Grow Your Audience: Making Friends Online

Long gone are the days where you could blatantly sell to people, and they were okay with it. Today, we want more. We expect brands to build a relationship with us before trying to pitch a sale if we let them pitch a sale at all. Essentially, marketing today is all about building relationships with potential clients or customers. 

But how do we build relationships?

Let’s Get Back to the Basics: Making Friends

What is the most fundamental relationship we build as adults? Friendships. Now, I say basic, but no one said easy. Relationships of any form take work — especially since, as adults, we tend to get busy, and there are fewer spaces where we can hang out with people and benefit from unplanned proximity to one another. So we have to put ourselves out there — on social media and in life. And that isn’t easy because putting yourself out there opens you up to negative experiences.

Dealing with the Fear of Rejection

In life and business, we all fear rejection to some extent. However, we often perceive rejection as a lot more probable than it actually is. Did you know that most people like you more than you realize they do? This is called the liking gap, and it is an excellent reason to try to push yourself past the fear of rejection when it comes to networking for your business. People generally like you and want you to do well. 

Not to mention that when you walk into a room with a positive mindset, you are more likely to automatically act in a way that causes more people to like you.

We can extend the idea to marketing for your business if you show up intending to build relationships; people are more likely to respond positively. And when you build relationships, you can later leverage that trust and connection to get people to advocate for you and buy from you. 

Relationships Take Work

However, you cannot just show up and expect people to bask in your vibe. Relationships take work to maintain. And those who believe that relationships require work typically reap greater rewards with building their connections than people who do not. 

In marketing, this means showing up regularly in a way that your clients find valuable. Continuous interactions are absolutely essential in maintaining a relationship — especially at the beginning. Generally, being around others will increase your familiarity with them. This, in turn, will increase your likeability — even if you don’t actively build a relationship. 

So if you show up consistently online and provide valuable entertainment or education, you will begin to develop relationships with your potential customers. But how do you take it to the next level?

You Have to Get Vulnerable

When you are building a friendship, you have to share things about yourself and ask questions of the other individual, so they share something too. When you share things that require you to be vulnerable, you open up the opportunity for people to relate to you and be vulnerable with you. When you are vulnerable with one another, you can deepen your relationship.

This applies to business as well as personal relationships. When you are upfront and allow people to know you, they are more likely to like you. When you ask your audience questions and listen to their responses, people notice and want to continue interacting with you. 

In a time where we are constantly inundated with the highlight reel of everyone else’s lives while still struggling with what reality actually is, showing vulnerability in your marketing will make you stand out from the crowd. It makes people trust you, and, not for nothing, it makes the internet and social media a better place. 

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