Secrets to Building Digital Relationships


Valentine Last Valentine's Day I asked a few marketers how to develop great business relationships. The responses were insightful and smart.

With so much of our time spent in the online world I wondered how people were developing digital relationships. I posted on Diva Marketing and sent off a tweet asking ..

What is your "secret" to building digital relationships through social media?

It seems appropriate that the response are a Valentine's Day post. My heartfelt thanks to the people who responded to my question and agreed to share their "secrets" with you.

10 Secrets to Building Digital Relationships

1. Be Yourself
2. Integrity is important
3. Generosity is a mind set that you make happen by adding value.
4. Play nicely with each other.
5. Keep in touch on a consistent basis and be responsive.
6. Listening is critical .. it is not all about you.
7. People want to feel that they matter and you value the relationship.
8. It takes time to develop relationships in the offline or digital world. Finding a new best friend in one tweet is rare.
9. People may feel they know you even though they don't actively participate with you in a conversation. Take care what you say.
10. Simple is some times the best direction.

Susan Cartier Liebel,  Build A Solo Practice, LLC  Solo Practice University - You absolutely have to be yourself and do so with integrity. Be generous with your information and always play nice. It is very easy to get so comfortable in your online relationships you forget there are many who still don't know you but are listening. Be cognizant of your reputation at all times because they are made or destroyed online.

Brandy Nagel, Marketing With No Money - Say exactly what you mean. Try everything once. Focus on what works with your natural beat.

Sunny Cervantes, Confessions Of A Marketing Addict - I keep in touch with my virtual friends and business associates regularly and constantly.  

Donna Lynes-Miller Delicious Destinations GourmetStation -  Relevant content & don't over do it!

Bryan Person LiveWorld - My best tip is to link to and direct people to the good work of others online.   

Chris Brogan, - Be human, be helpful, and give more than you get.  

Katie Paine, KD PAINE - Always be yourself, your usual mulit-dimensional, multi-faceted, fascinating to some, annoying to others, self. Whether you're responding or posting, be true to the values that make you a human.  What would be even more interesting is to measure the relationships that people purport to have ..

Dana VanDen Heuvel, MarketingSavant - I believe that part of social media relationship building is about the mindset you take into the relationship. I love to help people. I have consistently found that if I approach social media connections with the mentality of "how can I be useful here", the relationship always starts out on the right foot.     

Jeff Pontes, Strategy Social - Be real, contribute to the conversation and provide something of value. Give more than you take. Social media can be used to shamelessly promote oneself or it can be used to provide and gain real value.

Aerocles - @aerocles - Define yourself through your posts. Anyone can retweet or post a link to a cnn article, but sharing information that isn't readily accessible to everyone is way to both demonstrate your value and illustrate an aspect of your personality    

Bill Flitter, Pheedo - Listen, listen, listen. We all have an agenda and non is more important then the colleagues and friends I connect with.

Julie Squires - Marketing Snacks - Here a little, there a little in the context of a low information diet.

Janet Lee Johnson The Art of Marketing - Being honestly engaged in social media (by using it myself) and completely transparent about relationships (sponsorships, etc.) are key to success. You have to give to get, and to be "in" the digital realm to have and build relationships. I'm surprised constantly at the naivete of "emerging" participants who expect instant success.

Eric Doyle, Eric Doyle on Facebook - Be yourself -- just like in the offline world.

Kami Huyse, Communication Overtones - There is no real secret, except to say that people like to be valued. So, I try to value them by commenting in their blogs, linking to them on Twitter, replying to their comments and being available when asked. 

Richard Binhammer, aka Richardatdell/Around the Web with Richardtadell - Listen, learn, converse and connect

C.B. Whittemore, Flooring The Consumer - Humbleness of responsiveness: being truthful, earnest and passionate about what you discuss on your platform, and welcoming interaction however it takes place [which means responding promptly] - something you do magnificently!

Marc Meyer, Direct Marketing Observations - The secret is there is no secret. The same things that apply in the offline world work in the digital. Being real and being you always works best. We have a saying in the offline world when referring to certain people and that is "that someone is good people", and that means that the person is just a good person; and you'd be surprised how well that translates in the digital world. I think the other secret if there has to be one, is that people need to leave the "take" mentality at the door when they login. In other words, you dont always have to be "on" and marketing, or pushing your message- you'd be surprised how much can be accomplished by just being the real you. The giving you, the honest you. the you that we always hope to encounter...

What is your "secret" to building digital relationships?


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Oh, hey. Thanks for the mention, Toby. This is a pleasant Valentine's Day surprise for me. I'm gonna post this on The Marketing Girl's Facebook page. :)Happy Valentine's Day!

Posted by: Sunny on Feb 13, 2009 10:59:39 PM

This is a great Valentine's Day edition. I'm going to be social and add value right now by putting it on Twitter :-)

Posted by: Susan Cartier Liebel on Feb 14, 2009 10:24:02 AM

Toby, thank you for this Valentine's Day list and for including me. With all that's happening right now, I needed this to recalibrate, revalidate and celebrate what truly matters. Happy Valentine's Day!

Posted by: C.B. Whittemore on Feb 14, 2009 10:52:41 AM

@sunny @susan and @c.b. thank you for sharing your insights about how to build digital relationships. one of the wonderful aspects of online is that it is so easy to learn from each other. your generosity is heart warming.

Posted by: Toby on Feb 15, 2009 8:36:05 PM

Hi Toby

Good to connect with you and touch baser. Thanks for the call out. Likely worth adding to that comment that it can be blogs, friendfeed, facebook, twitter or simply is about connecting. wherever people choose too :-)

Have a good belated valentine day

Posted by: richardatdell on Feb 15, 2009 11:41:22 PM

Treat everybody like your friend and be yourself I think is great advice for building digital relationships

Posted by: Brian on Feb 16, 2009 4:00:32 PM

Thanks for the great post, Toby. Nice collection of thoughtful responses. I agree that digital relationships still need to keep a personal touch. Tools let you message to the masses, but relationships are with individuals.

Posted by: Pamela O'Hara on Feb 17, 2009 9:15:53 AM

And I had hoped this article would give me advice for my ad.

Posted by: Joe on Feb 25, 2009 9:27:23 AM

Thanks for this post. Excellent advice. Too often companies are looking to use social media for advertising purposes when the real value is in building solid business relationships that take time but pay off in the long run.

Posted by: Laura MacPherson on Mar 16, 2009 11:22:28 AM

One of the easiest ways I have found to build relationships with people is to give them free advice/help/direction.

There's more than enough business to go around and the lasting memory that the person is going to have is what a great person you are.

Posted by: web design on Aug 12, 2009 2:26:34 PM

Online relationships are like the physical relationship. You need time to spend and nurture the relationship.

Posted by: Affiloblueprint on Aug 23, 2009 11:33:43 AM

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