Tag Archives: social shopper marketing

The Power of New Usage Occasions for Products

Most shopper marketers know that, today, the path to purchase is different for each shopper. Shoppers make purchase decisions based on a number of environmental and psychological factors and want to know how a product fits into their life before purchasing. So, what do you get when you take a utilitarian item like a housecleaning product and highlight multiple ways to use it? You give shoppers new reasons to purchase. (Cha-ching!)

The same can be done for just about any product.

Giving shoppers fresh ways to utilize a product can:

  • help you reach new audiences
  • show off your brand’s personality
  • allow you to take advantage of emerging trends without changing your base product

Social influencers are experts when it comes to creating new usage occasions for products without being too unconventional or unrealistic for their followers to want to try. Social influencers could be the missing piece to a shopper marketing strategy.

Social influencers are experts when it comes to creating new usage occasions for products. Click To Tweet

Check out these content examples:

Freschetta and Honey Maid products for “Glamping” experiences

Photo content by Easy Peazy Meals and JMan and MillerBug

Viva® Vantage® paper towels as a tailgating cleanup essential

Photo content by Frugal Living Mom

We increased basket size for Chobani with an influencer campaign highlighting new usage occasions.

When the brand wanted to stand out amongst competitors at Kroger’s Family of Stores, they activated a Shopper Social Media campaign to incite new usage occasions for consumers. The campaign focused on “Smoothie Week” with social influencers being challenged to come up with new and creative smoothie recipes using various flavors of Chobani Greek Yogurt and fresh fruit from Kroger Family of Stores. Through the influencers’ unique recipes and mouthwatering photography content, Chobani Greek Yogurt products became much more than just yogurt in a cup – it was the hero ingredient for a massive range of healthy smoothie options. The campaign resulted in over 33K engagements from 22 blog posts and a 2.4x mROI for the brand.

Additional Reading: Increasing basket size through new usage occasions [Case Study]

Want to learn what other roles social influencers can play in shopper marketing? Get your copy of our new white paper now!


Preparation for Syndication

Written by Mike Abb

So you’re a photographer, blogger, videographer, artist, actor, or musician. You work tirelessly making your content/product the best you can. The focus can take so much of your time that when the product is finally polished enough for you to release to the masses…. you are just plain burned out on it. The excitement that existed in the creation process has faded and you simply want to move onto the next project. Some of us perfectionists know this feeling all too well.  Often times you lose sight of the fact that content creation is a two-part game.


You thought of the concept for the media you wanted to produce. You acquired the materials needed to produce it. You then created the content. This process can take hours, days, months or years to complete.  The creation process is only half the game though and you’ve heard me say before they don’t give you the championship trophy at halftime.  The second half is where the content game is won and lost.


The crowd roars with approval lauding their hero. Another quality piece of media becomes worthy of their attention and potential dollars.  The content producer is celebrated and the demand grows for encore performances. How did this producer get to this arena to even contend for the crowd’s eyeballs and ears? They got here because they knew how to syndicate properly and prepared themselves prior.


Where does your content really belong?  Most people have the usual social channels, Facebook and Twitter, as an outlet for their content. Although these are what I consider defaults, have you looked into more specialized channels? For example, if you are primarily a foodie or crafter, the channels you should target would be Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram.  If you are a musician then the channels you should target would be Soundcloud, YouTube, TuneOrg, Reverb Nation, and Bandcamp.  This is just the tip of the iceberg; there are thousands of specialized forums and message boards that your content can be viewed upon as well.  If you really want to seed your content properly then you must find the appropriate outlets. If not, your content will fall on deaf ears and you will miss out on those social kudos that validate your hard work. Take the time to prepare your list of outlets for each piece or type of content you are creating.


Your content is ready to spread out to the masses and you have identified the necessary channels for your work to live on.  You then realize just how tedious it is trying to syndicate to multiple channels. This is where you can use some automated tools that can really speed up the syndication game. Many apps like Instagram allow you to post to multiple social channels in-app, but there are many more that don’t. That’s why I really like the app IFTTT that allows you to set up what they call Internet recipes. These recipes can make posting to multiple channels a breeze. For example, you can have your Facebook posts instantly be shared to your Google+ account or visa versa. There are endless possibilities with this tool and I highly suggest you start using it.


