network, promote our businesses and we worked hard to get the word out in our regional markets.

2. We were not too proud to beg.  We were constantly sending out press releases that promoted what we were working on and asking for help getting the word out.

3. We scraped together what dollars we could to buy small print ads in publications we hoped could make a difference.

I guess you could say those were the “good old days.”  Kind of like when I tell my kids about writing papers in college – pulling all-nighters, writing everything out longhand on a yellow legal pad then typing the paper on a typewriter and using white out to correct mistakes (who remembers those days???).

My opinion – social media, just like the advent of computers and the internet makes life easier, makes creating relationships A LOT easier….IF you know what you’re doing.  But just like when we were doing more face-to-face marketing years ago, if you don’t do it well, it’s not going to work for you!

Today marketers still work very hard, but…

  1. Creating relationships has become much simpler
  2. Creating relationships has become more cost effective
  3. These relationships are allowed to run much deeper thanks to social media

Now we’re not limited to regional marketing.  We can all be global if we want to be and we can be as targeted in our marketing as we want to be too.  For someone who has lived and worked through all of these changes, it is nothing short of a miracle – especially to marketers who don’t have much money to market with.

If you would have told me back then that one day social media would enable us to promote ourselves world-wide, costing us nothing but our time, I would never have believed it!  Now, for two years I have marketed the destination I work for solely via social media and we have held our own.  Gone are the days when we can’t promote something because we have no budget for it.  By working with our social media connections we can promote without having to spend cold, hard cash and without hoping that some other marketing vehicle will work for us to get our word out.

Our social media connections can be much more solid than our connections of old.  How many times have we met someone at an event, a tradeshow, a networking opportunity, a conference and made the connection only to go our own separate ways after the function was over.  Now, with social media, we can immediate stay in contact with that person, build on the relationship that was started and hopefully be able to help each other in the future.  The fact that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. is available to us allows us to be able to connect as often as both of us want.

Now the actual “creation” of the relationship via social media is a little tricky.  It’s important that one does not cast their net to include anyone and everyone.  It’s important that you target who you want to connect with.  For more information on how I connect with others via social media, what steps I use to decide who to connect with, please see the post “Social Media is NOT the Medium to Cold Call.” 

So my answer (and again this is just my opinion), in a nutshell, to the question “How is social media changing the way you create relationships?” is definitely that ~

Social Media is a gift to all of us and has made creating relationships so much easier, less stressful and so much more enjoyable. 

What do you think?