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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Online Cultures and Offline Behaviors - Part 6 - Nurture Relationships Online and Offline

Part 6 - How to Nurture Relationships Online and Offline

From the Whuffie Bank to RoadTwip, there's no shortage of advice on how to build social networks.  Here's a link to Gary Vaynerchuk’s five commandments of social networking with many more following below.  However, articles about how to translate those social networks into in personal relationships aren't common.  Additionally, what you see online is not necessarily what you'll see in person.  There a many people who have high Whuffie balances, but they don't have many positive connections offline.  And there are many people who are great influencers person, but rarely use social media or have low Whuffie balances.  Here's one link to a guide on how to attend a tweet-up, how to say thank you on the internet, and here are a few of my tips.

1. If you are the organizer of a big event, show up, and deliver.  There's nothing worse than going to a meet up, and not having a meet up. It wastes the time of many people.

2. Give more than you can take, online and in person.  Reach out in some other way besides the Internet.  Perhaps someone on Twitter recommends you to a client which brings you very profitable business.  It would not be out of the ordinary to send that person a thank you plant or a dozen cookies, provided you know that person's work address.  You might even invite that person to lunch.  When I was the Ways and Means chair for one of my national clubs, I learned that a person who recently placed an order had a death in the family.  I did not know that person outside of filling the order, but I sent the family a sympathy card in the regular postal mail.  Few things in life are worse than losing a loved one, and I'm a big proponent of oxytocin and social support.  From that, we began to communicate more and more often.  Less than a year later, the family, who lived on the other side of the country (Austin, TX to Washington, DC) met me in person for the first time while I was in DC, and presented me with a very valuable and large gift that both my dog and I love.  This example shows that a stamp and a card could turn into a wonderful long distance relationship.

3. Follow up with people online and in person.  Social networking isn't about making many "single serving friends."  I try to always "reply" to every single person who "replies" to me on Twitter in a positive fashion, no matter what they say.  It fosters conversation because my followers learn that I consistently respond positively.  If you want to show people that you're likable, what better way than to have them associate you with positive feedback?

4. One of my favorite business Twitter accounts is @FSAustin - for the Four Seasons and Trio in Austin, TX.  The hotel and restaurant's phenomenal service shines through on their Twitter account as well.  @FSAustin's tweets are useful, full of local tips, upbeat and happy, and very timely.  They don't tweet too often, yet they are always there when you "at reply" or "mention" @FSAustin or direct message them.  Not only do they reply to people frequently online, they are the very same way offline.  Their Twitter managers always make it a point to greet me if they see me in the hotel or even out and about town.  All staff members, including the general manager, wait staff, masseuses, and even the valet drivers, are always smiling, and very receptive of any concerns, online and in person.  They are a great example of a business that builds strong relationships with their customers online and in person.

Twitter and Blogging Etiquette

There is no shortage of posts and articles outlining Facebook, Twitter and blogging etiquette.  However, I haven't found any articles that are dedicated to outlining behaviors online and offline.  Here are some useful links on twitter and blogging etiquette.  My personal opinion in the next part will not outline the issues already discussed in the following links.


  1. Thanks for the mention in your post. You've got a great list of posts to read here. :)You're right, etiquette is so so important online, but it's got to be a component of an rich offline-online mix.

  2. Thank YOU for writing thoughtful blog posts. I really enjoy reading your work!