Now that you have a better grip on preparing to syndicate via your own posting efforts, what about making it easier for your readers? At Collective Bias we specialize in bloggers. We see many of our bloggers still missing out on including a basic social share widget on their site.  I can’t stress the importance of including this on your blogs. Without having the share bar, you miss out on those key analytics that help prove the success of your media. If you don’t offer the ease of sharing to your readers then they most likely won’t share it. With modern media consumption and attention levels competing every step of the way you have to give the reader that instant satisfaction of sharing with one click. Here is a great link that highlights some of the most popular wordpress social share plugins. There you have it folks: a little dose of how to prepare to syndicate properly. If you have any other tips or tricks, please share them in the comments!

SEO Refresher: Make Your Blog Stand Out Online!

 The world of SEO has changed in recent years. A lot. In the past, keyword stuffing and aggressive link-building pretty much assured you a Page 1 listing.  These days, quality content is the most important thing when it comes to being found online.  Search has evolved since the early days of Google, Yahoo, and Alta-Vista.  Today, SEO is as much about discoverability in general, as it is about technically optimizing your site for a particular search engine.  That means in addition to some site tweaks, you have to really understand the best ways to share your content so people can view it.  Here are a few tips to revamp your SEO and gain more traffic:

1. Get a good plugin.  This is specific to WordPress, but I recommend Yoast. It’s easy to use, and incredibly powerful – you can tweak any part of your site.  Ranking in search is only part of the battle; you also have to make people click on your link.  Yoast not only makes sure your site is structured well for the crawlers (programs that search engines to analyze websites), but it also allows you to easily tweak the way your site appears in search results.

2. Get on Google+ . . . TODAY.  I’ve heard all the excuses.  “Do I really need a new social network?”  “I don’t want another place to post.”  “I can’t get ‘in’ to Google+.”  I get it.  I really do.  But more than anything else that you can do, Google+ has the most power to boost your search results.  Get on Google+. Develop a following of engaged people. Join communities. Encourage your readers to +1 your content. Your +1’s actually causes your site to shoot right to the top of search results for people in your network; the same goes for your followers.  All of their friends on Google+ will see your web pages that they have +1’d much higher in search. You simply cannot afford to be a content producer and ignore Google+.  This also lets you set up Google Authorship.  Another must.

3. Make it easy to share. Use a plugin, or find a feature in your preferred blogging tool that allows your site visitors to easily share to any social network they want.  Put Google+ first.  That’s where you truly want them sharing.  But include everything else too. Make it easy!

4. Clean-up Site Structure.  This is the most technical piece, but it’s still important.  Take a look at your site’s title, subtitle, and description.  These should be very descriptive of what your site is about, and use keywords that you want to rank for.  Here’s a quick checklist:

a.     Title – Use SEO Keywords here that are important to you

b.     Tags – Choose meaningful tags for your posts – 3-5 as a general rule.

c.     Permalinks – Ditch the standard number-based permalinks.  Your permalinks should use the title of your post, or the category and title.

d.     Internal Linking – Make sure that in your blog posts, you’re linking liberally to past posts that are relevant.


How did Traditional Advertising Lose its Trust Factor?

Written by Sam Freeze

Millennials, like me, have grown up being completely bombarded by traditional advertising at every pore available. They’re at every sporting event we attend, every newspaper we pick up and on every TV show we watch, but do we trust these ads? What should we trust? Peer recommendations through blog marketing, for one thing.

According to Hubspot, over 75% of consumers do not think traditional ads are based on facts. Just how many toothpaste brands claim to be “recommended by most dentists?” How many different motor oil brands are the #1choice of NASCAR drivers? Brands make claims that are often outlandish and founded upon loopholes in FTC regulations on advertising claims.

