Social Media Relationship Stages

In our previous post, Ask for the Commitment on Social Media, we discussed asking your community for a commitment. In this post, we examine the process of drawing your audience into an ever-closer relationship.

Social Media Relationship Stages

RenegadeAttributionShare AlikeSome rights reserved by Ed Yourdon

To encourage a relationship with your customers and prospects through social media, it will take more than placing a simple “Buy” or even a “Like” button on your home page or social media site. As we’ve discussed, one of your online goals should be to draw existing and potential customers into a relationship that will be productive for both parties. The basic steps, to paraphrase online marketer Seth Godin, are to:

  • Turn strangers into friends
  • Turn friends into customers
  • And then… do the most important job: Turn your customers into evangelists

The trick is to do this without resorting to traditional marketing tactics that may turn off your online community.

Traditional marketers refer to the gradual process of enticing the public to become buyers as the marketing funnel. Lots of folks go in the top; only a few fall out the bottom as customers. Godin thinks this metaphor is all wrong for online marketing. In his free e-book targeted at non-profits Flipping the Funnel — Give Your Fans the Power to Speak Up,[1] Godin gives advice that enterprises can benefit from as well:

The math is compelling. Most of the people in the world are not your donors [customers]. They haven’t even heard of you, actually. And while many of these people are not qualified buyers or aren’t interested in supporting your organization, many of them might—if they only knew you existed, if they could only be persuaded that your offering is worth investing time and energy and passion and money into.

But how on earth are you going to get them to know about you?

We’re living in the most cluttered marketplace in history. Whether you are curing cancer, encouraging faith or educating people in need, people are better at ignoring you than ever before. You don’t have enough time to get your message out.

Godin goes on to say that most organizations have underused assets: your friends and your supporters.

Godin’s idea is to flip the marketing funnel and turn it into a megaphone. You give the megaphone to your fan club: the people who like and respect you, and who have a vested interest in your success.

Next up: Social Media is the Megaphone

Social Media Relationship Stages is the 33rd in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?, Social Sites Defined, Why Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

[1] Flipping the Funnel — Give Your Fans the Power to Speak Up:

About NextPhase Selling

Social Media Performance Group is a premier enterprise social media consulting company that offers a unique approach to integrating social media into the enterprise — forget about the tools, it's all about the strategy! Rather than focusing on the tactics (do this or that on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube), first we work with you and your senior leadership to comprehend your corporate strategy. Once we understand your strategic objectives and goals, we show you how a comprehensive social media strategy can integrate with and support your corporate strategy. We take an enterprise-wide view based on our unique Enterprise Social Media Framework, which maps social media to all appropriate touchpoints in your enterprise. We go beyond the obvious quick hits — sales and marketing — and help you achieve social-media-driven results in areas such as product development, customer service, and employee engagement and retention. As a result, social media is not just bolted on; it is integrated with, and provides support for, your company's existing strategy and operations, yielding unprecedented results.
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