Legitimate Online Relationships Can’t Be Bought

The web has become a social place and businesses that aren’t focusing on building relationships with their stakeholders are missing out on a huge opportunity. The web has brought more accountability to businesses which are now much more transparent. A business that doesn’t share content or participate in discussions will be viewed less favorably than those that do.

Unfortunately, this focus on relationships and connections has led businesses to make some greedy decisions.

There’s no doubt about it, it takes a lot of time to build a respectable following online. Whether it is social media followers, blog readers, or newsletter subscribers they aren’t going to magically appear in any predictable timeframe. Some marketers make the mistake of favoring quantity over quality and are impatient. They want their message to be heard RIGHT NOW. So, they decide to pay for attention which is a strategy that simply won’t work in the long term.

There are plenty of services offering a certain number of guaranteed social media followers for a particular price. Businesses that are so consumed by the numbers will pay for social media connections. Is this money worth it? Definitely not. Some will argue that having a higher number of followers makes your business look good. The thought is that others are more likely to follow a company or brand that has thousands of followers rather than a few hundred.

This strategy may work, but it might not. Quite simply, people follow businesses that they are interested in no matter how many followers there are. Social media is used as a branding tool and to have a conversation with current and prospective clients and customers. Social followers that are paid for could care less about your product or service and it’s very likely that they aren’t even human beings. What’s the point of marketing to robots or uninterested people?

It’s better to craft a well targeted message to twenty engaged followers than to 1,000 robots.

Businesses also make the mistake of buying a newsletter list. Not only is this highly unethical, but is also a waste of money. It’s also a good way to get flagged as spam and even potentially have your account shut down. If you do a good job of marketing yourself online and produce quality content that is worth paying attention to, you will be able to grow your opt-in email newsletter list naturally over time to an audience that wants to receive your messages.

The bottom line is that online relationship building isn’t a marketing tactic that’s meant to move quickly. Be patient and establish real connections over time that will actually lead to an increase in sales and conversions.

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