A general mistrust of advertising is both directly and indirectly learned in schools now from an early age. From 1950s Madison Avenue tactics to war propaganda, schools have taught that advertising is nothing more than a manipulation of the public, and often used with devious intent. Advertisements such as this Camel ad claims without citing any legitimate study, “More Doctors Smoke Camels than any other cigarette!” This seems ridiculous with what we know now, but at the time it had real influence on consumers.

With the digital era and the advent of social media, transparency and information is at the fingertips of every consumer and the good, the bad and the ugly can spread like wildfire. According to Brafton, 89% of consumers use search engines for purchase decisions, using reviews, friends or even online forums or blogs before we buy that next tech toy we want. We don’t take brand’s word as fact anymore, all we need to find the truth is ten seconds and a smart phone.

With such progressive education on advertisement tactics and increased access for consumers to technology, it has been hard for brands to hold trust with the consumer.

So what’s a brand to do?

  • Brand transparency goes a long way in “humanizing” your company. Bring the consumer into your factory, show them how your products are made and let them meet your workers. You want brand advocates that are passionate not only about your product, but also the values of your company. The digital era has given brands numerous mediums and outlets to show the consumer who they are as a company. Certainly not an opportunity to be wasted.
  • User-generated content is a great tool for brands to build trust with the consumer. According to a Local Consumer Review survey conducted in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. If the consumer can search for your products and find positive content that’s not attached to your brand, it will seem more legitimate.
  • Sell your brand, not your product. A brand’s online presence should be more about a brand’s values and identity rather than the products they sell. One of my favorite Instagram contests is Red Bull’s #SUMMERISHERE. You can scroll down through multiple pages before you find a picture featuring a Red Bull can. They made a fun contest that engaged their consumers with their brand without pushing product. The goal should be to create a brand that your target consumer wants to engage with and be a part of.


The Disconnect Between Women and Marketing

Written by Account Services Intern, Erin Piepenbrok

As women begin to wield more and more influence over the worldwide economy, it’s clear that all aspects of business must adapt and tailor their approach to connect with the female shopper. Currently, connecting with the female shopper is a formula that’s still being demystified, but those businesses that have successfully made the connection through mediums like blog marketing ultimately gained a boost in sales and loyal, returning customers.

The Disconnect

At present, a disconnection exists between marketing and women. Women currently control more than $20 trillion dollars in worldwide spending (and $5 trillion in the US alone, half of the country’s GDP), yet 91% of women feel that marketers do not connect with them. Furthermore, women control or influence 85% of all US consumer brand purchases and carry heavy influence in purchases in the following categories:

  • 91% of New Homes
  • 66% PCs
  • 92% Vacations
  • 80% Healthcare
  • 65% New Cars
  • 89% Bank Accounts
  • 93% Food
  • 93 % OTC Pharmaceuticals


Why should marketers take notice of this? Because recent studies have found that because women are so influential in the market, 80% of new products fail because they don’t connect with women. So to say that women are a niche market, as marketers often do, couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything, they are a critical market.

Who Are These Women: Understanding the Target Market

A study conducted by Mediative entitled “A Glimpse into The Online Behaviors of Women” identified women shoppers as falling into three categories: Young Women, Professionals and Digital Moms. Each of these categories of women have specific tastes and trends that apply to them, to understand them will be beneficial to any business. Young women, who are active and present on social media, are more likely to look at consumer generated content than are middle-aged women.  They are also more influenced by consumer reviews, mobile coupons and friends social media posts. Professionals spend less time on the computer at home and more time on the computer at work. According to Mediative’s study, “they shop online an average of 10 times a month, go on social media sites 18 times a month, and casually surf the internet nearly 30 times a month. In 2011, the majority of a professional woman’s online purchases were made between 12 PM and 1 PM.”  Digital Moms have a particular set of considerations that include the age of their children and the age of the Digital Mom. For example, women who were under 35 were more likely to use mobile browsing and text messages, and women who were over 45 preferred to use online news sources and consumer reviews.

