Social media is an important tool for any business that wants to remain viable. All of the big social media players—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest—provide “brands a chance to interact directly and immediately with their customers” (Gleeson).
Okay, so you have taken the time to learn one or more of these social media platforms. You are prolific at posting your own material, “liking” other people’s posts, and sharing other people’s posts, pinning, and Tweeting. Heck, you could be called an expert. Now what?
Some people, and therefore, some businesses, become so entrenched in social media and in gaining huge numbers of followers that they forget that people are reading their posts, people that are making the decision to follow them, or like or share a particular post. They become obsessed with analytics. They forget the all-important human connection.
“While mathematical analysis has always been important in both marketing and sales, we cannot expect math to take the place of seeing and hearing people, passionate about what they’re doing, to persuade us to their way of thinking” (Dudley).
Given that the world-wide web is just that—world-wide—you have to realize that it is not possible to connect personally with everyone that we are connected to on social media. However, there are those in your social media circles who are key stakeholders in your organization, or who are vital to your organization achieving its mission. You should make every effort to connect personally with these people. This connection can be in the form of a phone call. If geographically possible, meet them over lunch, or invite them to your facility for a tour, and to meet key staff
within your organization. At Aspire Indiana, where I work, we often invite people to tour our community supported agriculture program, Harvestland Farm. These tours give people a first-hand look at the work that we are doing to help those with severe and persistent mental illness obtain and maintain employment.
After you’ve had a meeting with one of these stakeholders or VIPs, take a moment to hand-write a thank you card, thanking for their support. It demonstrates that you think highly enough of them to take the time to write and mail something, rather than the standard email. Email won’t work here. It is much too impersonal.
In summary, remember that numbers are good, and numbers are important, but nothing can take the place of the human connection.
—About the author: Mark Combs is a grant writer with Aspire Indiana. You can follow him on Twitter @MarkCombs1968. Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mark.combs.7186.