In this special feature of 'Ask Entrepreneur,' Facebook fan Amanda Henry asks: How do I develop a relationship with a customer without being overly aggressive?
Interact with your customers on social media channels that are important to them, and on topics outside of just the business. Why? Because it's fundamental that you understand who your customers are, outside of whatever it is you are hoping to monetize.
As an investor, I receive hundreds of pitches every day from individuals, often through my many different social media channels. I'm always open to hear more and always excited to see this type of eagerness. I fundamentally respect these people and their eagerness, but my respect doesn't mean I'll buy.
The people who successfully engage with me are the ones that understand how to influence me on a personal level. They are the people who have taken the time to really know who I am, outside of the sale or our current business deal. They know my son's name is Xander, that there are two girls in this world I'm absolutely crazy about named Lizzie and Misha, and that my favorite drink is root beer.
I never forget these people – the people that have invested in getting to know me. It never goes unnoticed and demonstrating this thoughtfulness isn't impossible. It just takes caring, a little bit of time and a lot of patience.
You can do it by being genuinely socially active in their life. It's easy. Comment on your customer's Facebook post about a football game they're at, or tweet at them about their favorite movie. Like their latest food-inspired Instagram picture, or even leave comments on their blog – that will really help you get to know them. What matters most is that you are socially active around them and create context for your ask.
Only after you become a commenter, liker, or tweeter is it appropriate to begin going in for the sale. Around the third attempt, most will realize it was you who commented on their Facebook post and liked that Instagram picture which happened to mean a lot to them, yet nobody else seemed to notice besides you!
At the end of the day, it's all about context. The people who understand how to communicate their want without being hyperbolic will win. Leveraging context to sell a product, service, or promote a business is something I can't say no to if it is real, because real is only real, when it’s real.
Gary Vaynerchuk is co-founder of VaynerMedia, a New York-based social media and digital branding agency based in New York City. He is also the author of Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion (Harper Studio, 2009) and The Thank You Economy (HarperBusiness, 2011).