Connect the Disconnect: What Women Want

It’s been one of society’s most famous questions: what do women want? In the realm of marketing, this question is beginning to be answered and some clear trends are beginning to develop that marketers can capitalize on:

  • Shopping is a social activity for women. They love to talk about it, whether it’s what they bought, how much they bought it for, and where they bought it. Connect them to the brand through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Women are three times as likely to learn about a product through other women and place great importance on high information availability. Communication and networking is essential to reaching women.
  • Customer service is key. Melissa Ann Andrews from Portada Online described the essential role that customer service plays in women’s brand loyalty, “It doesn’t matter necessarily that a company is rated number one in consumer polls. It matters if that company had what they needed. It has also been shown in surveys that women will stay with a store that has associates that help them feel important and valued. Being ignored by sales people was listed as a main reason that women would stop shopping at a store. The top complaint for women while shopping is lack of help when needed. Women were also found to be angry while shopping if employees intruded on conversations.”
  • Anticipate needs and communicate value. Women enjoy a company that can anticipate what they want and can make a clear statement on how this product will add value to their lives. Women don’t want to have to ask hundreds of questions to sales associates and don’t want a list of features presented to them. Communicate a message that shows how value will be added to the woman’s life with a particular product. It should be noted that this doesn’t mean the product has to be feminized in itself, but rather communicate a feminine-friendly message.

Women are essential to a business’s success and understanding how they operate in a shopping experience has opened up a door to new marketing initiatives and creative ways to connect. If you can connect with them, you’ll gain a loyal, returning customer.

What do you think women want to see from a company?





Snackable Content: Sound Bites to Fulfill Your Hunger for Information

Written by Account Service Intern, Brett Sosnik

Professional bloggers are just that, pros at making “snackable” content. What is that exactly?

There are three primary times to eat during the day: breakfast, lunch and dinner and these large, filling meals help keep our appetites suppressed throughout the day. However, a small snack is often needed in order to keep away hunger.

Just like meals and snacks are primary sources of nutrition, television, magazines, newspapers and online articles help satisfy our need for more in depth information coverage.  However, in order to fulfill our constant desire for knowledge, content size has changed, transforming from long text to small, bit-sized pieces of information. These little content snippets are part of an increasing trend towards “snackable” content.

Readers want content they can scan quickly

The adult attention span has dwindled to a mere 2.8 seconds, so less is more when creating content that will grab a reader’s attention.  Readers want to scan text effortlessly while still getting valuable information from it. Utilizing bite-sized pieces of content helps readers digest information easily because the meaning can be understood quickly. The key is that these small pieces of content are tied to deeper information and knowledge found in the connection to other experiences and stories.

There is a growing trend towards visuals

The transformation from traditional content to snackable sized portions can be seen in the move from text to visuals. Some of the most engaged online content features pictures, videos, infographics and gifs, especially on social media platforms.  The rise in popularity of Instagram, Vine, Pinterest and Tumblr proves how important visuals have become, and the increased use of photos and videos on Facebook and Twitter provide further validation. These platforms exemplify the concept of snackable content because of their unique time limitation; Instagram’s video feature limits video to 15 seconds or less while Vine videos are no more than 6 seconds. These websites have seen tremendous user growth because of the effortless ability to engage with lots of content and information in a short timeframe.

Snackable content must maintain its nutritional value

When brands utilize snackable content, they must ensure that the content isn’t dumbed down to where there is no substance left. Brands must maintain the value within their content in order to spark engagement and keep readers coming back for more. The best snackable content fulfills an audience’s need for information at a rapid consumption rate.

The thirst for knowledge and information is growing at an immense speed and in order to meet this demand, creators must generate content that captures attention easily and effectively, wetting a reader’s appetite and making them crave more.

Which type of content do you prefer: traditional, long text or snackable content?


App Review Series: WordPress

App Review Series:
 This series is written by members of Social Fabric to educate other members about new apps, how to use them, and their opinions about the apps. These are not sponsored posts, but written by members who volunteered to do a review.

Every once in a while you’ll see me write this in the middle of a post “forgive any typos, I’m writing this post from my iPhone.” Most of these are Quickie Posts because I truly suck at typing on my iPhone and I’m famous for typos during texts, tweets etc. What this usually means is that I’m out and feeling like blogging, and only have my phone on me, and thanks to the awesome WordPress iPhone App, I am able to do that (fairly) successfully.

