Our firm has been trying to get a handle on how to use Social Media to build better relationships with our clients and enhance our brand in the marketplace. We've seen a steady increase in the number of follows and the level of engagement but it's still early days and we are still learning.
I was scanning my Twitter feed when I realized that on a personal level, I've discovered the ability of social media to build a relationship with others without even realizing it. One of my interests outside of work is Horse Racing. I've always been amazed at the beauty, heart and courage of the Thoroughbred. In 2012, a horse named Paynter almost won the Belmont Stakes (the last race of the famed "Triple Crown"), losing by a nose in the last strides. He was viewed as an up and coming star.
Shortly thereafter, Paynter become critically ill from colic (a digestive system disorder), and then laminitis (an often fatal condition of the hoof). The hashtag #PowerUpPaynter became a trend on Twitter, and many people followed closely and eventually, like a miracle, Paynter recovered and eventually went on to race in the $5 Million Breeders' Cup Classic, the richest horse race in North America.
So what does all this have to do with building relationships on-line? I sent several tweets of encouragement to the owners, Ahmad Zayat(@jazz3162), and re-tweeted many of their tweets. When the time came to go to Los Angeles to see the Breeders Cup Classic last year, I jokingly tweeted that I'd love to meet up with Paynter, and low and behold, Mr. Zayat, the horses' owner graciously replied that he would make it happen.
I never did meet Mr. Zayat or his son Justin, who manages his racing stable, as they had just left by the time I got there, but when I showed up at Santa Anita Park, I was able to spend an entire afternoon exploring the stables and of course, got a chance to visit with Paynter, who despite his feisty reputation was quite nice to me!
The author and Paynter.
- Positive support works. Twitter, in particular, can be a cesspool of complaining and negativity. It's easy to get drawn into it. Be the positive individual with lots of good to say and avoid the temptation to engage in the "complaint of the day" (This is a tough one)
- Don't expect anything in return. If you are following just so that you will be followed back, or expecting "business" you will be sorely disappointed. Post content that represents you and your brand and share things that you think will be of value. If you do this with good intentions, it will come back to you. Isn't that a rule of life anyway?
- Digital Relationships can be just like face-to-face relationships. The same rules apply if you want them to have any meaning. Sitting behind a keyboard doesn't make it ok to be sarcastic, nasty or aggressive. Think before you post!
Paynter now has the life luxury retired to stud at Winstar Farms in Kentucky, a fitting place for the "Toughest Horse Who Ever Lived". Enjoy it Champ! When I come down for the Derby, maybe we'll meet up again. This time I promise to bring the green peppermints, not the red ones!