Relationships Over (Self) Interest…R.O.(S).I

OK, before I start getting the hate comments on my blog and through Twitter, I know that ROI means return on investment. Through the great work of Olivier Blanchard, and others, I think we’ve achieved a greater understanding of what ROI REALLY means when it comes to social media.

That being said, that isn’t what this post is about. In one of my first posts, I referenced the book Trusted Advisor. I’ll reiterate to you that it is an excellent read for communications pros of all shapes and sizes. The primary argument of the book is that, in client settings primarily, we should be focused on high levels of credibility, reliability and intimacy and much lower levels of self-orientation.

So with that as the backdrop, I wanted to continue stressing how important developing relationships are over promoting your own self-interest. This isn’t something applicable to just social media, it’s applicable to life. Get out from behind the computer and meet people in real life (or, IRL if you’d prefer) that you’ve interacted with on social networks. I bet you’d appreciate their insights even more as a result. Are there people you haven’t interacted with that you’d like to spend more time getting to know? Send them a reply on Twitter. Drop them a line on Facebook. Send them an e-mail through LinkedIn.

Whatever you decide to do, remember…relationships > self interest every single time. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend!


4 responses to “Relationships Over (Self) Interest…R.O.(S).I

  1. I started counseling companies to focus on relationships long before we had social media. But I have met resistance at times.

    For a lot of folks in the C-suites, the “relationship” thing is a bit too touchy-feely and — as you know — hard to attach bottom line numbers to. So I try to frame the building and maintenance of relationships as something that serves your organization’s self interest. C-suite folks understand a rationale based on egoism.

    Cite surveys that show people are more apt to do business with organizations they trust, more likely to recommend products and services from companies that respond to their needs — companies that listen and adapt. Also, share case studies that support the data. We have a few out there.

    While face-to-face communication remains the best way to build and maintain relationships, social media have certainly helped us expand our reach. Can relationships scale via social media? I’m still not convinced. But the channel certainly enhances our 2-way communication, and that’s a critical element in any relationship.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Bill. Walk into your CEO’s, or client’s office and talk about relationships and you’ll likely get plenty of blank stares. It’s a “hits” driven world, especially in the world of media relations. With social media, it’s becoming how does this help me sell more widgets. Community building and other warm and fuzzy metrics aren’t on the radar of C-suite folks…despite what some of the social media “elite” would like us to believe.

      • Back before social media came along, I was drunk on face-to-face KoolAid. Same concept as SM, but no digital tools or networks. Reaction I got most often in C-suites was, “Nice, but kind of theoretical. What’s the bottom line?”

        At least with digital, we have links and search tools that can tell us who connects to whom. And to some degree we can also value the content of messages (positive-negative-neutral). In time, I hope, it’ll begin to produce some serious metrics.

        Relationships? That’s another matter. Truth is, I don’t have a “relationship” with any of my favorite brands. And I don’t want one!

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