What better way to introduce this app to you than to actually write this review on the app itself? I have to admit I am cheating slightly and I’m using my iPad (and my handy-dandy iPad keyboard attachment that the Luv Luv bought me for Christmas last year) to write it, just to try to cut down on typos. After all, I do have SOME standards on this blog!

Anyway, like any other app, this app has a cool little symbol and is added to your dashboard through the App Store on you iPhone or iPad.

As you can see, my iPad apps are not quite organised organized so that only I can find things quickly – but my iPhone is much more user friendly (all iPhone photos are being added after, since my iPad and iPhone are not synced to each other – yes I’m that disorganized of an Apple user).

My Social Media
It takes you to this awesome dashboard that is fairly easy to navigate – you can see all your posts listed, visit any of your pages, comments, view your stats etc…and even preview your site and admin dashboards for whichever pages you may have access to (as you can see I can edit and write on Singles Warehouse whom I have recently started working with). You just touch whatever you want to do and go for it.

20130718-165012.jpgAs you can see, you can start a new blog post by pressing the little + sign, and there are options to save your work as a draft, pending review or published, just like on WordPress on your computer that you’re used to!

20130718-165254.jpgIn fact, all the options that you have on your WordPress on your computer are available on the app, even if you may have to search for it a little bit!

I also love that you can double check how your post is going to look before you actually publish, to get a good idea of what the final product would be.

20130718-165451.jpgOne of the quirks that the app has that I was a bit confused about is that the app divides your post list into “Local” and “Posts.” Say what? So, with a little google searching, I found out that they are all posts that would be stored in your WordPress database, but the ones that are listed under “Local” are ones that have been written through the app and is stored in the app database as well. To me, it makes no difference, but I guess for some, they care about whether the post was written on a computer in a browser, or on an iPhone or iPad where they used the app? Or perhaps it is a way for WordPress itself to determine how useful the app is to their users? I don’t know… :S

20130718-165858.jpgThe main downfall I’ve found with the app is that putting in photos or videos are a bit of a pain. I tend to insert photos after I’ve written all of my blog – just to save me time in the end, but the best way to do it with the app is to add the photos as you are writing. This is still a little awkward because you have to press the “done” button to close down the window in which you are writing and you have to touch the little camera button or video at the bottom right of the window to bring up the picture.

20130718-170157.jpgYou have to wait for it to upload and update your entire post – which means that if you forgot to change your status from “published” to “pending review” or “draft”, you’ve just published your work in progress! You also cannot edit your post while it is updating, so the process can become quite slow and very time consuming.

20130718-170630.jpgAfter you upload you go to a screen preview of your post instead of back to the editing window – which again, is a little inconvenient. I also hate that the app assumes where your photo should be placed – and that I have to add my “center” and “/center” html tags to ensure that the photos are centered on the page (as you may see in a few of the photos above). You also cannot alter the photos in the WordPress app, hence the reason you all now know that I’m writing this post from the middle of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire (Thank God for public wifi!). Lastly, the photos are not saved in your WordPress media file (as far as I know), but locally on your iPhone or iPad, which can be quite annoying when you’re trying to re-edit a post after the fact.

This all being said, this little blurb on putting in photos took me longer to write than the rest of the post.

The other downfall of the app is that I don’t have access to my awesome plug-ins from the app – for example, I cannot set my SEO through my SEO plug- in unless I go onto my computer and edit. In the end, I ALWAYS end up going back to my computer WordPress platform and end up editing small things, for example, in this post I went onto the computer and had to shrink the photos to a smaller size and had to remove some things like weird HTML popping up once in a while (but again, I think that particular one is my fault, not the app)…unless it’s a really quick Quickie Post, then I usually am just ranting a short blurb without photos etc.

