Do You Manage Your Relationships?

Posted on Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 at 9:21 am by Engine Communications

Whether it is Chris Brogan telling you how to Frame your Social Media Efforts or any other equally credible source, I am sure you have learned the importance of connecting with individuals when it comes to succeeding in social media. Building relationships is a theme that reoccurs daily and has us constantly in search for new like-minded individuals to whom we listen and with whom we create and collaborate.

This post was inspired in a roundabout way by one of Amber Naslund’s blog posts, which was written back in mid-January. She was describing 7 Social Media Roles You Haven’t Considered, one of the roles being Social Customer Service & CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and it got me thinking. What type of tools would a person in this role be using? One of the tools an organization committed to customer satisfaction would use is a social media monitoring program like Radian6. It would enable them to find and keep track of individuals who are brand evangelists or completely unsatisfied.

Keeping track of individuals…

I want you to think to yourself: how often do great relationships get created and then seem to taper off and get forgotten about?

The idea of CRM got me thinking about relationship management in general, and more specifically on an individual or personal level. We all put so much effort into connecting with people and creating relationships, but what type of effort do you put into maintaining your relationships over a significant period of time?

This is where I want to bring in the notion of kRM or constant relationship management. I would like to define constant relationship management (kRM) as the process of ensuring frequent and repetitive communication with contacts that one deems valuable.

When it comes to maintaining an online relationship, there seems to be two types of people, those who are proactive and those who are reactive. A proactive person is someone who actively initiates conversation, while a reactive person usually waits for someone to comment on their blog, @reply them on twitter etc. The problem of relationships tapering off can be solved if more people become proactive!

There are proactive tools individuals can use to keep track of the people you care about online. I use Gist. I will be doing a feature on this tool next week!

What are your thoughts? What do you do to maintain relationships you create? Do you think this practice is for the insincere or the individuals who really care?

{ 9 comments to read ... please submit one more! }

  1. This is a problem I've actually been coming up against lately. I feel like I've lost touch with certain key online contacts. The issue is that real life seems to be getting in the way 😉 I'll definitely take a look at Gist. Any tool to help manage these relationships would be great. They're incredibly valuable, and just because they're online, doesn't mean they're any less real.

  2. in an age where information available exceeds the time we have to digest and prioritize it, the ability for algorithm-aided data curation to present the most relevant information from a variety of sources will become essential.

    Right now we live in a time where we all try to be data curators ourselves, and think that when we look at the facebook mini-feed, or glance over 70 new tweets that we're getting the best of the best that is relevant an important to us – but we're only fooling ourselves there. We get some of what we do want, and we (don't mind to) sift through a lot of what we don't want.

    As for keeping in contact with people, I have more than one website with variations of my name on it, facebook, linkedin, email, skype, and all kinds of channels where people can easily find me (youtube, twitter, dailybooth).

    The way I see it, when our parents were losing touch with friends at MY age, they worried about how they would keep in touch. They didn't know Facebook would exist at the time, and look at how much re-connection that has helped cause. Sitting here in the same place in life looking into our future, even though we HAVE facebook….I'm not worried or scared because I know that unfathomable new technologies are going to be coming out.

    The key isn't GETTING the information, the key will be how to sift out what you don't want. The future doesn't mean losing contact with people – it's going to be a bigger job sifting out the people you DONT want to be in contact with.

  3. I haven't used Gist, but I'd be interested to see how it's different or similar to

    if you're going to sign up for Gist maybe we can compare notes?

  4. Sounds good! I'll look into it and let you know.

  5. @Tom I couldn't agree more that we need tools for filtering information. It is my personal opinion but I dont see peoples names simply as a source of information, I like to keep the mentality that they are still people.

    The problem is that when you come across so many great sources eventually it become impossible to check in on everyone. I dont think that if everyone simply “makes themselves available” — great conversations will ensue. I think people subconsciously think the other party will be the one to initiate and both tend to get busy with their lives and other engagements (like Bryna mentioned!)

    @Bryna & @Tom It would be cool to do a review of both the tools!

  6. Great response Tom. I agree completely. “The future doesn't mean losing contact with people – it's going to be a bigger job sifting out the people you DONT want to be in contact with.”

  7. Hiya Shane!

    I went and got me a Gist login and I'll say I was really impressed at the algorithm there – it allows you to listen to certain people more, or less – but the autopilot had the right people in the right order for me – with only a couple exceptions that I took care of effortlessly.

    I wonder though, would it recognize certain messages or types of language used by people you pay 'less' attention to and still promote those stories to you? I wonder how things will be in the future when algorithms can understand the NATURE of your relationship to other people (like XFN has been trying to do).

    Obviously you care more about hearing an ex-girlfriend getting married, than some girl you knew from public school, even if you have both of them set to the same priority in every-day viewing. Does Gist have any way of evaluating how important people you don't pay much attention to could still be with certain TYPES of stories? Does any social-networking service even maintain this sort of person-person relationship (I mean Facebook has the “how do you know each other” and linkedIN has a similar feature)

    This new idea of aggregating and automagically sorting data to custom tailor it to you is brilliant and I know I'll be watching Gist carefully to see how they grow!

  8. Hey Tom,

    You have a lot of great insight and I would love to just chat more via skype sometime. Do you have a minute today or next week to hop on a skype chat?

    Shane Mac

  9. I'm 'innovati' on skype if you want to add me – I don't have the time/microphone here with me right now at work but I can make sure to have it next week sometime – I'd love to have a chat!

    Engine Communications is located cozily right inbetween Toronto and Montréal in Canada, if that gives you an idea for time zones!

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