There’s a slide in my standard social media strategy presentation showing a young couple looking lovingly at one another. Okay, actually only the girl is looking lovingly. The boy’s face looks as if he’s brimming with ulterior motives!
The image is there to remind organizations considering social media that their strategies can’t resemble the teenage boy’s apparent dating strategy if they expect to build strong, lasting relationships.
The striking similarities between dating’s early stages and the first phases of implementing a successful social media strategy are a convenient way to gauge whether your organization’s social media strategy is likely be appropriate and successful.
With several Brainzooming presentations on social media strategy coming up, I wanted to share the specifics behind the slide’s message in more detail.
Here are 26 pieces of dating advice as valuable in trying to form a personal relationship as they are in creating successful social media-based relationships:
Preparing for Potential Relationships
- You have to be okay with the idea of taking time for a relationship to develop and reach deeper levels.
- Put forth the effort to figure out upfront what you ultimately expect from a relationship at some future point. Start off on the right foot and behave accordingly.
- Make sure both you and your place look good. Invest the necessary effort in presenting a pleasing appearance and having an attractive home someone will enjoy visiting as the relationship progresses.
- Have people in your camp who are supportive and ready to give you advice and any assistance you might need.
- While you want to be ready before pursuing relationships, don’t seem over-prepared or too slick. It’s important to be sincerely interested in finding a relationship and be truly genuine in your approach.
- Avoid erecting walls or other barriers to entering a relationship. Don’t make it impossible for others to get close to you.
- When seeking a relationship, it’s important to be seen and to participate where there are lots of eligible people already present. You can’t meet people if you don’t get out there and interact!
- Understand the types of people you’ll be meeting and avoid starting conversations about polarizing topics.
- You shouldn’t go in half-way. You’re on the brink of making a big commitment, and it’s going to take serious, ongoing effort to make it work.
As You Begin Pursuing Potential Relationships
- Seek out positive relationships and avoid getting get caught in negative ones. Realize not everyone you meet is a candidate for a long-term relationship.
- Be ready to both listen (more) and talk (slightly less, especially about yourself) as you start meeting people.
- Be truthful about yourself and your intentions.
- Make sure the questions you ask focus on the other person without getting too personal, too
- Your initial questions and conversations should help shed light on your compatibility and appropriate ways for a potential relationship to progress.
- Identify some fun, non-threatening activities to do together. One strategy is to organize and participate in group activities to get to know each other better.
- Don’t cut to the chase too quickly. You want to build up attraction in the relationship over time.
- Never force someone to do something that’s uncomfortable.
- Don’t get too clingy at the relationship’s start.
- Thank the other person for spending time with you, but realize it may not make sense to continue after the initial encounter(s). Be prepared for that. If you do expect to meet again, signal that you’re interested in spending more time together.
In the Early Stages of a Relationship
- Allow time to find out what’s interesting about the other person. What’s intriguing about someone else may not be readily apparent after a first meeting.
- Make reasonable promises that you expect to keep on a timely basis.
- Don’t place a lot of expectations on the relationship early on. Forget about demanding commitments right away or making someone change their behaviors as a precursor to continuing the relationship.
- Don’t try to suffocate the person with too much communication.
- Work to create positive, enjoyable time together without pressure to consummate the relationship right away.
- Be available when the other person is interested. That means you have to commit to devoting the time to make a relationship work.
- Small gestures are important and appropriate early on to show you’re interested in a relationship.
Follow all this advice faithfully, and your popularity and attractiveness is sure to rise both online and IRL (in real life).
Mike Brown is an award-winning innovator in strategy, communications, and experience marketing. He authors the BrainzoomingTM blog, and serves as the company’s chief Catalyst. He wrote the ebook “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” and is a frequent keynote presenter.