Clearly, the way we communicate with our significant others has changed. Today, thanks to Web 2.0, we have the advantage of reaching any demographic across the globe. Much like our physical relationships social media is a way for brands to reach out to audiences and build relationships with them. After all, relationship building is what life is all about right?

The birth of social media has changed how we manage our relationships online. Relationship management, as it pertains to social media interactions, is explained in Mike Troiano’s post on social relationship management (SRM) and in Jacob Morgan’s post on customer relationship management (CRM). SRM is also described in a business context as the activity of building, maintaining, strengthening and broadening personal business relationships with relevant people. It can also be seen as a form of customer service. A study on human relationships, (the Dunbar number) shows that humans have a difficult time maintaining more than 150 relationships at one time. In the case of social media it’s not about the quantity of social relationships—it’s about the quality.

This post is intended to provide insight on how to foster effective relationships online. Hopefully after reading you will understand what SRM is and know how to foster relationships using the web. I want to hear your thoughts! Here are some ways to build your social relationship online.

Meet and greet: Just like any relationship, you must learn about your significant other. Know your audience. Do you know where they hang out on the Web? Do you know what they like, dislike? Do you know their preferences? Figure out where they go and what they do in their freetime. SRM is about people, not about constantly talking about YOU. Don’t play the field. Remember, it’s not about reaching as many people as possible—it’s about reaching the right people.

Make the first move: It’s up to you to make the first move when in the courting process. Building relationships is tough in general. Building them online in real-time may seem even more daugnting and may even seem like a blind date. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your audience. Ask questions and be transparent. Your goal is to gain knowledge and understand your audience.

Take it to the next level: Social relationships should be in it for the long haul. As you get to know your audience better they will eventually see you as a friend-not a faceless brand. You can take it to the next level by engaging with them. Ask them questions, ask for feedback and provide valuable content. Eventually they can become a go-to source and can act as a brand ambassador!

Stay committed: Commitment is hard for many people. However, staying committed in your relationships shows your honesty and integrity—exactly what consumers are looking for in a brand. Continue to build on your relationships and build new ones throughout the process.

Social media revolution

November 2, 2009

It’s not just a revolution. Social media has hit the fan, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.  Web 2.0 networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook and of course blogging are among the few online addictions that are changing the way we communicate. I must admit, I have fallen ill with the social media virus and it has spread faster than, dare I say, H1N1.

From a distance social media may seem like a trend that will come and go faster than one can say “re-tweet;” however, the essence of communication 2.0 is here to stay.

In a recent blog post titled “The Future of Social Media” on PR. 2.0, social media expert Brian Solis comments on the direction of social media as a tool for effective communication. He states that social colonization is the next emerging form of communication.  This phenomena allows users of Facebook and other social media platforms to travel across all networks with the same identity, data and connections. This will not only continue to revolutionize the way we use social media, it will also allow participants to practice transparency.

Social colonization is a perfect opportunity for students of public relations to engage with potential employers and fellow students. Social colonization is also a great way for organizations to listen to what is said about their brand, engage and network with others.

This post is a challenge to all individuals or organizations that are sitting on the social media fence. It’s now or never, so join us and engage with your audiences. You won’t regret it.