All in all, though, the WordPress App for iPhone and iPad is a very useful app if you’re on the run and come up with a brilliant blog idea. Personally, I tend to use it very sparingly because I’ve been trying to increase the amount of photos on my blog and the awkwardness of the process of putting photos on the blog through the app just frustrates me. What I DO use it for, however, is to start drafts – loads and loads of drafts for my posts. This way, whenever a brilliant idea hits me, I can record the draft directly into WordPress and have it accessible to me when I have the chance to get at my computer.


Bewildered BugSerena is a 30-something, PR-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, “smug-married”, baby-wanting, self-proclaimed people-watching allergy-queen just trying to navigate this obstacle course called life. Her blog, Bewildered Bug, is her attempt to relay her everyday experiences as someone who is not yet a Mom, but no longer a party girl. Feel free to contact her there, on Facebook or on Twitter.


Why Are Women So Crazy for Content?

Face it. We are content freaks. We consume more content and partake on more social networks than ever.  We are using the Internet 17 percent more than men. Many women are becoming professional bloggers. We have become the early adopters for much of today’s technology and tech devices: smartphones and their usage, tablets, Skype, Instagram, GPS and more. We hyper task view with one eye on our smartphones, another on our laptops or TV sets and more often than not if we’re moms, our third eye is laser-pointed at our children. We are rabid for content. Why?

Content makes us happy. It gives us laughter when we need it. Stress relief with a few minutes of online gaming. Content connects us to others with shared passions and beliefs. And of huge importance, content helps us make informed decisions.

It’s important to know that the purchase decision process is different for a woman than a man. We need more content in order to make informed purchase decisions. We do our homework whether it’s a medium-sized purchase or a large one.

Marti Barletta of Trendsight explained it so well. For most men, it’s pretty simple. The item fits and the price seems fair.  But for women it’s so much more dependent on content. Consider a simple purchase of a pair of black pants. She will want to know how it washes. What does it look like when she sits down? Will it travel well? Does it have pockets? Where are the pockets? Will the pockets make her bottom look big or camouflage her derriere? And not to mention, what should she wear with it? Are the pants capable of going from work appropriate to dressed up for the evening with a change of a shirt? Does she have the right shoes for it? Will it require tailoring–an added expense? Is it a good value for the money? Who else has bought these pants? What have the reviews said, are they people she knows and trusts? Is this the best place to buy the pants? The best price? The questions are endless for a simple purchase of a pair of pants.

So what is the must-have content?

• reviews
• stories
• testimonials/advice
• supported facts
• tips and tricks
• cost comparison charts
• podcasts
• videos
• webinars
• photos
• access to live chat, customer service

And the funny thing is the first place we look triggers all these questions. From there we will search online and in multiple places, talk with friends and end up buying the first pair we tried on at the first place we looked.



App Review Series: StumbleUpon!

App Review Series: This series is written by members of Social Fabric to educate other members about new apps, how to use them, and their opinions about the apps. These are not sponsored posts, but written by members who volunteered to do a review.

Stumble into an Epic Surfing Experience with the StumbleUpon App

Internet surfing is taken to a whole new level with StumbleUpon. Find new-to-you websites and blogs related to topics you’re interested in quickly and easily. The StumbleUpon app for iPad is user-friendly, and you’ll never run out of interesting sites to check out.

How to get started with the StumbleUpon app:

1. Install the StumbleUpon app from the iTunes store.

2. Sign up for a new account. You can use your Facebook or Google account or sign up using your email address.

stumble upon


3. Start adding interests to you account. These interest topics will serve as jumping off points for your stumbling fun. You can surf all of your interests or choose a particular one to stumble within, so don’t worry about adding too many. I happen to be interested in a lot of different topics, so I have loaded up my interest list with 86 interests.

stumbleYou will get a small pop-up preview of the site before it is loaded. You can choose to wait a second to view the website or stumble to the next one, if it doesn’t look like something you’d enjoy.

4. Start stumbling! When you like the website you’ve stumbled, hit the “thumbs up” so that you’ll be able to stumble more sites like it. Additionally, you can easily go back to your “likes” later to view them again.


5. Share what you like. If you StumbleUpon something you enjoy, share it on twitter, Facebook, or with another stumbler; add it to a list you’ve created.


