As a small business owner, your business hinges on relationships. Relationships with other wedding professionals can lead to profitable referrals and joint ventures. It is important to maintain the relationships that you have with other wedding professionals and build more of them, but how do you maintain relationships when everyone is so busy all of the time?
One of the best ways to keep an relationship alive is by offering to help the other person with something. You can do this by curating the content that your favourite wedding pros are producing, thereby helping them to get it in front of more people. This is a lot simpler than it sounds and it will actually work to your advantage as well because you are sharing content your audience enjoys without having to constantly create it. Here is how I do this in my business:
1. Go to your Twitter page and create a private list called “Outreach”. (You can go directly to your lists page by going to www.twitter.com/yourtwittername/lists)
2. Sign up for a Hootsuite free account if you don’t already use it. This Hootsuite Quick Start Guide will show you how to add your Twitter account and add the new list you’ve created as a stream. This will make it so much easier to monitor what is happening not only on your new list, but throughout your entire Twitter account.
3. Sign up for Google Reader and search for the people you added to your Twitter list. This will allow you to pull all their blogs together in one place. Here is a video tutorial that Google has created on how to do this. (Note: Google Reader is being discontinued in July, but you can migrate this to another service before then)
4. Put a 30 minute block into your calendar everyday for relationship nurturing. I put this into my Google Calendar so that it pops up everyday to remind me. Take this time to check your Google Reader and Twitter list to see what your contacts have been up to.
5. If anything they have linked to, blogged about or tweeted about would appeal to your audience, share it. Make sure they know you have shared it by structuring your tweets like this:
How To Deal With Negative Reviews http://ow.ly/haoP3 via @debbieorwat
As you can see, I shortened the link in Hootsuite and mentioned the author of the content so that they know I shared it and enjoyed it. Hootsuite allows you to schedule updates as well so you can spread them out.
This may sound like it would be too small of a gesture to matter, but you are helping your contacts build their audience by sharing their content with your audience. If you do this on a regular basis, they will notice. Marketing is very frustrating for a lot of people and for someone to lend a hand like this goes a long way.
Can this really help nurture a relationship?
This strategy can be used to nurture existing relationships and build new ones. I hosted a free online event called Wedding Business Evolution Summit and I have brought speakers from all different areas of wedding business and marketing to speak about it. The only way I know most of these speakers is through social media and all of them have been on my “Outreach” list for quite some time. We all share a similar vision of helping wedding professionals, but it definitely helped that I was on their radar before I approached them to speak at this event.
Building and maintaining relationships should more like farming than hunting. If you keep at this regularly, just like watering a plant everyday, you will reap the benefits later.