Customers & Fans: Love The Ones You are With First

We are in a blog-eat-blog, my-small-business-has-more-fans than your small business mindset these days. And to that I say, who cares?!

While I watch statistics and am mildly amused and enthused by the fact I’m creeping up to 4,000 Twitter followers, I don’t keep a cyber-microscope on the growth of my fan base or my lists.

What I do diligently though is keep the pulse of what my clients, customers and followers think and feel. I keep tabs on what they need and what they want. I spend more time nurturing my relationships with who I already know and know me, than I do growing my “list” or growing my “fans.”

You must constantly grow new fans… second

Now I’m not saying don’t grow. You MUST. You must find new, natural ways to constantly infuse your business with new fans and new customers. You cannot trust that you’ll just grow from the good words of others. Whether you join networking groups or joint ventures or find other ways to introduce what you do to new groups, you must do it.

You just simply must not do it instead of, or before, nurturing those who already opted into being on your list or chosen to hire you.

You cannot systemize relationships

How do you keep up with who is doing what? I simply show up – mostly online – and stay present to what is happening in their worlds via what they post to social media and what they tell me in real life.

Why do I keep up with who is doing what? Because business growth always has and always will grow more from word of mouth than anything else. Word of mouth is still the best marketing strategy because it is the richest and most credible referral source (both live and online) there is. And word of mouth only happens when people feel like you know them, they can trust you and we like each other enough to support each others’ businesses.

You cannot systemize relationship building, like you can list building and fan building and building all the numbers. You can only show up and care… really care.

How to love the ones you’ve already got:

  • Share their successes out loud and live on social media – hit the share buttons and tell their stories and why you are proud of them
  • Promote their sales, events and promotions to your list by social sharing or to your news list if appropriate.
  • Comment on their blogs and statuses on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Create a community of clients and fans and encourage them to get to know each other (group think of likeminded people builds them up and makes you look like a rockstar champion for bringing them together)
  • Use the “list” tools on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep up with those who matter most. Make a habit of clicking on the lists to see what they are doing. This helps filter out the fluff of the random stuff online that gets distracting and keeps you checked in more regularly to those who matter. (I also like using Hootsuite and using “streams” to keep track of my Twitter lists)

If you, like me, care about the quality of your business relationships and want to feel uber-happy with what you do, love the customers and fans you are with right now before you go list building and fan building. Loved fans and customers will still be with you 5 years from now. Can you say the same with those who are just a random name on your list?

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