One thing that I love about StumbleUpon is Lists. Lists are collections of sites based around particular themes or interests. Users create these lists (and you can create your own, too), which can be followed by others.

stumble profile

You can take a look at my profile above. I have been using StumbleUpon for a few years now, though I just recently tried out the iPad app. It is also available for iPhone and iPod Touch from the iTunes store.

When would you want to use the StumbleUpon app?

I use the StumbleUpon app on my iPad when I am waiting for an appointment, having a coffee or a meal by myself, and while watching a TV show or movie. If you’re looking for more information on a particular topic or interest, StumbleUpon allows you to surf smartly.


  • I love knowing that I will never run out of interesting sites to look at using the StumbleUpon app.
  • Very user-friendly
  • Easy to share on social media


  • I find it easy to get lost in this app, because there are so many options for things to do. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—it just means that this app is really addictive!

I would recommend the StumbleUpon app for anyone with a passive or active interest in what’s online. I’ll be using this app to surf smartly while waiting at doctor’s offices, grabbing a coffee and other occasions.

BeingTazimTazim Damji is a content creator and virtual assistant from Vancouver, Canada. She blogs at BeingTazim.com. Content on Being Tazim ranges from smart tips for decorating and organizing a home, to smart ways to use and enjoy technology, and also incorporates local travel ideas.

Find Tazim online:




Adding Value Back into Online Relationships

Written by Ted Rubin

FACEBOOK HAS DONE AN AMAZING THING—they now own the word friend. The problem is that they have devalued the word while adding value to their brand. In today’s digital age, the word friend means (more often than not) that you exchanged a keystroke with someone. When we’re concentrating on developing relationships, however, we need to take back the word friend and add value to it. Professional bloggers are leading the way on this need for legitimate relationships on social.

This applies to all our social relationships online. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn—basically all your connections—tend to become amorphous crowds over time, and we only interact with a precious few. So we are missing the chance to use social media as a tool that facilitates real relationships because few of us actually take the time to connect in the ways that a real friend would.

So how do you change this? Start with breaking completely out of your online world for a moment and doing something really cutting edge: pick up the telephone and call someone! I like to remind people when I speaks at conferences that the most prominent word in iPhone is phone. Make someone feel special by connecting voice to voice with them and having a real conversation.

So before you send off that next e-mail or start to text someone take a moment to ask yourself if the relationship would be better served with a personal contact.  If you want to add value to your relationships, resist the urge to take social shortcuts, and remember that:

Friends are not just an audience.

Friendship is a two-way interaction loop. Ask questions, listen to and hear the answers, and ask more questions. It takes ongoing interaction to get a clear path through the digital noise out there!

A friend is not a number.

Think about how many times you hear television ads that end with “to us, you are not just a number; you’re a person!” Yes, I have over has over four thousand Facebook friends, but I also pay attention and respond to all comments and postings on their walls and photos. Does it take time? It sure does, but all real relationships take time.

A friend has shared interests.

Friends connect around shared interests, which attract additional friendships that turn into communities of interest. You are the hub of your personal social media “community of interest,” so consider it your responsibility to provide content relevant to your friends’ interests. Hint: if you are authentic in your profiles and what you are inclined to share, this will be of interest to your friends.

Friendships require maintenance.

We are all calling these tools “social media,” yet we are becoming less social. Facebook status updates do not count as a relationship.  Back and forth conversation about your status update, however, is a much more social interaction. But don’t let it end there. Take the initiative to reach out and give value rather than expecting everyone to come to you.

Friends do unto others.

The way you engage with people makes an impression no matter what tool you are using.  Look at your own behaviors and ask yourself, “Would I want to be my friend?” Are you noticing and affirming the value of individuals and groups in your network?  What kind of friend do you want to have and to be? A real friend is not just a number and a photo on the screen.

Make a conscious effort to re-evaluate the word friend as you currently think of it the next time you’re on social channels. Look at your own online self and ask, “Would I want to be my friend?” Are you doing what it takes to be a real friend, or have most of your online relationships gone on autopilot or faded into the crowd?